QantasBest use of Qantas points
“What’s the best use of Qantas points?” It’s a common question posed by Qantas Frequent Flyer members!
This guide looks at, in our opinion, some of the best Qantas Frequent Flyer redemption opportunities. It’s important to mention that redemption value is subjective. Everyone is different. For example, Qantas seat upgrades generally won’t be of much value to many, but if you already have a Flexible Economy ticket, it’s time to strike!
Best use of Qantas points
- #1 oneworld® RTW reward
- #2 Qantas international Business to the US
- #3 East-west domestic Business
- #4 Sweet-spot international partner flights
- #5 Emirates A380 First to Asia
- #6 Qantas seat upgrades (flex ticket purchased)
- #7 Domestic Business
- #8 Domestic Economy (when cash price is high)
Learn the tips and tricks to securing Qantas flights with points in our comprehensive reward seat guide.
In this guide, we provide our thoughts on the best uses of Velocity points for flight redemptions both in Australian and around the world.
#1 oneworld® RTW reward
Who’s it for? Those planning a multi-continental trip
Why’s it valuable? 35,000 miles is a whole lot of travel for the points
Value (GRV)? ~5c/point (Bus.) or ~4c/point (Econ.)
Our best use of Qantas points is the lucrative oneworld reward.
The Qantas oneworld® reward offers a massive 35,000 miles of travel, including a whopping 16 flight sectors and 5 stopovers. It offers a huge amount value for the price, setting you back just 140,000 Qantas points in Economy. The oneworld reward is also one of the most cost-effective ways to experience a whole lot of lie-flat Business Class travel! A reward up the pointy end requires just 280,000 Qantas Points!
If you’re planning a large itinerary, the oneworld reward presents significantly more value than traditional reward seats. For example, a Qantas partner round-trip to London (e.g. British Airways or Cathay Pacific) will set you back 150,000 Qantas points in Economy and 278,000 in Business. For less Qantas points in Economy and just a few more in Business Class, you’ll receive an additional 20,000 miles of travel and 4 bonus stopovers! See table below for a full comparison (the Classic Reward is listed as ‘SYD-LON Q – Qantas & SYD-LON P – Partner’).
But be warned, like any RTW itinerary, this one requires significant planning. Booking is made tougher if you’re after multiple seats in Business Class, due to limited availability. But don’t let that put you off – it’s easily one of the best uses of Qantas points!
Read our oneworld reward MEGAguide for a detailed walk-through (you’ll need a coffee or two for this one).
#2 Qantas international Business to the US
Who’s it for? All travellers
Why’s it valuable? Top value lie-flat Business travel
Value (GRV)? ~3.5c/point
US Business rewards are another great use of Qantas points. The popular option sets you back 96,000 Qantas points, delivering a GRV of over 3.5c/point (even after Qantas levies its substantial international flight taxes). That’s over three times what you’d receive in the Qantas eStore for a gift-card or home-ware redemption. Due to the cheap fares offered on this route, Economy flights aren’t really an option.
Look for seats onboard the new Qantas Dreamliner. The new aircraft delivers a much-improved ’Business Suite’ compared to the dated Qantas Skybed (A380 and 747). You’ll enjoy a lie-flat bed, direct-aisle access, a 16-inch media centre, and premium in-flight service.
Qantas currently operates the Dreamliner from Melbourne to Los Angeles and San Francisco. The other main US departure hub, Brisbane, offers flights to Los Angeles only. From late 2018, Boeing’s flagship jet will fly on to New York. Double check your flight to ensure you’re on the 787 Dreamliner (as the A380 and 747 also service these routes). Sydneysiders are currently stuck with the older A380. Although this is still a valuable redemption.
These rewards are available with connections from other Australian cities (still 96,000 points), however, you may find that searching from Melbourne or Brisbane returns better Dreamliner availability (use the Multi-City Tool search method). Seats are limited, but they do exist. In fact, Qantas arguably offers more US premium cabin rewards than Velocity.
Airline surcharges are costly, but this is the case with all Qantas long-haul flights. You’re looking at approximately $800 return (factored into the GRV above).
But, what about alliance flights? American Airlines is the only Qantas partner flying directly to the US. The oneworld alliance member requires extremely low taxes, however, reward seat availability is virtually non-existent. Cathay Pacific is also a great option, especially to New York (104,000 points). You will need to book a cheap positioning flight to Hong Kong (around $500), but you’ll be way in front with the tax bill (~$75)!
Finally, a left-field option for Trans-Pacific leisure travellers. Qantas preferred partner Fiji Airways flies via Nadi to the US daily. Although the carrier’s A330 lie-flat Business product falls short of the Qantas Dreamliner, you may find better availability via Fiji. Taxes are far cheaper than the Qantas.
The Nadi layover also allows you to schedule a break in the holiday aisle. This pushes the cost above 100,000 points (you must book two separate rewards). Fiji Airways flights won’t show in the standard search, so you’ll have to use the Multi-City Tool. Start your reward in Sydney onboard Fiji’s A330, as their 737 services from Melbourne and Brisbane house previous-generation recliner seats.
#3 East-west domestic Business
Who’s it for? All travellers
Why’s it valuable? New lie-flat product + great availability
Value (GRV)? ~5-6c/point
Another great way to use your Qantas points is for Business Class redemptions on long (east to west coast) domestic flights.
Usually, Australian domestic Business Class isn’t much to write home about. You’ll get priority services, a better meal and improved recline, but it’s nothing like long-haul Business travel.
Qantas east-to-west services on board their A330’s are very different. It’s arguably the best regional Business Class offering in the world. The Marc Newson designed Vantage XL ’Business Suite’ offers a very private 1-2-1 layout and direct-aisle access. The Flying Kangaroo also serves up a nice menu.
But, and here’s the kicker, it’ll cost you a similar amount of Qantas points relative to the distance. A one-way reward Seat on these flights (Perth to Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane) will set you back just 36,000 Qantas points, plus minimal tax damage (~$40-$75). Qantas charge a hefty cash premium, so it’s easily one of the best ways to use your points (GRV’s above 5c/point)!
Double check you’re on the A330 by clicking on the flight number to bring up detailed aircraft information.
Like most domestic Business rewards, availability is generally very good. However, you’ll need to book further out than you would a shorter flight, as these seats are popular. Regarding flight times, there’s a fair bit to pick from within the schedule. If you’re flying out of Perth, the midnight departure (from Perth, only) could be a handy option in your lie-flat suite!
#4 Sweet-spot International partner flights
Who’s it for? Non-Australia departure travel
Why’s it valuable? Taking advantage of mileage sweet-spots
Value (GRV)? Up to 5c/point
Locating a redemption that narrowly sneaks into its respective points zone is one of the best uses of Qantas points. Most of these depart outside of Australia, however, a bunch of popular travel is possible, including flights departing Asia and Trans-Atlantic journeys. Business yields a much higher GRV, although there’s still plenty of value to be had at the back of the plane. Naturally, you’ll be locating rewards on-board Qantas partner airlines.
Flights within, and departing from, Asia are great examples, due to their proximity to Australia. With major competition on short-haul flights to Asian hubs, it’s very easy to book a cheap ‘positioning’ cash fare to your reward seat’s departure port. Full-service carriers are now regularly offering Australia – Hong Kong flights for under $500 return. Better still, by flying out of a hub like Hong Kong, you’ll save a significant amount on taxes.
For example, a 16-hour direct flight from Hong Kong to New York on-board Cathay Pacific will set you back just 104,000 points in their world-class Business Class, along with a very reasonable tax co-payment (~$75). This flight screams value, with a Business ticket on the popular carrier’s lie-flat or A350 services demanding over $10,000 return (GRV of 5c/point). Cathay availability departing Hong Kong is generally pretty good. If you’re struggling, note that the carrier typically releases more seats about a week from scheduled departure. The Qantas alternative originating from Australia (via LA) would set you back 128,000 points, and although this obviously doesn’t require a ‘positioning’ flight, you’re up for around $400 in taxes due to the Flight Kangaroo’s massive fuel surcharges.
Our favourite example, though, is Trans-Atlantic travel on preferred Qantas partner American Airlines. Popular routes like Philadelphia/New York/Boston to London slide tightly into Zone 4. As American Airlines redeems at the Qantas rate, you’ll be up for just 50,000 points in Business or 22,500 in Economy, plus less than $20 in taxes! With these flights asking $5,000 return, you’re looking at GRV’s of 5c and 2.2c/point respectively! Also, take note of rewards from the US east coast to Spain on oneworld alliance member Iberia.
Other examples include flights from Hong Kong to continental Europe onboard Cathay Pacific in premium cabins. Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Zurich are all narrowly inside Zone 6, where you’re looking at 78,000 points in Business or 63,000 points in Premium Economy. You’ll also save plenty on taxes thanks to Hong Kong’s ban on excessive airline imposed taxes. These flights, which deliver a GRV of around 3.5c/point in Business or 1.7c/point in Premium, have great availability in all classes.
Each table provides information on featured reward flights, including the cash fare, taxes, GRV and more. You can click on each row (+) to find out more details on the seat/ cabin class, availability, and a note on how to locate each reward seat. View the REWARD RANKER for a consolidated listing of all high-value redemptions.
#5 Emirates A380 First to Asia
Who’s it for? If you’re feeling indulgent
Why’s it valuable? Super-premium travel is now possible!
Value (GRV)? ~4.5c/point
The best use of Qantas points is hotly debated, and our next choice is certainly polarising! We don’t cover First Class travel here at flyerpoints.com.au, as it’s usually reserved for the super-rich or those with millions of points. However, it’s surprisingly economical to redeem your Qantas points for one of the most indulgent commercial travel options in the world.
The Emirates A380, which flies direct to popular Asian destinations from the Australian east coast, offers a truly over-the-top experience with a fully-enclosed suite, an amazing à la carte menu and the famous Emirates bar. First Class passengers can even enjoy an onboard shower!
The First reward will set you back just 90,000 Qantas points to redeem the 9-hour flight. With a one-way cash ticket costing over $4,000, it offers a GRV approaching 4.5c/point! Not only will you enjoy a superior product at the same rate as the Qantas operated alternative, you’ll pay far less in taxes. Availability is good.
Emirates fly the A380 direct to Singapore (from Melbourne and Brisbane) and Bangkok (Sydney only), with connections available from all eastern and central capitals coming in at the same 90,000 point cost.
#6 Qantas seat upgrades (flex ticket purchased)
Who’s it for? Travellers who have had a ticket purchased for them
Why’s it valuable? Low incremental point cost
As a rule, seat upgrades with both Qantas and Velocity generally aren’t worth the points which are requested. They also lack certainty given requests are unconfirmed (if you have lower status, like Silver or Bronze, the chance of you securing an upgrade on popular flights drops further). You’re much better off securing a guaranteed reward seat.
However, there are a few clear exceptions, which is why they make number 6 on our best use of Qantas points list. The main one is if someone else, like your employer, purchases a Flexible Economy ticket on your behalf, as these fares will require far fewer points to upgrade.
For example, let’s say your employer purchases a Sydney to Perth Flexible Economy ticket for you. This ticket is upgradable to an award-winning Qantas A330 ‘Business Suite’ for just 10,000 points. Although a work trip, 10,000 Qantas points for a seat with a $2,300 cash fare isn’t a bad option! International examples include the Australian east coast to Hong Kong (10,000 in Premium Economy or 27,500 in Business), Los Angeles (18,000 or 49,500) and London (24,000 or 66,000).
#7 Domestic Business
Who’s it for? If you’re in need of the lounge & extra space in the air
Why’s it valuable? Great value against the cash fare
Value (GRV)? ~3-5c/point
Earlier we touched on specific east-west domestic Business redemptions are high up on our best use of Qantas points rankings. Although the lie-flat Qantas Suites onboard the east-west A330’s are a step ahead of the rest, shorter Business Class flights still deliver a decent GRV (starting at around 3c/point).
For example, Sydney – Melbourne runs will set you back just 16,000 Qantas points, plus around $35 in taxes. For this, you’ll not only score lounge access and priority services but ample legroom and recline in the air. A one-way fare retails for around $800, so you’re looking at a GRV of 4.7c/point!
Not everyone will value domestic Business this highly, however, so be sure to calculate your own value!
Launch our full Qantas reward seat guide for more information about Qantas Classic Rewards.
#8 Domestic Economy (when cash price is high)
Who’s it for? All travellers
Why’s it valuable? Significant savings from high cash fare
Value (GRV)? ~1.2-2.5c/point
If redemption popularity is anything to go by, Domestic flights are one of the nation’s best use of Qantas points. Australian flights offer greater value against the international alternative due to the relatively low Qantas point cost and low taxes. The obscenely high tax co-payments charged on international rewards, together with the widespread availability of heavily discounted cash fares, really waters down Economy redemptions.
That said, it’s important to consider the great flexibility bundled with reward seats. If you need to change or cancel your flight, you’re much better off with a reward booking than the cheapest Qantas fare (this is why we value Qantas Economy redemptions between their cheapest and Flex fares). For example, domestic rewards cost just 5,000 points to change or cancel versus a $99 change fee on a Qantas sale fare (refunds aren’t even permitted, as you only have the fare value returned as credit to use with 12 months).
Even more value is realised when the cash fare for a particular seat is very high, but there is reward seat availability. This can occur for more obscure Australian destinations like Alice Springs, along with Pacific destinations like Port Vila (Vanuatu), which lack competition from other airlines. In the example below, we’re looking at a GRV approaching 2.5c/point, which is very good for an Economy redemption.