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Stuck overseas, how to obtain the four squiggles during COVID?

snabbu

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I'm wondering how ex pats living abroad will be able to achieve the required four QF numbered flights with all the current travel restrictions and quarantine regulations? With the international fleet grounded and no firm date for the resumption of services (specifically transpacific) how are QF flyers living overseas expected to attain the 4 magic squiggles? (If there has been announcement from QF about this I've missed it).

Normally I would return a few times each year on QF however with the current quarantine rules and no international services I'll have the required SC but no squiggles.

Any evidence that QF might/will forgo this requirement during these unusual times?
 
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AustraliaPoochie

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Heh, shouldn't you be trying to make your way back to Aust, and not be thinking about those squiggles?
If you have a secure guranteed job, and are happy where you are, there is no way to get the squiggles without QF/JQ flying to where you are.
QF fleet (int) grounded for a while to go yet, Oct, or maybe even longer, even if the flights commence, you might not be able to get a seat.
 

sudoer

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Can forget 3K, unless OP liives in Singapore and can do critical business travel to Malaysia or Vietnam. :rolleyes:
Right now yes, but OPs retain date would be Mar 2022 at the earliest. Things can (and likely will) change during that time.
 

snabbu

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3K and GK also offer squiggles.

Whereabouts are you living @snabbu ? Do you think you'll hit the SC retain target flying on partners, and if so, which countries will you be flying through ?
North America.
I will have the required SC by my renewal date (mid 2021) via AA internally. Business travel is currently limited to domestic travel only and I'm unable to head back to AU on the limited carriers available due to the quarantine regulations.
I'm hoping we have a vaccine, QF restart transpac services and the 14 day quarantine is reduced/removed - in the next 6 months. Realistically I don't think this will happen so I'm curious if others are in the same boat and what options might be available.
 

DC3

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North America.
I will have the required SC by my renewal date (mid 2021) via AA internally. Business travel is currently limited to domestic travel only and I'm unable to head back to AU on the limited carriers available due to the quarantine regulations.
I'm hoping we have a vaccine
North America? Hmm.

If that’s the USA (RSW = Fort Myers area, FL) then POTUS has promised a vaccine before his re-election. But seriously, there’s only a slim chance that QF will be flying internationally in the first half of 2021, at least according to AJ. My guess is that QF will relax the squiggles rule in the new year.
 
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ChrisMars

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Assuming Qantas won't just extend status for another year, and won't drop the 4 segments requirement (I think I read somewhere it's a Oneworld requirement) I would say your best hope is a paid comp (~100k qff points?).

Honestly I think Qantas will do something about the 4 segments, and status in general, this might wait till 2021 as noone as at risk of loosing status until end of March 2021.
 

trippin_the_rift

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Seriously, I am sure lots of expats would be looking to come home.
Aside from not having a Visa to stay in a foreign country, I bet that a lot of expats would rather be OUT of Australia right now.
Heck, Australian residents can't even leave the country!

I'm wondering how ex pats living abroad will be able to achieve the required four QF numbered flights with all the current travel restrictions and quarantine regulations? With the international fleet grounded and no firm date for the resumption of services (specifically transpacific) how are QF flyers living overseas expected to attain the 4 magic squiggles? (If there has been announcement from QF about this I've missed it).

Normally I would return a few times each year on QF however with the current quarantine rules and no international services I'll have the required SC but no squiggles.

Any evidence that QF might/will forgo this requirement during these unusual times?
Forget about Qantas.
Forget about trying to retain status.
Forget about everything to do with frequent flyer programs.
It's no longer 'a thing'.

Qantas won't downgrade you, and especially not if you're outside of Australia.
And even if Qantas were dumb enough to downgrade members outside of AU - there are many other airlines who will gladly match you into their program in the future.

You may not realise it - but you have the power now. Qantas has none.
 

DC3

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... Any evidence that QF might/will forgo this requirement during these unusual times?
As you can see from our responses so far, none of us really has any idea. 🤣

I can’t see any evidence, as such, being available to be offered to you, just our random thoughts.

Edited
 

RichardMEL

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I agree with TTR

noe is hardly the time to worry about ~ let alone everything ELSE a priority in this crazy covid world we are in to flying, status etc... the only flying that should matter is the flying you really want to do - to get home.

but re status etc.. TTR has it.. QF will keep throwing bones to keep status flyers at relatively little cost to them while there's such a messed up world situation. Frankly I would put it at the bottom of the list of things to worry about.

One way or another you'll either retain or be in a situation next year or 2022 where you can make the most of whatever the landscape is in terms of travel, airlines, loyalty programs and the like.

Remember the airlines want to do what they can to keep us "on side" until things pick up. Hence extensions and StatusKeeper payments etc

but again... I would say more important things to focus on imo.
 

Kiwi_Flyer

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Remember the airlines want to do what they can to keep us "on side" until things pick up. Hence extensions and StatusKeeper payments etc.
Definitely yes for those based in Australia. High value customers in core markets are essential to coming out the other side of this. Customers in non-core markets, maybe but less assured will be looked after.
 

snabbu

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The reason for the thread was purely to bring up a point that I'd given a few minutes thought a day or so ago.
I'd love to head home to visit friends and family via any carrier but it's not possible right now with the 14 day quarantine and current work commitments.
Thank you for all the responses, will wait and see how things pan out.
 
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avlawyer82

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HI fellow AFFs

It has been a topic that I've been thinking about to see what options are available to gain those four squiggles but it may require some creative thinking or concessions across various carriers or at an alliance level. I was proposing to write to QF Loyalty to see if they have any details on present thinking - but if someone has already done this - then do let me know as I won't want to hassle them with repeated requests.

I'm currently based in London (and can't get back to Australia just yet) so have been able to make various status runs on BA to gain credits but the QF numbers allude me. There could be a range of options including:

1. The easiest solution - a waiver of the 4 flight minimum requirement. I have been told in the past that this is something that is only waived at an Alliance Level (and not and individual airlines) - but happy to be corrected. So far, as of typing, the guidance from QF is that the 4 flight minimum is staying, particularly given that some domestic services have reopened in Australia.

2. The second could be to allow for the sale of QF codeshare flights on BA/Iberia/Finnair flights in the UK that don't require a connecting onward flight on a QF flight to/from Australia. This might be something that QF may be able to negotiate but there may be some competitive challenge from BA in regards to revenue streams on this - and given the current pressures here in the UK it may not be all that palatable.

3. A third option may arise due to the proposed lifting of the stay by the EU regulatory authorities with respect to landing slots at Heathrow in October 2020. QF is likely to be called upon to either (a) seek a further exemption from the 80/20 rule (b) using their landing slots directly to comply with the 80/20 rule or (c) lease aircraft to use those landing slots (or lease to other carriers) to protect their slots under the 80/20 rule. It may be as part of the lease agreement (e.g. if flights from Gatwick remain suspended past October) another Oneworld carrier may be interested in the additional sots, but as part of that QF may call for those flights to be open to having QF flight numbers ascribed as codeshares for sale. That said, the capacity for BA at the moment seems sufficient so there may be little appetite for those to be leased and so it may fall to other carriers to consider if they want to use those additional slots. Perhaps the potential for further QF flights to nowhere in the UK.

4. A fourth option may be only available once the international position becomes a little clearer. I note that Emirates still have a LHR-DXB route but this cannot be booked on Emirates with a QF flight number. Until those flights are reloaded as part of the QF inventory on the website, it is not clear when we may be able to use the Emirates/QF codeshare flights. Is this something that might be changing again in October?

5. Finally, the alternative appears to fly to Asia, perhaps Japan, and booking some Jetstar Japan flights (or via other Jetstar Asia/Jetstar connections). That said, entry into lots of Asian countries at the moment from the UK are heavily restricted meaning that transfers in those countries are limited/not possible unless there is a change.

I've yet to see what might be possible, but I suspect that there may need to be some creative solutions and possible revenue sharing options between one-world carriers to allow for QF to have some flights sold in the UK/Europe domestic market - however given the stress on all carriers at the moment any loss of revenue (or revenue spread across several carriers may not be attractive). However, there must be a case that if QF is seeking to (a) expand its membership for QFF membership in international markets and (b) is aware of a strong presence of QF members in the UK/Europe - that they may justify attempts to seek something bespoke until such time as international demand returns.

I am aware that all this is balanced with further internal cost allocation and apportionment for QF directly and this may be at odds with the significant cost reduction program at the moment to sustain the airline's overall viability. Not an easy answer I'm afraid, but if anyone hears of any moment on the four flight minimum requirement, I'd be very eager to hear the news.
 

MEL_Traveller

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I'm currently based in London (and can't get back to Australia just yet) so have been able to make various status runs on BA to gain credits but the QF numbers allude me. There could be a range of options including:

1. The easiest solution - a waiver of the 4 flight minimum requirement. I have been told in the past that this is something that is only waived at an Alliance Level (and not and individual airlines) - but happy to be corrected. So far, as of typing, the guidance from QF is that the 4 flight minimum is staying, particularly given that some domestic services have reopened in Australia.

2. The second could be to allow for the sale of QF codeshare flights on BA/Iberia/Finnair flights in the UK that don't require a connecting onward flight on a QF flight to/from Australia. This might be something that QF may be able to negotiate but there may be some competitive challenge from BA in regards to revenue streams on this - and given the current pressures here in the UK it may not be all that palatable.

3. A third option may arise due to the proposed lifting of the stay by the EU regulatory authorities with respect to landing slots at Heathrow in October 2020. QF is likely to be called upon to either (a) seek a further exemption from the 80/20 rule (b) using their landing slots directly to comply with the 80/20 rule or (c) lease aircraft to use those landing slots (or lease to other carriers) to protect their slots under the 80/20 rule. It may be as part of the lease agreement (e.g. if flights from Gatwick remain suspended past October) another Oneworld carrier may be interested in the additional sots, but as part of that QF may call for those flights to be open to having QF flight numbers ascribed as codeshares for sale. That said, the capacity for BA at the moment seems sufficient so there may be little appetite for those to be leased and so it may fall to other carriers to consider if they want to use those additional slots. Perhaps the potential for further QF flights to nowhere in the UK.
Options 2 and 3 won't be possible because QF has no traffic rights under international agreements to fly intra Europe or other 5th freedom flights as you describe. Not only that but local Euro carriers would be up in arms if foreign carriers were allowed to take their business simply to provide status.

Interesting if option 1 would require an alliance-wide agreement? Airlines can extent status, maybe they have al agreed to do that as well? I believe the airline providing the status has to pay the providing airline, so it shouldn't be too much skin off anyone's nose if an airline decides to unilaterally waive the requirement. (But that's speculation on my behalf.)

Perhaps an option would be to transfer alliances for a year... use your current status for lounge access with your local carrier while you build status there (so use Qantas gold while you build your BA status). Once covid passes, use your BA status for a year for benefits while you regain you QF status.
 

avlawyer82

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Options 2 and 3 won't be possible because QF has no traffic rights under international agreements to fly intra Europe or other 5th freedom flights as you describe. Not only that but local Euro carriers would be up in arms if foreign carriers were allowed to take their business simply to provide status.

Interesting if option 1 would require an alliance-wide agreement? Airlines can extent status, maybe they have al agreed to do that as well? I believe the airline providing the status has to pay the providing airline, so it shouldn't be too much skin off anyone's nose if an airline decides to unilaterally waive the requirement. (But that's speculation on my behalf.)
I'd certainly not think it is easy (nor quick) for any countries to be looking to grant new 7th or 9th air freedoms ??? (I hesitate); particularly when considering that:

1. The UK is currently looking at resolving agreements re: trade and the future relationship with the EU which might have implications for air carriage between the UK and Europe.

2. The re-establishment of the 80/20 rule for the slots at Heathrow (and how QF might manage this if they don't exercise the rights to those slots which are of significant value and would not want to be lost).

3. The challenge for domestic airlines to re-establish themselves post COVID - given the market of high profile airlines going bankrupt (e.g. BMI, Flybe, etc).

4. The reciprocity of rights that would be required to establish new air freedoms both domestically and abroad and how that would be managed economically and politically.

A real challenge.

I am surprised that the OW alliance hasn't been more explicit in any communique regarding an alliance wide solution. Given that the vast selling point of having the tier status is to ensure an akin to equality of treatment across the entire alliance. Initially, recent contact with BA suggests that they are not prepared to "match" or marry programs as they claim that this would put BA passengers at a disadvantage given their loyalty - but I suspect that you are right @MEL_Traveller that this might be in part assuaged by having a consistent approach over the entire alliance network. That may be something that might also assist in looking at the offsetting of the costs between airlines for the use of other lounges by their own FF members.

I'd just love to be in a room with some of the boffins from here and from airline reps to see if we can churn over the various agreements, contractual and inventory arrangements and brainstorm an idea or ideas that might be inventive to what is a unique issue - and which, even if temporary, might benefit many in similar situations of members signed up to other programs outside of their home networks.

It might be something work positing with the members of the European Air Law Association as well to take on their thoughts.
 

MEL_Traveller

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I'd just love to be in a room with some of the boffins from here and from airline reps to see if we can churn over the various agreements, contractual and inventory arrangements and brainstorm an idea or ideas that might be inventive to what is a unique issue - and which, even if temporary, might benefit many in similar situations of members signed up to other programs outside of their home networks.

It might be something work positing with the members of the European Air Law Association as well to take on their thoughts.
But consider it from the other angle... if I'm a shareholder with BA (or Lufthansa or anyone of the other airline groups), or a government providing support to my national airline... why am I going to let foreign airlines take money simply to allow their members access to some lounge? Unlikely to happen.

The UK may be looking to establish trade agreements, but they also work in reverse. If the UK was to allow every airline in the world to fly ex UK to anywhere else, other countries would take reciprocal measures. Not something BA/VS would want. Nor would Qantas like to be forced into having open competition from NZ/SQ/CX/JL in the Aussie domestic market.
 

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