Status Credits Vs FF Points — Which Will Better Help You Weasel Your Way into Business?

Status credits

No lines, sparkling on arrival and a flattened seat to snooze in. As far as travel experiences go, flying business — or even better, first class — is among the most special. Paying to do so, on the other hand, won’t be a memory you’ll treasure forever, given it can often cost upwards of double an economy fare for a bumped-up ticket.

Fortunately, frequent flyer points and status credits can help cut that cost — sometimes even letting you upgrade completely for free. But between the two, which is superior? Which will better help you weasel your way into business or first?

Top-line answer: frequent flyer points are easy to earn, but don’t always allow for an upgrade as there may not be business or first seats available when you book. Status credits are harder to earn, but give you a better chance at getting an upgrade because you can get it last-minute. Even if your status credits get you an upgrade, though, you’ll still need to use frequent flyer points to pay for it.

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“Think of status credits like a snowman,” says Steve Hui, founder of iFLYflat. “You can build it up, but it will have to melt, and next winter, you start again. Think of frequent flyer points like money. You collect them until you have something to spend it on.”

Every time you fly, you earn both status credits and — unless you’ve used them to buy the ticket — frequent flyer points, he explains.

Ahead, Hui shares more on how you can earn and use frequent flyer points and status credits.

Frequent Flyer Points

Frequent flyer points can be collected from many sources apart from flying. While there are hundreds of ways to earn them on the ground, the most effective is to earn them through credit cards, by spending on airline points partners, like BP, Woolworths, Deliveroo and Coles.

Frequent flyer points can also be accumulated over many years towards a redemption target, and only expire if there’s no earn or use of one point over the 18 months. If you do earn or use one point or more a year, they’ll never expire.

In addition to flights, frequent flyer points can also be used towards hotels, gift cards, restaurants and items at the airlines’ rewards store.

Status Credits

Status credits, on the other hand, can only be earned through flying. As you earn more status points, you will raise through the loyalty ranks from Bronze to Silver to Gold to Platinum, getting more benefits at each level.

If you don’t keep earning the minimum status credits required at each level, you’ll be ‘dropped’ down one rung so that Platinum members will drop to Gold, Gold will drop to Silver and so on. Status credits are essentially the ‘currency’ to keep you at that level.

Different classes of tickets earn more status credits than others. For instance, Flexible tickets earn more status credits than Saver Restricted, and Business Class Tickets earn more than Economy.

Status credit level perks include being able to check-in at premium counters and the potential for a seat upgrade. Gold status will get you into the airline’s business lounge. Platinum will let you access First Class lounges, as well as allow you extra baggage.

You can check how many credits you need to earn and maintain different status levels on Qantas’ Status Credits site and Virgin’s Status Credits site.

If you do want to be considered for an upgrade on a flight with your status credits, you can apply for it online or on the phone beforehand. If you don’t register your upgrade request, you won’t be considered. Because there are often more people wanting an upgrade than there are upgrades to give, a ranking system is used rather than a random allocation.

Note again that the upgrade isn’t free. You’ll still need to pay for it with points.

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