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Updated: How to get the most out of your frequent flyer points 2017


Just how much value can you get from 1,000 points? We've updated the numbers.

Last year, we investigated the best way to spend frequent flyer points in Australia. While the price of flights changes all the time, the number of frequent flyer points required to book specific routes changes less often. Nonetheless, Qantas recently increased the number of points required to book upgrades, with the exact change varying across different routes. How has this, combined with the fluctuations in flight costs, affected the value you can get for your frequent flyer points across the market?

To find out, we crunched the numbers covering both the Qantas and Virgin frequent flyer programs.. We looked at four different point reclamation methods and calculated the value return on 1,000 frequent flyer points. With most rewards cards on the market returning one point per dollar, this also equates to a $1,000 spend.
block_1block_2Unsurprisingly, the value attained from spending your frequent flyer points on smartphones, coffee machines or microwaves via the airline's website has not changed, and still offers the worst value return at $5 for 1,000 points. If you have some points left on your account and you've no plans to fly, this might be the only option to use them up, but buying goods is best avoided.

Booking an economy flight with your points will offer over three times the value, with economy flights worth $17 for 1,000 points (up from $13). You can do even better by booking a business flight, with these routes now worth $62 (up from $50) for your points.

However, by far the best value can still be attained by paying for a regular economy flight and then using you points for an upgrade. While this used to get you $85 in value, that has now fallen to $75 across the market taking into account the new point requirements from Qantas. So while point requirements and flight prices do change, one thing does not - to get the best bang for your buck, hold out for that upgrade.

Graham Cooke's Insights Blog examines issues affecting the Australian consumer. It appears regularly on

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