Standard Chartered X Card offering 40% transfer bonus to Qantas Frequent Flyer

Standard Chartered cardholders can get 40% more Qantas Frequent Flyer points till 25 October 2020, but it's not a great program to begin with.

The Standard Chartered X Card has been mostly quiet ever since Standard Chartered unexpectedly waived the second year’s annual fee back in July.

However, it’s still periodically offering points transfer bonuses to its various frequent flyer partners. I believe there was a 50% transfer bonus to Lufthansa Miles & More in August (which I didn’t bother covering because the appeal is severely limited), and now comes a 40% transfer bonus to Qantas Frequent Flyer. 

Transfer SCB points to Qantas Frequent Flyer with a 40% bonus

From 28 September till 25 October 2020, Standard Chartered X Card members can transfer SCB points to Qantas Frequent Flyer with a 40% bonus. 

Regular Transfer RateBonus Transfer Rate
2,500 SCB points: 1,000 Qantas Points2,500 SCB points: 1,400 Qantas Points

There is no cap on the maximum bonus you can receive, and all transfers are subject to the standard S$26.75 transfer fee. 

But wait a minute, doesn’t the eDM say 3,500 SCB points: 1,400 Qantas Points? Yes it does, and yes, it’s a typo. How this slipped past all the checks I have no idea, but you can’t even transfer points in 3,500-sized chunks from Standard Chartered to Qantas if you were so inclined. 

All transfers must be made by 11.59 p.m SGT on 25 October 2020 to be eligible for the 40% bonus (this refers to the date you requested the transfer, not the date the miles get credited to your frequent flyer program). Bonus points will be credited along with base points “according to standard transfer lead times”, which typically takes 5-7 working days.

This offer is marketed to Standard Chartered X Card members, but just like the previous transfer bonuses, Standard Chartered Visa Infinite members can participate too. If you hold both cards, your SCB points will be pooled together for the purposes of redemption. The full T&C can be found here

⚠️Leap of Faith

Like the previous transfer promotions, the bonus doesn’t actually reflect on the transfer portal. You’ll just have to make the transfer and trust that the bonus will show up as well. Based on the previous promotions, however, there haven’t been any reported issues.

SCB does not allow screenshots on Android, hence ghetto snapshot

Remember, the easiest way to access SCB’s new transfer partners is through the mobile app, not the desktop

Is it worth transferring points to Qantas Frequent Flyer?

Qantas A380 Business Class
Qantas A380 Business Class

If you ever feel like complaining about the miles game in Singapore, take one look at Australia and count your lucky stars you don’t live there.

Qantas Frequent Flyer is a perfect example of what happens when you have a captive market. First of all, Qantas charges Australian residents A$99.50 a year just to join their frequent flyer program! The fee can be waived with certain cobrand cards and promotions, but the idea that you’re expected to pay for the privilege of collecting miles…

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Qantas Frequent Flyer is notorious for hefty fuel surcharges on Qantas redemptions (they don’t impose fuel surcharges on revenue tickets anymore, so it’s purely a junk fee), very poor premium cabin award space, and steep redemption rates.

⚠️ You can’t price a Qantas award without sufficient miles in your account, so you can’t even check what these fuel surcharges will be before transferring miles. Using the ITA Matrix won’t work, because these surcharges are only imposed on awards, and ITA prices revenue tickets

Why is Qantas Frequent Flyer so bad? Because it can be. Australians don’t have much choice when it comes to frequent flyer programs, and Qantas is the biggest name in the game down under. 

If you’re nonetheless curious to check out the rates, here’s Qantas Frequent Flyer’s award chart that covers travel on Qantas, Jetstar, Airnorth, Fiji Airways, Air Vanuatu, and American Airlines (Emirates used to use this chart too, but that ended on 31 August 2020). 

Qantas Classic Flight Reward table
Y= Economy | PY= Premium Economy | J= Business | F= First
All award prices in ‘000 of Qantas Points
DistanceYPYJF
0-600813.818.427.6
601-1,2001220.627.641.5
1,201-2,400183141.562.2
2,401-3,60020.342.25785.5
3,601-4,80025.251.368.4102.6
4,801-5,80031.561.582123.1
5,801-7,00037.671.194.9142.3
7,001-8,40041.981.3108.4162.8
8,401-9,60051.294.9126.5189.8
9,601-15,00055.2108.4144.6216.9

There aren’t an awful lot of sweet spots for redeeming Qantas flights, thanks to the fuel surcharges. For every itinerary I can think of between Singapore and Australia, you’d be much better redeeming KrisFlyer miles instead (even after taking into account the 40% transfer bonus). 

Moreover, we don’t know when Qantas will resume international flights. Qantas’ CEO has said it’s unlikely that international flights will resume before July 2021, so even if leisure travel becomes possible for Singaporeans, we probably won’t be sitting on a Qantas jet in the near future. 

Here’s how much you’ll pay if you want to redeem flights on oneworld partners, or with Aer Lingus, Air Niugini, Alaska Airlines, China Airlines, China Eastern, EL AL or Emirates. 

Partner Classic Flight Reward table
Y= Economy | PY= Premium Economy | J= Business | F= First
All award prices in ‘000 of Qantas Points
DistanceYPYJF
0-6001015.82029
601-1,2001423.73043.5
1,201-2,4002034.543.864.5
2,401-3,60024.548.561.289.8
3,601-4,80030.25975107.7
4,801-5,80037.870.890129.3
5,801-7,0004581.8104.5149.8
7,001-8,40050.393.5119.2170.8
8,401-9,60061.5109139.2199.3
9,601-15,00066.2124.8159227.5

Partner redemptions aren’t much better, particularly because Qantas prices its awards on a per sector basis. In other words, the total points required will be calculated by taking each segment as a one-way trip, then taking the sum of points required for each leg on that itinerary. This means it’s poor value to redeem a connecting itinerary, which you’ll probably need if you’re flying from Singapore to the US or Europe on a oneworld partner. 

Emirates Business Class

If you really wanted to try Emirates’ cabin products, I suppose you could redeem a Business Class flight from Singapore to Brisbane/Melbourne for 75,000 Qantas points (Emirates has fifth freedom rights on this route). While Emirates hasn’t done away with fuel surcharges entirely, it no longer imposes them on Singapore to Australia flights. 

SIN-BNE/MELWith Qantas Frequent FlyerWith KrisFlyer
SCB points required133,929155,000
Mileage Equivalent75,000
62,000

After adjusting for the 40% transfer bonus, you’ll spend fewer SCB points with Qantas Frequent Flyer than with KrisFlyer. Do remember, however, that if/when Singapore Airlines brings back Spontaneous Escapes rates, you’ll be able to redeem this route for as little as 43,400 KrisFlyer miles (108,500 SCB points). 

So I’m kind of reaching here, and the use cases in my mind are really limited. 

Conclusion

I’m pleased to see Standard Chartered still rolling out the transfer bonuses, but there’s no compelling reason to jump on this particular one. The time to cash out SCB points was back when they offered the Accor transfer bonus (those points pretty much funded my Raffles Hotel staycation), and if you still maintain a balance, I’d wait for a more attractive program to come along. 

Will you be transferring points to Qantas Frequent Flyer? Do you even have any SCB points left to begin with?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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