Updated January 21st, 2020
Calculating a valuation for Qantas’ mileage program was an exercise in frustration and disappointment. This was primarily due to the fact that one typically cannot view award booking fees/taxes unless one has the required mileage on-hand. In practice, this means that Qantas Frequent Flyer is of limited use to those looking to transfer Membership Rewards or ThankYou Points to the program.
But before we go on, a little primer on how one is able to redeem:
- Qantas Classic Awards – These are you’re typical frequent flyer mile awards, they follow Qantas’s award chart and don’t tie to cash prices. This is almost universally where you’ll find the best award redemption values. However, Qantas very frustratingly does not quote required fees/surcharges until checkout. However, one must have enough miles available to proceed to this point. This limitation makes Qantas all but useless as a transfer option, with one exception.
- Pay With Points – Under this redemption plan, you’re points are more like a foreign currency than an award mile. You’d book your flight and “pay” using your points, the caveat being that the exchange rate is generally abysmal.
As we’re unable to calculate the true value of a classic award without fee’s being readily viewable, we’re stuck running valuations using the “Pay with Points” plan, to disastrous results. With all this in mind, we sadly, but rightfully, are assigning an ACRV of 0.08¢ per Qantas Frequent Flyer Mile.
Whenever presenting low’ish valuations, I always like to remind readers what this number means. It’s a discounted average, not a hypothetical best-case. Exact calculation steps are documented on our valuation methodology page.
|Current||Previous Period||$ Change||% Change|
|Intra-US Non-Zero Average||0.34¢||0.52¢||-0.18¢||-35%|
|International Non-Zero Average||0.54¢||0.52¢||+0.02¢||+4%|
As mentioned above, the classic award booking system does not quote fees “until it’s too late”. However, if you’re searching for flights using the pay with points model, and a given flight happens to be bookable as a classic award, it is displayed, along with required fees. So, while it doesn’t happen often, which also leads us to believe that overall award availability is terrible, it does give one an outside chance at a decent redemption.
That said, perhaps the even bigger challenge faced by those looking to book classic awards is the fact that when searching for cash/pay-with-points fares, city pairs are limited. Conversely, if one selects “use points” the entire breath of the Oneworld alliance becomes available. But of course, this is of little use as taxes/fees are not viewable.
When paying with points, expect to give up your award miles for just about nothing. We’re typically seeing exchange rates of about 0.34¢ as compared to low price cash alternatives.
When looking at the dismal award availabilty of 25.93% above, keep our valuation method in mind. The actual number of flights with award space is likely much higher. But because we don’t have associated taxes/fees, we don’t include them.
Our best redemtpion for the month comes from a classic award that slipped into our pay-with-points searches. A business-class seat between Sydney(SYD) and Los Angeles(LAX) was offered for 108,400 miles + US$246 in fees. The lowest-priced cash alternative was $2,007, provided an acceptable redemption value of 1.62¢.
Compared to It’s Geographical Peers
|Program||Points Reckoning ACRV||Non-Zero Average||Updated|
|ANA Mileage Club||0.78||2.28||01/17/2020|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||0.48||1.59||01/21/2020|
|Garuda Indonesia - NLS||0.08||0.78||02/26/2018|
|Malaysia Airlines - NLS||0.15||0.58||02/25/2018|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||0.08||0.44||01/21/2020|
|Thai Airways - NLS||0.00||0.00||02/26/2018|
|Jet Airways - NLS||0.00||0.00||04/17/2019|