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:
- the American Express Platinum Business Card offers 120,000 bonus Qantas Points
- the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card offers 100,000 bonus Qantas Points
- the Westpac Altitude Black American Express + Mastercard combo pairs 80,000 bonus Qantas Points with a further 20,000 Qantas Points if you apply via Australian Business Traveller
- the St. George Amplify Signature Visa card offers 90,000 bonus Qantas Points (this deal is also available via the near-identical Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature Visa and the BankSA Amplify Signature Visa credit cards)
- the ANZ Qantas Frequent Flyer Black card offers 75,000 bonus Qantas Points plus 75 bonus status credits (which could be all you need to keep your status for another year)
- the HSBC Platinum Qantas Visa card offers 60,000 bonus Qantas Points