We’ve only been on two Qantas flights in each of our respective lives. Both of them took place during our trip to Australia with Adventures by Disney. I didn’t have a Qantas account at the time, however, I did try to get retro credit for the flights with one of their partners (I think it was American). Besides that, I had absolutely zero interest in crediting flights to or redeeming awards with Qantas’ Frequent Flyer program.
Oh, just so you know, I’m not being lazy. The real name of Qantas’ frequent flyer program is “Qantas Frequent Flyer.” I’m going to make Cliff Notes-style review of the plan and the things you should know about.
Qantas is the flag carrier airline of Australia and is a member of the Oneworld alliance. Their route network covers most of Australia and New Zealand as well as flights to Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, and North America.
While I flew with Qantas in Australia, it wasn’t because of their loyalty program. At the time, there were hardly any ways to earns points in Qantas Frequent Flyer unless you lived in Australia and flew on Qantas.
Times have changed and the Qantas Frequent Flyer program is now partners with three transferable currencies.
When I talked with Ed Pizza on the NowBoarding podcast, one of the topics was a transfer bonus from Capital One to Qantas. While I was familiar with the bonus, I admitted that Qantas was one program I didn’t know much about but had wanted to look into more. So I did 🙂
Qantas Credit Card Partners
The only way I’m going to get enough points in the Qantas Frequent Flyer program to redeem for a free flight would be to transfer points from a credit card program.
Qantas currently partners with:
- American Express Membership Rewards
- Capital One
- Citi ThankYou Points
While AMEX and Citi points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, Capital One points transfer at a 2:1.5 ratio. 2,000 Capital One points = 1,500 Qantas points. It does pay to know that AMEX points seemingly transfer immediately, Capital One and Citi transfers can take a few days. That matters if you have an award ticket that you want to book NOW!
Once you have points transferred to Qantas, what do you do with them? The Qantas program utilizes mileage charts to figure out how many points redemptions will cost. Basically, the more miles you fly, the more it will cost. A nice thing is they’ll consider a connecting flight as one trip and add the miles of the two flights together instead of charging you the miles for each individual flight (like British Airways).
Of course, you’re able to redeem your miles for Qantas flights. They have a short-haul route map that covers most of Australia and long-haul flights around the world on their own metal. This category also includes airlines where Qantas has an ownership interest (Jetstar, Fiji), ones that share the Qantas Frequent Flyer Program (Air Vanuatu and Airnorth) or are part of a Joint Venture with Qantas (American and Emirates). This chart is where some of the best values can be found for short-haul flights.
If you’re traveling solely on Jetstar metal, there’s a different award chart. Rewards are cheaper than the Qantas chart because Jetstar is a lower-cost carrier.
This is the catch-all chart for all other airlines.
- Air Niugini
- Alaska Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Dragon
- Cathay Pacific
- China Eastern
- China Airlines
- El Al
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Jordanian
- S7 Airlines
- SriLankan Airlines
Oneworld Flight Rewards
This reward chart is for flights that are only on Oneworld partner airlines. It has to include travel on at least two airlines other than Qantas and it can not include any flights on a non-Oneworld airline. Qantas flights operated by Jetstar (and there are many of them) can not be included in these rewards.
These awards are only for round-trip tickets, no one-ways. I’m not an expert but this looks to be like a round-the world-ticket.
- A oneworld Classic Flight Reward is a Classic Flight Reward Itinerary that includes travel on at least two oneworld Member Airlines other than Qantas and does not include any travel on any airline that is not a oneworld Member Airline.
- Classic Flight Rewards using the oneworld Classic Flight Reward table (see qantas.com for the table) must be no more than a distance of 56,315 kilometres (35,000 miles). Longer journeys must be broken into separate Itineraries.
- A one way oneworld Classic Flight Reward Itinerary will be charged as a return Itinerary. oneworld Classic Flight Reward Itineraries finishing in a port other than the port of origin must include the distance to return directly to the port of origin when calculating the number of Qantas Points required to redeem the Flight Reward and the maximum distance for the Itinerary.
- The following Stopover conditions apply to oneworld Classic Flight Rewards:
- (a) up to five free Stopovers are permitted;
- (b) additional Stopovers are not permitted;
- (c) only one Stopover is permitted in any one city in the Itinerary; and
- (d) only two Transfers may be taken at any one city in the Itinerary.
- Surface Segments are permitted as part of oneworld Classic Flight Reward Itineraries, but the distance between the disembarkation point and the next embarkation point will be included in the Reward Point zone calculation for that Itinerary.
- Where mixed-class travel is booked in a oneworld Classic Flight Reward, the whole Itinerary will be calculated using the Qantas Points level for the highest class booked.
Where do I see value?
Right away, I see that short-haul flights on American seem to stand out. A flight from Orlando to Charlotte will only cost 8,000 miles each way. American only charges 7,500 for these short flights but British Airways charges 9,000 Avios for the same flight.
For a flight from MCO-Chicago, British Airways still would charge 9,000 Avios but Qantas is charging 12,000 miles and American charges 12,500.
When you get to look at longer flights, the Qantas program starts to lag behind. American’s flat-rate domestic award of 12,500 is not the cheapest, with British Airways charging 18,500+ Avios and Qantas charging 25,000 miles for the one-way ticket.
When looking at a long haul flight, Qantas seems even more expensive. For flights to Sydney, Qantas is charging 112,000 to 120,000 miles while you can book a ticket with ANA miles on United for around 75,000 miles.
I even checked flights in Australia. Qantas was rarely the cheapest with their awards on Jetstar flights being more expensive than using Avios flights to travel on Qantas routes.
For flights on American less than 600 miles, the 8,000-mile award with Qantas is the best you’ll find unless if American has the same ticket on sale for 7,500 miles. American doesn’t have any transfer partners so if you don’t have any American miles, that’s an unbookable award so Qantas is the next best choice. With Qantas being a partner of AMEX, Citi and Capital One, it’s easy to add points to your account.
So my suggestion is to be aware of Qantas. If you fly a route where their points might be valuable, be sure to check it out before booking something else.
Now just because I didn’t find any hidden gems, I’m not saying there’s not a flight that sneaks in right under a mileage band number that could save you thousands of miles. I’m just not going to sit here and go through all the possibilities to see which flights work out the best for each point currency.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary