Running the numbers and coming up with a valuation for Qantas’ mileage program was an exercise in frustration and disappointment, starting with their name. Seriously, nobody at their corporate office could put on their thinking cap and come up with a catchier name for their frequent flyer program than “Frequent Flyer”? Of course, we’re not nearly as concerned with the branding as we are with the absolutely awful redemption options.
First though, a little primer on how you’re 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. The catch however, is that you 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 $0.0010 per Qantas Frequent Flyer Mile.
|Intra-APAC Non-zero Average||0.0052|
|International Non-zero Average||0.0052|
|Overall Non-zero Average||$0.0052|
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.
When paying with points, expect to give up your award miles for just about nothing. We’re typically seeing exchange rates of about $0.0052 as compared to low price cash alternatives.
Qantas’ Frequent Flyer program will likely not be on the radar of a US based traveler. The only person who might consider them would be a desperate Citi card holder looking to unload a bunch of ThankYou Points for nearly nothing. Maybe during a divorce?? Joking aside, consider this loyalty program among the worst in the world.