What Are The Best Uses Of Qantas Points?

Qantas Frequent Flyer is by far the most profitable division of the entire Qantas Group. Qantas points are often referred to in the Australian media as ‘Australia’s de-facto second currency.’ For an airline the size of Qantas they have an enormous loyalty base and it makes a lot of money.

Why? Because in comparison with US frequent flyer programs, it is not a very good value program.  It is very easy to earn plenty of Qantas points but the values to redeem them are high.

Tiffany and I were talking about her recent trip to Australia, and she mentioned that while she was enjoying some delicious short-ribs in a Melbourne restaurant they were promoting reducing the bill by $20 for every 4,000 Qantas points you exchanged.

I pointed out that for only 0.5c per point, this was terrible value, even for Qantas points.

So we got to talking about what better uses might exist.

While Americans can transfer Citi ThankYou points to Qantas Frequent Flyer (which is only a good idea in very limited circumstances), there are typically other programs offering superior value. So this article is primarily for our Australian readers (and I know there are a lot of you out there!) and anyone else out there who happens to collect Qantas points.

Even though during my time in Australia I focused on Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent flyer program (which I still think is a significantly better value program than Qantas, primarily because they don’t impose fuel surcharges), I still managed to earn and redeem hundreds of thousands of Qantas points.

The Qantas First Class Lounge, Sydney

Qantas points — the basics

Qantas is a member of the oneworld alliance, so points can be redeemed on all member airlines. They also have an impressive and obscure list of ‘other’ partners, namely:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Niugini
  • Air Vanuatu
  • Airnorth
  • Alaska Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • EL AL
  • Emirates
  • Fiji Airways
  • Jet Airways
  • Jetstar
  • WestJet

Qantas uses a distance based award chart like British Airways does, with few other routing rules. The award charts vary based on which carriers are involved.

This is the chart for Qantas, Airnorth, Fiji Airways, Air Vanuatu, American Airlines, Emirates, Jetstar, and QantasLink:

And here is the award chart for all of their other partners (i.e. their oneworld chart):

These charts are in stark difference to American Airlines AAdvantage, which has a generous zone-based award chart with some very restrictive and even nonsensical routing rules.

When using Qantas points, you can basically pick whatever routing you like (within reason) but you will pay for it in Qantas points based on the total distance travelled.

Like British Airways, Qantas imposes substantial ‘fuel surcharges’ on most redemptions, which can add many hundreds of dollars to the cost.

Qantas releases seats at the start of their schedule (see below), then occasionally release more seats at random intervals throughout the year, but will rarely, if ever release unsold seats as awards close to departure.

Instead they will provide unsold seats for points upgrades (also see below).

So the very best time to book seats on Qantas metal using Qantas points is at the absolute start of the schedule.

Qantas first class

This is the number one way Qantas members would like to use their points, but also one of the most difficult. Qantas only operates first class on their A380s:

  • Between Melbourne and Singapore and Los Angeles
  • Between Sydney and Singapore, London, Los Angeles and Dallas

First class awards are extremely difficult to get from Australia to the U.S., and vice versa, regardless of which program you use points/miles in (London and Singapore are slightly easier).

But Qantas does have one BIG advantage over its partner airlines, which will often have lower redemption rates. They release awards to their own members 355 days in advance while partners like AAdvantage only open their booking window 331 days out.

That gives anyone with Qantas points a 24 day head start.

If you log onto AAdvantage at 331 days to see all the Qantas first class award seats gone, it’s likely because of the head start those Qantas members had.

Qantas First Class

Fiji Airways transpacific

If you can’t find any business class award seats on Qantas or American Airlines between Australia and the U.S., you may choose to go a more indirect way via Asia with Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines. This is a much further flying distance than a direct flight from Sydney to Los Angeles, so you’ll pay more Qantas points. 139,000 Qantas points each way in business class, to be exact. This is significantly more than the 96,000 points required for the direct SYD-LAX flight.

A solution to this is to consider Fiji Airways business class via Nadi. Award availability is usually much better than on Qantas metal, and because it’s virtually a straight line to go via Fiji, you won’t pay more Qantas points.

The BIG caveat in booking Fiji Airways business class is that they do not have fully-flat seats in business class and instead operate a 2-2-2 angled flat seat, similar to Singapore Airlines’ current (pre-787-10) regional business class.

Fiji Airways business class

Qantas upgrades

Most die-hard Qantas frequent flyers swear that the very best value of Qantas points is in using them to upgrade to the next class of service, i.e. buying premium economy and using points to upgrade to business.

However, there are two HUGE caveats that have stopped me from using my Qantas points in this way:

  1. Only certain types of fares are upgradeable, and these aren’t the cheapest fares for that class of service, meaning you will be paying more for the fare than you might be used to, before you even apply any points
  2. International upgrades are processed just before departure, meaning you will not know if your upgrade is successful until you potentially get to the boarding gate. Domestic upgrades are confirmed at the time of requesting the upgrade.

Upgrades are also processed in order of status so unless you hold Platinum or Platinum One status in the Qantas Frequent Flyer Program there is a good chance your upgrade will not be successful.

The ‘worst case’ scenario I continue to play over and over in my head is you buy an expensive economy ticket to ensure the fare code is upgradeable to business class, you submit your request, the upgrade is not successful because you are a lowly Qantas Silver or Bronze member and you are stuck in economy for the flight, knowing the people next to you probably paid a lot less for their seat than you did.

If I was not a Qantas Platinum or above I would not have much confidence that I could use my points to upgrade.

Qantas A330 Business

Emirates first class

Emirates has a HUGE route network compared with Qantas which means a lot more award seats. And because Emirates is not a member of the ‘big 3’ global alliances, there is less competition from members of other programs for their seats.

Alaska Mileage Plan used to be the most economical use of points to book Emirates premium award seats, but two years ago massively devalued this. Then Japan Airlines Mileage Bank was the best value, until six months ago when they added massive fuel surcharges.

It’s difficult to properly compare all three programs due to the different rules of each program, but using New York to Dubai return in first class the costs would be as follows, per person:

  • Qantas Frequent Flyer: 252,000 points and US$1,680
  • Alaska Mileage Plan: 360,000 points and approx US$100
  • JAL Mileage Bank: 135,000 points and US$1,624

Say you value Alaska points at USD 2c each, JAL points at USD 1.5c each, and Qantas points at USD 1c each (and these are all very round numbers) that would mean the ‘cost’ of these redemptions would be as follows (all in USD):

  • Qantas Frequent Flyer: $2,520 and $1,680 = $4,200
  • Alaska Mileage Plan: $7,200 and approx $100 = $7,300
  • JAL Mileage Bank: $2,025 and $1,624 = $3,649

If you value each of these currencies differently (and please tell me in the comments if you do!), then these calculations would change, but at these ’round number’ valuations, JAL Mileage Bank remains a better use of Qantas points for Emirates first class redemptions.

Emirates 777 First Class

It’s worth noting that Australians have a pathway to acquire JAL points through SPG, which is itself a transfer partner of some Australian American Express cards.

Qatar business class

If you want to redeem any miles for business class, look no further than Qatar Airways, Qantas’ oneworld partner. Qatar offers their ‘second best’ A350 and A380 reverse herringbone product from Australia to Doha and then their game-changing QSuites onwards to destinations like London, Paris, and New York.

If you are travelling to Europe you simply will not do better in business class than Qatar Airways.

I can personally vouch for how incredible Q Suites are!

Regional Qantas flights

Distance based award charts do have their advantages. While not as generous as British Airways’ incredible 4,500 Avios deal for flights up to 650 miles, you will only pay 8,000 Qantas points for an economy flight of the same distance.

But there is one big advantage of the 8,000 Qantas point redemption over the 4,500 Avios redemption.

Qantas does not charge per flight, they charge per one-way journey. This means you could take 2 x 250 mile flights for 8,000 Qantas points. And a great place to use this is on flights to regional Australia.

I’ve needed to fly from regional South Australia to Melbourne before and there are no direct flights, only options on Qantas via Adelaide. Fortunately the 2 flights together were just under 600 miles, meaning only 8,000 Qantas points instead of AUD$300+.

Qantas flies to many places in regional Australia that no other airline does. And where they have a monopoly, they charge accordingly.

It can be a similar price to fly from Brisbane to Hong Kong as to fly from Brisbane to Mt Isa.

Similar price. Vastly different distance.

The X Factor: Oneworld Classic Flight Reward (round the world fare)

Qantas has a unique redemption option where you can fly around the world, with up to five stopovers, provided there is award availability, and the total distance is kept under 35,000 miles. The cost for this ‘Classic Flight Reward’ is as follows:

  • Economy – 140,000 points
  • Premium Economy – 210,000 points
  • Business Class – 280,000 points
  • First Class – 420,000 points

Unlike most other redemptions there are a LOT of rules and conditions with this redemption, including thousands of dollars in surcharges, and it is quite difficult and complicated to book.

If you would like me to do a separate post on this redemption please let me know in the comments below.

Bottom line

Other than for financial profitability, Qantas Frequent Flyer is never going to win any ‘best loyalty program’ awards. It has a huge member base for an airline of its size, has poor availability for awards in it own premium cabins and very high redemption rates with frustrating ‘fuel surcharges.’

But if you are living in Australia it’s extremely easy to collect Qantas points and some uses are better than others.

What do you think the best uses of Qantas points are?

Comments

  1. James please do a post on Oneworld Classic Flight Reward (round the world fare). I have been saving up my qff points but am still confused as to how to use the round the world fare.

  2. Hi James, thank you for an excellent article, especially for us Australian readers!

    I wanted to share a good recent experience booking Emirates first class with Qantas points – it looks like they are applying a discount for award flights booked in shorter notice. Last month I booked two long-haul legs, Seattle-Dubai and then Dubai-Sydney, for 192k points + 850usd (which seems identical to business class), whereas the same journey later in the year or early next year costs well in excess of 200k points (can’t remember exact number).

    I booked within a month’s notice – flying next week! looking forward to more content James!

  3. Nice article. Great to see some more detail about Australian airlines from this blog these days.

    Personally I usually use my points for domestic upgrades to business class, since these are confirmable at time of booking, and unlike international all domestic flights are upgradable.

    Domestic business class on Qantas is actually a significant step up from economy (unlike in Europe) so for me, at least, this is worthwhile. And you can get pretty good value from it – e.g. 4c/point for MEL-SYD based on the price of the J ticket over the Y one. You can get even better value during sales.

  4. One great use of Qantas points is to book elal which is otherwise not book able with points. See dansdeals he had a whole write up on it

  5. @ Abe – I didn’t include El Al in the list as they don’t have a great product on their older planes that fly to Asia. If travelling from Australia to Israel with Qantas points I would be looking to book Cathay Pacific, who also fly to TLV.

  6. James, very detailed article. Although, I will disagree with award availability. QF gold here and have been able to be upgraded from economy to business from DFW to SYD mostly every time I’ve put an upgrade around xmas and NYE time (twice as silver, then about 5 times as gold) and got 2 J tickets with points to LAX. My sister in law who is Gold with VA rarely is able to redeem points internationally or get upgrades in a program that is devaluing every time with restrictive alliances.
    The key with reward tickets is phoning QF, being flexible with dates and as you mentioned, looking as early as possible. It is tricky but it can happen. Although those surcharges are a pain!!
    Also bid upgrades are also a factor, which probably are not great value.

  7. @james that is correct Cathay is a much better product, but I thought it’s worth a mention since it’s the only way to fly elal on points. For example on their new 787 that flies to New York.
    In any case this is a great article!

  8. @ Silvia – it is dependent on a number of factors – time of year, loads, upgrade requests in front of you, routes, school holidays etc. I understand DFW is slightly easier than LAX.
    Its good to hear your requests have been mostly successful. I just keep having this vision of buying an expensive economy ticket, putting in a request as a Gold, the request not clearing at the gate and then sitting there, fuming in economy for 14 hours wishing I’d never bought the expensive seat to begin with!

  9. “Australia’s default currency“? Platinum One here, never heard that phrase used before.

  10. QF is my FF program of choice even tho Ive never even flown QF, but is incredibly easy to collect points for and has a useful list of partners.

  11. I’ve been in the Qantas program since it started ( ie, 30 years and at that time you needed to do 100,000 miles just to join, IIRC). In the early days it was great…simple and genuinely rewarding.
    Not so great these days: I very rarely fly QF on redemptions ( SIN-MEL, MEL-SFO, HKG-MEL the only three in the past three years, all J). And even then I had to plan those trips around availability rather than my preference ( luckily not too different). Nor do I redeem on BA or Emirates ( fuel surcharges make them uneconomical). The sweet spots are on Cathay and AA , also good on JAL but harder to find; always available on Iberia, but I don’t care much for them.
    Many Australians make the mistake of redeeming for cheap domestic sectors, eg, MEL-SYD can be had readily for AUD 100-150, but redeeming is 8,000 plus $40. Not a great deal.
    One glaring lack in the program is the lack of a lifetime Platinum level ( lT is only up to pretty useless Gold).
    I have far too many QF points, around 2 million, much from CC and it’s hard to get the total down, even transferring max to family. The value goes down each year, so I should probably pay the surcharges and fly more EK and BA F.

  12. Great post, James. As @Roo suggests, ‘value’ and ‘QF points’ are not natural companions, but the ease with which one can earn them here in Australia does explain their status as the default ‘points’ currency (although I too have not heard them described as the nation’s default currency). The ‘sweet spot’ for me has been to use them to upgrade from international J to F, or from full-fare domestic Y to J; the cost of these redemptions is actually quite reasonable. My strike rate has been well over 50%, although I do try to choose less popular flights, which no doubt helps. And my experience with full ticket redemptions has been favourable as well: two return trips to the US in F and J this year alone. Life in Australia is really very good, we just pay a lot for the privilege … the QF program reflects this remarkably well!

  13. I have had every international upgrade request from economy to business met, sometimes even a day or two in advance, even as QFF silver or bronze. This includes between SYD-YVR, SYD-HKG, BNE-SIN and LAX-BNE. Maybe I’m just unusually lucky?
    Qantas is also gives the opportunity for Jetstar redemptions – they have very few partners. Opens up Cook Islands and a number of leisure routes…
    I still rate the QantasLink flights as a great deal. Especially last minute. Those flights can be super expensive otherwise.

  14. James, next time you decide to make up a phrase like “Australia’s default currency”, try to think that your audience might call BS on what you wrote. That’s not a phrase, anywhere, at all in Australian FF vernacular.

  15. @ Scott, @ Jon0 – sorry I probably should have worded it as ‘Australia’s de-facto second currency’ as it is referred to in the mainstream articles below. I’ll update the post to reflect that.
    Cheers.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/r-qantas-stays-loyal-to-its-frequent-flyer-cash-cow-2014-8?IR=T
    https://www.ausbt.com.au/qantas-frequent-flyer-sell-off-shelved
    http://www.afr.com/business/transport/aviation/qantas-loyalty-program-fails-to-fly-at-woolworths-20151027-gkjuhn

  16. I’d be interested to hear about status perks for Qantas elites. I’ve been looking at non-US programs, given how difficult it is to gain real benefit from US elite status anymore.

  17. Great post James and I also agree VA Velocity is better and as someone who lives in Perth I generally fly more VA though I do still fly heaps of QF and in two weeks I am headed to NZ on QF. That being said QF FF is still quite good and has heaps of ability to earn points in a few days I am headed to Rockpool at Crown for dinner and will earn 4 points per dollar spent.

    Also are you or were you QF platinum one/VA platinum?, would be interested to know.

  18. Great one mate.It would be really help if you could do an elaborative article about Oneworld Classic Flight Reward using QF points. As i’m planning one next year, genuinely looking forward to it
    Thanks

  19. @ Morgan – I used to be either VA Platinum or VA Gold for about 4 years running – all self funded leisure travel. I was Qantas Gold as a result of a status match several years ago.

    Have earnt 10x more Velocity points than Qantas points and flown VA probably 10x more than QF.

  20. And whoa hold up you said QF upgrades you will only know a few days before departure or even at the gate and while that’s true for international flights on domestic flights if there is award availability upgrade being confirmed straight away even if you book a year out and are no status (bronze/red entry status). That’s what I am doing e.g Perth – Sydney Flexi Fare is about $650 and on that fare upgrade is 10000 points so before I book I check for award availability and then book the economy flexi and upgrade straight away and it gets confirmed.

  21. Hi James. It would be interesting to compared “paid” round the works fares across the various alliances or carriers offering such a service.

    Years ago I used such a fare from Star Alliance for an amazing trip.

    I no longer see them advertised, so I am not sure if they still exist but they could be a valuable travel resource.

  22. IMO, the best use of QF points is on EK redemption especially first class.

    Since Alaska’s devaluation, it is way more expensive than QF as listed above, plus you can’t redeem flights that doesn’t touch US soil.

    JAL is cheaper in terms of miles but you have to book return which makes it less useful. Plus that in AUS it is 10x easier to earn QF points than JL. Yes, we could get JL though SPG by transferring Amex’s MR, but at 2:1 ratio vs 1:1 ratio to other FFP’s like KF and AM.

    So overall QF is the best currency to redeem EK F and is the best use of it IMO.

  23. @ Morgan – I did mean international upgrades – I’ve updated the post to clarify. Thanks.

    I don’t consider Qantas 737 business class to be particularly desirable so didn’t list that as a best use of points, even as a cheap upgrade.

  24. Yes, please do a post on round the world fare. One of the good deal I have read if you want to try Cathay F and the lounge is redemption between HKG and TPE . It’s below 600 miles(438 to be exact)

  25. Best article on OMAAT in a long time. James you have the knack to really drive home an article worth reading with valuable insight, tips and information. Keep it up!

  26. James you are adding a really awesome new spin to the already great blog; especially for a more non-US-based audience – looking forward to the next articles!

  27. Thanks James – though not to sure what you meant by Qantas 737 business class not desirable as while a bit true QF (and VA though little less as smaller fleet) fly A330’s (with 1-2-1 fully flat)between Perth and Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane quite regularly.

  28. James – nice article but there is one esoteric sweet spot you missed.

    Surcharges on QFF awards are indeed monstrous. You can of course get around these by routing from countries which outlaw them. Off the top of my head, HKG and MNL are the two closest, Brazil is also the same although a bit of an outlier.

    By taking advantage of the distance-based award chart, the fact that BKK>SYD>BNE>MEL>DXB for 192,000 points and around US$100 of taxes. The HKG>BKK and MEL>DXB legs were in EK first class, the domestic legs were in Qantas J class.

    Even better, because of Emirates chauffeur I was picked up and dropped off to the airport in each destination – 8 trips in total. I juggled the itinerary so as to have around 24 hours in each city, plenty to see friends & family. Pretty much the only way I see of extracting any meaningful “value” out of QFF these days!

  29. @ BDA – yes I was aware of certain markets that have lower/no surcharges (HKG especially) but the article is already pretty long and detailed so I decided not to get bogged down in too much information given most Qantas FF members reading this would be wanting to commence award travel in either Australia or the US.
    Appreciate the interest though!

  30. Have honestly loved every single article you have done until this one James, Primarily because the Australian Frequent Flyer blogs and Point Hacks etc have covered this content multiple years longer than you have been around.
    Nice of you to try and show a bit of your Aussie pride or knowledge but nothing here that would surprise experienced QF earners/flyers
    Nice way to fill content, but nothing here that blows my mind, What astonishes me is not a single word was mentioned about the value of status or how to achieve status with QF, Which can be relatively easy and valuable to certain flyers and I think useful in alot more aspects to travelers using QF for a status grabber more so than dealing with the inflated huge number of points and taxes required. I personally regard QF status higher than the actual FF program.
    Points are easy to grab like a handful of sand in Aus and at the end of the day(or this article) Qantas points are only good to Aussies and the real best use for them should be reinstated about being for redemptions with Emirates or if you can snag remote reward economy flights i.e Perth to Karratha/Broome/Port Hedland etc where they only hold any real point:$ value!!!!
    Still just gold with Qantas 4 years running, but happily dumped them for VA a while back due to the ability to transfer to Krisflyer.
    Nice of you to educate anyone non-Australian in this basic matter but bring out the real heavy hitting punch. Bring out a VA Velocity comparison post, which will squash QF and show the world what really is reality in Australia or for Australians instead of beating around the bush in the above manner by being so basic, pack a punch with YOUR OPINION more so than some friendly facts, c’mon mate want to see you shine here.

  31. Hi

    Very much in line with the objective highlights of your post, QFF has long frustrated me; which led me to maintain my OW Emerald status with AA instead of QF (I.e- free QantasClub business lounges in Australia, for free!) even if it meant having to travel to the US to ensure the requisite 4 segments on AA metal were flown each year.

    Since AA’s big devaluation a couple of years ago, the chasm between QFF and AAdvantage has indeed narrowed. However, with the introduction of QF Business Rewards, the the earnings rate for QF points has skyrocketed massively as of late- throw in QF’s more frequent double status credits / discounted redemption promos (one of each in the last couple of months for instance) and in fact, using your own valuation curves, QFF is better value for most routes (except longest distance trenche at 192k in J).

    I myself Am considering finalising the switch front AAdvantage to QFF which I’ll look to do once breaking 4M Lifetime miles on AAdvantage program (likely in 2019).

  32. @James My sister moved from the US to NZ so we’ll likely be visiting once a year. We couldn’t find award availability with the points we had, so we booked a paid business fare on Qantas (cheapest available).
    My question is where is the best place to credit this flight for later awards to NZ from US? I was thinking Alaska or JAL. Alaska miles are easier to get, but I’m not sure if the CLT – LAX portion (on american coded as QF flight) would count for Alaska.
    Where would you suggest I credit the flights? CLT-LAX-MEL-WLG

  33. I did the classic rtw award a few years back. Trying to get a QF business direct flight across the Pacific is almost impossible .

  34. Interesting article James. We flew on four economy tickets r/t on Qantas from Sydney to Perth using Aadvantage miles last November for 20,000 per ticket. Hadn’t realized that if we had used Qantas points, it would have been 36,000 points per ticket. So nearly double the cost to use Qantas points on a Qantas flight than using Aadvantage miles on a Qantas flight. For four tickets, that really adds up!

  35. @ Kyall – this was a post about the best uses of Qantas points. As status cannot be econmoically earnt by using Qantas points I did not include it in the post.
    The days of cheap JASAs and FASAs are long gone (there’s some heavy-hitting knowledge for you : P)

  36. Hi… this point is not totally true and should be clarified … I”nternational upgrades are processed just before departure, meaning you will not know if your upgrade is successful until you potentially get to the boarding gate….” You can be notified of an upgrade at the gate but also up to one week ahead depending on your status but generally 24-48 hours before.
    Also, I have an issue with certain status credits on QF, I was given fewer status credits on my QF a/c flying first AA LAX-MIA compared dfw-psp or Miami – Nashville also in AA’s so-called first. Couldn’t get a QF flight number but this makes no sense and QF says it’s AA. It’s not logical.

  37. I’d just like to say thank you for posting this article and to add that Platinum members don’t always get the upgrade they apply for. My husband is a Platinum member and has been for around 10 years (not that that accounts for anything) we went on the business class upgrade list the day we booked our flights which was as soon as they were available and we didn’t get any of the upgrades and we were supposedly at the top of the list. We don’t bother with upgrades now we go straight to award flights as soon as they are available. Less stress and less disappointment of already knowing which class we are travelling in.

    And I would also like to see your article on the around the world flights.

  38. Wow, some of us readers down under are whingers! #dontsayanythingifyoucantsaysomethingnoice

    A very salient article that touched on all of the necessary points, without getting bogged down in complicated detail that 99% of us won’t or don’t need from a basic primer. You’re doing extremely well; don’t listen to the wankers!

    My partner and I (who have both never had status with QF; only at Platinum level with AA or others) got a successful points upgrade from SIN-MEL a few years back (pre-A330 Business Suites, in a Skybed Mach 1 of all things *shudder*). We did shell out for the extra cash for a redeemable economy ticket, but we accepted the lottery for what it was/is – everyone has a difference risk tolerance, of course.

    Add me to the list requesting you write a RTW Qantas points blog story ployse!

  39. I’m finding that QF domestic fares are quite high at the moment.. I. E. Up to $500 one way between Sydney and Melbourne unless you can book months out this finding plenty of value using points domestically right now.

  40. One way of by-passing the large QF carrier surcharge is to make your staring point Hong Kong. Fuel surcharges for flights originating from there are outlawed! Of course this must fit in with your itinerary. For example: Emirates F HKG-BCN, 126000 QFF points plus a few dollars airport taxes and fees, instead of hundreds of Qantas-imposed dollars! Must break their tiny little stone heart.

  41. Aussie in chicago here. Thanks – nice article! My parents in law are keen acquirers of qantas points (Ie they’ll pay $2k more from Syd to chicago just to fly qantas). It seems Aussies love qf points! My summation from your article? qf points are basically useless!! I find them the same way. Surcharges are ridiculous. Little to no availability. Unless you are looking for upgrades I wouldn’t bother with them.

    I do often see some first class availability on qantas la to Syd but I’d rather buy the Alaska miles to use this redemption. 70,000 and like $6! Why use 200k or whatever qantas points and pay $500 surcharges. Waste!!

    As rubbish as a lot of American availability is I’d recommend Aussies credit aa and avoid the surcharges. Or concentrate on Amex points and transfer them somewhere worthwhile!

  42. Ha Glenn T so true. They must HATE HK award redemptions!! We only get to charge 120k points for such a limited redemption.

  43. One thing you didn’t mention about Qantas points is their horrible “18 month rule”. If you do not collect any Qantas points for 18 months, they cancel them. This has been reported on widely in Australia. A woman with breast cancer went thru 18 months of chemotherapy, and survived, only to discover her 300,000 Qantas points were cancelled by the airline (who then refused to reinstate them, even after the media publicly shamed them for it). Other examples include people who taking time off work for a new baby or people who move overseas for work for a couple of years. This is just one of the many, many pitfalls to earning Qantas points. Even if you live in Australia, it often makes much more sense to credit your Qantas flights to Alaska or BA.

  44. How hard can it be to keep your QFF points alive?? There are so many everyday shopping opportunities with heavily promoted linked loyalty schemes, like Woolworths for your grocery shop-up, within that 18 month window to keep an account active. If you haven’t taken even this simplest of steps you are not serious about your QFF account. And, for god’s sake, Qantas will email you warning your points are near expiry and tell you how to avoid this happening. Don’t bother reading your email either? Doh!
    Qantas FF has in excess of 10 million members, and it’s my guess that the majority are non-flyers with small balances which expire due to lack of interest. Until they do, and then hit the blogosphere with the injustice of it all. Idiots.

  45. Hmm, Glenny t, I’m not 100% sure about the email. Award wallet told me about my expiring qantas points. I went back through all the dozens of marketing emails from
    Qantas and not one mentioned expiring points. But yes, they are easy to reinstate. I spent $10 and 2000 points on a lonely planet book and kept my points.

  46. @Elijah Nah, it’s real easy. All you need is to be organised, have a goal, know what the T&Cs are, and reap the rewards. Think you can manage that?

  47. I too would love to see a story on RTW using QFF, thanks James! we are planning a trip next year and have about 600,000 points between us and keep earning them with Woolies and credit card spend. I hardly ever have “real money” any more as its all about putting it on the card to amass those points!

  48. @Derek Glass: that rule is fairly standard across many FFPs. It’s the same for AA and UA, and VA in Australia as well. The only FFP I know of that miles will never expire is DL. KF and AM will expire in 3 years regardless. So even though I don’t like the expiry it isn’t too unreasonable.

  49. Yes, please on the RTW – I’ve been saving up, have two itineraries in mind, and have no idea if they are within the rules. A post now would be perfect timing.
    In gratitude,
    Tom

  50. When discussing the RTW, would you please let us know what the change policies are (both changing the date on an existing routing, and changing the routing, itself). Thanks, again!

  51. @TOM: 2 x RTW, best thing you can do my friend is bend over and take it like a man mate, led by no other than the gay Irish CEO Alan Joyce LOL. QFF are going to charge you like a wounded bull with fees and charges hat will make your eyes water.

  52. Please write a report on the round the world option. Also as an avid collector of velocity points a report on this would be great too for the Aussie readers

  53. I have been reading this blog for years and as an Austalian who collects Qantas FF points it was so great to see this article. Please keep the good work up James with more posts for the Australian readers.

  54. I am currently in Paris having used 156,000 QFF points plus A$700 in taxes and surcharges to fly Gold Coast to Sydney to Bangkok with a 7 day break in Bangkok and then Bangkok to Dubai to Paris all in business class but all flights except the Gold Coast to Sydney were on Emirates A380. When I checked the cost of the flights on emirates.com it was A$7024.73 so i think i got reasonable value. All the Emirates extras came with it chauffeur service in Bangkok, Dubai and Paris and the Dubai connect stay at the LeMeridien in Dubai on my 15 hour layover.

  55. Would love to see a report on the RTW fares.
    We still have a bucket of points to spend after struggling to book one way business flights to Europe in June. Ended up using Virgin points on Singapore Airlines to SIN then QFF points SIN to CDG in F. Looking forward to that shower in the air!

  56. if you can get it.domestic upgrade to business on longer sectors.i did one years ago brisbane to adelaide coming home from the gold coast first time around.going over was in economy.i did not have a lot of points so thought what better use to redeem them early or i will never get to use them.

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