High-status frequent flyers are the winners in Qantas’ June 1st rejig of international checked luggage allowances, especially in business class and first class.
While the new checked luggage scheme for domestic flights is a mixed bag for many travellers, including some frequent flyers, the revised international allowances which take effect from June 1st proves unexpectedly generous for Silver, Gold and Platinum members of the Qantas Frequent Flyer programme.
Silvers and Golds travelling in business class will be able to check luggage up to 64kg, an over-50% increase on the pre-June limit of 40kg, while top-tier Platinum frequent flyers can check 64kg regardless of where they’re sitting (compared to their pre-June cap for economy of 38kg, for example).
This baggage bump applies to all international destinations except for North America and South America, where the limits on the number and weight of checked bags remain pegged at two or three pieces each weighing 23kg or 32kg depending on your seat class and Qantas Frequent Flyer status.
Here’s a breakdown of how the new limits and charges will effect you.
To all destinations except North America & South America
International economy & premium economy
The checked baggage allowance remains the same as the current system, at a total 23kg.
International economy & premium economy: Qantas Club members, Silver and Gold Frequent Flyers
Checked baggage allowance is shaved from 33kg to 32kg – no drama there.
The checked baggage allowance nudges up to 32kg from the pre-June 30kg cap.
International business: Qantas Club members
Qantas Club members also get a 2kg bump, up to 42kg from the current 32kg.
International business: Silver and Gold Frequent Flyers
Drag out those extra bags, because your checked luggage limit just skyrocketed from 40kg to 64kg.
If you’re an infrequent flyer who's lucky enough to be luxuriating n first class you’ll get the same 40kg checked luggage limit as under the old baggage scheme.
International first: Qantas Club
Qantas Club members tucked away at the tip of the plane can check 50kg of bags into the aircraft’s, the same as always.
International first: Silver and Gold Frequent Flyers
Another welcome boost for silvers and golds, from 50kg under the old scheme to the maximum of 64kg.
All classes: Platinum Frequent Flyers
These mile-munching members score another reward for their loyalty, with the ability to cram up to 64kg of shopping or samples in their checked bags regardless of what seat number is stamped on their boarding pass. It used to be 38kg in economy or premium economy, 45kg in business and 55kg in first – now it’s a solid 64kg across the board.
To destinations in North America & South America
International economy & premium economy
You can check two pieces at a maximum 23kg each.
Business & first
You can check two pieces at a maximum 32kg each.
Qantas Club members; Silver, Gold and Platinum Frequent Flyers
Add one extra checked item to each of the above, with the same weight limits. That means you can check three 23kg bags into economy or premium economy, and three 32kg bags into business or first.
Excess baggage charges
If your checked baggage is over the limit the rules things remain the same pre- and post-June.
The USA places more emphasis on the number of bags you check (in industry-jargon, ‘ticketing in piece’) than the weight. Fees payable at the airport are A$150 per bag above your limit (or $105 if you pre-purchase the additional baggage allowance online through the Manage My Booking page on Qantas.com.au), provided the bag is under 23kg.
There’s an additional A$50 ‘heavy charge’ for each piece weighing over 23kg if you’re in economy or premium economy (this is waived for business and first customers).
The rest of the world cares more for how your checked luggage tips the scales (called ‘ticketing in weight’), and thus charges for each kilogram over your total allowance. That tariff is $10/kg for flights to and from New Zealand; $35/kg for Asia; and $50/kg for flights to and from Europe an Africa.