Which frequent flyer program should I commit to: Qantas, Avios or Aeroplan?

I’ve been earning/burning Qantas points for decades, but since I retired 6 years ago, I’ve almost drained my account, so I’m looking for more creative ways of being able to fly business class to Europe and around the world. I am looking to start an Avios subscription shortly, but I’ve also been looking at Aeroplan (Air Canada). So, if I have the choice between Qantas points, Avios or Aeroplan points, which is the “best”? In particular, between Aeroplan and Avios, which gets me the most bang per buck?
As an example, if I wanted to fly Sydney to London, is it better to buy Avios at the top annual subscription rate of 200k pts for GBP1,789, or buy Aeroplan points with a 100% bonus offer? I’m struggling to work out how to compare these different programs.
Any insights would be wonderful.
Many Thanks

If you are now a ‘free agent’ and you aren’t really earning Qantas points anymore, both programs are great options.
It really depends on what you want to get out of your points. You say you are flying to Europe most of the time, so I would start by looking at what airlines I’d like to fly. I’m sure you’ve had lots of experience over the years so you should probably base your decision on that primarily. With you being retired, I think finding suitable dates to redeem flights should be a lot easier than someone fixed on their holidays.

With the subscription offer, you are getting those points over the course of a whole year, so you won’t necessarily suddenly get 200k points right away. The good thing about it is that you can ‘lock’ in the price for points now and don’t have to worry about it. With aeroplan, you will get those purchased points straight away but you are always on the lookout for sales as they come around and there is a limit to how much you can buy. I recall the limits for both Avois and Aeroplan being similar, so if you make more than a return trip a year, you might find that you’ll quickly run out of points to buy.

With Avios, you are getting access to Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qatar, etc. I would wager that actually flying on Qantas will be very rare as they are stingy with awards. Both BA and Cathay have historically been popular for Australians to Europe with good products. With Avios, British Airways has a reward seat guarantee, meaning you will always find at least 2 business class seats released for every single flight they operate as the calendar opens. This can work out very well during the peak periods. The other benefit is you can access Qatar airways reward flights much earlier than Qantas and even Virgin members as Qatar shares the Avios currency. There is great flexibility with the program to transfer between other Avios programs including Iberia and AerClub which have some small hidden gems as well. The downside is that surcharges are very high when redeeming on BA (less on other airlines). In contrast, Aeroplan charges absolutely no surcharges.

Apart from no surcharges, Aeroplan has recently become more attractive to Australians as they recently got access to Singapore Airlines business class reward flights. This is not available to other Star Alliance airline partners, and only to Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines themselves. Singapore Airlines is great for going to Europe as they are quite generous with availability and have a great product with good amount of destinations. Aeroplan has other unique partners not found on any other airline program. One such example is Air Mauritius, which should you ever find Europe boring, can bring you to a lovely island getaway with a direct flight from Perth. I do find that Aeroplan is better for Long-haul redemptions as they have better points redemption rates, whereas Avios excel at short haul flights.

With both programs, you can plan stopovers either for free with BA or just for 5000 points extra with Aeroplan. It can be super lucrative if you do this and fit two desintations in one holiday.

Honestly, you really can’t go wrong with either. If your travels are relatively frequent, it could be worth it to buy points for both as 200k really isn’t that much nowadays. Check out other programs too. Lifemiles is a popular one and runs sales all the time!


Hi djtech
Thanks so much for spending the time and the great detailed info.
I’ve already booked next year’s Oneworld RTW trip, with five stops and 10 flights. I project I’ve got enough points to be able to do that again for '24 and '25. So, I’m planning for a shortfall for our '26 trip which I’ll be booking in late '25. So I’ve got 2.5 years to build up balances.
I think I’ve decided to go with all three programs. I’ll keep accumulating Qantas points as part of my everyday purchasing. (Although this is much reduced over the last few years). Plus I’ll do the 200k Avios subscription and let that build for a year or two. And buy Aeroplan as and when 100% bonuses crop up. So, between them I should be able to stitch together the trips I’m plannig.
But, again, thanks for the input, and if anyone has any further insights into the pros/cons of the 2 programs, please pass them on :slightly_smiling_face:

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Ahh yes your mention of RTW trips have reminded me. A somewhat unique feature of Qantas’ program is their RTW bookings. Neither BA Avios nor Aeroplan have a similar type of booking so RTW is still great value and makes collecting Qantas points still very valuable.

Hi Malcolm, I am in the same boat, I have used all my Qantas points since retiring. If you want to try something different, what I did was join Oman Air’s Sindbad and paid for two Business class Return tickets Melbourne-London for AUD5,250 each. Pretty cheap for an excellent business class in my opinion. As a bonus Oman Air has joined One World, now it is too early to know the details but I am hoping i will get the benefit of using the Sindbad points on OneWorld flights. Cheers Stephen