Pros & Cons of Switching Airline Loyalty

grass-greenerIf you’re unhappy with your current airline of choice, the grass may look greener on the other side. But is it really worth taking the leap of faith and switching your airline loyalty?

That’s the dilemma currently faced by one Platinum Virgin Australia flyer. While they’re feeling underwhelmed with Virgin, they don’t want to lose their Platinum benefits while building up Qantas status from scratch.

I am a VA Plat and have been so for the last 5 years, in fact I will re-qualify next week with two months before my review. In the last 12 months I have had some access to QF J and Y flying after many years away and really enjoyed the experience. I am also very underwhelmed by VA’s current management and a bit at my wits end with their website problems. I find myself considering jumping ship and moving my flying over to QF for the next year to see if I can qualify for Gold or Platinum.

While Virgin does offer a number of benefits over Qantas Frequent Flyer – namely Fly Ahead, premium lounge entries, family pooling and confirmed international point upgrades – there are also some strong arguments for making the switch. In particular, Qantas has a greater international and partner airline network, Business & First class lounges, and lifetime status.

One option suggested by our members is to aim for Gold status with both Qantas and Virgin Australia. There are numerous advantages of this strategy. Firstly, it allows you to choose the best fare of the day and receive all the perks such as lounge access and priority at the airport, regardless of which airline you fly. It also gives you access to these benefits on more partner airlines, as you can tap into both airlines’ partner networks. And this can be achieved for almost the same amount of flying as it would take to earn Platinum status with just one airline.

Personally I went down the path of SG (Gold status) for both QF and VA. I have been racking up approximately 1000 SC with QF and falling well short of obtaining WP so I split the difference so to speak and take advantage of not only the cheaper of the fares but I increase flexibility with more flights to choose from.

It can be difficult to start earning status with one airline from scratch, particularly as you’ll lose your status perks while working your way up from the bottom again. But Qantas does offer a “fast-track” to attaining status if you’re already a frequent flyer on a competing airline. A Qantas status challenge would make it possible to earn Gold in less than a third of the usual time.

The majority of our members seem to agree that it’s worth giving Qantas a try. Even if our member decides down the track that they would prefer to stick with Virgin after all, they would still have Gold status with Virgin to return to. As part of Virgin’s unofficial “soft landing” policy, you’ll only drop down one tier level per year if you don’t requalify. So if a Platinum member didn’t fly at all in a given year, they would still have Gold status the following year.

Remember if you decide you don’t like it, you can always go back to VA and a soft landing will see you retain most of your VA benefits anyway.

Add your thoughts to the discussion HERE.


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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]