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 is ever worth it.
Note: Qantas Points expire after 18 months of inactivity in your account, make sure to keep your account active by earning/redeeming points regularly.
When you might purchase rewards points
There are two distinct scenarios for buying points that we encounter most often:
- Top-ups: buying points to top up an account when you have nearly enough to make a redemption you have been saving for, have found the flight or hotel availability, and are ready to book
- 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 beginner’s 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 here is how to buy enough points for a top-up.
When it comes to target pricing, firstly we value Qantas Points at 1.4c 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 is not cheap. If it were, this article probably would not need to exist!
At the cheapest end, you are paying 4.9c per point, with 1,000 Qantas Points on offer for $49. 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 ~2.36c per point but you would be buying 150,000 Qantas Points for $3,549.
Again, maybe you would consider that if booking a oneworld Classic Flight Reward in First Class and you were some points short but, otherwise, that is a no-go for smaller top-ups.
If you have a Visa, Mastercard or American Express card, you can top up online. If you have a Diners Card or JCB card, you will need to phone Qantas and from 24 October 2018, there is a flat $35 fee for processing the purchase over the phone.
If you call up, you may need to have a specific flight redemption in mind that you will probably need to mention to the phone agent. However, in practice, we have found it relatively easy to mention one flight redemption, buy points, and then redeem them at a later time.
Note this other important information:
- Points may be purchased in blocks of 1,000
- Minimum 1,000 to maximum 150,000 points per purchase, depending on your current points balance, e.g. you may only be able to buy 25% of the points you need for your planned redemption
- Top-up points can be purchased four times per member in a 12-month period
- You must be a Qantas Frequent Flyer member for at least 30 days before purchasing top-up points online
- After your top-up points purchase, you’ll need to log out of your account then log back in again to see your updated points balance
Buying Qantas Points from American Express as a Platinum Charge cardholder
American Express Platinum Charge Card Members can transfer their Membership Rewards points to Qantas Frequent Flyer. It is a unique benefit but the card comes with a high annual fee, so it is 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 at a 1:1 ratio, so you would be paying 2.5c per Qantas Point.
This is just about OK for small purchases or top-ups but is not a widely available option for Qantas Points. Note that any Amex Membership Rewards cardholder can buy Membership Rewards points at that rate but only those with Ascent Premium points, i.e. Platinum and Business Platinum Charge Card Members, 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 are looking to see if it is 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 is a whole other world of considerations, which I will not cover in this guide but, in short, you would 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 will take on risk that you will not sell the product at the price you set, that it will take a long time to do so and/or, most importantly in the top-up scenario, the Qantas Online Mall takes a long time (often 6-8 weeks) to credit the points.
Consider Qantas Wine
There is a reason we round up Qantas Wine’s deals—they can be pretty lucrative when it comes to earning Qantas Points, plus you get some wine on top.
Take this example offer: six bottles of Byron and Harold Partners Riesling 2015 for $180, plus 7,000 bonus Qantas Points. As an 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—and that is 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 Wine also meets one of the other criteria for a successful top-up—the points credit quickly, often the same day but in most cases within 3-5 business days.
On top of that, Qantas Wine posts as a ‘travel’ transaction with American Express, so holders of the Qantas American Express Ultimate or American Express Platinum Charge card would earn an additional points for Qantas spend.
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. Whilst the points may take a few weeks to flow through from your credit card but it is worth remembering as an option.
And, finally, for other partners, if you run your own business it may also be worth looking at the Qantas Business Rewards 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 cannot prove the transfer was legitimate, they will either cancel the transfer, the flights booked with the points or the frequent flyer account entirely.
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.
You can also buy Velocity Points for redemptions on Virgin Australia and its partner airlines.
Have you used any of these methods to purchase Qantas Points? Share your experience in the comments below!