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Transferable points currencies get their value from the flexibility they afford to travelers. This is why, in TPG’s monthly valuations, you’ll typically see that these programs are valued higher than any of their individual transfer partners.
We’ve seen a good amount of competition in the world of transferable points, and last month, corporate card issuer Brex became the latest company to add point transfers — in addition to launching a 100,000-point bonus on the Brex World Elite Mastercard. The company has brought 21st-century technology to the business of corporate card issuance, and now its customers are able to transfer their Brex Exclusive points to the following six airlines:
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Singapore KrisFlyer
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
These six partners are just the beginning of Brex’s new transferable points program, and these options include two airlines from each of the three major alliances, giving you the ability to redeem your points to travel just about anywhere on the globe. After reviewing the options for SkyTeam and Star Alliance, today we’re going to take a look at the best ways to redeem your Brex points on Oneworld airlines.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program can be a great option for booking Oneworld award flights, though awards on Cathay Pacific metal are priced differently than alliance partners. The program uses a distance-based formula for pricing award flights, and here are those prices for flights on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon:
Because of Hong Kong’s geographic location, Cathay Pacific operates a number of ultra-long-haul flights, including to the East Coast of the US. These (of course) are the priciest awards, and while 125,000 miles might seem like a lot, I would happily pay that for 16 hours of first class bliss. Flights to the West Coast of the US are a steal by comparison, including 70,000 miles for business class or only 30,000 miles for economy flights.
Another option worth considering would be booking short-haul, business-class flights around Asia. For just a small premium over economy, you can fly on some flights of ~3-5 hours with a lie-flat seat and enjoy Cathay Pacific’s incredible lounges in Hong Kong.
Understanding Asia Miles’ partner award pricing is a little trickier, as the website doesn’t display partner award charts. You’ll need to do a bit of research here, but your flights will still be subject to a distance-based award chart. You can score a good deal on medium-length American Airlines awards, such as New York (JFK) to Chicago (ORD). The 10,000 miles you’ll pay with Asia Miles is cheaper than the 12,500 miles AA would charge.
Asia Miles can also be a great way to book American Airlines transcontinental flights, especially on premium routes (such as New York to LA and San Francisco) that are operated by the carrier’s specially-configured Airbus A321T aircraft. These three cabin planes feature lie-flat first and business class, and premium passengers enjoy access to American’s Flagship Lounges. If you’re booked into first class, you’ll also enjoy access to AA’s Flagship First Dining experience on the ground. One-way awards on these transcontinental routes cost the following amount of miles, though premium cabin award space can be hard to come by:
- Economy: 15,000 miles
- Business: 30,000 miles
- First: 45,000 miles
You’ll also enjoy some moderate savings booking shorter transatlantic flights from the East Coast to Europe for only 25,000 miles each way in economy or 50,000 miles in business class. If you were to fly from Los Angeles (LAX) instead, it would cost you 40,000 miles in economy or 75,000 miles in business.
In addition to its Oneworld partners, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles also partners with two other valuable North American carriers: Alaska Airlines and Air Canada. Alaska is a great option because it tends to release more saver level award space than American Airlines, and it has a much more robust route network from the West Coast to Hawaii. You can fly from a number of cities — including San Diego (SAN), Oakland (OAK), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA) and Portland (PDX) — to most major Hawaiian airports on Alaska Airlines for only 15,000 miles each way in economy.
Asia Miles has a much more limited partnership with Air Canada, and only allows mileage redemptions on the following routes:
Flights redemption are available for marketed and operated by AC (or affiliates) between cities listed below:
– Vancouver and Calgary, Montreal, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Victoria, Kelowna, Toronto
– Toronto and Montreal, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Saskatoon, Regina, Halifax, Quebec, St John’s
These flights will cost between 10,000 and 20,000 miles each way in economy, depending on the distance.
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Maximizing Qantas’ Frequent Flyer program requires a little more effort, as the program’s distance-based award chart is not priced very attractively. Like Asia Miles, there are separate award charts for flights on Qantas (and select partners) and for flights operated by most other Oneworld airlines. The chart for Qantas-operated flights is shown below, though note that Qantas will be changing its award chart effective September 18, 2019.
Even Qantas’ shortest flights to and from the US cover a distance of about ~7,500 flight miles, meaning you’ll have to pay 45,000 points in economy or a whopping 96,000 points in business class for a one-way award.
Unfortunately the award chart for Oneworld partners is even less appealing, but there are still a few good uses of Qantas points. While non-alliance partner El Al doesn’t have the best premium class cabins, it has often been a necessity as one of the few carriers offering nonstop flights from the US to Israel. However, it’s gaining real credibility as it takes delivery of new 787 Dreamliners with a competitive business class cabin. El Al’s Matmid loyalty program isn’t terribly valuable, but with Qantas, you can book business-class awards between Newark (EWR) and Tel Aviv (TLV) for only 78,000 points each way.
As with most distance-based award charts, the best values often come on the shortest flights, including American Airlines awards starting at 8,000 points (for flights under 600 miles) or short hops around Australia for the same price. If you’re based out of one of American’s fortress hubs like Miami (MIA), you can book flights to a number of tropical destinations like Cancun (CUN), Nassau (NAS), Kingston, Jamaica (KIN) or the Cayman Islands (GCM) for only 8,000 Qantas points each way in economy.
Brex is giving its customers an incredible new opportunity by adding airline transfer partners to its Exclusive Rewards program. This list of transfer partners is a great first step from Brex, as cardholders now have multiple options from which to choose in each major airline alliance. This gives customers plenty of flexibility to book the exact flights they need. Hopefully this is just the beginning, and we’ll see even more transfer partners added in the future.
APPLY NOW: 100,000-point sign-up bonus on the Brex World Elite Mastercard after you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
Featured image by Anna Zvereva via Wikipedia
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