Which is less difficult to achieve - Qantas FF Lifetime Gold vs American Airlines Million Miler

By sq or qf | Jun 25, 2019, 11:57 PM
Hey Guys,

Curious about AAdvantage Million Mile programme.

On flyertalk I've encountered quite a few disparaging comments about the QFF programme but I heard a lot of suggestions that AAdvantage is considerably better. Although that was more about immediate benefits than lifetime benefits. I'm not au fait with whether AAdvantage miles are more valuable than QFF status credits or what.

I understand that you need 14 000 status credits to get QFF Lifetime Gold. So that's about two decades worth of maintaining gold status (at the threshold).

I don't understand the AAdvantage structure and how it works in practice. Also, do you get lifetime lounge access at the million mile mark? Or do you need two million miles for that privilege?

So I thought I'd throw it out to this community - which is more attainable, in your opinion?
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By djtech | Jun 26, 2019, 08:22 AM
I believe million miler only gives you the equivalent of Silver status. Therefore, life time gold is better for benefits.
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By dimi | Jun 26, 2019, 09:58 PM
I believe million miler only gives you the equivalent of Silver status. Therefore, life time gold is better for benefits.

One Million Miler gives Lifetime AAdvantage Gold, i.e. OneWorld Ruby (which corresponds to Qantas Silver)
To get the equivalent of Qantas Gold for lifetime, you need to fly two million miles with AA.
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By sq or qf | Jun 27, 2019, 01:26 PM
Thanks guys.

I'm doing the maths now.

So 14 000 status credits with Qantas is about the equivalent of 2 million miles with American Airlines. To find out the relative value of each in relation to the other we go: 2 000 000 ÷ 14 000 = 142.86. This assumes I'm right on the relevance of these calculations.

Therefore, 1 QF status credit is worth about 142.86 AAdvantage miles.

The distance between Melbourne and Los Angeles is about 7291 miles (=12 747.61 km).

So if you fly one-way from MEL to LAX in American Airlines economy, you should get 7291 AAdvantage miles. Shouldn't you?

If you fly one-way from MEL to LAX in Qantas economy, you get 60 status credits. This is roughly worth 8571.6 Aadvantage miles. That's the answer for 60 x 142.86.

So on the basis of that comparison, QF status credits are more valuable. However, that's just one example. I'll look at how the respective business class yields compare later. Also, if I understand correctly, you can buy Aadvantage miles with purchases made on your credit card. I don't think you can do that with the QFF programme.
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By dimi | Jun 28, 2019, 05:41 AM
Your calculation depends on what class you fly.
Flying in business earns you a significantly different number of QF credits, but the same number of AA Million miler miles (Million Miler is based on the distance flown)

You can buy AAdvantage miles (a couple of times a year AAdvantage announces a sale, e.g. 100K bonus on a purchase of 150K miles).
AAdvantage miles are also better value than QF miles (fewer miles are required for redemptions).

Purchases of AAdvantage miles do not count towards the Million Miler program.
Last edited by dimi at Jun 28, 2019, 05.52 AM.
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By sq or qf | Jun 29, 2019, 12:08 AM
Cheers dimi,

Further Googling tells me that AAdvantage has EQMs (Elite Qualifying Miles) which I gather you can accrue with credit card purchases. However, EQMs aren't the the same thing as lifetime miles. I gather EQMs go to your current AAdvantage status.

But I'm rather staggered to find that American Airlines don't multiply the lifetime miles for business or first class. That it's quite literally how many miles you fly (regardless of cabin class).

Surely they want to encourage their members to purchase more expensive fares.

dimi, do you know if it's at all possible to earn lifetime miles with cc purchases? Or it's just how many miles you fly and nothing more? From the blogs I've looked at it - it's still somewhat unclear as some bloggers allude that some credit cards help speed up the process.

I was aware that you with QFF you earn different numbers of status credits depending on your fare/cabin. I simply wished to look at the base (economy) rate initially for simplicity's sake. I've had a look at status credits for business class flights from MEL to LAX o/w. It appears to vary a lot depending on fares, dates, routes and so on. But some of them get you 160 status credits, others 250 status credits.

So to conclude, it appears that in terms of lifelong membership of the respective alliances; QFF is lot better value than AAdvantage. QFF gives the opportunity to earn more status credits with superior cabins and also double status credits. Although I'm not sure of how QFF compares with AAdvantage in terms of current membership benefits and value.
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By dimi | Jun 29, 2019, 09:30 AM
Lifetimes miles are earned purely based on flight distance (1 mile for all AA marketed flights regardless of the class of travel, or even less for cheap partner economy fares, see “base miles” earning tables on AA website).
Flying more expensive fares, e.g. business class, on AA marketed flights does not make any difference to lifetime miles earned.
You could earn them from credit cards in the past, but this was abolished last time AAdvantage restructured.

EQMs (combined with EQDs) are somewhat like status credits on Qantas - they determine your elite status for your current/next year of membership, BUT not your lifetime status.
You earn more EQMs (EQDs) on more expensive fares, i.e. flying business class bumps your status for current/next year, but has no effect on your lifetime status.
You also earn EQMs through credit cards.

Award miles is basically what you can spend on future free flights.
These are essentially the AA equivalent of Qantas points.
When flying you earn more or less of those depending on your class of travel, AAdvantage status.
You can earn award miles through credit cards, hotel bookings, car rental etc etc.
You can also buy award miles outright.
Last edited by dimi at Jun 29, 2019, 09.58 AM.
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By dimi | Jun 29, 2019, 10:31 AM

PS: To answer your question directly:

"Surely they want to encourage their members to purchase more expensive fares."

No that is not quite the point of AA Million Miler programme.

Unlike Qantas Lifetime Status, AA Million Miler is not intended to be a culmination of decades of “Elite” membership - at least not directly.

Instead it rewards someone for "having gone the distance" with AA, regardless of whether they covered that distance on a cheapest economy ticket [which is not something I would personally recommend :) ]

Last edited by dimi at Jun 29, 2019, 11.02 AM.
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By sq or qf | Jun 30, 2019, 05:37 PM
Cheers dimi

Very informative and articulate response.
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