Qantas now lets you retain Gold, Platinum status with points

Qantas now lets you retain Gold, Platinum status with points

Didn't earn quite enough status credits to requalify for your Qantas Gold or Platinum frequent flyer membership?

Qantas is now letting some of its frequent flyers 'buy' another year of status with their points, under the trial of what it calls a 'paid retention' plan.

The offer is made to selected members who fall short of having enough status credits to retain Gold or Platinum status (600 and 1200 status credits, respectively).

Australian Business Traveller reader Matthew Nolan tells us that he was barely a third of the way to retaining his Gold status, with 235 status credits to his name, and received an email from the Qantas Frequent Flyer program inviting him to contact the QFF call centre to "discuss options available to retain your current tier."

Matthew was offered another year of Gold status for 80,000 Qantas points – an offer he tells us he was quick to accept.

Reader Danny McGowan reports that he received a similar offer before his Platinum status expired, having flown enough to only get halfway to the 1200 status credit mark, with the cost of enjoying another year of Platinum perks pegged at 100,000 points.

Other readers note the asking price for Platinum being as high as 120,000 points.

Australian Business Traveller understands that the paid retention offer is extended to members according to their long-term loyalty and activity, with the number of points required also based on their activity – which explains why it can vary from one frequent flyer to the next.

“We know how much our tiered members value their benefits and how keen they are to retain their status," a Qantas spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller.

"While they may have been loyal frequent flyers for years, occasionally members’ circumstances change which means they’ve flown less than usual during the past year and therefore fall short of reaching the number of status credits required to keep their tier."

"To provide flexibility and recognise their long-term loyalty, we therefore offer some members the opportunity to use Qantas Points to retain their current tier for another 12 months.”

Is Qantas status worth buying?

Qantas' paid retention scheme appears to take the place of the complimentary status retention which has previously been extended to frequent flyers who fall just short of keeping Gold or Platinum, with their eligibility typically based on their average status credit tally over the past three years.

The more you appreciate the perks of Qantas Gold or Platinum status, the less likely you'll be to risk losing that shiny card – even if it costs you a fistful of points.

For example, keeping Gold status for 80,000 points turns out to be a pretty good deal.

We asked Australian Business Traveller's resident points guru Chris Chamberlin to crunch the numbers, and here is his take:

80,000 points for Qantas Gold status is a pretty good deal considering that Qantas ‘sells’ Qantas Club membership for 78,000 points for one year, plus a 70,000-point joining fee (which they don’t waive when you drop from Gold to Silver)… not that using 78,000 points to buy a $540 membership is remotely good value, as it equates to less than 0.7 cents per point in value.

But Qantas Gold is significantly better as it also qualifies as Oneworld Sapphire across all Oneworld airlines, so you get access to all Oneworld and Qantas partner lounges, along with priority security and priority boarding, which isn't available to Qantas Club members.

The same maths could make 100,000 points a decent deal for keeping Platinum status if you place a high value on the use of first class lounges and being further up the pecking order when it comes to upgrades – things you may miss if you fail to requalify for Platinum and are given a 'soft landing' to Gold.

Pocketing those extra points

Don't forget that many credit cards include a sign-up bonus of around 100,000 Qantas points, which makes them a smart form of 'insurance' if you're currently tracking short of your Gold or Platinum goal:

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

41 comments

  • ajstubbs

    ajstubbs

    6 Oct, 2017 12:00 pm

    A long term Platinum member of my family was offered this in May for 100,000 points but declined as they're happy with Lifetime Gold. Not sure how many takers they'll get.
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • patrickk

    patrickk

    6 Oct, 2017 12:10 pm

    Does the 'price' in points change depending on how close you are. Say I have Platinum and get 1000 status credits next year. What will they charge in points for that extra 200 SCs.
    No member give thanks

  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    6 Oct, 2017 12:14 pm

    We will have to wait for QF to respond to AusBT's request for comment or use the comments of readers here as a set of 'data points' but I think it would make sense for QF to have a sliding scale so the closer you are to re-qualifying the fewer points you have to pay. Then again maybe the closer you are the more desperate you will be and so they can squeeze you for the maximum number of points!
    No member give thanks

  • Rooster7

    Rooster7

    6 Oct, 2017 04:19 pm

    I think other things such as how long have your been a Gold or Platinum member should be regarded as well as how short you are on Status Points for any particular year.
    No member give thanks

  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    6 Oct, 2017 12:12 pm

    Very interesting and great work on the 'maths' behind this offer, Chris! Yes, if I was not even half way to Gold and was offered Gold for 80,000 points I would snap it up!
    No member give thanks

  • levelnine

    levelnine

    6 Oct, 2017 12:28 pm

    And so the already overcrowded lounges will get even more crowded.

    Member who gave thanks

    alan-aa1981

  • mviy

    mviy

    6 Oct, 2017 12:41 pm

    They’re not going to give points comps to the same people every year and not everyone that falls short will necessarily get an offer. Getting points off people for comps is better for QF than giving them out for free and may actually reduce the number of comps as some people reject the offer who wouldn’t have if it was free.

    If you want to retain status the most reliable thing to do is to earn the required SCs to do it.
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • markpk

    markpk

    6 Oct, 2017 12:52 pm

    This is an interesting development and one I'll likely need next year as a change of job has reduced my travel but its likely to ramp back up again next year but possibly not enough to re-qualify for Platinum...
    No member give thanks

  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    6 Oct, 2017 01:21 pm

    I wonder what they consider the dollar value to be worth?
    No member give thanks

  • airADL

    airADL

    6 Oct, 2017 02:50 pm

    Everything has a price these days...

    Even loyalty
    No member give thanks

  • Nick  Sydney 348

    Nick Sydney 2

    6 Oct, 2017 02:55 pm

    Just fly. Easiest way. I'm 60 short of Platinum so have a quick trip to Singapore which tips me across the line
    No member give thanks

  • Dean

    deanr

    6 Oct, 2017 03:25 pm

    I guess this isn't much different to what used to happen, where you could book "any seat award" flights using points in a way that actually earned points and status credits like a normal flight, but only cost you the same number of points to book as a regular award flight.

    If you pushed it with connections, you could basically earn 200 status credits when spending about 36,000 points, or 400 SCs for 72,000 points, which is pretty much on par with 80,000 points to jump from 235 SCs to the 600SCs needed for gold as in the article, but Qantas doesn't have to feed you and fly you around the country to get there (filling up a business class seat), and spending the points today doesn't add to your lifetime status tally (as it doesn't seem like you're really earning extra SCs with this new path, just having your tier retained).

    I guess that's better than having to waste a day or three just to earn extra status credits... these days I don't think I'd have time for that!
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • Steve987

    Steve987

    6 Oct, 2017 03:37 pm

    I really like your analysis. Before reading it I was thinking "rip off" but now contextualised against the points cost of doing a status run to get there, i can actually see the value!

    If I need 240SC to keep platinum and my choice is a Jetstar business run to SG and back or passing over about the same (or slightly even more) points to get to the same outcome, well as much as I like SG, a pretty easy call.
    No member give thanks

  • Jack3193

    Jack3193

    6 Oct, 2017 03:41 pm

    All well and good if you actually want to (and are able to) go to somewhere that will earn the required SCs before your anniversary date.

    However, not everyone is in that situation - e.g. someone quoted in the story was almost 600 SCs short - he would have had to take a return trip to Europe in J or something along those lines in order to make up the shortfall.

    It's fairly easy to get 100,000 points by taking out a new credit card these days. That would generally cost you a lot less than a trip to Singapore in Y, and a small fraction of what it would cost to earn 600 SCs. Plus some people already have more points than they know what to do with, so this new scheme from QF will suit some people very well.
    No member give thanks

  • timster

    timster

    6 Oct, 2017 03:57 pm

    Is this a favour to loyal customers or does it suggest desperation on the part of QF - to keep you shackled to the flying kangaroo when you might have been broadening your flying horizons ?
    No member give thanks

  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    6 Oct, 2017 06:09 pm

    Both!

    No member give thanks

  • Robert Greenburg

    Bob Greenberg

    6 Oct, 2017 04:14 pm

    With Virgins Economy X you only need to pay as little as $29.00 to gain Platinum benifits which is unfair on genuine members.
    No member give thanks

  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    6 Oct, 2017 04:20 pm

    LOL That's not correct, atleast Virgin you can book your forward seat/s while Qantas you need to wait a couple of days before the flight (even platinum members).
    No member give thanks

  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    7 Oct, 2017 09:59 pm

    And so how does that makes Bob's statement incorrect? LOL!
    No member give thanks

  • sydneyfreqflyer

    sydneyfreqflyer

    6 Oct, 2017 05:42 pm

    Qantas needs to get the points you hold off their books because they are a liability: they also want to retain your loyalty, so this seems like a pretty sensible initiative.


    I think I might wait for them to come out with a Pimp My Status program where you can upgrade from Platinum to Platinum Plus using points. Standing by ...
    No member give thanks

  • GBRGB

    GBRGB

    6 Oct, 2017 06:25 pm

    This is great news for people who may be between jobs or a change in circumstances that means they have a lean year in regards to flying, is there anything in the T & C about whether the purchased SC count towards lifetime status?
    No member give thanks

  • mviy

    mviy

    6 Oct, 2017 06:57 pm

    You're not purchasing SCs, you're getting comped. So even though you earn say 500 SC in the year they *may* give you an offer to keep Gold status for X points. This purchase has no direct effect on your SC tally.

    They may/may not give the offer so you can't count on getting one.
    No member give thanks

  • moa999

    moa999

    6 Oct, 2017 08:26 pm

    Arguably this is just letting them make some money (internal coat of points) for what they often did for free anyway
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • donatello

    donatello

    7 Oct, 2017 09:53 am

    Does this possibly mean that they are thinking of scrapping comp gold/platinum based on your average three year status credit balance instead requiring you to pay with points in place of that?
    No member give thanks

  • Nathan Burgess

    Nburgess31

    7 Oct, 2017 10:54 am

    I'd say QF will definitely dump the three year averaging to determine comps with instead the three year average to determine if you are eligible to be offered a points purchase retain. That's assuming it hasn't already been dumped For this approach.
    No member give thanks

  • Steve987

    Steve987

    7 Oct, 2017 11:02 am

    I think so too, but don't mind that so much. I know people who have been comped that have permanently reduced their travel. I like a freebie as much as the next person, but I think it makes more sense to put a value on these things.
    No member give thanks

  • kimshep

    kimshep

    7 Oct, 2017 10:59 am

    "Qantas now lets you buy Gold, Platinum status with points"

    Unintentionally, a little misleading, I would think. Perhaps, a more accurate description would be:

    "Qantas now lets you RETAIN Gold, Platinum status with points"

    Sorry to be pedantic - but there might be a few misguided souls out there drawn to the article thinking they can now move from Bronze / Silver to Gold or Platinum by simply 'buying' status with excess points. As we know, Silvers are not mentioned in this piece at all - and Bronze? Do QFF know that they exist?

    No member give thanks

  • eminere

    eminere

    8 Oct, 2017 01:39 pm

    This is a very good point.
    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    8 Oct, 2017 06:53 pm

    Good point, Kimshep, we had 'keep' at first but swapped out for 'buy' as it was more active and had more punch, but 'retain' works well, so have modified title accordingly. And haven't heard any reports of Silvers being approached under this.
    No member give thanks

  • Paul MARTin

    dm501

    7 Oct, 2017 11:52 am

    How would I do this?
    No member give thanks

  • Paul MARTin

    dm501

    7 Oct, 2017 11:57 am

    Do I need to wait fro Qantas to offer me the option?

    No member give thanks

  • eminere

    eminere

    7 Oct, 2017 05:18 pm

    Have you read the article?
    No member give thanks

  • User

    User

    7 Oct, 2017 12:27 pm

    Last month I received 3 successive emails from Qantas with the same offer - 120,000 points to retain Platinum. The thing was, I actually have enough Status Credits to retain Platinum.
    No member give thanks

  • bsb

    bsb

    9 Oct, 2017 07:34 pm

    I don’t like it. I earn my status the hardcore way and those lounges are full enough as it is.
    No member give thanks

  • Rohan Dangerfield

    rcdanger

    16 Oct, 2017 06:37 pm

    I got offered the option to pay 120k points to retain Platinum with 2 weeks to go. I’m 160 points short of the 1200.
    No member give thanks

  • Lou Bosancic

    thebos

    17 Oct, 2017 02:36 pm

    I've been gold and platinum for the last 3 years. I was shy of 20 points to get my bonus 50 status points. I called them and they said no. Couldn't even provide the reasons.
    No member give thanks

  • Matt Brown

    mdbrown

    20 Oct, 2017 09:55 pm

    Pity they are not retaining longterm QC members by waiving the absurd $390 joining fee if you don't renew in it time.
    No member give thanks

  • pegsy

    pegsy

    1 Feb, 2018 09:59 am

    Great string everyone, I've always found the information helpful so thought I should join up now I have something to share.

    I received an offer to "call" qantas about how to retain Platinum - how hard is it to call... When I did, they offered to renew Platinum for 120k points - I said no, happy with lifetime gold. I mostly use points from Amex for classic award domestic Business & International First flights. Thinking the status would disappear last week, they comped Platinum again - so it seems you can call their bluff.

    I should disclose that I have 30k lifetime SC, only earned 40 SC last year, and 300 the year period, have been P1 3 times over the last 6 years and send 2m amex points a year to QF, although having just redeemed a return business class on SQ from Mumbai to Sydney for 150k - this may change things as QF availability is poor. I love the transfer bonus QF offers 3 times a year... that mostly boosts points by a further 25-35%
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • Peter Greaves

    Peter_G

    20 Apr, 2018 03:27 pm

    I wonder if the 80,000 points to be granted gold status or 120,000 for platinum are a fixed amount. I was 15 SC short of moving back to gold after a year on silver, after I missed the chance to earn 20 points on a JQ flight due to misinformation fro the QFF helpline. When I raised this as an issue with the helpline they took almost 2 months to come back to me (10 days before my membership year expired) and offered the upgrade to gold for 80,000 points.
    80,000 points for 15 SC's seems like a lot to me, particularly when the status bonus is 50 SC's or 8000 points. It certainly seems like there is no pro-rata consideration of how many SC's you actually need.
    Lucky for me I decided I couldn't count on them to do the right thing by a customer & have booked a return JQ flight that will earn me 10 SC's each way before the 10 days are up)

    No member give thanks

  • Steve987

    Steve987

    8 Jul, 2019 10:50 am

    120k to retain offer received (and declined) today. Declined as I will retain Gold. Will miss lounge though!

    I was advised that the points fee is the same for everyone irrespective of proximity to retention total.
    No member give thanks

  • Peter Greaves

    Peter_G

    8 Jul, 2019 11:05 am

    I found the points fee of 100K when I was only 15 SC's short of gold to be rather insulting. It should definitely be pro-rata, based on how many SC's you need to buy. Even 100,000points = 500 SCs (just to make the maths easier) & go from there. I note that a loyalty bonus is 50SC's or 8000 points, so on that basis 500 SC's should be 80,000 points, & a full 600 could be 100K
    No member give thanks

Guest

21 Jul, 2019 04:37 am

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