Generally frequent flyer status doesn’t really excite me. I don’t travel enough on paid economy tickets to justify it, so I don’t go out of my way to get it. In my opinion, status only makes sense when you travel a lot for work and your employer isn’t game to fork out for expensive business class tickets.
That said, this year I will be hitting One World Emerald, and I didn’t even realise it would be possible!
How did that happen? Over the last 12 months, I’ve purchased 2 return flights with Qatar Airways to and from Europe. If you follow the blog, you probably know I’m a fan of the cheap business class fares Qatar Airways runs from Scandinavian countries to Asia and the same can be had from Jakarta to Europe.
Of course, with revenue tickets comes the need to credit them somewhere. For me, the obvious choice wasn’t Qantas. Now before you get out the pitchforks and call me a traitor, hear me out!
The Status/Tier Requirements
First, off we should understand the requirements of both programs so we can accurately compare them.
|BA Membership tier||Tier Points Required||QF Membership status||Status Credits Required|
|Bronze (OW Ruby)||300||Silver (OW Ruby)||300|
|Silver (OW Sapphire)||600||Gold (OW Sapphire)||700|
|Gold (OW Emerald)||1500||Platinum (OW Emerald)||1400|
British Airways Executive Club Tier Requirements
All British Airways Executive Club members start at Blue (free to join) which requires 0 points.
Bronze: After earning 300 Tier Points and taking at least 2 flights with British Airways or Iberia you move to Bronze Status (One World Ruby).
BA Bronze Tier Benefits include:
- Seat selection
- Priority check-in
- Priority boarding
- 25% bonus Avios (with British Airways, Iberia, American Airlines, and Japan Airlines)
Silver: After 600 Tier Points and at least 4 flights with either British Airways or Iberia you unlock Silver which is the equivalent of Qantas Gold or One World Sapphire.
BA Silver Tier Benefits include:
- Lounge access worldwide,
- Security fast track,
- Priority boarding
- Priority baggage
- All perks Bronze members would get.
- 50% Bonus Avios (with British Airways, Iberia, American Airlines, and Japan Airlines)
Gold: After 1500 Tier Points you move up to the Gold Tier, no additional flights are required thankfully so you can get there with only 4 flights on BA or Iberia. Gold is One World Emerald which is the same as Qantas Platinum Status.
BA Gold Tier Benefits Include:
- One World First Class lounge access worldwide (with some exceptions)
- First-class check-in
- Langham Hotels 1865 Privilege elite tier, Voyager (highest tier) – entitles you to room upgrades, 6 pm checkout, welcome amenity and early check-in.
- Access to the British Airways First Class wing at T5 London Heathrow
- 100% bonus Avios (with British Airways, Iberia, American Airlines, and Japan Airlines)
- + Everything Silver and Bronze tiers get
Qantas Frequent Flyer Status Requirements
While you should never pay to join Qantas Frequent Flyer, they do still advertise a joining fee of $99.5 which is laughable. There are plenty of links online where you can join for free so if you did have to pay, you only have yourself to blame.
With Qantas, everyone starts as Bronze which doesn't give any benefits.
Silver: After earning 300 Qantas Status Credits you move up to silver. This status is One World Ruby so you can expect the same perks as BA Bronze.
QF Silver Status Benefits Include:
- 1 Qantas Club Lounge invite
- Seat selection
- Priority service
- 50% bonus points with Qantas & Jetstar and 25% bonus with American Airlines
- 250 status credits required to keep Silver
Gold: After reaching 700 status credits you move up to Qantas Gold status, this is the equivalent of One World Sapphire.
QF Gold Status Benefits Include:
- Priority check-in
- Priority boarding
- Security fast track
- Priority baggage
- 75% bonus points with Qantas & Jetstar and 50% bonus with American Airlines
- 600 status credits required to keep Gold
- Priority International upgrades
- International Classic Flight Award preferred access
- + Everything Silver gets
QF Platinum Benefits Include:
- 100% Bonus points with Qantas, Jetstar and American Airlines
- First-class lounge access worldwide (some restrictions)
- 1200 status credits required to keep Platinum
- + Everything Gold gets
Side Note: We've listed what we consider the key perks, there are plenty more benefits e.g. lifetime statuses and higher tiers such as Platinum One with Qantas but there's no direct comparison with the One World tiers so I haven't mentioned them for that reason. You can find all the Qantas benefits here and the British Airways benefits here.
How to Decide Between BA and QF?
Here’s the thing, if you fly Qantas a lot and don’t take too many One World Partner flights, Qantas Frequent Flyer is most likely the way to go. However, if you’re like me and don’t take a lot of Qantas flights but instead make use of other One World carriers, British Airways Executive Club is a rather easy road to One World Emerald Status (Qantas Platinum Equivalent).
Case Study: Qantas Frequent Flyer vs British Airways Executive Club
To keep it simple, let’s look at the paid one world flights I’ve taken this year (it’s not many!) and see where that would get me in both programs when it comes to status. Side note: flying to earn points is only a minor benefit in my opinion; because it’s much easier to earn points from credit card spend and sign up bonuses. That’s why the points earn isn’t a deciding factor for me.
Flight 1: Qatar Airways Business Class Jakarta-Amsterdam
My first paid revenue flight with Qatar Airways this year was from Jakarta – Doha – Amsterdam return. With British Airways Executive Club, this means I earned a whopping 560 TPs (Tier Points – the stuff you need to get status). If I had credited the same flights to Qantas, I would have only earned 320 status credits!
But wait, it gets worse!
Flight 2: Qatar Airways Business Class Oslo-Singapore
My second Qatar Airways booking was for Oslo to Singapore via Doha. While British Airways Executive Club would give me another 560 TPs (putting me at 1120 TPs, within reach of the required 1500 TPs to get Emerald). Qantas was only offering disappointing 260 Status Credits for the same flights! Putting me at 580 credits so far of the 1400 required to get Platinum Status (One World Emerald).
Flight 3: Malaysia Airlines Business Class Ho Chi Minh City-Kuala Lumpur
Flight 3 and we’re finally on a level playing field. Both programs give 40 credits/tier points on this route bringing my BA tally to 1160TPs and Qantas to 620 status credits.
Flight 4: Sri Lankan Airlines Singapore-Male
Earlier this year, I managed to find a cheap business class fare from Singapore to Male via Colombo for my upcoming Maldives trip.
I’m happy to report Qantas is finally coming up with the goods on this route with 240 status credits for the return flight. British Airways, on the other hand, lags behind on this one, only offering 160 tier points. This brings our total to 860 Qantas status credits and 1320 BA tier points, only 180 points shy of the lofty heights that is One World Emerald status.
Flights 5,6 and 7: Oslo to Brussels, London and Paris
The final flights which will push me into One World Emerald a.k.a. British Airways Executive Club Gold a.k.a. Qantas Platinum was definitely swayed by a big “catch” British Airways has installed in its program.
The catch with BA is that in order to get to Emerald you have to take 4 flights with either British Airways or Iberia. Since I spend a lot of time in Europe, it’s easy, but I understand for most this could be a deal killer.
Anyway, to the points earning: while Qantas would only earn me 120 status credits for all the flights (OSL-LHR-BRU and LHR-BRU and BRU-LHR-CDG don’t worry, I’m not just taking these flights for the sake of it!), British Airways would get me 40TPs for each sector which comes to 200 TPs in total.
Final Numbers Qantas vs British Airways
If you were paying attention, you would know by now that Qantas Frequent Flyer would get me a total of 980 status credits for all these flights while British Airways Executive Club… got me 1,520 TPs which means One World Emerald!
Pros & Cons of Avios vs Qantas Frequent Flyer
While both programs charge exorbitant surcharges on long haul award tickets, Qantas Frequent Flyer would be my preferred choice to redeem business or first-class flights with points on long haul sectors.
British Airways Avios, however, offer incredible value on short-haul flights in both economy and business class (thin Sydney to Melbourne etc. or intra-Europe). So both programs have value to me, and I actively collect both Avios and QF points.
I think British Airways Executive Club offers an excellent alternative for Australian based frequent flyers looking for an alternative option. Another perk of Executive Club is that you do earn more Tier Points on cash upgraded flights. For example, when you bid to upgrade from economy to business class (as far as I know this is only for BA operated flights). I would recommend that you add up all your upcoming flights in the respective calculators to see who will get you to Gold or Platinum faster, it may well be the case that BA can get you there in half the time!