Qantas is running an interesting promotion until 12 June offering two Qantas lounge passes to customers who load AU$5000+ worth of foreign currency onto their Qantas Travel Money card.

Qantas Travel Money is the pre-paid debit Mastercard facility available on all Qantas Frequent Flyer membership cards. It allows you to lock in exchange rates on up to 10 currencies.

Normally I wouldn’t suggest using this card because you can get better FX rates elsewhere (I use the fee-free Citibank Plus transaction account, which adopts the Mastercard overnight FX rate). However, this opportunity to get two lounge passes could be a worthwhile deal – depending on how badly you want lounge access, of course!

Qantas doesn’t sell lounge passes, so their value is entirely subjective. You need to work out what the value is to you and then compare it with the ‘cost’ of using Qantas Travel Money.

Let’s do some math!

Right now, for example, AU$5000 converts to 2943 Euros with Qantas Travel Money, whereas with my Citibank Plus account I’d get 3096 Euros – that’s 153 Euros more (= AU$245).

Now, one benefit of using Qantas Travel Money is I’d earn 1.5 Qantas Points per AU$1 spent on purchases (no points are earned on ATM withdrawals, plus there’s an ATM withdrawal fee of around $2 – but this is waived until July.)

If I were to use all the money on the Qantas card for overseas purchases, I’d earn 7500 Qantas Points, which I value conservatively at 1 cent per point = $75.

So, the final ‘cost’ of the two lounge passes for me would be $245 (the exchange rate difference) minus $75 (the value of the points earned) = $170, or $85 per lounge pass.

Is that a good deal? Well, it depends. I’d never pay that much to use a domestic Qantas Club for an hour, but if I had four hours to kill in Hong Kong, I would probably go for it.

You really have to work out whether it’s a good deal for you. 

Note that the lounge passes are valid at domestic Qantas Clubs and Qantas International Business Lounges, but this excludes the LA lounge (which is technically a oneworld lounge) and the Singapore Lounge until it’s expanded later this year (date TBC).

For more details, check out the Qantas Travel Money promotion page here (ends 12 June).

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