With over 10 million members, Qantas Frequent Flyer is the most popular airline points scheme for Australian travellers. But did you know that you can easily book Qantas Award Flights using Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles frequent flyer program – often for significantly less points and taxes than you’d outlay 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.
How to earn Asia Miles in Australia
It’s surprisingly easy to earn Cathay Pacific Asia Miles in Australia, and you can then easily redeem those points for Qantas operated award flights via the Asia Miles website or over the phone.
American Express Membership Rewards counts Asia Miles among transfer partners. Right now, new card members can receive 100,000 Membership Rewards points (the equivalent of 75,000 Asia Miles) plus a stack of other perks with the American Express Explorer Credit Card. The sign on bonus provides you with enough points to redeem a return premium economy ticket from Sydney to San Francisco or from Brisbane to Los Angeles, flying Qantas. The Card offers a 2 point per $1 earn rate on day-to-day spend, smartphone screen insurance and a $400 travel credit which fully offsets the $395 annual fee.
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:
|Route||Cabin||Points (Asia Miles)||Points (Qantas)||Taxes (Asia Miles)*||Taxes (Qantas)|
|Sydney / Brisbane to Los Angeles (one way)||Business Class||70,000||96,000||$231.35||464.25|
|Sydney / Brisbane to Los Angeles (return)||Premium Economy||72,000||144,000||$391.84||$708.70|
|Syd / Mel to Hong Kong (return)||Premium Economy||55,000||90,000||$255.94||$366.44|
|Mel / Syd / Bris to Auckland (return)||Business Class||50,000||72,000||$207.54||$207.54|
*Taxes based on approximate HKD to AUD conversion and are subject to change
As we’ve highlighted, Asia Miles 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 26,000 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 72,000 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 Asia Miles offers competitive pricing for their own metal (Cathay Pacific) plus other highly regarded OneWorld airline partners like Qatar Airways and Japan Airlines.
How to join Asia Miles
It’s simple and free to join Asia Miles from Australia – you can sign up instantly here.
Once your 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 are bookable online. Flights for some other airline partners need to be booked via the call centre.
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 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. The current 100,000 bonus point offer on the American Express Explorer card (transferring to the equivalent of 75,000 Cathay Pacific Asia Miles) could instantly earn you enough points to fly return in premium economy from Sydney or Brisbane to Los Angeles.
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