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Qantas joins Amex Membership Rewards transfer partner list

You can now transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points into the Qantas Frequent Flyer programme

QF A330 Tail 2 (Qantas)

American Express seems to be on a mission to tweak its frequent flyer partner list in Singapore lately, either intentionally or otherwise! Back in May Emirates Skywards was abruptly removed from the list of options, going missing for nearly a month before being re-added, a process that then caused Thai Airways’ Royal Orchid Plus programme to mysteriously vanish for 24 hours.

The latest change is a simple and welcome addition to the list of options. Amex Membership Rewards points in Singapore can now be transferred into the Qantas Frequent Flyer programme, a fourth oneworld transfer option for a range of credit cards including the Amex Platinum, Gold and Centurion.

Qantas Frequent Flyer

You’re now able to transfer blocks of 450 American Express Rewards points to transfer into 250 Qantas Frequent Flyer points, the standard ratio for Amex to airline miles transfers.

Amex QFF

Note: If you hold the Amex Centurion or Platinum Charge cards in Singapore, you’ll only need 400 points per block of 250 airline miles, including transfers into the Qantas programme.

Before you get too excited, Qantas Frequent Flyer is not a particularly valuable programme to hold miles in if you’re based in Singapore.

Here’s the airline’s distance-based redemption chart for ‘Classic Flight Rewards’ (the only ones you should ever be booking) on its own services, plus those of selected partners:

QFFtrans

Classic Table
(click to enlarge)

That means shelling out the following one-way miles rates on the airline’s Singapore to Australia flights:

  • Economy: 25,200 (PER: 20,300)
  • Premium Economy: 51,300
  • Business: 68,400 (PER: 57,000)
  • First: 102,600

While to or from London it’ll set you back:

  • Economy: 37,600
  • Premium Economy: 71,100
  • Business: 94,900
  • First: 142,300

These are uncompetitive rates if you compare to using KrisFlyer miles with Singapore Airlines, or even alternative Amex oneworld transfer options like Asia Miles and Avios on Qantas flights themselves.

Qantas A380 Business 2
Redeeming Qantas flights from Singapore is usually cheaper with other oneworld frequent flyer programmes. (Photo: Qantas)

As a oneworld airline, you can also use Qantas Frequent Flyer points to redeem on a host of alliance partners, at the following rates:

QFFtrans

Partner Table
(click to enlarge)

Qantas Frequent Flyer points can currently be used to redeem Emirates award flights between Singapore and Dubai in Business Class for 68,400 points, 5% less than the 72,500 Emirates Skywards miles required for the same journey.

Unfortunately earlier this month Qantas announced a hike to its redemption rates on Emirates, moving the Middle East carrier’s flights into its generic ‘Partner Rewards’ table for bookings made from 1st September 2020.

EK 77W New Business 2 (Emirates)
There’s a brief ‘sweet spot’ for Emirates award tickets between Singapore and Dubai for 68,400 Qantas Points, but only if you book before 1st September 2020. (Photo: Emirates)

That doesn’t mean there’s no time to take advantage of some small savings here and there on the Emirates network, but frankly with Skywards as an Amex rewards partner there’s really no big incentive to transfer into Qantas miles, assuming it’s an Emirates award ticket you’re after.

Qantas Frequent Flyer unlocks Jetstar awards

Another aspect of Qantas Frequent Flyer points is the ability to use them based on fixed distance zones to redeem Jetstar and Jetstar Asia flights from Singapore.

3K Award Table
Qantas Frequent Flyer rates when redeeming on Jetstar flights

This is rarely good value, Jetstar is a low-cost airline after all and rarely makes its more expensive last-minute seats available to QFF members.

Jetstar Asia A320 Phuket (Sudpoth Sirirattanasakul SS)
Qantas Frequent Flyer points also unlock award seats on Jetstar. (Photo: Sudpoth Sirirattanasaku / Shutterstock)

In August last year however Qantas and Jetstar ran a promotion offering any available seat on a Jetstar Asia flight for redemption, providing the rare opportunity to redeem at 3 cents per mile of value on more expensive routes in Economy Class, such as to Okinawa in Japan.

These kind of options are never available on Scoot, where your KrisFlyer miles give you a fixed (and truly lousy) 0.9 cents per mile off whatever fare is being charged.

All your FFP transfer options

Here’s an update to our table of bank to loyalty programme transfer chart, reflecting this reinstatement from the Amex programme.

June 2020
AMEXtrans BOCtrans2 CITItrans DBStrans2 HSBCtrans2 MAYBANKtrans2 OCBCtrans2 SCtrans2 UOBtrans2
Star Alliance Star KF Logo trans Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick
BR Tick Tick Tick
TKtrans Tick
TGtrans Tick Tick
MMtrans Tick
UAnewtrans Tick
oneworld AM Logo trans Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick
AVIOStrans Tick Tick
MHtrans Tick Tick Tick
QRtrans Tick Tick
QFF Tick Tick Tick Tick
SkyTeam Circle CItrans Tick
AFKLtrans Tick Tick
Others Circle EYtrans Tick Tick
EKtrans Tick Tick

DOWNLOADABLE VERSION HERE

Amex Membership Rewards in Singapore is now level pegging with Standard Chartered as the credit card provider with the second largest selection of transfer partners in town, with a total of nine options.

Only Citi beats this range, with its points transferring into 11 partner airlines.

Here’s a list of the schemes you can convert into from Amex Membership Rewards as of 12th June 2020:

  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • British Airways Avios
  • Eva Air Infinity Mileagelands
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Malaysia Enrich
  • China Airlines Dynasty Flyer
  • Thai Royal Orchid Plus
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer

AMEX Jun20v4

You can also continue to convert your Amex Membership Rewards points into:

  • Hilton Honors (1,000 MR > 1,250 points)
  • Marriott Bonvoy (1,000 MR > 1,000 points)

Fast transfers

Interestingly, Qantas is the only American Express airline partner in Singapore promising a fast transfer turnaround. While the other programmes range from two to eight weeks for the points or miles to arrive in your account, with Qantas the estimated transfer time is “up to one business day”.

That sounds close to instant to us, so it will be interesting to gather some data points from readers as to just how quick it really is.

Summary

More airline partner choice for your credit card points is always a good thing, so we’re by no means complaining about Qantas Frequent Flyer being added to the list of transfer partners for the American Express Rewards programme here in Singapore.

If you already have a Qantas points balance, or use the scheme to redeem domestic flights in Australia, it might well be of interest to you.

QF 789 2 (Qantas)
(Photo: Qantas)

Indeed there’s still a ‘sweet spot’ of sorts if you use Qantas points to redeem Emirates flights between Singapore and Dubai in Business Class before 1st September 2020.

For most of our readers though, there will be no incentive to transfer their American Express Membership Rewards points into Qantas Frequent Flyer points.

(Cover Photo: Qantas)

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