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What is the best frequent flyer program for Australians?

From Qantas to Velocity and all the programs in between, we compare best for earn rate, status perks and associated credit cards.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

Frequent flyer programs offer a range of features and benefits to suit all kinds of travellers, which means there isn't really one "best" option for all.

See our picks for the best programs, compare key features to find the best program for your needs and how much reward flights can cost including Qantas Frequent Flyer and Velocity Frequent Flyer.

See our individual program guides.

Our picks for the best frequent flyer programs

Best for international travel: Qantas Frequent Flyer

International Flights
Consider yourself a world-traveller? The Qantas Frequent Flyer program may be the best program for you.

Why we chose this program: Qantas is a member of the oneworld alliance allowing you to earn and transfer frequent flyer points across 13 different airlines. In total, Qantas has 26 airline partnerships making it the best program for those who travel across multiple continents.

Best for families: Velocity Frequent Flyer

Travelling Family
Travelling with the family? Pool your points under 1 family member to maximise the savings you can find.

Why we chose this program: Velocity allows members to transfer points to family members and combine their Status Credits into a single account for a family of up to 6 including 2 adults and 4 children, allowing the primary holder to spend those points wisely.

Best for flight redemptions: Velocity Frequent Flyer

Picture not described
When it comes to flight redemptions you'll get them faster with Velocity Frequent Flyer.

Why we chose this program: The cheapest available flight redemptions for Velocity come down to 7,800 points just beating Qantas by 200 points. This means you'll be off flying for free with Velocity ever so slightly sooner.

Best for Businesses: Velocity Frequent Flyer

business folks
If your small-medium business needs an air travel solution then Velocity is your bet.

Why we chose this program: Unlike Qantas, there's no joining fee and Velocity has far more benefits including 2 Velocity Pilot Gold Memberships when you spend $2,000 within the first 3 months.

Best for earning points without flying: Qantas and Velocity Frequent Flyer

shopping
No matter which program you choose to invest in there's a whole host of ways to earn points without flying.

Why we chose these programs: When it comes to earning points without flying in Australia, Qantas and Velocity are equally matched. Both are paired with 1 of the 2 largest supermarket chains and each has partnerships across hotels, car hire, energy companies, insurers and many more.

Best for credit card point transfers: Velocity Frequent Flyers

credit card
Looking to maximise your points earnings by transferring credit card points to your frequent flyer program?

Why we chose this program: Velocity wins because it has far more cards than Qantas does which let you transfer directly so you can be rewarded sooner.

How to find the best program for you

The structure of frequent flyer programs can vary. These are the major features to consider when you want to get the most value out of being a frequent flyer member.

Earning Points

Points are the bread and butter of any rewards program and all frequent flyer programs offer points (sometimes called miles) for flights you take with them.

The exact number of points you can earn per flight depends on factors such as flight distance, fare class, connections, codeshare segments and even the cost of the ticket in some cases.

Not every program calculates points earned the same way for example with Velocity Frequent Flyer you earn 5 points per dollar spent on domestic and international flights while Qantas Frequent Flyers earn different amounts depending on how far they're flying and in what cabin class.

Other ways to earn points include:

  • Airline partners. Fly with partner airlines and earn points on flights where your regular airline doesn't fly. Typically you'll earn fewer points on partner flights.
  • Hotels. Frequent flyer programs often partner with hotel companies so that you can earn points when you stay with particular hotels or brands.
  • Car hire. It's also common for frequent flyer programs to offer points when you book a car with a partnered car hire company. For example, Qantas Frequent Flyer offers points for bookings with Avis and Budget, while Velocity offers points for bookings with Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty.
  • Supermarket shopping. If you're in Australia, you can earn Qantas Points or Velocity Points for your supermarket shopping via the Everyday Rewards and Flybuys rewards programs respectively. If you're overseas, you may be able to earn frequent flyer points with other supermarkets or retailers, but it does depend on the frequent flyer program and where you're based.
  • Other program partners. Depending on the frequent flyer program you may also be able to earn points on online shopping, utilities, and plenty of other ways.

Credit Cards

After flights, credit cards are the next fastest and most popular way to earn frequent flyer points. They typically offer a set rate of points for each $1 you spend. Some cards automatically credit points to your frequent flyer account, while others let you transfer points to a frequent flyer program.

In Australia, the main frequent flyer credit card options are linked to Qantas and Velocity. However, a wide range of credit card reward programs also let you transfer points to other airline loyalty schemes, including Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Asia Miles/Cathay Pacific and Air New Zealand Airpoints.

1 - 6 of 6
Name Product Bonus points Rewards program Rewards points per $ spent Purchase rate p.a. Annual fee
Citi Premier Qantas Card
80,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.5
0% for 6 months, reverts to 21.49%
$175 for the first year ($350 thereafter)
Get 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 in the first 90 days and a 0% purchase rate offer. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
100,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1.25
20.74%
$450
Up to 100,000 bonus Qantas Points (75k when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and 25k in year 2). Plus, a yearly $450 Travel Credit.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
N/A
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.75
20.74%
$0
Earn uncapped Qantas Points for every $1 dollar spent, plus an ongoing $0 annual fee.
Qantas American Express Premium Card
30,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
20.74%
$249
Enjoy 30,000 bonus Qantas Points, 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year and the protection of complimentary insurance covers.
Qantas Premier Platinum
80,000
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
19.99%
$225 for the first year ($299 thereafter)
Earn 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and save with a reduced first-year annual fee.
David Jones American Express Card
N/A
Membership Rewards
1
20.74%
$99
Receive $200 credit when you spend $1,500 outside David Jones within the first 3 months from card approval.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Reward Options

All frequent flyer programs allow you to use points for reward flights. Most also allow you to use points for flight upgrades, although there are often more rules and requirements for this option.

Beyond flight rewards, the options you have for using your points can vary wildly between frequent flyer programs. However, some of the other rewards you could get include:

  • Hotel stays
  • Discount car hire
  • Gift cards
  • Retail rewards

Although having options can be useful, in most cases flight rewards offer the most value when you compare the retail cost of rewards to the point requirements.

Point expiry and status

If you don't fly that often or if you fly with a lot of different airlines that aren't linked to the same frequent flyer program, point expiry will be a key factor in choosing which scheme you join. These conditions are very different between frequent flyer programs.

For example, you may avoid point expiry with programs such as Qantas or Velocity if you earn or redeem points continuously. On the other hand Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles expire 3 years after they were earned so you'll need to redeem them more often.

The more you fly with an affiliated airline, the more status credits you'll earn. This status is your key to unlocking a growing number of frequent flyer benefits, such as additional points, lounge access, extra checked baggage allowances, priority check-in and complimentary flight upgrades. Frequent flyer status is usually grouped into 4 tiers: Entry-level (sometimes called Bronze), Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Each frequent flyer program has different requirements around how many status credits you'll need to earn to reach a new membership level. The benefits also vary between programs, so make sure you check these details to figure out what's realistic for you.

Compare frequent flyer programs

Here are a few of the more popular frequent flyer programs available in Australia, compare the number of points for the cheapest reward flight, the number of airline points and ways to earn and spend your points.

ProgramJoining feeAirline allianceEarn points on flights?Earn points on credit cards?Use points on upgradesPoints expiry
Air New Zealand AirpointsFreeStar AllianceYesYes, via transfersYes, only Elite membersAfter 4 years
Cathay PacificFree for Asia Miles, US$100 for Marco Polo Cluboneworld AllianceYesYes via transfersYesAsia Miles, after 18 months of inactivity Marco Polo Club Points, after 12 months
Emirates SkywardsFreeNone, 15 partnersYesYes, see Emirates credit cardsYesAfter 3 years
Etihad GuestFreeNone, 23 partnersYesYes, via transferYesAfter 18 months of no activity, never for Platinum members
Malaysia Airlines EnrichFreeoneworld AllianceYesYes, via transferYesAfter 3 years, extension possible
Qantas Frequent Flyer$99.50*oneworld AllianceYesYes, see Qantas credit cardsYesAfter 18 months of no activity
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerFreeStar AllianceYesYes, via transferYesAfter 3 years
Virgin Velocity Frequent FlyerFreeNone, 13 partnersYesYes, see Velocity credit cardsYesAfter 24 months of no activity

*See our guide to signing up for the Qantas Frequent Flyer program for free.

​​If you're already a member of one or more frequent flyer programs, head to the Points Finder homepage for the latest offers, tips and insights to help you get more out of your membership.

More guides on Finder

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44 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MichelleJune 19, 2018

    Hi
    I am a Qantas Frequent Flyer who makes regular visits to the UK. In the past I saved my points and used them to upgrade to Business. Since joining with Emirates, I cannot do that.

    My main purpose for saving points is to do this. Can you suggest a better way? Should I join a different program?

    Thank you

    • Default Gravatar
      NikkiJune 20, 2018

      Hi Michelle!

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      While we provide you with general information, please know that we are a product comparison website, therefore we are not in the position to make recommendations.

      You may read the “How to compare frequent flyer programs” and you can see this information above to help you choose the best one for you.

      Hope this clarifies!

      Regards,
      Nikki

  2. Default Gravatar
    RodSeptember 25, 2016

    Hi, I am a member of the BA executive club and have around 40,000 pts if I join Qantas FF programme can I transfer those points to my Qantas balance when I join?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanSeptember 27, 2016Staff

      Hi Rod, thanks for your inquiry!

      Unfortunately transferring British Airways Avios points to another program is not eligible.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  3. Default Gravatar
    BPSeptember 14, 2016

    Hi
    I’m a platinum Virgin Flyer and Gold Qantas, but as I live in Perth (Aust) the points and tiers are of little value when travelling internationally as neither airline flys overseas from here. (eg flight upgrades or premium lounge access).
    Would it be better to join one of the main middle east airlines or Singapore Air to obtain such benefits and earn points on Australian travel via the code share arrangements?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallySeptember 20, 2016Staff

      Hi BP,

      Thanks for your question.

      As a comparison service, we’re unable to confirm which frequent flyer program will be best for you as the right one will depend on your rewards goals and travelling habits.

      Consider which airline you fly with the most and the rewards you want and start comparing your options with those factors in mind. Otherwise, you might also want to consider the partner airlines associated with Virgin Velocity and Qantas Frequent Flyer. For example, while you might not fly with Qantas very often, you could earn Qantas Points on flights with partner airlines such as Emirates, Cathay Pacific and more.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  4. Default Gravatar
    PeterJune 27, 2016

    Hi Sally,
    I have membership of both Qantas and Virgin FF programs. I have over 500,000 Westpac points that I would like to transfer for use on flights to Japan and Hawaii. Can you advise which membership program (including other than Qantas/Virgin) would deliver best value for the transfer? Thank you.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallyJune 27, 2016Staff

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you’re not interested in transferring your points to Qantas or Virgin, you can see the transfer ratio to various frequent flyer programs below. Once you’ve read over this, you can see which airlines have available flights that suit you and determine which one offers the most value:

      – Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
      Redeem 3,000 Altitude points for 1,500 KrisFlyer Miles.

      Asia Miles
      2 Altitude Points = 1 Asia Miles point

      Malaysia Airlines Enrich
      2 Altitude Points = 1 Enrich Mile

      As you can see, most of these programs have a transfer ratio of 2:1.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  5. Default Gravatar
    SueApril 3, 2016

    Can I transfer Dynasty Flyer points to Velocity points bank?
    If so, how do I do that?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallyApril 4, 2016Staff

      Hi Sue,

      Thanks for your question.

      As Dynasty Flyer and Velocity Frequent Flyer aren’t partners, you can’t transfer points between the two.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,

      Sally

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