Just short of the next status tier with Qantas Frequent Flyer? If you haven’t quite flown enough in your membership year to qualify (or re-qualify) for elite status, you might consider undertaking a Qantas status run.
Status credits, which count towards your membership level with the airline, can only be earned by flying. The concept of a “status run” is therefore to book a trip that maximises the number of status credits earned while minimising the cost of the flights. Status runners typically aim to keep the “cost per status credit” below $5.
When booking a status run, the destination of the flight is rarely important… although a nice destination can make it more fun if you’re planning a weekend away!
Do you need to earn a few more status credits before the end of your membership year? To help you on your quest for Qantas status, here is our list of the best Qantas status runs in 2020…
1. Qantas Business Class to Denpasar
Qantas flies daily from both Melbourne and Sydney to Denpasar (Bali), and Business class fares are reasonably good value. You’ll typically pay under $2,000 return for a Qantas Business class ticket from Australia to Bali, and you can maximise the status credits by adding some creative domestic connections. For example, you can fly from Melbourne to Bali via Sydney and earn 320 status credits. Or, start your trip in Canberra and fly Canberra-Melbourne-Sydney-Denpasar and back for 400 status credits.
Keep in mind that Qantas uses Airbus A330s with lie-flat Qantas Business class seats from Sydney to Bali, while the Melbourne-Bali route gets Boeing 737s with reclining Business seats. That’s not much fun on the overnight flight back to Australia.
Although Qantas no longer releases Double Status Credits promotions, keep an eye out for targeted 50% bonus status credit offers. You may be more likely to receive a Qantas bonus status credits offer if you log in and search for flights to certain destinations on the Qantas website, but don’t book anything.
2. Jetstar Max Bundles
Jetstar’s Max Bundles are surprisingly well-priced, given they earn Qantas status credits at the higher “Flexible Economy” rate. It costs only $85 to add a Max Bundle to shorter domestic Jetstar flights. You’ll earn 60 status credits for a return Jetstar booking from Melbourne to Gold Coast, for example, at a cost of around $350. Note that you cannot earn points or status credits on Jetstar flights without purchasing a Bundle.
If you live in Perth, it’s possible to fly with Jetstar to Bali for around $500 return with a Max Bundle in both directions. This nets 100 status credits at a cost around $5 per status credit. (If you fly from Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane to Bali, you would pick up 120 status credits at the Flexible Economy rate for a return trip.)
3. Malaysia Airlines Business class from Taipei, Bangkok or Bali
Malaysia Airlines regularly has great sales on intra-Asia Business class fares originating from Taipei, Bangkok and – to a lesser extent – Denpasar. For example, in a recent sale you could book a Malaysia Airlines Business class ticket from Taipei to Manila (via Kuala Lumpur) for $763 return, earning 320 status credits. You can find and book these sale fares on the Malaysia Airlines website.
Although intra-Asia Malaysia Airlines flights earn points & status credits at full Business class rates, beware that flights between Australia, Malaysia and Europe earn at reduced rates in the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.
4. Domestic First class on American Airlines
The United States was once the home of status runs. US domestic first class service is not that great. But First class tickets on American Airlines are not that expensive, and you’ll earn Qantas points and status credits at Business class rates.
American Airlines made some changes to their fare rules last year, and you can now only include a maximum of two transfers on a one-way domestic ticket within the United States. But there are still opportunities to earn a decent haul of status credits with American Airlines.
Intra-USA flights up to 750 miles earn 40 status credits at “Business” rates, flights from 751-1,500 miles earn 60 status credits and routes from 1,501-2,500 miles earn 80 status credits. There are also specific routes that earn at higher rates, such as trans-continental services and flights from Dallas to New York or Boston.
5. Qatar Airways & Finnair Business class specials from Asia to Europe
Although Business class tickets from Australia to Europe can be expensive, flights from Asia to Europe can be much better value. Qatar Airways and Finnair are two of the Qantas partner airlines that regularly offer discounted sale fares from cities in Asia to Europe, with Business fares often available for between $2,000 and $3,000 return. You can credit these flights to Qantas Frequent Flyer and earn lots of status credits, but beware that some Oneworld partner airline flights earn at reduced levels.
As an example, Qatar Airways regularly offers Business class airfares to Europe from Jakarta and Manila for under $3,000 return. If you choose your flights carefully, you might even get a chance to try the airline’s popular Qsuites!
Finnair also had a sale recently with flights from Hong Kong to London in Business from $2,709 return.
6. British Airways Business class from Perth to Bangkok (with creative routings)
British Airways regularly sells tickets from Perth to Bangkok for around $3,000-$3,500 return in Business class. The great thing about these fares is that some very creative routings are possible, resulting in a small fortune of status credits. You’ll need to fly with British Airways between Sydney and Singapore, and you can use Qantas for the Perth-Sydney leg. Then, you can continue your journey from Singapore to Bangkok via Kuala Lumpur, Taipei or even Tokyo. This deal must be booked with a travel agent.
These fares are discussed on this Australian Frequent Flyer thread: BA J Sale PER-BKK with many options
7. British Airways (Comair) Business class in South Africa
British Airways’ South African franchise, Comair, offers some good value Business class fares in and around South Africa! For example, you can fly from Cape Town, South Africa to Windhoek, Namibia for around $823 return in Business class, with all flights operating via Johannesburg. With this ticket, you would pick up a handy 200 Qantas status credits on a return booking (or 100 status credits one-way).
Tickets from Port Elizabeth or Durban to Windhoek are slightly cheaper, but you’ll only earn 160 status credits for a round-trip booking.
8. Sri Lankan Airlines Business sales from the Middle East to Asia
From time to time, there are some great Sri Lankan Airlines Business class specials on return flights from the Middle East to Asia. For example, flights from Abu Dhabi to Jakarta (via Colombo) with the Oneworld member airline have been available for just $952 return, picking up 320 Qantas status credits.
9. Madrid to Frankfurt in LATAM Airlines Business class
If you happen to be in Europe, there’s a neat little Qantas status run available on LATAM Airlines. LATAM operates a fifth-freedom flight from Madrid to Frankfurt with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. A Business seat on this route earns 60 Qantas status credits, and you’ll normally pay around $240 one-way (or even less during a sale). As it happens, this is also one of the very few flights within Europe where you’ll get a lie-flat bed in Business class!
Note that LATAM Airlines will leave the Oneworld alliance on 1 May 2020, and you won’t be able to earn Qantas status credits for LATAM-marketed flights from 1 October 2020. In addition, the Madrid-Frankfurt flight is ending on 1 July 2020.
Join the Qantas status run discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Discussion/Q&A on Best QF Status Run Options