Should I change airline programs from Qantas when relocating to the USA?

Hi all,

I’m relocating soon from Australia to the US, and will be based in NYC.

I’m a long term QF Silver FF, and can make Gold this year with a couple of internal US flights. I also have accounts with Alaska and American Airlines though little activity.

Should I stick with QF as my main points earner or refocus to AA/AS? I earn a lot of QF points through connected activities like credit cards.

I like my status and the familiarity but would it be more worthwhile for points gathering to get the full benefits of a US-based airline, and go for the points earning credit cards etc there too?


While Silver status with any airline doesn’t give you much additional benefit, I would recommend sticking with Qantas Gold if you are able to maintain the status.
NYC is a good city for flights with a wide range of options including for Qantas’ partner American Airlines.
One advantage of holding a ‘foreign’ airline’s status instead of an American one is that you will get complimentary lounge access on domestic flights within the US. This may sound weird if you were used to always having lounge access whenever you fly with status, but in the US, you do not get complimentary lounge access with domestic flights if you are a member of the American’s frequent flyer program. This is the same for United and Delta as well. The reasoning is basically that domestic first class (our business class equivalent) don’t come free with lounge access but you have to buy access with a membership (like Qantas Club) or it comes with a credit card. In addition to that, most fares on American don’t come with checked luggage so it would save you quite a bit if you have some form of status. Status does go quite a long way in America, especially if it is from some place else ;)!

In terms of points earn and ‘integration’ with the American market for frequent flyers, I think there are plenty of options. For one, there are a ton of credit cards that don’t earn a specific type of frequent flyer points with competitive offerings from AMEX and Chase that you can transfer to many airline partners such as British Airways, Singapore Airlines and some even Qantas themselves!

So weighing up the benefits of Qantas vs American/Alaskas programs I see a few arguments for both:
Pros for Qantas:

  • You get lounge access when travelling domestically
  • Less revenue based status earning
  • Access to more Qantas award flights, and their partners like Emirates

Cons for Qantas:

  • Need 4 qualifying flights every year on Qantas or Jetstar metal
  • Reduced points earning and status credits potentially for some US flights
  • Less ability to redeem flights and less good value when redeeming for flights within the US
  • Less ability to accumulate points domestically apart from flying

Pros for American/Alaska:

  • Complimentary space available upgrades to first class
  • Other locally specific benefits (specifics vary)
  • Greater opportunities to earn points


  • No lounge access travelling domestically
  • Very revenue based earning for status

Thank you, that’s a really helpful summary that would have taken me hours to work out. Much appreciated. I’ll be coming back to Australia yearly so can probably manage the Qantas metal.

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