Qantas used to award frequent flyer points and status credits at one standard rate based on the distance you’re flying and your class of travel. This would be the same rate when flying with Qantas or any Qantas partner airline. But this all changed a few years ago.
Qantas now punishes its frequent flyers with a significantly reduced earn rate of Qantas points and status credits when flying with Oneworld partner airlines on many routes. Some partner airline flights don’t earn anything. On top of this, Qantas awards points and status credits for Business and First Class flights on some partner airlines at Economy rates!
So, just how bad is it?
The Airline Earning Tables on the Qantas website are unnecessarily complicated. But they are a handy resource for determining what you’ll earn when flying with Qantas or a Oneworld partner airline. You can also use the Qantas points calculator to quickly compare earn rates on specific routes.
Let’s look at some examples. On most Qantas flights between Australia and New Zealand, you’ll earn 20 status credits and at least 1,000 Qantas points for Discount Economy tickets. For Business class, you’ll earn 80 status credits and at least 2,500 points. But if you book a trans-Tasman flight on a Oneworld partner airline, such as LATAM Airlines from Sydney to Auckland, you’ll earn only 10 status credits and 375 points with an Economy ticket. Business class earns at a reduced rate of 40 status credits and 1,875 Qantas points.
For Qantas flights from the east coast of Australia to South-East Asia, you’ll earn 30 status credits for Discount Economy and 120 status credits with Business fares. But you’ll earn half that when flying a Oneworld partner airline like Cathay Pacific or Malaysia Airlines.
Things are a little better if you live in Perth. Partner airline flights from Perth to Asia and the Middle East actually earn more Qantas points and status credits than longer flights departing from the east coast of Australia.
Generally, the reduced earning rates with Qantas partner airlines apply to routes where Qantas is in direct competition. But this is not always the case. In another example, you’ll earn just 15 status credits when flying Sri Lankan Airlines Economy class from Melbourne to Colombo. Qantas does not even fly to Sri Lanka, nor does it codeshare on this Sri Lankan Airlines route.
There’s more bad news if you’re flying Malaysia Airlines between Malaysia and Australia, New Zealand, Europe or the Middle East. Business and First Class flights earn at reduced “Flexible Economy” rates. Meanwhile, Flexible Economy fares earn at the lower “Discount Economy” rate. The cheapest Economy fares earn nothing.
This means that you’d earn just 6,500 Qantas points and a paltry 60 status credits for a $7,000 Malaysia Airlines First Class flight from Kuala Lumpur to London. By comparison, you would earn 14,400 points and 240 status credits for a Qantas First Class flight from Singapore to London. But normal earn rates apply to intra-Asia Malaysia Airlines flights, making these great for Qantas status runs.
Japan Airlines domestic flights in “Class J” (Business class) also earn at Economy class rates.
Note that you’ll always earn Qantas points and status credits at the higher rate when booking a “QF” flight number. Even if it’s a codeshare flight operated by another airline, a Qantas-marketed flight earns points and status credits at the same rates as regular Qantas flights.
If you’re flying with a Qantas partner airline, be sure to check your fare class. Then, use either the Qantas website or the useful Where to Credit website to see how much you’ll earn. If the Qantas earn rate is poor, consider crediting your flight to a program other than Qantas Frequent Flyer.