Which is the best airline/program to focus on for regular flights to Europe?

Hi PH Community,

I’m after some advice on the best airline/partner program to “align” with for regular European travel.

My partner is Italian and we fly back to Italy at least once a year, so far we have just gone with the cheapest flight we can find. However, now we are looking down the barrel of this for the foreseeable future, the thought of doing it in economy every year is not so enticing.

I already have 170k pts plus with Qantas, however, we all know they aren’t the most flexible points, so am not wed to that program.

Do you have any recommendations on a better airline/program to align with in order to gain increased loyalty/benefits and better redemption on points? For now, we will be economy only, however, would ideally like to start flying premium economy as a minimum.



This is my 2c.

Things are ever changing in the point space, as we have noticed especially in the last 1-2 years.

I always encourage collecting flexible points instead of deciding on one particular program or points to stick to. As if you decide to collect just points A from Program A; and for what ever reason the program devalues (requiring more points for redemption, reduction of available award space, etc), you are stuck with a bunch of points that you struggle to use.

Flexible program include Amex membership reward program. With flexible points, you stock pile the pts. When you need to use them on flights, you check whether there is award space with different airlines before transferring pts to that program that allows you to redeem that seat on that flight.

Qantas and Velocity are the easiest to earn in Australia. This is a double edge sword. More people have Qantas and Velocity points in the disposal->lots of competition when looking for award seats.

For travel to EU, Qantas mostly has options like, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Qatar. However, award space has become a bit eratic for what used to be quite reliable (Emirates and Cathay Pacific).

With Velocity, the 2 main options are Etihad and Singapore Air. I would personally stick with Singapore Air to avoid the large Etihad surcharge. The increase in transfer rate between Velocity and Krisflyer is also problematic if you want to transfer to Krisflyer. Not so much a problem if you use Velocity pts to redeem Singapore Air seats directly.

If you were asking of which programs to start building your status with, it really depends on what airlines you generally fly with. You can credit flights to partner airline programs or alliance member programs. E.g. crediting Thai Airways flights to Krisflyer.

Hope that answers more questions than raising more questions.

Good luck.


Agree with Warren re collecting Amex points and staying flexible as a great option.

It might also be worth finding out whose FF program is likely to be of most use to you and trying to achieve status there. I’m not familiar with anyone’s other than Virgin. My partner has Virgin Platinum status which allows him to ‘request’ economy return reward seats to Europe even where none are showing available, as long as he meets certain conditions, that don’t seem too ridiculous upon reading (I say seem because we’ve not tested it yet). He can book for himself and up to 3 family members. This seems a useful perk considering award bookings can be hard to get.