We’ve only been on two Qantas flights and both of them took place during our trip to Australia with Adventures by Disney, back in 2014. 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 zero interest in crediting flights to or redeeming awards with Qantas’ Frequent Flyer program.
The name of Qantas’ frequent flyer program really is “Qantas Frequent Flyer.” Here’s a 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 earn points in Qantas Frequent Flyer unless you lived in Australia and flew on Qantas.
Times have changed and the Qantas Frequent Flyer program is partners with three transferable currencies.
Qantas Credit Card Partners
Qantas currently partners with:
- American Express Membership Rewards
- Capital One
- Citi ThankYou Points
Flexible points transfer to Qantas at a 1:1 ratio. Based on reports, AMEX points seemingly transfer immediately but 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 determine 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 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 worldwide on their 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). This chart is where you can find some of the best values for short-haul flights.
There’s a different award chart if you’re traveling solely on Jetstar metal. 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 France
- Alaska Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- China Eastern
- China Airlines
- El Al
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Jordanian
- Royal Air Maroc
- 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. 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 look at longer flights, the Qantas program starts to lag. 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. Qantas charges 112,000 to 120,000 miles for flights to Sydney, 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