COMMENT: Getting over excited about Qantas Double Status and Points promotion.
Over the last two days, I have spent more time than I would like to admit planning, discussing with my husband and friends and booking airfares with Qantas to take advantage of the Double Status Credits promotion. And then reality struck, and I started to reconsider. Not to stop booking, but just to view my practice in a different light.
Content of this Post:
Status not Points
Points are easy to come by. You can earn them from credit card spending, purchases, hotel stays, and a million other ways. Status Credits on Qantas – the things that let you climb the rungs of status and determine what seats you get access to, where you are on the Classic Rewards booking ladder, what lounges you can get into, and how close to the front you are in the cabin upgrade queue, are much harder to earn in any other way but by flying with Qantas or its partner airlines.
So for me, it’s all about the Status Credits. The points can take care of themselves.
What status am I after?
I attained Qantas Platinum Frequent Flyer Status, a few years before the start of the pandemic.
Due to Qantas loyalty boosts during the pandemic, I have retained it, but unless I reach that magical count of 1,200 Status Credits before the anniversary date of my status – mid-year, I could lose it. And with that loss goes the priority in the queue for upgrades, classic reward seats, accessing seats at the front of the plane, access to the Business Lounges, and access to the Qantas First Lounges for international travel. These are all things that I appreciate and have become used to. Consequently, I am eager to retain my Platinum Status and am prepared to spend some money to retain it.
Remember, that those Status Credits, as well as requalifying me for Platinum, also go towards my Lifetime Status – and I have reached Silver, and am on my way to Gold – which will give me lifetime access to Gold Status privileges including Qantas Club access, increased luggage allowances, check-in privileges and a few other benefits.
But I still want to get value for money. Essentially you earn those Status Credits by spending money. Yours, or in the case of business – usually someone else’s. How many Status Credits you earn is mainly determined by your class of fare and travel, the route you take, and the money you spend. Go Business and you will earn more. Buy a flex over a discount fare and you will earn more. Take a longer route with a stop, so you travel longer, and you will probably earn more. Mind you these are general rules, and it is often when these rules aren’t quite observed that you can nab value.
What have I done?
I have spent some time working out what Status Credits I have, and what I will earn with my currently booked travel. It looks like I could be about 200 to 300 Status Credits short of that magical 1,200. The vaguery is to do with some partner flights I am taking, where Qantas rules have some ambiguity, or I am not certain of what fare bucket my ticket is in and will earn in Status Credits. So I am embarking on the age-old solution for avgeeks of completing a Status Run. It also helps that I am a travel blogger, so I can review those flights and lounges, and the hotel I stay in.
I’m also doing this status run with a friend, so that will make it enjoyable. We are flying to New Zealand, but via two Australian capital cities, one on the way out and one on the way back.
This Status Run trip is going to set me back close to AU$1,900 all up for the Business Class flights, and earn me 125 Status Credits for each leg – that’s 250 credits for the trip, which gets doubled due to the Qantas ‘Double’ promotion to total 500 Status Credits (SC), making it a cost of AU $3.80 per point. That’s not bad according to some authorities.
‘As a rule of thumb, you want to try to keep costs under $4 per SC during Double Status Credit promotions. If you can get it under $3 … then that’s a winner.’Brandon Loo of PointHacks
I should point out that Qantas dynamic pricing meant that this fare was about AU $200 more expensive by the time I booked that evening, as opposed to what I saw about midday. Always the early bird that catches the cheap fare!
But this is not the problem. This is on my terms a good decision, a good buy if you will.
Getting over-excited about Status Credits
The problem is that then I moved the goalposts. Potentially earning 300 more SCs than I needed to retain Platinum, I thought – why not go for Platinum One? That requires three times the number of credits that retaining Platinum does. A whopping 3,600 SCs are required! But I was on a roll! Could I make it if I booked a First Class return trip to Europe? Dollars be damned, I could earn 1,680 status credits!
The scales started to fall off my eyes when I worked out that that still wouldn’t quite get me to the required 3,600, and it would cost me AU$11.80 per point.
Do you see where I’m going wrong? Yep, it’s the ‘dollars be damned’ bit.
I was briefly contemplating spending over AU$20,000 just to be head of the queue to get priority in Classic Reward bookings or be able to book row 4 in domestic Economy (the row behind Business, but with better legroom, and often a vacant middle seat). Well, you can see what is coming … reality, and the small fact that I don’t have a spare AU$20,000 to spend on travel, let alone splurge it all on one trip in First class. Believe me there are cheaper ways to get to London in comfort that don’t cost that sum.
My point is, that pursuing Status Credits can be like gambling with poker or slot machines. It gets you on a wheel of desire, where you need that recurring hit of dopamine. Reaching that qualifying number starts to dim your senses, and suddenly spending thousands of dollars you may not have to grab a few more SCs seems reasonable when it just isn’t.
To summarise, keep your feet on the ground when you book your flights to earn Double Status Credits. Only book trips that you need, or want to make for reasons other than collecting Status Credits. Evaluate your SC earn, and maybe adjust your routing to earn some more.
If you are paying more than AU $4 per Status Credit, then you are probably paying too much. If you are paying too much, then view it as a Status Run and make your decision rationally, weighing up the benefits you will earn. One more year of Platinum or Gold status needs to be weighed against how much it is going to cost, and what the benefits will be to you. If you value the First Class lounge for international travel or the priority you get in booking Classic Reward Seats, then maybe it’s worth it. But make your decision rationally.
Remember no one will die if you don’t re-qualify.
If you are using the Double Status Credits Promotion – tell me about your reasons and experience in the comments below.