How the Worth of Qantas & Velocity Points Has ChangedIn just a few years, frequent flyer programs have changed a lot. But how has this all changed the value of a frequent flyer point over time?

We calculated the exact value of one frequent flyer point in both the Qantas Frequent Flyer and Virgin Australia Velocity programs, depending on how the point was spent, around four years ago. This week, we ran exactly the same calculations. You may be surprised by just how much the value of a frequent flyer point has changed in just four years!

How much is a Qantas point worth in 2015 vs 2019?

The dollar value of Qantas points depends on how they’re redeemed. In general,  you’ll get more value by redeeming your frequent flyer points for upgrades and reward flights – particularly Business and First Class bookings. Spending your points on the ground for things like gift cards or toasters is not a good use of points for most people.

So, how much exactly is one Qantas point worth? Here’s the value you’ll get for different types of redemptions now, compared to 4 years ago…

The value of a Qantas Frequent Flyer point

For the purposes of this chart, we’ve used the Melbourne-Sydney route as the benchmark for domestic reward flights & upgrades, and the Sydney-Los Angeles route for international flights.

Interestingly, almost all redemptions are now worth less than 4 years ago. The only redemption where you’ll get better value for your Qantas points now is at the Qantas Shopping Rewards Store… which tells you quite a lot about the direction frequent flyer programs are heading, sadly.

The value of a Classic Upgrade Reward is now significantly lower in all cases. This is largely a result of Qantas Frequent Flyer increasing the number of points required for an upgrade twice over the past three years – first in 2017 and then again last month.

Qantas has made positive changes to the program too, for example by reducing the number of points required for international Economy flights and this year reducing carrier charges on some routes. But overall, the trend is clear.

It just goes to show that frequent flyer points only lose value over time. The inflation rate of points is extremely high, and there’s also the risk that points could expire. This is why the experts don’t recommend hoarding your frequent flyer points. Points aren’t worth anything unless you use them!

How much is a Velocity point worth in 2015 vs 2019?

Here is the dollar value of one Virgin Australia Velocity point (in cents per point):

The value of a Velocity Frequent Flyer point

A similar trend applies to the value of one Velocity point. You’ll notice that the value of a reward flight or upgrade is now generally lower; this is for a few reasons. Firstly, Velocity increased the number of points required for reward seats in 2016 while also introducing carrier surcharges to Virgin Australia reward seat bookings this year. (It will further increase carrier charges in January 2020.)

In some cases, however, the relative value of using a Velocity point has dropped because cash fares have decreased. It’s cheaper now just to buy a ticket. For example, you can now regularly find Virgin Australia Business class airfares on the Sydney-Melbourne route for around $500 one-way – which is cheaper than 4 years ago. International airfares have also come down somewhat across the board.

International Business class reward flights and upgrades on Virgin Australia have become more valuable – although the availability of Virgin Australia reward seats to Los Angeles is now much lower than in 2015.

There was no data for Economy X upgrades four years ago because this product was only introduced in 2017.

Are Qantas or Velocity points worth more?

Using this data, we’re also able to directly compare the value of Qantas points and Velocity points for equivalent redemptions in 2019.

The value of 1 Qantas vs 1 Velocity point

With Qantas, a point spent on merchandise at the rewards store is worth around 0.58 cents, while with Velocity the value is closer to 0.505 cents per point. Qantas is clearly the winner here, but for other redemptions it isn’t so clear-cut.

Qantas points appear to be more valuable for domestic award seats and upgrades, but this is mainly due to the fact Qantas flights are more expensive when buying a ticket. Qantas still charges slightly more points and has higher fees & charges overall for domestic reward flights.

On international flights, Velocity points appear to be more valuable. But Virgin Australia serves fewer destinations and has a smaller network of international partner airlines than Qantas – something that this chart doesn’t show.

Are you surprised to find that points are generally worth less now than 4 years ago? And which do you value more – Qantas or Velocity points? Let us know in the comments below!

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]

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Mr H

This is an interesting article but the real value will vary from route to route. I got awesome value transferring Velovity to Kris Flyer at a rate of 1.35 to 1 (now 1.55 to 1) and flying Melbourne to Ashgabat and Tashkent to Melbourne on a mixture of SQ F, TK J and OZ J. I had a total of 7 flights – four in F – for 215,000 Kris Flyer points which was 290 Velocity points.

Chris G Stone

Not at all surprising. I guess the next step will be a time limit on expiry of points, a bit like gift vouchers having expiry dates which in my opinion is stealing which goes unpunished. Hope I am wrong but your results do indicate trends toward devaluation. Did your results take into account the carrier charges?

Melburnian1

Interesting, but hardly ‘news’ as anyone taking the slightest interest in Ff programs knows airlines hold all the aces. With AN Golden Wing 18 or so years ago, I was nit caught out as I had redeemed almost all points, but many learnt a harsh lesson.

I prefer the VA programme as reward availability on SQ seems good, but the higher number of points required to redeem for non-VA flights is a concern. I never stockpile points to any huge amount.

Bells

Interesting charts, but I cannot see Qantas points upgrade (International) Premium Economy to Business in your comparison and would be interested in how it compares.

Prof Henry

I’d like to see the relative change over time in the value of an Upgrade from Premium Economy to Business on QF International. The final chart shows the relative value of QF vs VA on this measure.

There is, as you say, an element of the lottery but I’ve been lucky a few times on QF. I guess I really want be certain that it’s a good use. of my FF#s

Nick from Sydney

Interesting and a fantastic data point for all of us. However, has any analysis been done on actual point earning over the same period. Point earning from credit card spend for example has no doubt decreased however credit card churning has delivered in my case hundreds of thousands of extra points over the last few years. The amount of points on offer has increased dramatically and year on year and I have really increased my overall point earn. On that basis, I have not been too worried about the extra points required to pay for business/first class upgrades and my… Read more »

MiK W

I would be interested in the earn rate comparison, as in my experience, it seems as though you earn points faster on VA flights than on QF flights. This would then feed into the overall value proposition of QF vs VA points. Any comment on this?

SEAN WRIGHT

Can I link my Qantas Frequent Flyer point to my Opal card

tony

Nice comparison but I’ve been flying economy return bne/cbr on virging for years and the price has been steadily going up so it now costs more points to get a flight for “free”. So the inflation in prices is a deflation in points value.