You have clocked up endless hours of flights (hopefully in business class), and have finally achieved that coveted gold or platinum frequent flyer status. Skipping queues, premium airport lounges and extra baggage allowance are all yours for the next year.
But once that year is up, if you haven’t racked up enough status credits to maintain your gold or platinum level, you will drop back down and have to start all over again.
So, how can you keep your frequent flyer status? Here are five ways to maintain your membership.
1. Fly More
This is the most obvious solution, because the more you fly, the more status credits you will earn, and it’s those credits that move you up the frequent flyer ladder, or help you stay where you are.
Each time you take an eligible flight with your airline of choice, or one of their partner airlines, you earn status credits, with the amount determined by where you fly to, the airline you fly with and the type of fare you pay for. The more flexible and premium fares offer more status credits. Obviously, when you accumulate enough, you move up a tier in the membership level.
But, once you have reached the next tier (which is yours for the year), you have to earn more status credits to keep it for the following year. For example, with Qantas, you need to earn 700 Status Credits to achieve Gold status, and then you need to earn 600 Status Credits during the year to keep your Gold status for the following year.
2. Keep an Eye Out for Status Credit Promotions
Sometimes airlines offer status credit promotions, where you can earn bonus credits for booking certain flights at certain times. For example, in April 2016, Qantas ran a double status credit offer, whereby you could earn double credits if you booked certain flights with them during the time of the promotion.
3. Apply For Status Match
If you haven’t been able to earn the credits you need to maintain your status with one airline, you can try to apply for a status match with another airline.
Airlines want to steal business from each other, so from time to time they run status match offers. You are usually required to already have gold or platinum status with an airline that is outside of their airline alliance, and if you meet the requirements, they will offer you the same instant status with their airline to woo you. So, once your membership level expires with the original airline, you will still have gold or platinum status, but just with another airline.
4. Place Your Status On Hold
With the Qantas and Virgin Australia programs, you can place your status on hold when you have a baby. So if you go on parental leave, you can place a hold on your status and maintain it while it’s on hold, and then once the hold is over, you have the following 12 months to work towards maintaining your status.
5. Family Pooling
Virgin Australia’s frequent flyer program Velocity allows you to pool your points and status credits with family members who live at the same address. So, you can gain extra status credits by having one adult and up to four children send their points and credits to you, whether you’re travelling as a family or individually.
It’s a great way to top up your account and maintain your status, especially if you fly more frequently than your other family members and want to keep your lounge access and other perks.
So if you’re loving your lounge access and extra baggage allowance, make sure you know how many status credits you need to maintain your status level, and try these few tips to keep that level for the following year.