I got downgraded last week in the Qantas Frequent Flyer Scheme from their top tier: Platinum to their next tier: Gold. This was because I have downgraded my travel with Qantas over the last year by 50 per cent.
When I have a valid choice when flying I have been choosing Virgin in Australia. Across the ditch it has been Air New Zealand who offer a better product than the NZ domestic Jetstar service. In the USA this has meant reducing my travel with American and increasing it with Delta and United.
What am I losing by not staying at Platinum? The losses that impact me are:
- 32kg less checked baggage on non US international flights and in Australia (which I have needed seven times out of 763 flights)
- a few less frequent flyer points eg Melbourne to Perth 420 less points and Melbourne to Los Angeles 1980 points. Seeing you need 7000 minimum to get a flight, its not a massive loss.
- I can no longer use First Class lounges and First Class Check in (slum it to Business Class ones instead!)
- no access to a lounge on arrival (I used this 3 times a year maximum anyway)
- cabin service manager will no longer welcome me on board on international flights
None of these are incentives to fly Qantas twice as much as I do now. Instead, I will focus on maintaining Gold status on three airlines: Qantas (One World), United (Star Alliance)and Virgin (benefits on Delta/Etihad/Singapore/Air NZ) which will allow me to get benefits across as many airlines as possible. I am missing Status in the Skyteam group of airlines but I am not too stressed as I don’t fly any of them often (except Delta and I get Virgin privileges with them anyway).
Virgin Australia will be launching a Platinum later this year -will be interesting to see what they offer? I am also interested to see if Virgin end up in Star Alliance?