UPDATE | Qantas has now launched its Platinum One frequent flyer level, and we've got all the details...
PREVIOUS | One of the many significant changes which Qantas is making to its Frequent Flyer programme is the creation of a new super-platinum level for its most frequent flyers.
Dubbed "Platinum One", the scheme requires travellers to earn 3600 of Qantas' status credits per year -- that's three times the current threshold needed to qualify for standard Platinum membership, which sits well above the Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold level.
To reach 3600 status credits you'd need to take:
- five return flights from Australia to London in First Class
- thirteen return flights from Sydney to Tokyo in Business
- twenty-three return flights from Melbourne to Auckland in Business
For a more realistic mix of trips, based on a business class passenger flying from Sydney, 3600 status credits could look like this:
- Two returns to London (480 credits each)
- Two returns to Los Angeles (360 credits each)
- One return to New York (480 credits)
- Three returns to Auckland (160 credits each)
- Two returns to Tokyo (280 credits each)
- Five returns to Melbourne (80 credits each)
Of course, the trend in "Platinum Plus" tiers doesn't remove the ultra-exclusive, invitation-only status that airlines reserve for the flyers they want to impress most -- and whose business they want to win. Qantas' Chairman's Lounge, British Airways' Premier, and Emirates' Invitation Only are still for the creme de la creme of passengers.
In the meantime, here's a look at what you can actually earn by flying, rather than by being someone the airlines want to entice. Will Qantas be inspired by these programmes -- or will the airline create entirely new benefits?
Qantas Frequent Flyer: Platinum One
How to get it: earn 3600 status credits in a year -- three times the required amount for "regular" Platinum.
What you get: Qantas hasn't announced full details yet, but it will include a dedicated contact team.
British Airways Executive Club: Gold Guest List
How to get it: spend two years in a row earning 3000 Executive Club tier points, or 5000 tier points in a single year.
What you get: extra availability for redeeming frequent flyer miles, a special phone number for calling BA (which includes better-than-average people on the end of the phone), and a higher place on the upgrade queue. You can also gift a Gold membership to someone if you hit 4,500 tier points in a year.
Lufthansa Miles & More: HON Circle
How to get it: fly at least 600,000 status earning miles within two years on Lufthansa Group airlines.
What you get: access to the First Class Terminal in Munich and Frankfurt, extra availability for redeeming frequent flyer miles, 100,000 miles of "mileage overdraft" when you want to book a flight, six upgrade vouchers, and the highest place on the upgrade queue.
United Mileage Plus: Global Services
How to get it: one of the least documented of the exclusive tiers, Global Services thresholds aren't published, and are based on how much you spend rather than mileage flown. But the rule of thumb is generally spending around US$50,000 on the expensive fares per year -- and only on United.
What you get: upgrade priority (and since United is a US airline, that means you'll usually be upgraded whenever there's space), earliest boarding, and a special phone number with top-notch agents.
What would you like to see as a Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum One elite benefit? What would make you fly more to get it? What don't you care about in the slightest?
Share your thoughts in the comments below, or tweet us: @AusBT
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.