How to buy points to top-up your Qantas Frequent Flyer account

GUIDE: Buying Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 5 minutes
POSTED: January 3, 2017
UPDATED: January 4, 2017
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Qantas Frequent Flyer

For those who know how to use rewards points effectively, buying them outright can be an option to secure cheaper travel – the cost of the points should be less than otherwise paying for the flight or hotel.

To buy points (like anything) you have to know what kind of price offers good value – so in this guide we’ll look at some of the different ways you can buy Qantas Points – specifically, to top up your account – and if it’s ever worth it.

When you might purchase rewards points

There are two distinct scenarios for buying points that we encounter most often:

  1. Top ups: To buy points to top up an account when you have nearly enough to make a redemption you’ve been saving for, have found the flight or hotel availability, and are ready to book
  2. Outright purchases: buying enough points in one hit to redeem for the total cost of your travel immediately

We cover the basics of buying and points and miles in some detail in our beginners guide.

When it comes to Qantas Points, it is rare to be able to leverage them into outright redemptions – the cost per point is usually not low enough, combined with Qantas redemption pricing being too high, to have this make sense.

So our focus is ‘how to buy enough points for a top up.’

When it comes to target pricing, firstly we value Qantas Points somewhere around 1c to 1.5c per point. When it comes to topping up, you may be willing to pay substantially more given that the number of points needed should be low – and that it will help to secure a specific redemption which might otherwise be lost.

So we’ll set a target acquisition cost of no more than 2.5c per Qantas Point, just to add a filter.

Buying points from the source – Qantas Top Ups

Qantas offer direct purchase of points via the points top ups page – but it’s not cheap. If it were, this article probably wouldn’t need to exist!

At the cheapest end you are paying 4c per point – with 500 Qantas Points on offer for $20. If this were to secure a 192,000 point First Class seat to Europe, then I’d go for that. But otherwise this is going to be too expensive to buy points in any quantity.

At the most expensive end of the scale, the price comes down a bit – right down to 2.375 cents per point, but you’d be buying 60,000 Qantas Points for $1425.

Again, maybe you’d consider that if booking a Qantas Round the World classic redemption in First Class and you were 60,000 points short – but otherwise that’s a no go for smaller top ups.

Qantas top up options also requires you to have a specific flight redemptions in mind that you will probably need to mention to the agent over the phone – however in practice we have found it relatively easy to mention one flight redemption, buy points, and then redeem them at a later time.

You can also only buy 20% of the points you need for the planned redemption, and top-up points can only be purchased twice per account over 12 months.

Buying Qantas Points from American Express as a Platinum Charge cardholder

American Express Platinum Charge cardholders can transfer their Membership Rewards points to Qantas Frequent Flyer. It’s a unique benefit, but the card comes with a $1200 annual fee so it’s only useful to a small number of Qantas Frequent Flyer members.

If you are a Charge cardholder, you can pick up Membership Rewards points directly from American Express for 2.5c per point, which need to be transferred to a partner immediately. For Qantas they transfer on a 1:1 ratio, so you’d be paying 2.5c per Qantas Point.

This is just about OK for small purchases / top ups, but isn’t a widely available option for Qantas Points. Any Amex Membership Rewards cardholder can buy points at that rate, but only the Charge card can transfer them to Qantas.

Buying products and services with a side of bonus points from the transaction

Now we come to some of the less conventional methods – here we’re looking to see if it’s possible to purchase products and services that also offer points. This would either be for the sole purpose of earning points, or buying something you were going to buy anyway, but with bonus points on top.

Buying products to resell

If buying products to resell in order to earn points, there’s a whole other world of considerations – which we won’t cover in this guide. But in short, you’d need to be sure you have demand for the product being resold at a price you are confident of achieving.

That said, if you think you can make it work, the Qantas Online Mall, and probably ebay, would be first place to look for retailers that offer bonus points – especially during a bonus promo period.

The biggest downside to this strategy is risk and timing – you’ll take on risk that you won’t sell the product at the price you set, that it will take a long time to do so – and most importantly in the top-up scenario – the Qantas Online Mall takes a long time (6 weeks usually) to credit the points.

Look at Qantas Epiqure

There’s a reason we round up Qantas’ Epiqure deals each week – they can be pretty lucrative when it comes to earning Qantas Points, plus some wine on top.

Take, for example, one current offer – 6 bottles or Byron and Harold Partners Riesling 2015 for $180, plus 7,000 bonus points. As an Epiqure premium member you would earn 3 points per $ spent plus the bonus.

This offer would yield 7,540 Qantas Points at a cost of 2.38c per Qantas Point. That’s without factoring in the value of the wine! This is an offer at the higher end of the value scale – but they come up fairly frequently.

Qantas Epiqure also meets one of the other criteria for a successful top up – the points credit quickly, usually immediately but in most cases within 24 hours.

On top of that, Epiqure posts as a ‘travel’ transaction with American Express, so holders of the Qantas Ultimate or Platinum Charge cards would earn an additional 3 points or 2 points per $ respectively.

Other options for earning points relatively quickly and easily by paying for them

You could also consider paying your tax bill using the right points-earning credit card as a means to earn points.

More generally, you could also consider bringing forward purchases you would be making anyway on your points earning credit card – think insurance, utilities, and other general household costs – the points may take a few weeks to flow through from your credit card but it’s worth remembering as an option.

And finally for other partners, if you run your own business it may also be worth looking at Qantas’ Aquire program to see if there are any bonus offers running there which you might be able to use.

A word of warning – buying points from others

Qantas offer Qantas Family Transfers which allow transfers between frequent flyer members with very few immediate checks and balances.

Qantas’ terms and conditions specifically forbid you from selling points – even between family members who would otherwise be eligible for family transfers – and if you abuse family transfers of points by using it as a tool to buy and sell points from all and sundry, recent reports are that Qantas is fairly quickly looking at accounts that look suspicious.

For accounts they find suspicious and that can’t prove the transfer was legitimate they are either cancelling the transfer, the flights booked with the points, or the frequent flyer account entirely.

You’ve been warned – so this option is not being discussed in this guide.

Summing up

Buying Qantas Points to top up an account is a useful way to reach that flight redemption more quickly, if you are willing to trade off spending a little in order to increase your balance and secure a flight when you find it.

To do this effectively you need to know how much you are willing to pay for points to reach that redemption goal, and how urgent the purchase is – once you have that in mind, it makes figuring out which options might suit your circumstances a lot easier.