Commonwealth Bank Awards points can be used in one of two ways. They can either be redeemed directly through the CommBank Awards program, or transferred to an airline frequent flyer program. Direct redemption options include gift vouchers, cash back and merchandise, while Qantas Frequent Flyer and Virgin Australia Velocity are transfer partners. So, which redemptions offer the best value?
Earning Qantas points through the CommBank Awards program requires opting in to “Qantas Frequent Flyer Direct” for an additional fee of $30 per year. Once opted in, all points earned are automatically swept into your Qantas account at a rate of 2 Awards points to 1 Qantas point.
If you choose not to opt in to Qantas points, CommBank Awards points will be accumulated. These points can later be transferred to Velocity Frequent Flyer in blocks or spent directly through the bank’s own program.
The best value can arguably be attained by transferring points to either Qantas or Velocity Frequent Flyer. Once transferred, the points can be used for valuable free flights and flight upgrades. And these points don’t just have to be used for flights on Qantas or Virgin Australia; both airlines have a range of partner airlines. In addition, Velocity members have the option of transferring points to the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program.
Just keep in mind that Qantas and Virgin points can also be used to fly on each respective airline’s partners. So you could transfer points to Qantas with the intention of redeeming them for Cathay Pacific or Emirates flights, for example.
Qantas (and Virgin) points can also be used to book hotels, hire cars etc. Although the value is not generally great, it’s better than nothing. The Epiqure suggestion isn’t a bad idea either.
On the other hand, redeeming through CommBank Awards represents relatively poor value. Awards points can be used for merchandise, gift cards, Myer vouchers, Flight Centre credit or cash back. Cash back rewards offer the worst value, with 1 Awards points converting to just 0.4 cents in cash. The other options see Awards points valued at roughly 0.5 cents per point. This is why our members recommend transferring the points elsewhere.
Unfortunately, QFF/VA points for business and business upgrades are probably the best value for CBA redemption. Maybe transfer only to keep your account active?
CommBank Awards is not a highly popular program among our members. Compared to other credit card loyalty programs, it offers fewer transfer partners and poor value on redemptions. While CommBank Awards offers just two airline transfer partners, points in other credit card rewards programs can be transferred to as many as 19 airline and hotel programs!
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