The Commonwealth Bank has added nine new airline transfer partners to its credit card rewards program, Commbank Awards.
Previously, customers could only transfer points to Qantas Frequent Flyer or Velocity Frequent Flyer, but the list of transfer partners has now expanded to encompass:
- Qantas Frequent Flyer (must opt into automatic transfer of points each month at a ratio of 2.5:1)
- Velocity Frequent Flyer (2 or 2.5:1 points transfer ratio depending on your card)
- Air Asia Big points – 2.5:1 points transfer ratio
- Air France / KLM Flying Blue – 3:1 transfer
- Eva Air Infinity MileageLands – 3:1 transfer
- China Eastern Eastern Miles – 3:1 transfer
- Etihad Guest – 3.5:1 transfer
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich – 3.5:1 transfer
- United Airlines MileagePlus – 4:1 transfer
- Japan Airlines MileageBank – 4:1 transfer
- Lufthansa Miles & More – 4:1 transfer.
In addition, IHG Rewards, the loyalty program of InterContinental Hotels Group, is available as a hotel transfer partner (2.5:1 transfer ratio).
This gives customers much more flexibility with how they use their points for flights. Of course, more ways to use points also means more complexity, as not only do you have to consider the different points transfer ratios above, but also how much each airline charges for an award seat.
For example, with Japan Airlines, you can fly business class from Sydney to Tokyo for as little as 35,000 miles one way, but using Qantas Points costs at least 72,000 Qantas Points. And the taxes and fees vary too.
CBA’s points earn rates are quite poor, so I usually advise people to switch to other card providers to get more from their everyday spend. But if you have a big stash of CBA points or you’re stuck with the bank, the ability to use points with more airlines is good news.
Don’t forget, CBA is axing its Amex cards later this year. If you want the best points earn rates moving forward, consider switching to a card issued by Amex directly, like:
- Qantas Amex Ultimate Card – Amex’s top Qantas Points earning card
- Amex Velocity Platinum Card – Amex’s top Velocity Points earning card
- Amex Explorer Credit Card – my favourite of Amex’s flexible points earning cards, with eight airline transfer partners.
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