Are Qantas frequent flyer points becoming pointless to collect?

I have almost 800k qantas frequent points. With all the increases in fees to fly emirates and the general total lack of decent classic rewards seats in business and especially first seats. Even when i look up seats a year in advance I see zero first and only small amount in business.

I find myself thinking that the last 4-5 years of collecting points is almost looking like a complete waste of time. If I cannot use the points then they are worthless. We are forced to plan a trip a year ahead and most people including me dont look that far in advance. Does anyone else feel the same?

One option that I take is book in advance and if the trip doesn’t work out, I change or cancel and take the hit (points or $).

It’s a competitive endeavour to secure premium cabin seats especially when you can earn Qantas points so easily in Australia. I.e. every man, woman, dog has a Qantas membership and probably have equal or more points than you. Some have saved for 20 or more years the old fashion way.

Worst case scenario, your points are definitely worth something. Not nothing. Giftcards (awful value). We just have to adapt to the ever changing situation.

Earn and burn as points will only devalue and not appreciate.

Have you looked at Qatar airways? Since Qantas is hard to come by without status and Emirates has huge surcharge.

[Addition] this is where collecting flexible points (Amex or bank points) is advantageous as you transfer pts to where there are award seats. A good frequent flyer program is one where you find seats in.


Hi @lookie

I have 3 thoughts (and also agree with everything @w.hiew wrote above):

  • In Qantas’ defence, theirs is not the only FF programme where it pays to book a year in advance. Pre-pandemic just about the only way to grab long-haul flights on Cathay Pacific, for example, was to be awake at midnight HK time (3am on the east coast of Australia) to book reward seats minutes after they were released!

  • Qantas is still OK for short-haul redemptions (eg. Domestic and to NZ etc). Long-haul redemptions are another matter, especially if you don’t have Platinum or Gold status.

  • While I still “casually” accumulate Qantas points (via Everyday Rewards, Wellbeing, Red Energy etc) I’ve given up on Qantas points credit cards. It’s much more beneficial to focus on cards that earn points with other FF programmes (either directly or via flexible points programmes such as AmEx Membership Rewards) – in large part because those other FF programmes actually have long-haul availability.

So Qantas points aren’t useless. But yes, the discerning point hacker can do better.

[One recent example: I was wanting to book an economy flight from Amsterdam to Munich on KLM using Qantas points. There was plenty of availability for 10,000 Qantas points plus EUR 80. Then I noticed that if I used Virgin Atlantic points, the same flight would cost 4500 points plus EUR 40. Of course I didn’t hesitate to transfer a few thousand AmEx points to Virgin Atlantic – and was reminded once again of the benefits of diversifying!]

If the only reason you collect points is to redeem them for long haul first and business class seats and you are not prepared to tailor your trip around the availability of rewards seats then yes, collecting points is pointless.

I am quite happy using my points for economy seats, especially during peak periods when cash fares are high, so for me collecting points is still an activity worth pursuing.

Question for you guys who have flexible membership points like the AMEX membership. Does that mean you have to keep an AMEX card active the whole time? I was under the impression if you closed your credit card, they deleted all your membership points. Compare this to getting bonus Qantas points where they get transferred into your Qantas account and even if you close the credit card, you’ve earned those points and they’re yours now.

So my question is, if you need to keep an AMEX card open all the time, then you’d never eligible for the intro bonus on a new AMEX card because you have never done the 18 month blockout wait time.

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Hi @ollie

That’s a really good question. For me, my AmEx Platinum card is one card that I keep permanently (along with the Coles Rewards Mastercard), and churning through other Mastercards and Visa cards to get sign-up bonuses gives me more than enough points for my needs.

For one thing, my Platinum card comes with features such as the extra $400 travel credit with the Platinum Reserve card which has been discontinued for new applications. More to the point, the perks for travellers are just so good: the lounge access, the Accor Plus membership, the travel credits, the flexible transfer partners.

For another thing, the points earning capacity is so good with the AmEx that I can easily earn the equivalent of a sign-up bonus by keeping and using the card for 18 months anyway.

If you have a partner, another strategy would be to swap every 18 months: one partner could refer the other partner, get the referral bonus, and then cancel the card while the second partner gets the sign-up bonus. Then 18 months later, the other partner could refer the first partner and so on.

Finally: my wife and young adult children, who all have supplementary cards, would kill me if I cancelled the card because they’d lose their airport lounge access!

Remember also that points are there to be used and enjoyed, not hoarded. I have no problem reducing my AmEx Membership Rewards points tally to zero, in return for fantastic flight and holiday experiences – and neither should you.

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@sixtyeight makes some very good points!
I’ll just add that if you don’t have a partner to do that earn and churn game, not all is lost! If you don’t fancy paying that $1500 annual fee for an AMEX Platinum each year after getting your sign up bonus, you can often change cards or apply for one of their no annual fee offerings and keep your points balance, not to mention their AMEX offers which are quite decent as well!

Great tips guys. I can see this strat would work on a certain income/spend level with school fees and big expenses etc.
Currently my partner isn’t on income needed for us to duo this strategy but down the track she will be :slight_smile:

Have you looked at other routes that Qantas points can take you to get to your desired destination? In order to get out of the country to Europe I had to book several legs. Jetstar to Singapore, then Finnair to Europe. Previously I’ve booked Japan airlines to Tokyo, then Finnair to Europe.
Emirates is the gold standard, but it can be hard to book in the coming year. As others have suggested, why wait before using your points, I’ve accumulated and then spent my points many times over the last few years. There are so many other routes to utilise to get to where you want to go.
The world is your oyster with that many points, you just need to be patient and explore the different routes.