Over the Christmas / New Year break, Australian Business Traveller will be revisiting some of our most popular articles of 2017. We’re still around to report on any breaking news during this time, otherwise our regular publishing schedule will resume on Monday January 8, 2018.
Lifetime Gold status with the Qantas Frequent Flyer program is the goal of many business travellers and high flyers, and with good reason.
It means you get all of those prized perks of a Gold-grade member – such as priority check-in, a more generous checked baggage allowance, airport lounge access, bonus points and a higher spot in the pecking order for upgrades – for the rest of your life.
Forget about trying to re-qualify each and every year: once you have enough status credits for Lifetime Gold, that card and its many benefits are yours to enjoy for a lifetime, regardless of how often you fly.
Of course, you'll also enjoy similar benefits on all other airlines in the Oneworld alliance for the rest of your life, such as access to the business class lounges of British Airways, Cathay Pacific, JAL, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways and more, even when you're flying economy.
Qantas Lifetime Gold status is clearly a goal worth pursuing, so here's how to map out your strategy to get there.
Earning Qantas Lifetime Gold status
Earning Qantas Gold status for a single year requires 700 status credits to get your first Gold card, and then 600 status credits each year after that to keep it.
But while your annual status credit count is wiped clean at the start of each membership year, the total number of status credits accumulated across the life of your Qantas Frequent Flyer membership is your tally for lifetime status.
To reach Lifetime Gold you'll need 14,000 status credits. And make no mistake, that's a lot of flying.
It’s the equivalent of 175 business class return trips between Sydney and Melbourne; 59 return business class treks between Sydney and Singapore; or 25 return business class jaunts to London (all when travelling with Qantas on a QF flight number).
Naturally, a frequent international traveller who typically flies in business class or first class will find it easier – and faster – to reach Lifetime Gold than somebody primarily flying within Australia on the lowest-cost economy class fares, which earn far fewer status credits.
Lifetime Gold: is it reachable within your lifetime?
Begin by checking your lifetime status progress via the Qantas website: login using your frequent flyer details, head to the Your Account page, scroll down and click on “show additional status information” underneath the paper aeroplane icons:
In the example above, this traveller's 4,370 lifetime status credits peg him as roughly one-third of the way to Lifetime Gold.
A harsh reality is that only the most frequent travellers will ever ascend to the ranks of Lifetime Gold, so before you embark on the long journey, doing a few quick sums now can save much disappointment later.
Let’s say you’re a high flyer in your mid-30s with a lifetime balance of around 4,000 status credits. You plan to do most of your business travel over the next five years before winding things back to spend more time at home.
To reach Lifetime Gold by the end of that five-year period you’d need to earn an average of 2,000 status credits every year. If that's do-able, then go for it.
However, if you’re the type who just scrapes 600 status credits each year to retain year-on-year Gold status, you’d need to keep that up for just over 15 years (assuming you also start with 4,000 lifetime status credits under your belt) to reach your target. That's a much tougher ask, so be realistic about your expectations.
(As a fall back, Lifetime Silver membership is yours after racking up a total of 7,000 status credits, but the relatively meagre benefits such as priority check-in and a single Qantas lounge pass each year make this more of a 'mile marker' on the road to Lifetime Gold than a goal in its own right.)
Can you fast-track to Lifetime Gold?
Status credits, not frequent flyer points, are the key to Lifetime Gold - so every time you book a flight, consider all of your options and how those options will affect your haul of status credits.
For example, Qantas 'flexible' fares in economy, premium economy and business class earn up to twice as many status credits as lower-priced tickets although they don’t necessarily cost twice as much (and they're often better suited to business travellers and their changeable schedules).
You'll end up with a higher number of status credits per dollar spent (and per flight), which makes flexi fares particularly useful if a client is picking up the bill.
Your choice of airline and flight number is also important: you’ll generally earn the highest number of status credits on flights booked via Qantas (with a QF flight number) and a reduced number of status credits on flights booked via partner airlines.
Book a journey directly with Emirates under an EK flight number, for instance, and you’ll actually earn no status credits at all (along with a much smaller serve of frequent flyer points).
Another notable example: a Malaysia Airlines business class ticket from Australia earns Qantas status credits at the much lower economy rate.
The gap becomes more notice on longer trips such as between Sydney and Paris: a business class journey with Qantas partner Emirates on QF flight numbers nets a solid 560 status credits, but choosing to fly the same route with Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong returns a lower 360 status credits.
Also keep your eyes peeled for any bonus status credit deals which may land in your inbox from time to time: there's typically an extra 50% or even 100% of status credits if you book within the promotion period, even if the flights are up to a year in advance.
- Qantas and Virgin Australia: frequent flyers go for 'double gold'
- How to get Qantas Lifetime Platinum (well, sort of...)
- Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold: the unofficial guide
- How to maximise Qantas status credits on Emirates
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