Back in June 2019, Qantas made a big announcement on how the Qantas Frequent Flyer programme was going to be ‘enhanced’, unlocking ‘more benefits’ for members.
It was a particularly interesting announcement insofar as the award charts are concerned: while the premium cabins (premium economy, business and first) redemption requirements are going up between 12.9% and 15% from 18 September 2019, those for economy have actually been reduced immediately since the announcement by up to 10%.
Of course, the increase comes with a slight decrease in the charges and fees you have to pay on top of the points, although it’s nowhere as low as what Krisflyer charges in terms of fees.
I want to fly business or first class. Is it worth redeeming now or later?
If you have plans to travel within the next year, it’s definitely better to redeem them now, even though the fees associated are higher now.
For Singapore to any Australian destinations on the east (Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney) on Qantas or Emirates, you will need to fork out 8,400 more points in return for a $100 savings in fees. So is that a better deal?
Generally, Qantas Points are valued at a significantly lower level than other frequent flyer programmes, given that you need more Qantas points than other frequent flyer programme points in general to redeem for a similar route and product. Given this, one Qantas point can be conservative valued at about 1.5 Singapore cent per point.
So 8,400 points will equate to about S$126, which is more than the S$100 that you will save in fees. Given that points are tougher to accrue, you are better off saving those points. And of course, Emirates business class is always an excellent option if you are headed to Australia, so I won’t think twice about using my Qantas points on them.
If you are flying on oneworld and other partner airlines, note that the points required are also going up by between 5 to 15%, so it’s also high time to make your award bookings before 18 September 2019.
What are Qantas Points good for then?
One of the most unique propositions of Qantas Frequent Flyer is the ability to earn points, status credits, as well as redeem flights on Jetstar. Redemptions on Jetstar services are even sweeter: the points required are lower, and you get free checked baggage allowances with it.
While redemptions on budget carriers are a strict no-no for some, this can be a sweet option if you are exploring a quick hop to some nearby destinations. For instance, a one-way Singapore to Bangkok itinerary will only set you back by 9,600 points each way. Plus, if you have Qantas frequent flyer gold or platinum, that affords you lounge access as well. That’s cheaper than the 12,500 Krisflyer miles you will need for Singapore Airlines economy class, each way.
The cancellation fees are also pretty competitive. For a classic flight reward, the refund fee is 6,000 points, while change fees are at 5,000 points. Given the most conservative valuation of Qantas points, they will equate to about S$90 and S$75 respectively. Comparatively, Singapore Airlines charges USD25 (S$35) for changes and a whopping USD75 ($105) for redepositing of miles if you decide not to use the ticket.