With superior benefits for frequent flyers, better earn rates on Oneworld partner airlines and achievable lifetime Oneworld Emerald status, it’s little wonder that some Qantas Frequent Flyer members are considering making the switch to the British Airways Executive Club program.
As British Airways is a member of the Oneworld alliance, you can still earn and redeem points, and use the benefits of your status, with Qantas.
This article contains some practical information that could be useful for Australian frequent flyers thinking about jumping ship (or plane, as it were) from Qantas Frequent Flyer to British Airways Executive Club.
You can learn more about British Airways status here: How to Earn British Airways Executive Club Status
Earning tier points on British Airways for Qantas & Oneworld flights
With British Airways, tier points are used to determine your status level (just like Qantas uses status credits). As a general rule, one status credit is roughly equal to one tier point. But the earn rate for any given flight could be significantly higher or lower with British Airways Executive Club.
In general, you won’t earn that many tier points with British Airways Executive Club for flights under 2,000 miles in length. But you’ll earn a very generous amount of tier points for flights over 2,000 miles. For example, Melbourne-Perth in Business class earns only 40 tier points. But Melbourne-Sydney-Perth earns 180 tier points in Business.
With British Airways, flexible Economy and premium cabin fares earn significantly more tier points than discount Economy tickets. However, beware that Qantas discount Economy “E” class fares are not eligible for earning with partner airlines including British Airways. Also, while Qantas sells “M” and “K” class fares as Flex tickets, these booking classes only earn at the lowest Economy level with British Airways. As Qantas frustratingly does not display the booking class on its website, it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re booking – and therefore how many Avios and tier points you’ll earn.
The good news is that British Airways does not penalise you for flying with Oneworld partner airlines in the same way that Qantas does. Malaysia Airlines Business class flights, for example, earn at proper Business class rates.
You can see how many tier points you’ll earn for any given flight on the British Airways website.
Using your Qantas status benefits while crediting to British Airways
It is possible to earn British Airways Avios & tier points for a flight while simultaneously using the benefits of your status with a different airline, such as Qantas. In theory, this should be easy but it may not be in reality.
Even if your British Airways membership number is attached to your booking, you should be able to access the lounge by showing your Qantas Frequent Flyer card. Alternatively, you could leave your Qantas Frequent Flyer number on the booking and then change it to your BA number after entering the lounge, using the Finnair website. If you’re going to do this, it’s important that you don’t forget to change the frequent flyer number attached to your booking before boarding the flight!
Book as you normally would with your QF number in the booking. Access the lounge with your QF number, then use the Finnair website to change the FF number to BA. Use your boarding pass with your QF status for priority boarding (such as it is).
Upgrading on Qantas flights while crediting to British Airways
If you’re flying with Qantas and wish to upgrade with Qantas Frequent Flyer points, you’ll need to have your Qantas Frequent Flyer number attached to the booking. For domestic flights, however, there is an easy workaround. For domestic Qantas flights, upgrades are confirmed instantly if there is a Classic Flight Reward seat available in Business. So, as Tony Hancock explains, simply book a flight with upgrade availability, complete the upgrade and then switch the frequent flyer number attached to the booking.
I book SYD-PER in Y, checking ExpertFlyer for U availability first. I use QF points to immediately secure J and then change the FF number to my BA one via the Finnair website. (You need a QFF points income stream to do this, obviously, because you aren’t earning QF points through flying. (Mine come from my Amex Plat card.)
It could soon become easier to upgrade on other Oneworld airlines if Oneworld introduces alliance-wide upgrade awards. But for now, this is the process.
Qantas and British Airways have different partner airlines
While Qantas and British Airways status comes with identical benefits on Oneworld airlines, Qantas Frequent Flyer members can also benefit from Qantas’ partnerships with airlines outside of the Oneworld alliance. This includes lounge access when flying with Emirates, China Eastern and Jetstar – which is not offered with British Airways status.
This can also work in the other direction. For example, British Airways status may entitle you to lounge access when flying with Aer Lingus between London and Dublin, while Qantas status doesn’t.
Gold Guest List vs Qantas Platinum One status
Just like Qantas offers Platinum One status, British Airways offers Gold Guest List benefits to its most frequent flyers. Our members are of the almost unanimous opinion that the tangible Gold Guest List benefits – as well as the dedicated customer service – is superior to Qantas Platinum One status. But some of the best benefits are only offered if you’re actually flying on a British Airways aircraft. There is a discussion about Gold Guest List experiences on AFF.
Keep in mind that switching from one frequent flyer program to another is a long-term decision. It’s not that easy to change, and you should also consider how close you may be to lifetime Silver or Gold status with Qantas. If you’re only a little bit shy of the 14,000 status credits needed for Qantas lifetime Gold, it may not make sense to switch just yet.
It is also possible that British Airways – or any frequent flyer program, for that matter – could change its program rules or benefits at any time.
Thinking about making the switch from Qantas Frequent Flyer to British Airways Executive Club? Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Tips for moving from QFF to BAEC (QF WP + LTG)…