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In June 2019, American Express added Qantas as a transfer partner and a week later we saw their first transfer bonus. Well, it appears that the offer is back.
This transfer bonus does appear to be targeted but, in my opinion, widely targeted so everyone should be seeing this in their Membership Rewards account. As you can see, it’s a 20% transfer bonus that does NOT have an expiration date.
DO YOU HAVE THE BONUS?
To see if you have an offer, follow these easy steps:
- Log in to your account at AmericanExpress.com
- Click on “Explore Rewards”
- Find “Transfer Points” and click “View All” to see all transfer partners
- Find Qantas and see what your offer is
Note: It should also be noted that Qantas is also a transfer partner of the Citi ThankYou program. If you find that you may not have enough Amex points to cover a redemption, Citi is another potential source.
SHOULD I TRANSFER MY POINTS TO QANTAS?
As always, it depends on your travel goals, however, if you’re not familiar with Qantas, let’s discuss a few points of consideration.
First, Qantas is a member of the oneworld alliance so their points can be used to fly on their partners (e.g. American, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qatar, etc.) but you should also be aware of the surcharges that Qantas adds to most of their awards.
Let’s take a look at the Qantas award chart for travel on Qantas, Fiji, and American (in addition to a few others)…
…and for using Qantas Points to travel on partners (e.g. Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, El Al, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, etc.)…
Plain and simple, those are some expensive awards.
Let’s take a quick example…Qantas flies non-stop from Los Angeles to Sydney which is 7,488 miles.
Per the award chart (the initial chart above), a one-way Business class flight on Qantas would cost you 96,000 points. Yowzers!!
As a point of comparison, Alaska Airlines will charge you 70,000 miles to fly in Qantas’ First class.
Business class for 96k or First Class for 70k??? <– Stick with me, I’ll never lead you astray!
I admit, I haven’t given you much hope concerning this transfer but I want to highlight a few “sweetspots.”
SWEET SPOT #1: EL AL
Long story short…Qantas doesn’t add surcharges to awards on EL AL so Qantas can be a good way of booking premuim cabin awards to Tel Aviv (where EL AL is based). El AL flies to 7 airports in the US but the cheapest airports are going to be Boston, New York (JFK), and Toronto. All of these locations, per the award chart, costs 78k one-way in business. Once you factor in the 20% bonus, it would only costs 65,000. That’s really good for a flight that’s nearly 11 hours in length.
SWEET SPOT #2: Emirates
This redemption will take a bit of research on your part but there is some extreme value to be had. In certain circumstances, Qantas is the best program for First class redemptions on Emirates, particularly for shorter flights. Again, once you factor in the 20% bonus, it looks even better.
Sweet Spot #3: American Airlines
Qantas charges fewer miles than AA charges on many itineraries under 1,200 miles one-way. The “standard” American Airlines economy class domestic SAAver award costs 12,500 miles one-way, Qantas charges as few as 8,000 miles one-way (for itineraries covering a distance of less than 600 miles each way). However, this route can get complicated as American has been recently implemented variable SAAver pricing, so there are times when you’ll find even better mileage deals with AA (e.g. Philadelphia to Los Angeles for 5,000 miles one-way).
In my opinion, Qantas award redemptions are fairly expensive. Tack on the surcharges and I don’t find them very attractive at all. However, the two sweetspots” are worth considering if your travels may involve, either EL or Emirates.
I’m not about to claim that there’s any exceptional value to be had here but, given the limited options out there, Qantas Points can be a good way to save money if you’re looking to fly to Tel Aviv in any kind of comfort.
Personally, it’s annoying that an expiration date was not applied to this offer. Historically, that means that the offer can be pulled at any time so if you’re interested in making a transfer, I’d do it sooner than later.
Is anyone taking advantage of the American Express transfer bonus to Qantas?