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American Express Membership Rewards points now transfer to Qantas. Points transfer 1:1 in 500 point increments instead of the usual 1000. Qantas is also a transfer partner of Capital One and Citibank, so there are plenty of ways to get and pool points into Qantas Frequent Flyer for US customers.
I regularly use the Qantas Frequent Flyer program website to search award space across oneworld. It also shows award availability for Emirates, Alaska Airlines, and China Eastern.
I have family in Australia who naturally focus on the Qantas program. Their primary use of miles is upgrades for their trips back to the States. Though upgrades clear within days of departure, their track record securing seats in business class is excellent.
Where I’ve found the greatest use for Qantas points is redeeming for medium-distance travel on Emirates. Qantas and Emirates are partners. Qantas awards are distance based. You can fly Emirates from New York JFK to Milan for 60,000 Qantas miles (plus taxes and fees) each way in business class. In contrast if you were spending Alaska Airlines miles it’s 105,000 miles each way.
Emirates Business Class Bar
- Star Alliance: Aeroplan, ANA, Singapore, Avianca
- oneworld: AsiaMiles, British Airways, Iberia, Qantas
- SkyTeam: Aeromexico, Alitalia, Air France KLM, Delta
- Non-alliance: Etihad, Emirates, El Al, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic
- Hotels: Choice, Hilton, Marriott
With Capital One and now American Express most recently adding transfer partners, that’s competition that will hopefully drive a response from Chase and Citi as well.