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QANTAS: Looks like the Double Status Credits promotion is getting closer

QANTAS: Looks like the Double Status Credits promotion is getting closer

If I had a dollar for every time someone posted on social media Qantas forums ‘When is the next Qantas double status credits promotion?‘, I would be a very rich man.

Devotees of gaining Qantas double status credits (DSC) to retain or boost their status will probably be aware of this. The DSC promotion is mounted to raise income for Qantas during dips in the revenue cycle. The most predictable dip is in the February-March period when most Australian travellers have completed their summer holiday trips. Many are still reeling from the overspending, and are just receiving their alarming credit card bills. With the cost of living crisis upon us, the last thing on people’s spending agenda is buying discretionary airfares.

But Qantas has several levers it can pull to encourage customers to part with their hard-earned, thus redistributing their travel revenues across the year. It usually starts with a bit of an international sale – often targeting less popular travel periods in the year, but with attractive discounts. Next is something more targeted – specific locations, or as has just happened a 72-hour domestic and New Zealand Red Tail fare sale.

a group of wine glasses on a table
Drinks, table service, apron and runway views. The Qantas Melbourne First lounge has it all [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

It is precisely these kinds of sales levers that get pulled directly before a DSC promotion. First, attract the market interested in ‘cheap’ international fare sales. (WARNING: always check prices of other airlines on the same route before you buy – use Google Flights or other comparative websites). Next, offer some discounts for domestic travellers, and then finally, a week or so later, but with no advance notice, a Double Status Credits promotion. Where punters can earn double the usual Qantas Status Credits, thus turbocharging their status retention, or advancement up to benefit ladder.

Just remember before you plunge into the offers – if they occur, DSCs come at a higher price than you will see for sale fares. If you manage to find a DSC fare, at a sale price, that means Qantas has made a mistake! More power to you.

food on a plate next to a bowl of salad
Chicken skewers entree between Melbourne and Sydney on QF37 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]


Why Qantas offers Double Status promotions

To sell tickets!

It’s one of many promotional methods they have available to boost sales. They can offer a ‘sale’, but that involves foregoing revenue. On the other hand, offering more points or Status Credits does not diminish per-seat revenue. Especially if what you end up ‘giving away’ in seats are ones that would probably be vacant anyway. All Hail! airline fares optimizer management software!

The truth is that Qantas offers Double Status Credit promotions when it suits them. In business terms, they usually want to boost sales and get that cash flow running at traditionally low sales periods. One of those periods is immediately after Christmas, once families return their offspring to school. So that is February/March.

a black box with a black container with a red logo
Platinum Bag Tags – more status symbol than useful [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

A Double Status Credit promotion is…

If you have not heard of the term, let me explain. Once or twice a year, sometimes more often, Qantas holds a promotion that offers double the usual Status Credits for flights on its aircraft (‘metal’). The shorthand is ‘DSC’ for Double Status Credits.

You won’t usually get them on Qantas fares on ‘codeshare‘ flights that use other airlines’ planes, like Emirates. Only Qantas metal qualifies. Sometimes Qantas offers double status credits or double points. Points will get you further if your aim is Classic Rewards flights, but the Status Credits will get you more desirable perks, like more luggage, priority access to reward tickets, or, perhaps the pinnacle, access to the Qantas First Lounges even if you are actually travelling in discount economy.

Status Credits. What they are

Qantas rewards loyal flyers in two ways. It awards points – in rough proportion to the kilometres (miles) flown, which can be exchanged for flight bookings and other products through the Qantas Marketplace. But Status Credits get you to a higher tier and greater rewards for your loyalty. There are six tiers of status and five that also have their OneWorld alliance equivalents :

  • Red – entry level, no Oneworld equivalent
  • Silver = Ruby
  • Gold = Sapphire
  • Platinum = Emerald
  • Platinum One = Emerald
  • Chairmans Club (invitation only) = Emerald

You can find a complete list of Tier Benefits for Qantas status here.

Melbourne First Qantas Lounge Signature pavlova with pineapple-and passionfruit [Schuetz/2PPAXfly]
Melbourne First Qantas Lounge Signature pavlova with pineapple-and passionfruit [Schuetz/2PPAXfly]

Why take advantage of a Double Status Credit promotion

If you are a Qantas Frequent Flyer and have, or want to achieve status in the program, then a Double Status Credit promotion (DSC) is a no-brainer.

When one is offered (see: When does Qantas offer Double Status Credits (DSC) promotions? below), make sure you register. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Booking airfares during a DSC promotion is a way to double your status earned while halving the number of flights required. You won’t usually halve your costs because Qantas very cannily usually suspends all its lowest sale fares during the DSC promotion. But you will save money on the ‘cost’ of earning points.

Qantas status gives great perks, including lounge access, extra baggage, and priority service across Qantas and other Oneworld alliance members and partners like Emirates. You can also earn up to 100% bonus points on flights. Status will also give you greater access to the best seats ahead of others of lower status and get you ahead on the upgrade list.

Status will also get you better service, especially at Platinum and Platinum One levels, useful when things don’t go to plan

Here are the Status Credits you will need for each Status level with Qantas:

a screenshot of a credit card
Qantas Status Credits to qualify and retain your status

Example: Sydney to Auckland return in Business Class

In 2023, I earned a total of 480 status credits by flying Business Class to Auckland from Sydney via Melbourne, and via Brisbane on the return journey, booked during a Double Status Credits promotion.

Below is what I earned for those Business Class flights. The figure in brackets is what I would have earned without the promotion:

  • Sydney to Melbourne = 80 (40)
  • Melbourne to Auckland = 170 (85)
  • Auckland to Brisbane = 170 (85)
  • Brisbane to Sydney = 80 (40)

So, I earned 480 status credits, instead of just 240. The cost was around AU$2,000, or a cost of AU$4.17 per status credit versus AU$ 8.33 without the DSC promotion.

I did this to make sure I crossed the 1,200 status credit line to renew my Qantas Platinum status, and retain its benefits including visits to international First Lounges, additional baggage, domestic Business Lounge entry, First Class check-in access for international flights, priority access to points upgrades, higher points earning rates, and a host of other benefits.

It turned out that I probably didn’t need to earn this many points to re-qualify, but what they hey! I got to spend a weekend with my avgeek mate, Seat 2B.

an escalator in a building
Qantas First Lounge Sydney [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

When does Qantas offer Double Status Credits (DSC) promotions?

The answer is no one except Qantas knows. Like investing in shares, all you can go on is past performance. In reverse order by year, DSC promotions have been offered:

  • 2023: March
  • 2022: March, December
  • 2021: March, May, July
  • 2020: February (but then COVID-19 and lockdowns came into effect)
  • 2019: February, May
  • 2018: February, August, October
  • 2017: March
  • 2016: April

You can see from these years that a DSC promotion has almost always occurred in the February/March, so it’s a safe bet for 2024. Not all DSC promotions listed above were available to the general public. Some were restricted with particular qualifications such as membership of the Qantas Business Rewards program or on specific routes, say between Australia and New Zealand

The DSC promotions also don’t last for very long. A week seems to be the average. So, you need to act quickly.

You also won’t get much warning. Usually, the promotion is posted to the Qantas website and then emailed to the millions of Qantas Frequent Flyer members on the same day. That means that you might lose around 6 to 12 hours before the email arrives in your inbox from when it is posted on the site. Remember that booking those flights is a competitive event! you need to get in quickly before the thousands of others!

DSC promotions usually cover bookings for between 9 to 12 months ahead. So planning is vital.

a group of people in a room
Qantas First Lounge, Sydney [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

How I plan for a Double Status Credits promotion

Because you have to act quickly, you need to have a plan and, like a good scout – be prepared. First, decide on your goal, whether it is feasible with your intended travel and the benefits of the DSC.

Here is my step-by-step strategy:

  1. Know why you are participating in a Double Status Credits promotion. Decide whether you are trying to retain your current status for another year, or whether you want to increase your status or get over the line for lifetime Silver or lifetime Gold. Know your goal so you can work out how a Double Status Credits promotion will get you there.
  2. Monitor Qantas fares I might be interested in. You want to know what you should be paying for a standard or discount fare so you can tell whether, when the DSC hits, the prices offered are a good deal or not.
  3. Identify dates you would prefer to travel on. I have relatives in Adelaide, and I try to visit when there are important events – my relative’s birthdays, national holidays, and the Adelaide Festival, for example. I map those out compared to my other obligations at home so I can prospectively plan what I might attend.
  4. Plan holiday dates in advance. I try to identify where I might want to go in the next 9 to 12 months. Say a trip to Europe, the USA, or more locally to the Pacific, Asia, or even domestically. Planning where you want to go and when is vital in being prepared for a DSC promotion.
  5. Plan alternative dates. With the rush of bookings, the lowest fares might have already sold out, so make sure you have backup dates – say a week either side of your original plan.
  6. Avoid high season if you can. The most popular fares will be at high-demand times. Think school holidays, or winter escapes, or major sporting events and festivals, or long weekends. Try to plan outside these periods if possible. Fares willl be cheaper and availability better. That applies to accommodation charges as well as airfares.
  7. Make sure you have room on your credit card. Buying up big during a DSC means you will pay in advance for your airfares – up to 12 months in advance. So you want to ensure you have the resources to do that, while avoiding excessive interest rates on credit cards. If you are disciplined but can’t pay immediately, consider schemes like AfterPay, or credit card payments with long no-interest periods. But only do that if you have the required discipline to pay them off when due.
  8. Don’t travel direct. Travelling via another airport to get to your destination could substantially increase the status credits earned. In the New Zealand example above, I travelled via Melbourne and Brisbane. That earned me additional status credits at double the normal rate. Flying direct Sydney to Auckland would have been quicker and a bit cheaper, but it wouldn’t have earned me as many Status Credits.
  9. Know your current status, and how many credits you need to retain it. Make sure you are up to date in knowing what your current Qantas status is, and how many credits you need to retain it. You can then use Qantas Points and Status Calculators to plan what you should book to retain that status – if that is your goal.
Salt and Pepper Squid at the Melbourne First Lounge 2023 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
Salt and Pepper Squid at the Melbourne First Lounge 2023 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Status Credits on their own are not worth it

Don’t buy during a DSC just to retain status. This could be a false economy. Make sure you want to travel on the airfares you purchase, and travel to the destinations. This advice might seem strange from someone who regularly does status runs to retain their Qantas Platinum status, but it is important to remember that travel is the end game. Status Credits earning is the byproduct.

Finally – read the damn Terms and Conditions

Like everything else in life, there is no such thing as a free lunch or a DSC without conditions. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the T&C’s, before you start booking.

There are a few things to look out for. Make sure you register. Make sure you know what ‘Eligible flights’ are – usually ‘Qantas operated flights’ bus sometimes ‘Qantas marketed flights’. Know what the difference is. Operated’ is restricted to Qantas flights on Qantas aircraft, while the ‘other ‘marketed’ includes partner airlines.

Qantas has begun to exclude DSC’s from counting in some other calculations of Status, like towards the Loyalty Bonus, so be aware of any restrictions.

a ceiling with lights and a sign
The ceiling of the Qantas First Lounge, Melbourne [2PAXfly/Schuetz]

2PAXfly Takeout

Planning is everything. Know what you are aiming for before you even think or participating in a DSC. If its to retain your current status or to get to the next level, know how many status credits you need. Work out what travel you intend to take in the next 9 to 12 months, and then, using the Qantas Points and Status Calculators, work out whether it is possible to get there using a DSC to your advantage.

Remember, that you are unlikely to get the cheapest fares Qantas can offer during a DSC. Qantas revenue managers are not silly. It’s a very rare occasion you will get both a substantive discount and a DSC promotion at the same time. However, those managers are not perfect, so sometimes there are little anomalies that can be taken advantage of. Look out for them.

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