Score Discounted Awards by Combining Qantas Flash Sale With Amex Transfer Bonus

Jun 14, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Qantas Frequent Flyer has been in the points and miles news a lot recently. On May 31, Qantas became the 19th airline partner of American Express Membership Rewards. A few days later, the partnership kicked off in style with a 20% transfer bonus now through June 30.

And now, there’s yet another bit of good news for those looking to book Qantas awards. Qantas just launched a 30% discount flash sale for economy awards. The sale runs now through 11:59pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) on June 16 — that’s 10am US Eastern Time this Sunday.

While the booking window is short, the discounted travel dates are very broad. You can book flights now for travel anytime between July 23, 2019 and March 31, 2020.

There’s no need to enter a promotional code. The discount is automatically applied to eligible itineraries, which (unfortunately) are limited to flights on Qantas, Jetstar and Jetstar Asia flights. So, this is only going to be useful for US-based travelers that are planning to visit Australia now through next March.

There are two possible ways to utilize this promotion: on flights between US-Australia and intra-Australia flights. Let’s take a quick look at how to combine the Amex transfer bonus with the Qantas discount for these flights.

Economy flights between the US West Coast and Australia usually start at 90,000 Qantas miles round-trip. With the 30% discount, these awards now start at 63,000 Qantas miles. Routes include Los Angeles (LAX) to Brisbane (BNE), Melbourne (MEL) and Sydney (SYD) or San Francisco (SFO) to Melbourne (MEL) and Sydney (SYD).

In order to get 63,000 Qantas miles, you’ll need to transfer just 52,500 American Express Membership Rewards. There’s no need to worry about the transfer taking too long. In my testing, Amex points transferred to Qantas instantly.

Economy award flights from Dallas/Forth Worth (DFW) to Sydney (SYD) typically cost 110,000 Qantas miles round-trip but are discounted to 77,000 miles for the next two days. You’d need to transfer just 64,500 Amex points to get enough miles.

That being said, even with the transfer bonus and economy award discounts, these flights generally aren’t going to be worth it. Qantas’ taxes/fees can be quite high. An example itinerary that I priced out between Los Angeles (LAX) and Sydney (SYD) for August cost a whopping US$323 (AU$471) in taxes and fees.

Meanwhile, cash fares between the US and Australia can be quite cheap from West Coast gateways. And while 52,500 Amex points for a round-trip to Qantas may sound good, that’s over $1,000 worth of points based on TPG’s valuations.

However, there are some cases where the cash rate could be high enough that an award flight could make sense. For example, while nonstop flights between the US and Australia can be cheap, flights from smaller US markets or onward inside Australia may be much more expensive but have award availability.

The other place where this promotion could make sense is for domestic flights within Australia. Here’s how the pricing breaks down for some of the most popular tourist flights in Australia:

From To Flight
Miles
Standard
Price
30%
discount
Amex points
needed
Sydney (SYD) Melbourne (MEL) 439 8,000 5,600 4,667
Sydney (SYD) Brisbane (BNE) 467 8,000 5,600 4,667
Brisbane (BNE) Melbourne (MEL) 857 12,000 8,400 7,000
Melbourne (MEL) Alice Springs (ASP) 1,154 12,000 8,400 7,000
Sydney (SYD) Alice Springs (ASP) 1,256 18,000 12,600 10,500

Qantas has some notoriously expensive domestic flights where it holds a monopoly. For example, the 489-mile hop from Sydney to Lord Howe Island starts at AU$322 one-way. If you can find availability, this route is discounted to just 5,600 miles plus AU$86 in taxes and fees. That’s a redemption of 4.2 Australian cents per mile or 2.89 US cents. If you’re transferring points from American Express, you’re going to get an even higher redemption rate.

If you plan to utilize these offers, remember that the flash sale ends on Sunday morning June 16 at 9:59am Eastern Time, so time is running out.

H/T: Loyalty Lobby

Featured image by Ryan Patterson / The Points Guy

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.