There’s Value In Qantas’ Frequent Flyer Program Once You Know Where To Look

by joeheg

We’ve only been on two Qantas flights during our trip to Australia with Adventures by Disney 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 is really “Qantas Frequent Flyer.” Here’s a Cliff Notes-style review of the plan and what you should know.

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.

a map of australia with red lines and pointsa map of the world with red lines

While I flew with Qantas in Australia, it wasn’t because of their loyalty program. There were hardly any ways to earn points in Qantas Frequent Flyer at the time 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 the cost of points redemptions. Basically, the more miles you fly, the more it will cost. A nice thing is that 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).

Qantas Redemptions

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.

a screenshot of a chartJetstar Redemptions

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.a screenshot of a white table

Partner Rewards

This is the catch-all chart for all other airlines:

  • Air France
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Bangkok Airways
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • China Eastern
  • China Airlines
  • El Al
  • Emirates
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • KLM
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • SriLankan Airlines
  • WestJet

a table with numbers and linesOneworld 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.

  • An 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 an oneworld Member Airline.
  • Classic Flight Rewards using the oneworld Classic Flight Reward table (see 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.

a table with numbers and linesWhere 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 Airlines charges 7,500 for these short flights, but British Airways charges 9,000 Avios for the same flight.

British Airways would still charge 9,000 Avios for a flight from MCO to Chicago, but Qantas charges 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.

Using Qantas points is advantageous for long-haul flights in a premium cabin because the airline releases award seats to its members before opening them to partners.

Final Thoughts

For flights on American less than 600 miles, the 8,000-mile award with Qantas is the best you’ll find unless American has the same ticket on sale for 7,500 miles. Due to American Airlines’ limited transfer partners, it may be difficult to book an award flight if you do not have enough American miles. Therefore, Qantas can be a great alternative option as it is a partner of AMEX, Citi, and Capital One. This makes adding points to your account and redeeming them for an award flight easy.

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.

Although I couldn’t identify any flights that offer exceptional value, it’s possible that there are some flights that fall just below a certain mileage threshold, allowing you to save a significant number of miles. However, I am not willing to explore every possibility to determine which flights provide the most value for each type of reward currency. That’s when using an award search tool, like becomes a huge time saver.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Bell21 November 7, 2019 - 6:54 pm

Interesting to see a US perspective on QF — as an Aussie, I can tell you that we don’t rate their frequent flyer program much, esp. As it’s tough to get premium seating internationally especially to us, and taxes are similar to BA — however it is still an important program to us being the major carrier here

joeheg November 7, 2019 - 10:25 pm

We also view finding premium seats internationally on QF as the exception instead of the rule.

Nate March 13, 2022 - 6:33 pm

Qantas is also beneficial in that short haul flights with a stop over under 600 miles also price at 8k whereas BA would charge for each leg.

Bryan March 13, 2022 - 6:48 pm

AA domestic has dynamic pricing for awards.. been this way for a long time… No more 12.5k as standard award price.


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