How a Qantas Flyer Earned Platinum One Status in 2021

How a Qantas Flyer Reached Platinum One Status in 2021
Although reaching Platinum One status in 2021 may have been more difficult than usual, it’s not impossible. Photo: Qantas.

In the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, Platinum One status is the very top tier. To earn or renew Platinum One, you would need to earn at least 3,600 status credits within a year – with at least 2,700 of those status credits earned on Qantas or Jetstar marketed flights. That’s a lot of flying!

Given the difficulty of travelling even within Australia over the past year and a half, many existing Platinum One frequent flyers breathed a huge sigh of relief last week when Qantas announced further elite status extensions. With travel so heavily disrupted, most existing Platinum One members would otherwise simply not have been able to renew their status this year – and there must be hardly anyone trying to earn Platinum One status from scratch at the moment.

But there are exceptions to every rule! Melbourne-based Australian Frequent Flyer member Ansett, whose real name is John, has managed to earn Platinum One status in 2021. In fact, he did it in just six weeks and it cost him less than $10,000!

John recently spoke to Australian Frequent Flyer to explain how – and why – he decided to go for Qantas Platinum One status during the pandemic.

Why aim for Platinum One status in 2021?

A little while ago, John happened to receive a large and unexpected bonus from his employer. Rather than wasting the money on a new car he didn’t need, he decided to use the money to support Australia’s struggling travel and tourism industry. In doing so, he figured it would be as good a time as ever to aim for Platinum One status with Qantas.

Although it did take quite a bit of domestic flying to earn the required status credits, the goal wasn’t as onerous as you might expect. And John was more than happy to do the flying – it’s also his hobby and passion.

How he earned 3,600 status credits in six weeks

From Melbourne, John managed to earn Platinum One status by booking six return trips to Darwin in Qantas Business Class.

As he was previously a Qantas Platinum member, John had received 600 bonus status credits at the start of his current membership year from the Qantas Status Credit Boost offer. This meant he “only” needed another 3,000 status credits to reach Platinum One status.

To earn the remainder, he combined a Qantas double status credits offer (Qantas has already run multiple of these promotions this year) with a sale on Business Class flights from Melbourne to Darwin.

Over a period of six weeks from early April to mid-May 2021, he flew to Darwin and back six times. Some of the trips were for work – John’s an engineer – and others were for leisure.

On each of these trips, he booked an indirect routing such as Melbourne-Brisbane-Darwin to maximise the status credits earned. In one case, he even flew Melbourne-Adelaide-Alice-Springs-Darwin and enjoyed half a day in Alice Springs along the way.

Luckily, this was at a time when Australia’s domestic borders were mostly open. He did have to postpone one trip because Melbourne went into lockdown, but was able to easily change the dates of that trip and go two weeks later. Sadly, this level of interstate travel wouldn’t be so easy right now – especially if you live in NSW or Victoria.

Each trip cost around $1,600-$1,800 return, and in total John spent just under $10,000 on all of the flights. He used a $450 travel credit from his American Express credit card towards one of the trips, but the flights were otherwise self-funded.

Worthwhile benefits

John believes that the cost of attaining Platinum One status in the way that he did it was similar to the cost of reaching Platinum status in a “normal” year. And he considers that the benefits will be worthwhile in the long run.

For this frequent flyer, the key benefits of Platinum One status are the ability to freely select your favourite seat on each flight in advance, and access to the VIP phone service team. He believes this will be a particularly useful benefit once international travel resumes.

He’s also been able to gift partner Platinum status to his wife, which has made her a little more supportive of her husband’s crazy endeavour.

“She doesn’t understand it, but she gets it,” John said. “And she certainly didn’t complain when her Platinum card turned up!”

As John wrote on AFF, he’s now hoping that Qantas might offer another round of status extensions which may allow him to keep his status even longer. But even if this doesn’t happen, he’ll still get to keep it until at least the end of next year. The worst case scenario is that he’ll have a “soft landing” down to Platinum status in 2023.

Crazy Platinum One status runs

Platinum One status is highly sought-after among frequent flyers, and it seems some people are prepared to go to extreme lengths to get there.

In 2021, status runs are largely restricted to domestic flights. But in previous years, quite a few Qantas Frequent Flyer members have embarked on crazy Qantas status runs to places like Noumea and Denpasar, in order to reach Platinum One status.

But the prize for the most extreme Platinum One status run would have to go to the AFF member appropriately called Platinum One, who flew 15 times between Melbourne and Auckland in Emirates First Class within 14 days back in 2017. For this, they earned 3,600 status credits and maintained their ultra-elite status.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]

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Tom

Calling BS on “Each trip cost around $1,600-$1,800 return”. That is the *one-way* cost normally (approx $3k-3.5k return) or at their cheapest, during long lockdowns etc you’re talking maybe a bit under $1200 *One-way*.

Scott

Try doing something similar inside of WA (given McGowan’s border stance)!