Frequent Flyer Programs | How They Work & Getting Involved

Frequent Flyer Programs: What Are They and How Can You Get Involved?

Frequent flyer programs can seem daunting when you don’t know a huge deal about them. What are they? How do I join one? What if I don’t fly much? Will it be of much use to me? Of course they will! Just sit back, grab a cuppa, and we’ll run you through the in’s and out’s of frequent flyer programs and how the average Australian can utilise them too!

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Frequent flyer programs: The low down

In their most simplistic form, frequent flyer programs are rewards based programs that offer points that you can accumulate through many different ways. These include the purchasing of flights, affiliated hotel stays, car hire and the use of participating credit cards. The more points you gain, the more rewards you can claim! Did someone say free stuff!? These rewards points aren’t only for flights either, many of the rewards systems allow you to spend your points on merchandise, flight upgrades, and airport lounge access as a minimum. So rejoice! There really are a bunch of ways that you can use these frequent flyer programs to your benefit, even if you don’t fly as often as you’d like.

What are the benefits of frequent flyer programs?

We all love a perk. Especially when that perk comes from earning points on your normal day-to-day purchases! There are a bunch of ways you can benefit from frequent flyer programs. Each individual program offers different kinds of benefits so have a bit of a shop around before committing and see what is best for you.

Some of the most common benefits found in a frequent flyer program are:

  • Priority boarding on your flights
  • Airport lounge access
  • The chance of a complimentary upgrade for your flight
  • Various exclusive offers from associated partners

What are some of the frequent flyer programs available in Australia?

There are a few different frequent flyer programs that you can sign up to. It really just depends on your preferences and the benefits that you are looking to get. The two most common are:

  • Qantas frequent flyer program – Qantas Airlines
  • Velocity frequent flyer program – Virgin Airlines

Qantas Frequent Flyer and Virgin Velocity Frequent Flyer are the two main Australian frequent flyer programs. There are a bunch of other programs (such as Air New Zealand, Emirates and Singapore Airlines) offered through other airlines internationally so who you go with depends on how often and where you fly. Keep this in mind as there is no point in opting to go with a program that offers you minimal perks!

Let’s take a bit of a closer look at the Qantas and Virgin programs, as these are arguably the strongest contenders for your attention.

How do you earn frequent flyer points through the Qantas program?

Joining the Qantas frequent flyer program will cost you about $89.50 for Australian residents. If paying a joining fee doesn’t sound like your cup of tea though, Qantas regularly has promotions where they waive the fee if you join through one of their partner programs. So it may pay to keep your eyes open and apply at the right time! 

You can earn points on all eligible Qantas flights. That means, regardless of whether you’re flying economy, business or first class, your flight will be counted! Of course, for peace of mind, always check that your flight is eligible for frequent flyer points before booking.

And just to sweeten the deal, Qantas has also partnered up with other airlines so you can earn frequent flyer points when you fly with them! Head over to their website for a full list of their affiliate partner airlines to see how you can start racking up those perks.

Qantas also offers a minimum points guarantee on flights which will allow you to accumulate your points quicker.

And for those of us who don’t get to fly a whole heap, there are also a bunch of credit cards that offer customers the opportunity to earn frequent flyer points on purchases.

These often come with bonuses like 50,000 – 100,000 bonus frequent flyer points per year, complimentary overseas insurance, etc. Combine these with the fact that you can earn points on the purchases you make with the credit card and you’re well on your way to a freebie flight somewhere exotic or some cool new gadget from their merch store!

Virgin Velocity Frequent Flyer programs:

Virgin customers can also earn points through booking flights and making eligible purchases.

A great perk of the Virgin program is that there is no joining fee! Velocity gives customers the confidence to join up and try it on for size.

There is also a range of co-branded credit cards available that will earn you those frequent flyer points quick smart. For a full list of these, head on over to their website.

Velocity also offers its own rewards credit card to its customers. Once customers have earned enough points they can redeem them for a variety of flight discounts and products, including BP service stations!

There are so many ways to start earning points in your everyday shopping. You can earn points on fuel purchases at participating BP service stations, groceries when shopping at Coles and Coles affiliates such as Kmart (and we all know how much money we spend at Kmart!), Coles Express petrol stations, Target, Liquorland, Telstra and so many more!

So, is a frequent flyer program right for you?

If you like being rewarded for your everyday spending, then quite possibly yes! Of course, depending on the rewards program that you are thinking about signing up for you would need to weigh up whether the costs would be worth the benefits for your individual situation.

Virgin’s frequent flyer programs definitely offers the everyday spender the opportunity to easily accumulate points with no sign-up fee. If this sounds like you then it may be a good way to test the water if you are considering frequent flyer programs. After all, who doesn’t like earning rewards and upgrades for their everyday spending? Suddenly, that dream holiday doesn’t seem so far away.

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