To maintain elite status with Qantas, you normally need to earn a minimum number of status credits. You also need to take at least 4 Qantas or Jetstar flights per membership year. But what happens if you don’t fly enough?
Qantas uses a system known to frequent flyers as “soft landings”. If you don’t retain your Qantas Frequent Flyer status, you won’t necessarily fall back to Bronze status immediately. Instead, you’ll just drop one level each year that you don’t fly enough to retain your current status.
In practice, this means that it would take 4 years for a Platinum One member to fall back to Bronze status if they did not take a single Qantas flight. In the first year, they would have a “soft landing” back to Platinum. They would then become Gold in the second year, and so on.
Soft landings seem to apply regardless of how many status credits you’ve earned short of the target. For example, you need to earn 600 status credits per membership year to retain Gold status with Qantas. But you would drop back to Silver status in the following year, regardless of whether you’d earned 595 status credits or zero. So, it can be worth aiming for a higher status if you’re doing an unusually high amount of flying within a single membership year.
If you haven’t flown enough to retain your Qantas status, soft landings can help soften the blow! But there have also been reports over the past year of Qantas offering to extend members’ status for a nominal amount of frequent flyer points. These offers are invitation-only. In one example, a Platinum member was offered the opportunity to extend their Platinum status for one year for 100,000 Qantas points. This member had only earned half the required status credits to retain Platinum status.
Although Qantas currently uses the “soft landing” system in practice, this is not a guaranteed benefit of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program. Qantas can change the rules at any time.
Most other frequent flyer programs also offer “soft landings” to members that don’t fly enough to retain their status. This includes Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer program. But some airlines, such as American Airlines, do not.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qantas Platinum – downgrading 1 tier each year if status not reached?