Hidden benefits of being a Platinum Frequent Flyer
You fly often enough to know that you get to check-in at the Business or First Class counter, enjoy a drink in the lounge and board the plane via the priority lane. But do you know all the perks you can access as a Platinum Frequent Flyer?
We spoke with Frequent Flyer expert Rodney George, Manager of Flight Centre Business Travel’s Chifley Square office in Sydney, about all the hidden benefits and how to take advantage of them.
Choose your seat at the front
There's not much in the way of special fares for Platinum Frequent Flyers. But the benefits come in once you've made a booking when you'll get access to preferential seating towards the front of each cabin.
“As a Qantas Platinum member, you'll get access to front rows of Economy and Business Class to choose from. And if you're a Platinum or Platinum One member flying internationally, you'll get access to what we call Emerald City, which is the very front section of the A380 Business Class. That's a definite perk," said Rodney.
Extra service when checking in
When you head to the First or Business Class counters, you'll be looked after by more skilled staff.
“You’ll get an experienced check-in person who’s used to dealing with Frequent Flyers and their questions; you won’t get the work experience kid on the First Class counter,” Rodney joked.
They'll know the answers to your questions and give you tips you didn't even ask for.
Priority pass to bypass the lines
As a Platinum Frequent Flyer, you can get priority access for security screening in most Australian airports when you’re flying domestically, and sometimes through passport control when flying internationally.
"You'll get a priority card if you're flying Business or First Class, but you might get one if you're travelling economy too; it can't hurt to ask when you’re checking in,” says Rodney.
The value of this benefit? Time. The lines move quicker because you're generally with more experienced travellers who know what to take out of their bags when passing through security and immigration.
Get an upgrade in the lounge
In Australia's major capital cities, Qantas offers a Domestic Business Lounge to Platinum, Platinum One and Business Class guests, with an elevated offering of better food and wine options, and a separate entrance for that exclusive feel.
But access to the lounge pays for itself if you're able to get upgraded for your upcoming flight.
"Platinum Frequent Flyers in domestic lounges can ask for an on-departure upgrade to Business Class using their points. Lounge staff are also often more accommodating to move you to an earlier flight," says Rodney.
You can also access First Class lounges around the world, which is ideal if you're looking for a private restaurant with table service or spa treatment while in transit.
Don’t wait to board, even in economy
Domestically, there are two lines for boarding: priority boarding for Business, Platinum, Chairman’s Lounge and Gold; and a line for everyone else. As a Platinum Frequent Flyer, you don’t have to wait to board the plane, regardless of the class you’re flying.
“Once you’re a Platinum Frequent Flyer, you still get all the benefits, so jump in the priority boarding line. It makes a big difference to get on early, grab that valuable overhead locker space, and settle in your seat when you’re flying economy on a 737 with 150 other people,” says Rodney.
Special treatment on international flights
If you’re travelling internationally in economy, you’ll still get treated with a bit of favour.
“The Customer Service Manager will likely find you and thank you for flying, and might offer you a few perks, like an express card for arrival to get you through the airport quicker and maybe a cheeky glass of red from Business Class if you play your cards right,” says Rodney.
You'll often get the first choice of a meal too, if there are only a few options, and be among the first served.
Get out the door first
Like check-in, there isn’t much room to move here in terms of benefits. Unless you’re flying First or Business Class, where you’ll be given first access to the exit on landing, we’ve all got to fight to get off the plane and pick up our bags.
The perks do come for Platinum Frequent Flyers if you’ve had your bags tagged ‘Priority Business’ or ‘First’ on checking in when travelling internationally, because your bags will, in theory, come out first.
And if you managed to score an express card on the plane, this is where it comes into play; you can move through immigration or customs via priority lanes and be on your way.
Going above and beyond
Outside of the actual flying experience, Platinum Frequent Flyers will be given priority when calling Qantas and will speak to the Premium Team to help solve your issue quickly. There are also some perks if you’re looking to redeem your Frequent Flyer points, so talk to your Travel Manager about how to access these.
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