This article is part of our ongoing Business Travel 101 series for newcomers to the world of business travel.
Having earned a stack of Qantas frequent flyer points from flying or using your credit card for your everyday purchases, you'll want to get the best value out of them.
But it might surprise you to learn that this 'points value' can range anywhere from barely half a cent through to a much more impressive six cents, depending on how and where you use those points.
So if you've got 10,000 Qantas Points on hand, they would be worth as little as $50 or as much as $600 – and naturally you'd be eager to avoid the 'chump change' end of the spectrum.
With that in mind, here are the three worst ways you can possibly use your points. If any of these strategies sound familiar to you, it’s time for a re-think.
1. Shopping for goods at the Qantas Store
You can trade Qantas Points for an array of products at the online Qantas Store, but you'll be saddled with a terrible 'exchange rate' in terms of the actual purchasing power of your points.
Tempted by a new iPhone XS Max 512GB? That'll be 333,970 Qantas Points (512GB model) at the Qantas Store or $2,369 at the Apple Store, delivering a low 0.71c of real value for each Qantas Point.
Or consider the Apple TV 4K, for another example. It can be yours for 43,930 Qantas Points at the Qantas Store, or $249 in real money at the Apple Store. This translates to each of those points having a real-world ‘value’ of an even lower 0.56c.
Of course, when you're shopping around at brick-and-mortar stores or online you'll find prices can sometimes be below retail – and there's always room to haggle and even price-match.
2. Book your next hotel stay
Airline frequent flyer points never stretch as far on the ground as they do in the air, and redeeming Qantas Points for hotel bookings is no exception.
Using dates in mid-January, we found a two-night stay at the Sofitel So Singapore selling for $934 via the Qantas Hotels website when paying with real money…
… but switch the payment method to ‘points’ on the same nights and you’ll be asked for 145,493 Qantas Points to cover the same:
That again puts the return from each frequent flyer point at around 0.64c – even less than that iPhone you were eyeing off!
As the number of Qantas Points needed for a free hotel night is also pegged against the actual price of the room, there’s also no way of knowing how many points you’ll need for a stay until it’s time to book, by which time the cash price, and therefore the points cost, may have changed again.
3. Book your next flight in economy
Using Qantas Points to book travel in economy has never been a great way to use them as the cash amount you’ll also be asked to pay in taxes, fees and airline surcharges can often approach, and sometimes exceed, the price of simply booking your flight during a cut-price sale.
Qantas has improved this somewhat by lowering the number of points needed to fly in economy on many international routes by roughly 10% and the associated carrier charges by 15-40%, with a return trip from Sydney to Singapore now billed at 56,000 Qantas Points and $294.68 in fees.
Compare that to a recent Qantas sale which offered return Sydney-Singapore flights for $599 outright, and each of those 56,000 points kicks in 0.54c of value towards an ultimate cash saving of $304.32.
You’ll find a little more value when cash fares are higher yet frequent flyer award seats are still available at the same cost – such as stretching 1.6c per point when booking a trip that otherwise flight that other sells for $1,200 – but the real value of points very much remains at the pointy end.
So what are some of the best ways to use your Qantas Points?
Upgrades (especially from business class to first class between Sydney/Melbourne and London), a round the world business class ticket and even an indulgent first class flight on an Emirates Airbus A380 from Sydney to Christchurch will all deliver better value for your points!
More AusBT articles for Qantas Frequent Flyers
- How to earn frequent flyer points when paying income tax, HECS
- Five credit card strategies to maximise your frequent flyer points
- Credit card surcharges: worth paying to earn frequent flyer points?
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