With over 10 million members, Qantas Frequent Flyer is easily the most popular airline points scheme for Australian travellers. But did you know that you can easily book Qantas Award Flights using the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles frequent flyer program – often for significantly less points and taxes than you’d pay via Qantas itself?
In this guide, we’ll explain how you can book Qantas operated award flights through Asia Miles, saving you significantly on the number of points required and the cost of airline taxes. Pricing used in this guide has been updated to reflect the recent changes made to the Asia Miles award chart.
Earning Cathay Pacific Asia Miles in Australia
Asia Miles should be on every Australian traveller’s radar, and it’s surprisingly easy to earn into the program. Once you have a stash of Asia Miles, you can then easily redeem them for Qantas operated award flights via the Asia Miles website or over the phone.
One of the easiest ways to earn Asia Miles is through an American Express Membership Rewards credit card. American Express Membership Rewards counts Asia Miles among transfer partners, and provides generous earnings via credit cards. Top earning American Express Membership Rewards credit cards are the:
- American Express Explorer Credit Card, which earns 1.5 Asia Miles per $1 on all spend (excluding Govt charges), and
- American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card, which earns 3 Asia Miles per $1 at major supermarkets.
Where could your Asia Miles take you on Qantas Award Flights?
We’ve crunched the numbers on five popular award redemption options, all flying Qantas. Our table provides a comparison between what you’d pay with Asia Miles vs Qantas Frequent Flyer, and we think you’ll be surprised:
|Route (flying Qantas)||Cabin||Points (Asia Miles)||Points (Qantas)||Taxes (Asia Miles)*||Taxes (Qantas)*
|Sydney / Brisbane to Los Angeles (one way)||Business Class||75,000||96,000||$231.35||$464.25|
|Sydney / Brisbane to Los Angeles (return)||Premium Economy||100,000||144,000||$391.84||$708.70
|Syd / Mel to Hong Kong (return)||Premium Economy||70,000||90,000||$255.94||$366.44
|Mel / Syd / Bris to Auckland (return)||Business Class||60,000||72,000||$207.54||$207.54|
*Taxes based on approximate HKD to AUD conversion at the time of writing. These are subject to change
As we’ve highlighted, the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles scheme offers extremely favourable redemption costs when compared to Qantas. Travellers looking to book a business class seat on a Qantas operated flight from Sydney or Brisbane to Los Angeles will save a cool 19,000 points and over $200 in taxes by redeeming via Asia Miles. And booking return premium economy seats on the same route via Asia Miles instead of Qantas Frequent Flyer is a real ‘sweet spot’- you’ll save a whopping 44,000 points plus more than $300 in taxes!
Our table covers just a small number of the routes that you could book via Asia Miles at a much cheaper redemption rate than the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme. And it’s important to remember that Cathay Pacific Asia Miles aren’t just for Qantas – the program offers competitive pricing on other highly regarded OneWorld airline partners such as Qatar Airways, Finnair and Japan Airlines.
Redeeming for flights on Cathay Pacific is also a great way to burn Asia Miles
Cathay Pacific operates flights from a number of Australian cities to Hong Kong. Their business class product is solid and enjoyable to fly, and their lounges in Hong Kong are of an excellent standard. So before you select Qantas for your next flight, it’s worth checking to see if Cathay Pacific might be an option.
Should I book a one way or return ticket?
Prior to the recent award chart chanes, return flights redeemed with Asia Miles used to cost less than double the price of a one-way redemption. However, this discount no longer applies.
You can access the current award points pricing via the Asia Miles online calculator here. The calculator is simple to use, and it allows you to search by different OneWorld carrier airlines.
How can I join Cathay Pacific Asia Miles?
It’s simple and free to join the Asia Miles program from Australia – you can sign up instantly here.
Once your Asia Miles account is up and running, you can link it to your American Express Membership Rewards account and easily start transferring points across. Asia Miles has recently upgraded their website flight search functionality, and flights for Qantas and Cathay Pacific should be bookable online. Flights for some other airline partners need to be booked via the call centre.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles – the bottom line
The Cathay Pacific Asia Miles frequent flyer scheme offers excellent award redemption options for Qantas operated flights and it is very accessible to Australian travellers. While there is currently no direct Asia Miles earning card in Australia, points can be obtained via a number of rewards credit and charge cards, many of which are available directly through American Express.
If the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program isn’t already on your radar, it should be!
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