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How to spend 50,000 Qantas Points right now

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Lockdown restricts your options, but doesn't mean you should waste points.

A mate messaged me last week with a seemingly simple question: How would you spend 50,000 Qantas Points right now? (Yes, my friends know I'm a points tragic. Hard to miss really.)

The obvious answer is: I would hold onto them. The best value from Qantas Points comes from spending them on Business or First reward seats for international travel. International travel isn't an option right now. So I'd be waiting until I could use them for that.

It's clear not everyone agrees with that thinking. For instance, recently on the Qantas Store there was a special on the 128GB model of the Samsung Galaxy S10. Normally this would cost 201,220 Qantas Points, but it was on offer until the end of August for 160,970 Qantas Points – a 20% saving. As I write this, the store is out of stock, suggesting it was a popular offer.

The S10 is a solid Android phone (as Finder's review confirms). But with not much shopping around, I can find it for $899. So the Qantas Store deal means you're getting just $5.58 of value for each 1,000 Qantas Points you spend. That's way below the minimum $20 of value for each 1,000 Points which Points Finder recommends.

Even at the standard retail price of $1,149 for the phone, the value is just $7.13 per 1,000 Qantas Points. You can get better value than that with a domestic Economy flight. Everyone's points decisions are different, but that one seems like poor value for most people.

Domestic flights are admittedly a tricky option to book right now. I'm in New South Wales, which means I can't fly anywhere out of state. The only route which offers Business is Sydney-Canberra, and that's such a short flight that the extra points don't seem worth it.

That said, flights to regional towns like Tamworth or Coffs Harbour are often much more expensive than those between capital cities. There's potential value there for a socially distanced holiday later in the year, at a cost of just 16,000 Qantas Points for a return trip.

The best choices here right now are in Queensland and Western Australia. If you can score a reward seat from Brisbane to Cairns or Townsville, or from Perth to Broome, there's good value to be had in both Business and Economy.

But my basic advice to my mate remains the same: keep the points for now. There will be time to spend them in 2021.

Want to keep your frequent flyer points balance growing? Check out the latest credit card sign-up deals.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more.

Picture: Getty Images

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