What should you do with your Velocity or Qantas frequent flyer points? Not only is international travel off the cards for the immediate future due to COVID-19, but Virgin Australia is in voluntary administration. Will your stash of frequent flyer points be there post-COVID 19? I have a friend who still laments about losing all his 300,000 points when Ansett collapsed back in September 2001.
Experts advise that booking flights offers the best value for redeeming frequent flyer points in terms of dollars vs points calculation. However, a holiday away even in 6 or 12 months time might not be feasible. How about redeeming the points for immediate use like for groceries?
If you’re like me and was planning to use them on an overseas holiday, have a look and see what else you can redeem them for. Some of the items include domestic flights, hotel and Airbnb accommodation, wine and spirits, electronics, household goods as well as Woolworths gift cards. Keep in mind though depending on what you want, the value of the points differs dramatically. Here are different options to spend your frequent flyer points.
Virgin Airlines paused its Velocity program when it first went into voluntary administartion. However, now it has announced that members can use points for domestic flights starting from 1 September 2020. That assumes that state borders will reopen to domestic travel. Other redemption opportunities aren’t available for the time being.
Qantas Frequent Flyer
With the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, you have a lot more options to use your points.
All Qantas scheduled international flights, except for flights between Australia and New Zealand, are suspended until at least the end of July 2020, due to government restrictions. However, you can use your Classic Flight Rewards to book domestic travel. As part of the minimum domestic and regional network supported by the Australian Government, Qantas is still operating flights between Australian capital cities and to 36 regional destinations.
If you don’t want to use your points to book domestic travel, what about using them for accommodation stays? Choose from hotels and Airbnbs across Australia and book a hotel stay. The points required for accommodation vary dramatically. Stay at the Deluxe Opera House City View room at the Shangri-La in Sydney and it will set you back 53,183 points for the night we selected. Opt for cheaper style accommodation in a regional centre like Port Macquarie and you’ll pay 24,916 points to stay at the Ibis Styles Port Macquarie.
There are no shortage of things to buy using your points on the Qantas Shopping website. Choose from over 8000 products across 970 brands. Choose an Apple Watch Series 5 for 112,870 points, a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer for 175,310 points or the Weber Genesis II BBQ for 278,990 points. You can also redeem your points for gift cards but keep in mind that the value can vary.
In fact, we did a comparison on redeeming points for physical gift card:
- Visa or MasterCard $250 Gift Card – 67,150 points
- Bunnings $250 Gift Card – 53,300 points
- WISH (Woolworths, Big W, etc) $250 Gift Card – 49,050 points
- Myer $250 Gift Card – 46,650 points
- JB Hi-Fi $250 Gift Card- 46,650 points
- David Jones $250 Gift Card – 44, 950 points
- Harvey Norman $250 Gift Card- 44,950 points
Also redeeming points for e-gift cards gives you more value. A $250 Woolworths Group physical gift card required 49,050 points while a digital $250 e-card only needs 47,500 points.
Yes, you can redeem your Qantas points for alcohol in the Qantas Wine Shop. Browse their extensive range of over 2,000 wines, beers and spirits, and gourmet food products.
Shop Mixed Cases of wine. You can select a Brilliant Barossa Dozen featuring 12 wines from the Barossa for 45,360 points (reduced from 53,758) or a Magic Margaret River Dozen for 40,300 points (reduced from 58,121). Or to recreate your flight experience, choose the Travellers Companion Dozen for 33,264 points (reduced from 58,881). These premium wines are all served in-flight or in the Qantas Lounge. There’s also a selection in spirits and beer on which you can spend your frequent flyer points. Choose from gin, vodka and whisky as well as a variety of beer and cider.
If you’re looking for food along with your alcohol, choose the Gourmet Food section of Qantas Wines. Sourced from boutique Australian producers, the offerings include wine paired with a range of gourmet food including meat, seafood, artisan cheeses, and hand-made sweets. All products are delivered direct from the supplier to your door (packed with ice and express-posted when necessary), guaranteeing quality and freshness. A couple of platters to consider include the Barbecue Deluxe + Sangiovese with lamb cutlets, Wagyu beef and Italian sausages and the Deluxe Seafood Platter + Vermentino featuring Heard Island toothfish portions, Moreton bay bug tails, Sydney rock oysters and smoked ocean trout.
So insurance isn’t the most interesting things to spend your frequent flyer points on but it’s still an option. You can pay your Qantas Travel Insurance with points when you book your flight through the Qantas website or you can choose to pay a mixture of points and money to settle your initial premium with Qantas Health Insurance.