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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.