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Beginners Guide to Collecting Frequent Flyer Points: the Qantas Edition

PostImage-Mistakes-Making-When-Collecting-Frequent-Flyer-Points

Note: Qantas have recently changed their frequent flyer program and numbers
quoted in the article may be incorrect. A revised version will be coming soon.

You hear about it all the time – “spend over $30 and collect points”, “sign up for a MasterCard and earn a bonus 20,000 points” but what does all of this really mean for you? How can it help YOU get travelling faster without costing more money?

When I hear the words “frequent flyer points” it means one thing: being one step closer to my travel goal, whether that be joining my family on a trip to Hong Kong or a week relaxing in Spain. When you learn to earn and use Frequent Flier points flying around the world becomes more affordable – and here’s how.

Your Options

Australia is lucky that we only have two major airlines to choose from – Qantas and Virgin Australia. Whilst it is possible to collect points for international airlines, particularly Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic, it’s much easier to look to the local carriers as there are ways to maximise your points with local businesses.

Qantas airlines frequent flyer scheme is by far the easiest option to earn points. Not only are they part of the oneWorld alliance – allowing customers to fly and earn points with partner airlines including Cathay Pacific, British Airways and American Airlines – but they  also run Jetstar Airlines, which is in my opinion Australia’s best budget airline; as well as a strong codeshare partnership with Emirates.
Qantas also have a great range of partners where you can earn those bonus points for everyday shopping purchases or payment, including Optus, Woolworths, and QBE insurance.

Virgin’s Velocity program is your alternative program. Partners include Westfield Online, Virgin mobile and Foxtel. Check my guide to earning with Virgin Velocity here. [coming soon!]

You can sign-up with any airline program, but as people living in Australia I recommend Qantas and Virgi to maximise your point earning opportunities domestically.

How do you collect points?

I get told by a lot of people “I can’t earn frequent flyer points, I only fly once or twice a year.” Do you have a personal mobile phone? Do you shop for groceries? Do you buy petrol for your car? If you answered yes to any of these questions then yes, you can earn frequent flyer points.

Here’s a run down of ways to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points;

  • By flying with Qantas, Qantas link or Jetstar services.
  • By flying on of the OneWorld or partner airlines which can be found here.
  • By using Qantas Cash, a debit card which also acts as a travel money card.
  • Shop with Woolworths
  • Shop with Big W
  • Buy petrol with Woolworth’s Caltex 
  • Buy beer or wine from BWS (Beer Wine Spirits), Woolworth Liquor, or Cellarmasters
  • Have a Qantas Frequent Flier linked credit card (list of providers can be found here)
  • If you’re an Optus Mobile customer with a personal or small and medium business plan
  • Staying at hotels (including, the Hilton, the Langham, the Intercontinental and more) – Australian Hotels/International Hotels
  • Car rentals with Budget or Avis
  • Eating at one of the restaurants which can earn Frequent Flier points; full list can be found here.
  • Buying flowers through Frequent Flowers (found through the Qantas site)
  • Buying tickets for musicals, plays, concerts and events in Australia and around the world through Qantas Box Office
  • Getting your car tinted with Tint-A-Car
  • Buying a car through Trivett
  • Being part of Qantas epiQure – an online food and wine community
  • Travelling with companies including, Cruiseco, Wildlife Safari, Ski Max, and Qantas Holidays
  • Exchanging money with Travelex or purchasing In Sky Shopping (available on Qantas flights)
  • Through their chauffeur service or Valet parking with Qantas Drive (and their dry-cleaning service!)
  • Purchasing QBE Qantas Insurance
  • Renting with Rental Rewards or using L.J.Hooker
  • By taking out life insurance and income protection with ANZ
  • Taking out loans or with online trading
  • Printing with Snap Printing

(Please note not all of these will work for all people. Please read all fine print, especially when taking our credit cards or insurance.)

What is and How do I get a Status Bonus?

Remember how I said it’s best to commit to one airline? Status bonuses are the reason why. Depending what tier member you are you can get double points for your flight!

Here’s a breakdown on how many extra points you get on Qantas flights:

  • Platinum Frequent Flyers earn 100% Status bonus = Base points (calculated on how many miles you fly) x base points.
  • Gold Frequent Flyers earn 75% Status bonus = Base points + 75% of the base points.
  • Silver Frequent Flyers earn 50% Status bonus = Base points + 50% more points.

(Source: Qantas

This points bonus isn’t available on discount fares so be sure to check you have bought the correct fare type to take advantage of status bonuses. You can earn bonus points called Loyalty Bonuses each year if you fly enough times each year and earn a certain number of status credits. Read more about Loyalty bonuses here.

What does having a ‘Frequent Flyer Status’ mean? 

(please note: when you sign up you’ll be a bronze frequent flyer/bronze status and you will not receive any additional status bonuses, but will be eligible for cabin bonuses!)

Qantas Status Privileges table

(Source: Qantas)

What is and How do I get a Cabin Bonus?

If you’re more a fan of travelling closer to the front of the plane there are additional bonuses you can get on top of any status bonuses you earn.

  • 25% bonus for Premium Economy.
  • 50% bonus for Business.
  • 100% bonus for First.

(Source: Qantas)

This points bonus isn’t available on discount fares so be sure to check you have bought the correct fare type to take advantage of cabin bonuses.

How do I work out how many points I earn?

As of July 1st 2014 Qantas has changed the number of points you can earn.
To find out more please check the Qantas website.

To work out how many points you’ll earn per flight use the Qantas points calculator and add-on your status or cabin bonuses.

Try calculating how many points you will earn on your next Qantas flight.

 

Qantas Frequent Flyer Homepage

How can I Track My Points?

So now you’ve begun collecting points you want to know how long til you’ll reach the rewards!

You can track your points using the Qantas website and logging into your account – it takes around 3-5 business days for points to show up – or by reading the monthly emails Qantas send. By clicking on the ‘Fly’, ‘Shop’, ‘Pay’ etc. icons on the dashboard you can see new ways of earning points.

As you see your points balance rise you can choose to redeem your points!

How do you redeem points?

This is the best part of collecting Frequent Flier points – the rewards!

From scoring free flights (just pay for the landing taxes), flight upgrades – yes, you can fly Business or First class, gift vouchers, the latest iPhone,  they’re all within reach through the Qantas Frequent Flier Store. You can even purchase Qantas QBE Travel Insurance with your points.

Here’s a sample of some of my favourite products in the Qantas store so you have an idea of how many points you’ll need to save;

  • David Jones AU$50 Gift Card – 6,750 points
  • Go Travel Speaker Case – 7,000 points
  • Lonely Planet Guide: New Zealand – 8,000 points
  • Le Specs Jamaica Sunglasses – 9,000 points
  • KORA Organics by Miranda Kerr Body Pack – 18,000 points
  • Qantas A380-800 Model Aircraft – 14,500 points
  • Kobo eReader Touch 6″ – 20,000 points
  • Sunbeam Cafe Juicer – 31,000 points
  • Samsonite B-lite Spinner (large) – 40,500 points
  • Samsung Galazy Note 10.1″ – 106,000 points
  • HP Pavilion G6 laptop – 125,500 points
  • BH Fitness Pioneer Classic Treadmill – 152,000 points
  • iPhone 5 16GB Black – 131,000 points
  • Apple iMac 21.5″ – 256,500 points

If you haven’t quite saved enough points to cash in on something you really fancy, then most options include a ‘points & pay’ – you choose how many points you want to use and then just pay the difference, simple!

For the latest on how you can use your hard earn frequent flier points read the Qantas Frequent Flyer website.

How do I sign-up?

So this is the downside – Qantas has recently introduced a AU$82.50 price-tag to be signed up for the awards program. Never fear because there are loop-holes to get FREE Qantas Frequent Flyer membership, but shh… don’t tell them I told you this!

  • Sign up for a Woolworth’s Everyday Rewards Card at their website and they’ll prompt you to sign-up for a free Qantas Frequent Flier card in the process.
  • Rent a vehicle with Budget and ask how to earn Qantas Frequent Flier points. You should be given a promo key which you can enter when signing up on the Qantas website.
  • By clicking this link. Shh… I’ll be keeping this as up-to-date as possible so it always works.

 

 Do you have any tips and tricks to earning bonuses frequent flier points?
Have you ever redeemed your frequent flier points for something – travel, an upgrade, perhaps a product you’ve wanted?

Please note: not all of the options listed in this post will work for every reader. Please read the Terms & Conditions associated with everything you sign-up to. Bitten by the Travel Bug and Nicole Smith take no responsibility in any issues you may incur from signing up to any of the products from this page.

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    Arianwen
    June 5, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Oh my! So much useful information! I’ve never collected air miles, which is a crime! This is one thing I will definitely be looking into when I get to Oz. I’ll refer back to this post then for details!

    • Reply
      Nicole
      June 8, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      Thanks, Ari. 🙂

      They’re worth it, especially if you’re going to be spending a while as an expat in a particular country.

      Look forward to hearing more about your Australian adventures soon!

  • Reply
    Sam
    June 5, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Great post Nicole.
    I never really bothered about QFF as have found the fee to start up is hirer than its worth and the credit card fees are pretty large too complared to other credit cards. At the moment we have fly buys attached to the credit card – which is a bit of a waste hey!

    • Reply
      Nicole
      June 8, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      I need to do more research on FlyBuys but yes, they seem pretty worthless now.

      Don’t forget you can waive annual fees – just say that you’d be interested but the fee is too high and more often than not they will waive the fee… and then keep doing it every year.

      Even if you can switch your shopping to Woolworths (and remember your card!) you’ll start racking up a nice number of points each month.

  • Reply
    Toni
    June 6, 2013 at 5:13 am

    Such a fantastic break down hun! Now you can stop trying to explain it to me each and every time 😉 xx

    • Reply
      Nicole
      June 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      Well you have two-years – or more if you find a hottie! – to test this formula and see how it works for you (and tell me if it’s actually simple enough!)

  • Reply
    Kieron
    June 9, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    I’m nearly up to 100,000 points! How many flights did it take you to get gold status though?! I’m only halfway to Silver and it resets in 21 days.. booooooo!

  • Reply
    Keith
    June 12, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I’d consider removing that screenshot of your frequent flyer account details – with your last name and FF #, now someone just needs to guess your 4 digit pin (so only 9999 combinations) and they are in.
    Just a heads up.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      June 13, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion, Keith.

  • Reply
    Shane
    August 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Great website, I’m with Virgin and the travel bug has hit me, saveing to go to New York,
    Looking forward to when you post the Virgin velocity information.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Heather N Palmer-Green
    July 29, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Hello,

    I have just signed up for Quantas frequent flier points. I have a flight from Adelaide to Los Angeles with Fiji Airways next week and I would like to know how I would earn points towards that flight.

    I would also like to know how I can upgrade from bronze to a premium membership?

    • Reply
      Nicole
      August 5, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      Hi Heather,

      The easiest way to add your Qantas frequent flyer number to your booking is to get the desk agent to do it upon checking in.

      To upgrade from bronze you need to keep flying! Moving from Bronze to Silver, Gold or Platinum depends on how many Status Credits you earn in a year. The more you fly, the more credits you earn, the higher your membership level will be.

      Safe travels and enjoy Fiji Airways! (I’ve never flown them but heard really good things.)

  • Reply
    alan
    September 12, 2014 at 6:38 am

    How can I earn frequent flier points in New Zealand other than by flying?

    • Reply
      Nicole
      September 12, 2014 at 9:45 am

      Hi Alan,

      Being an Aussie, I only have a very limited knowledge on how New Zealanders can earn QFF points, though I would say that many of the offers would overlap (eg. QantasPoints.com.au options ‘should’ be able to earn you QFF points even as a NZ resident, though it may not be 2points for every $1 you spend due to exchange rates.)

      Also, I would check the Qantas New Zealand partners page -> http://www.qantas.com.au/fflyer/dyn/partners/new-zealand-partners

      I’ve just emailed a few of my NZ friends to see if they have any tips and will reply to this comment when I receive their reply. 🙂

    • Reply
      Nicole
      September 12, 2014 at 11:16 am

      Hi Alan,

      An update: my friends suggest checking out the Frequent Flyers New Zealander Facebook group that can be found here -> https://www.facebook.com/groups/Frequentflyersnewzealand/

  • Reply
    red
    September 20, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Honestly, I’m confused – not just by the above (thanks obviously it’s been useful to others!) but because I only just started looking into FF today and it seems difficult to know to decide anything! Could people suggest the “baby steps”/dummies guide to the pros and cons of different Australian FF schemes and cards, if there’s another (other sites/people yada)? With big thanks!!

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