As the title suggests Im a bit of a clueless newbie. I do find myself flying semi-regularly though - normally at least once or twice a year Aus to Europe or Middle East and domestically a few times a year as well. Internationally Ive found myself flying Etihad or Qatar the most so have looked into one world alliance. Domestically its mainly Virgin or the cheapies.
Do I fly enough to even bother with trying to build up points for lounge access or upgrades or am I still amateur level(not really interested in credit cards and the like)? And should I try to align international and domestic points gathering? (Pretty sure I have a velocity membership but havent used it in yonks). And generally, where do I start?
Thanks in advance for your patience with my silly questions…
OneWorld alliance is just a group of airlines that partner together. Qantas is part of OneWorld so Qantas by extension have partnerships with all of the airlines within the alliance like Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Qatar Airlines. BUT, this doesn’t stop them from partnering with other airlines and often times, they do pick favourites! For example, Qantas partners up with Emirates and isn’t actually that friendly with Qatar.
The advantage of sticking with one airline that partners with all of the ones you fly with is that you can earn status credits and points into a single program rather than having them in seperate places. If you fly enough, then you can build up perks like lounge access and upgrades.
Judging from your travelling patterns, all of your airlines are actually Virgin partners. That means, domestically, you can earn points and status when flying Virgin. When flying internationally, those Etihad and Qatar flights you take can also earn you points and status into the Virgin Velocity program as well, giving you a leg up on your status building journey. That of course depends on if you travel enough to achieve Silver, Gold or Platinum status.
Your travel patterns (individually) should get you to Silver with Velocity but might be a stretch for gold if flying only in economy. If you want those extra perks, Qantas and Virgin do sell lounge access memberships but you’ll have to see if it is worth it to you personally.
The best way to start earning status and points is just to remember putting in your frequent flyer number in all of your bookings. Think of the points and status credits as more of an extra, rather than the goal.
N.B. Flying is actually one of the slowest and least cost effective ways to earn points but if your goal isn’t to go on a round the world business class trip for free, it is easily achievable to earn a one way flight from Sydney to Melbourne in just a couple of long haul flights which is always nice!
I might add onto @djtech’s helpful reply with another perspective.
Accumulating your points in Velocity or QantasFF has a major benefit in that points don’t expire, provided you earn points each year. It’s easy to drip feed in a few points using a loyalty card at the supermarket or petrol station with auto-transfer turned on, or from your flights. Other airline schemes usually see your points expire within 2-3 years which can be most discouraging, I see these as only for very regular travellers who fly only one airline.
Status is nice, and a champagne at the lounge is always a great start to a trip, but with soaring airfare prices, personally my goal is a flight redemption. If I can genuinely save thousands of $ I would have otherwise had to pay for, this makes it all very worthwhile.
Note that Pointhacks has a beginner course which is well worth signing up for.