Qantas Wine, how to drink your way into Business Class
Qantas Wine, how to drink yourself around the World in style
It probably comes as no surprise to learn that Qantas has a wine club, as pretty much every club you join these days has a wine society attached to it. What is surprising though is that not only are Qantas Wine's prices extremely competitive, but there is also the potential to earn a ridiculous amount of Frequent Flyer points.
The basic premise is that you buy wine and Qantas gives you Frequent Flyer points in addition to your wine. So, say you were to buy a $252 case of wine, then you would earn 252 Frequent Flyer points, plus whatever points you would earn with your credit card, assuming your card is one which earns Frequent Flyer points or some other form of Rewards Points.
I prefer to use an Amex Platinum Card, so I will use this for my example. Amex currently gives you 2 Rewards Points per $1 spent with Qantas, as such I would earn 504 Rewards Points, which could then be converted into 504 Qantas Frequent Flyer Points. So, in total my $252 spend has resulted in a case of wine and 756 Frequent Flyer points—good but not great.
Taking it up a step with Qantas Wine Premium Membership
The first thing I did was to become a Qantas Wine Premium Member, which comes with the following benefits:
- Free Delivery on All Orders Within Australia
- Earn 3 Qantas Points Per $1 Spent
- Exclusive Products
- Complimentary Joining Gift
I joined as I believe that the benefits more than compensate for the $99.00 joining fee. I liked the idea of free shipping on all orders within Australia, as non-members have to pay for shipping. It is not much—less than $10 for a case—but who likes paying for shipping? Besides, if I was going to make multiple purchases over the course of the year then it would soon add up. Also, at the time I joined there was an offer for 10,000 Frequent Flyer Points or the Complimentary Joining Gift valued at $50. Well, that was a no brainer—I took the 10,000 points. Most importantly though, Premium Members earn 3 Qantas Points per $1 Spent, crucial for maximizing point collecting. I was also not averse to having access to a wider range of wine and special pricing.
The other good feature of Qantas Wine Premium Membership is that if you are not already a Qantas Frequent Flyer member then by joining up to Qantas Wine the normal $99.50 Qantas Frequent Flyer Membership joining fee is waived. This, as far as I can tell, is the best value for money way to join up to Qantas' Frequent Flyer program, as normally you just hand over your $99.50, and they send you a red card with a thank you letter. This way at least you get the $50 joining gift as well.
So, back to my example: now with the three times points multiplier, my $252 case of wine has earned me 756 Frequent Flyer points from Qantas Wine and the 504 points from Amex, making for a more respectable total of 1,260 points. But we can do better, much better!
Bonus Points – Now we are flying!
When you go to the Qantas Wine website, you will see the main menu. On the far right there is a sale option, and when you hover over it, four options appear—the one you want is Bonus Points.
Once you click on it, pages of wine will appear, showing an assortment of different wines to browse. The most important point about all of these wines is that they all come with Bonus Points, and I mean a lot of points—the more expensive wines will come with up to 15,000 points. There is currently the Mount Avoca Nebbiolo 2016 on sale for $468 a case, that comes with 15,000 bonus points.
But I will choose a wine closer to $250 a case so that it works with my previous two examples. The Bethany Chardonnay First Village is selling for $22.00 a bottle, making a case of twelve $264.00 BUT most importantly it comes with 8,000 Bonus Points. Which means that when you add it to your cart, you can see that it comes with 792 Base Points (264 x 3) plus 8,000 Bonus Points, making a total of 8,792 points, to which I can add another 528 Amex Rewards Points.
Now, this is more like it. An outlay of $264 has scooped 9,320 Frequent Flyer Points, possibly even more if I was to transfer my Amex Rewards Points over to Qantas during a bonus transfer period. Bonus transfer periods are times during the year when Qantas offers extra points to members of Rewards Programs whose points can be converted to Frequent Flyer Points.
We are now well on our way to upgrades and pointy end travel, as if you were to buy just one case a month it would work out to 111,840 Frequent Flyer Points a year.
How much is 111,840 Frequent Flyer Points worth?
To put that into perspective, 36,000 points is what you will need for a Business Class flight from Perth to Sydney, or $2,520.00 if you were to pay cash. Using this as a guide, 111,840 divided by 36,000 equates to three Business Class tickets which represents a dollar value of $7,560.00 (3 x $2,520), and in order to achieve this, all you need to do is buy 12 cases of wine totalling $3,168.00.
Classic Flight Rewards
So, at the end of my hypothetical year, you will have enjoyed a regular supply of wonderful wine delivered to your doorstep, wine which you were most likely going to buy in any case, but unlike previous years you now have a bucket load more Frequent Flyer Points to enjoy. In my example, it is as if Qantas has given you $4,392.00 to fill up your wine fridge ($7,560.00 of travel value - $3,168.00 cost of wine) and what is not to like about that?
For those of you interested in what the Qantas Business Class experience is like on their A330s—the good ones with lie-flat suites—then I have written a couple of flight reviews.
Perth to Sydney Business Class
Melbourne to Perth Business Class
I have also written a guide to getting flight upgrades on Qantas that you might find interesting.
How to get an Upgrade on Qantas
Buying Wine vs Buying Points
To appreciate just how generous the allocation of points is at Qantas Wine, you simply have to compare it with Qantas' Top-Up Points Program. Top-Up Points is where you pay Qantas for blocks of points to be added to your Frequent Flyer points balance.
Now, remember back to our case of Mount Avoca wine, which cost $468 and came with the 15,000 points bonus. Well, compare that to how much straight-out paying Qantas for 15,000 points will cost you.
So, if you wanted to buy 15,000 Frequent Flyer points from Qantas it would cost you $38.00 more, and you don't even get any wine! There is also a 150,000 points cap on Top-Ups in a year, whereas there is no points cap for Qantas Wine. The only reason I can think that you would use Top-Up Points over simply buying wine is if you lived outside of Australia, as Qantas Wine only delivers domestically.
Value for Money
Much to my surprise, I have found Qantas Wine to be comparable to or even cheaper than elsewhere, even major players like Dan Murphy's or First Choice. I was expecting Qantas Wine to be competitive but not super cheap, as with the inclusion of Frequent Flyer points I thought it reasonable to assume that Qantas Wine would be at least a couple of dollars more expensive per bottle. However, last month I picked up a case of Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2017 for $239.40 from Qantas Wine, which worked out to be $19.95 a bottle. Dan Murphy's is currently selling the same wine for $20.90 a bottle by the case.
Cape Mentelle SBS is my go-to quaffing wine, so I tend to keep an eye on its price as an indicator of how competitive or not a bottle shop's prices are. As such, I am delighted to be able to report that Qantas Wine appears to be very competitively priced.
The only major shortfall I can see in my plan is that if your aim is to maximize your points, you will be limiting yourself to selecting only wines that have Bonus Points attached. What I have found is that, depending on the time of year, the number of wines with Bonus Points can fluctuate widely. Sometimes there are only a couple of dozen to choose from, or, like now, there is a profusion—over 175 different options. But in general there is typically something I like the look of, or I am willing to defer to the expertise of the Qantas wine judges. A couple of months ago I tried a mixed case of whites which came with 7000 Bonus Points. Not being familiar with any of the wines, I thought that I had taken a bit of a risk, but as it turned out I enjoyed every one. It was actually a lot of fun to open a bottle and not know what it was going to taste like.
Health and Wealth benefits
As an unanticipated side effect, I have found that I am drinking less, as I now know exactly how many bottles I am going to buy/drink a month. I tend to lose count if I am buying them ad hoc from the bottle shop. Buying by the case also means that I enjoy better discounts, and am no longer prone to falling for bottle shop specials. The buy two for $60 and save $10 offer—Vintage Cellars you get me every time.
Forward planning is necessary
It is probably because I live in WA—which I have been told is short for "Wait Awhile"—that the wine does take around 5 - 10 business days to arrive. Delivery times on the East Coast are supposed to be closer to 3 - 5 business days. This means that I do need to remember to order my next month's supply well before I get down to my last bottle. On the plus side, I very much look forward to the day when I get the email saying my wine is being delivered, as any parcels on the front doorstep when I get home are usually either for my wife or daughter, and none of them ever contain wine.
Pros & Cons of Qantas Wine
• Earn lots of Frequent Flyer Points (definitely)
• Save money (probably)
• Drink less (possibly)
• Less Choice (Life's never going to be perfect)
• Have to plan ahead (Patience is supposed to be a virtue)
I hope you found this useful and that it will give you something to think about the next time you reach for the bottle opener (screw top). Please feel free to ask questions in the comments section below, as I have probably failed to explain a point clearly or more likely my maths is off.
I should also point out that there is nothing in this for me—Qantas Wine has offered me no inducements for this article (much to my disappointment). I simply enjoy wine and love to travel, and I just wanted to share with you what I think is a marvellous way to mix the two.
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