Complete guide to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program
Due to the vast distances of the Australian Outback and the continent's remote location, Qantas has a rich aviation heritage stretching back more than 100 years. Unfortunately, in the past, the airline hasn't released a large amount of premium award availability on its lucrative flights between North America and Australia.
However, Qantas is part of the Oneworld Alliance, and its simply-named Frequent Flyer program offers award travelers some great redemption opportunities, even if they have no plans to visit Australia.
The Qantas Frequent Flyer program is also interesting because you can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to it — along with Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Points and Marriott Bonvoy points, making them easy to earn.
Here is what you need to know about the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.
Qantas Frequent Flyer Partners
As a founding member of the Oneworld alliance, Qantas lets you earn and redeem Qantas Points on all Oneworld airlines:
- Alaska Airlines.
- American Airlines.
- British Airways.
- Cathay Pacific Airways.
- Fiji Airways.
- Japan Airlines.
- Malaysia Airlines.
- Qatar Airways.
- Royal Air Maroc.
- Royal Jordanian.
- SriLankan Airlines.
Qantas also has a unique and valuable list of non-alliance partner airlines, where you can earn and redeem Qantas Points:
- Air France.
- Air New Zealand*.
- Air Tahiti Nui*.
- Air Vanuatu.
- Bangkok Airways.
- China Airlines*.
- China Eastern.
- El Al.
- Fiji Airways (in the process of joining the Oneworld alliance).
- Solomon Airlines*.
Qantas Elite status
The Qantas Frequent Flyer program offers five status levels to reward and retain frequent flyers:
- Bronze: This is the entry-level status, offering the ability to earn and redeem points for flights and rewards.
- Silver (Oneworld Ruby): Awarded after earning 300 Status Credits per membership year (250 to retain). Members receive priority phone service, check-in, extra baggage allowance and preferred seating.
- Gold (Oneworld Sapphire): Awarded after earning 700 Status Credits per membership year (600 to retain), members also enjoy premium security, Qantas Club and international partner business class lounge access.
- Platinum (Oneworld Emerald): Awarded after earning 1,400 Status Credits per membership year (1,200 to retain), members also receive priority waitlisting, guaranteed economy seat availability and first-class lounge access with Qantas and partner airlines.
- Platinum One (Oneworld Emerald): Awarded after earning 3,600 Status Credits per membership year with the same to retain (2,700 must have been from a Qantas flight number). Members receive the highest upgrade priority, cleared up to seven days before departure. Plus, waived change fees, additional award seats in all classes and free extra legroom seats.
Status credits are only earned from flying Qantas or their partner airlines.
A great perk of holding elite status in the Qantas Frequent Flyer program is access to American Airlines lounges on domestic flights when flying American, which AA does not provide to its AAdvantage elite members.
How to earn Qantas Points
Earn Qantas Points by flying
When you fly Qantas or their partner airlines listed above, you can earn Qantas Points to redeem for flights, upgrades or other rewards provided you list your Qantas Frequent Flyer number on your booking. The amount of points you will earn will depends on the length of the flight and ticket fare class.
Here is the earning rate for American Airlines flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Sydney Airport (SYD), each way:
Transfer points from credit card programs
While there are no Qantas branded credit cards available in the United States, you can transfer rewards from three programs with transferable currencies directly to Qantas Frequent Flyer:
Each of them has a transfer ratio of 1:1, so 10,000 points equal 10,000 Qantas Points.
Other ways to earn
You can also earn Qantas Points for car rental with Avis and Budget, as well as booking hotel stays via the Qantas website with the following accommodation partners:
- Swiss-Belhotel International.
- TFE Hotels.
How to redeem Qantas Points
Qantas uses a distance-based award chart for its best-value but limited inventory "classic flight rewards" for travel on Qantas, Jetstar (Qantas' low-cost subsidiary, when combined with a Qantas flight), Fiji Airways, Air Vanuatu and American Airlines.
Qantas calculates the cost per journey (each way), not per flight, so booking a long-haul flight with a short-haul connecting flight may not need to pay any extra points for the second flight.
Other airline redemption partners, including most Oneworld airlines, also fall under a zoned one-way award chart, though redemption rates are slightly higher.
Things to know
You can search for classic reward flights on qantas.com. Qantas releases award seats to its own members 353 days in advance. It releases seats to partner programs like American Airlines Advantage 331 days in advance. If you are booking Qantas flights with Qantas Points, you have a three-week head start over members of partner programs, which is a huge advantage because these seats book up extremely quickly.
Qantas also offers dynamically priced "any seat rewards," which are significantly more expensive than the amounts in the tables above and rarely offer great value.
Unfortunately, Qantas imposes fuel surcharges on redemptions, which can be substantial, especially on flights operated by Qantas and British Airways.
Qantas business and first class to Australia
Qantas has well-regarded premium products and is especially known for its excellent airport lounges. Flights between North America and Australia fall within Zone 8, so you will need 108,400 points in business class each way or 162,800 points in first class, plus fees, taxes and surcharges. Remember, these seats book up very quickly as soon as they are released 353 days in advance, so book as soon as possible.
You can also book American Airlines flights to Australia using Qantas points for the same prices, though we think Qantas offers a better passenger experience than American does.
Short flights on American Airlines
With American Airlines now operating dynamic pricing on their flights booked with Advantage miles, consider using Qantas Points instead, given the ease of transferring credit card points and the fixed award charts starting from just 8,000 Qantas Points.
The Qantas award chart is priced by one-way journey, not by segment. So, if you were to take two connecting domestic flights on American Airlines with a total journey of 601-1,200 miles, it would cost just 12,000 Qantas Points each way, which is a great deal.
Fly to Israel on El Al
El Al’s own Matmid frequent flyer program is not very highly regarded, and the transfer ratio from the American Express Membership Rewards program makes this option a poor value. However, if you’re looking for awards on Israel’s flag carrier, Qantas is a great option.
For example, flights between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) or Newark Liberty Airport (EWR) and Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) are just under 5,800 miles long, meaning that you can book an economy class award for 38,000 points each way, or a business class award for 90,000 points. From Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), you’re looking at spending 50,300 points each way in economy and 119,200 in business class.
Business class to Europe on American Airlines
Qantas charges just 57,000 Qantas Points each way for travel between New York and London Heathrow Airport (LHR). Both American Airlines and British Airways operate this route multiple times each day. However, if you book American, you will not be subject to the huge fuel surcharges British Airways impose on redemptions.
Domestic flights in Australia
If you're heading Down Under, Qantas has a comprehensive route network across Australia and New Zealand.
Distance-based awards are great for traveling around Australia, starting with one-way flights under 600 miles that will cost you just 8,000 Qantas Points each way in economy or 18,400 in business class. Qantas operates several wide-body aircraft on domestic routes where you can enjoy their flagship fully-flat business class seats, especially on cross-country services between Perth Airport (PER) and the east coast of Australia.
Flights to Fiji
Fiji Airways is a Qantas partner included in the program’s more generous award chart. Flights from Los Angeles to Nadi International Airport (NAN) are just 5,519 miles in distance, which falls just within the award zone for 31,500 points each way in economy and 82,000 points in business each way. You should even be able to add on a short interisland flight for the same price.
Related: Fiji Airways shows off new A350
Round-the-world awards on Oneworld carriers
Qantas is one of a dwindling number of carriers still offering round-the-world awards. You can take flights that cover up to 35,000 miles in distance for 132,400 points in economy, 249,600 points in premium economy and 318,000 in business class.
While routing rules apply, they are quite generous. You can have up to five free stopovers, and you could book an itinerary that would see you visiting five different countries through five different airlines if you fancy trying out different Oneworld carriers.
The Qantas Frequent Flyer program hasn’t historically been the most valuable out there, especially given how little premium award availability they have released on long-haul services. However, there are some decent options for redeeming Qantas Points.
Also, since the program is a handy transfer partner of Citi, Amex and Capital One, you may have a lot of these points at your disposal for your next award trip.
Additional reporting by Jason Steele.