Hints for booking domestic Australian Avios redemptions with Qantas

If you are heading down to Australia or New Zealand in the near future, there are a couple of Avios quirks which are good to know about.

Qantas is, of course, a member of the oneworld airline alliance alongside British Airways.  This means that you can book Qantas flights using your Avios points, directly at ba.com.

Qantas has a couple of subsidiaries which operate regional flights:

QantasLink flies between 54 destinations across Australia and Papua New Guinea

Jetconnect (no website) is the Qantas subsidiary which operates Qantas branded flights between Australia and New Zealand

Reward flights on QantasLink and JetConnect do NOT appear on ba.com when you search for reward seats – only mainline Qantas flights appear.

However, it IS possible to use Avios to book these services.

QantasLink

The first thing to do is to register for a Qantas Frequent Flyer account via their website.  You can then search for availability via the main booking page by ticking the box saying ‘Search Classic Flight Rewards’.  (Comments below suggest that you don’t need to register, and that you can also use the American Airlines site.)

As an example, Sydney to Hobart is showing for October 15th out and October 23rd back in Business Class.

Unfortunately, if you go to ba.com then the flight does NOT show up because it is QantasLink.  You get this message:  “British Airways and its partners do not fly this route. Please consider alternative destinations or call your Executive Club Service Centre.

However, if you call British Airways Executive Club, they CAN find and book QantasLink flights for Avios.  You need to tell the agent the flight details – which you have already confirmed from the Qantas site – and it should show as available on their system.

Jetconnect services work in the same way.

Sydney to Hobart is 646 miles and so falls into the cheapest Avios pricing band of 18,000 Avios in Business.  (For comparison, using the Qantas scheme it would cost 48,000 points.)  The Business Class cash price on the dates I tested above is £940!  Even Economy tickets are £215 which makes 9,000 Avios look like a bargain.

Regular commentator Alan is well experienced in booking these services and gave the following tips:

If the BA agent initially says there’s no availability ask them to check as one way flights each way rather than return – they will often then appear

Internal flights in Australia can be pretty cheap on low cost carriers but there are often high baggage fees.  This can still make Avios redemptions look good value.  If you have British Airways status you would be able to access Qantas domestic lounges which are fairly reasonable.

For flights within New Zealand take a close look at the Air New Zealand Grab A Seat (grabaseat.co.nz) website.  It is separate to their main one and can have vastly lower prices.   Air New Zealand is a Star Alliance member so if you have Gold status with any of their airlines you will get free seat selection and lounge access.
(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

 

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Comments

  1. Mick Heitzinger says:

    Still annoyingly can’t use Avios on Jetstar operated flights, even if there is a QF code on the them. Very frustrating!

    • guesswho2000 says:

      No, because JQ aren’t a Oneworld partner. They’re a QF partner, so you can use QF points.

  2. This is perfect timing as we are planning a trip to NZ and AUS. Thanks Rob

    What is the luggage allowance on Qantas reward flights?

    Thanks

  3. pauldb says:

    You can also search “hidden” Qantas availability on aa.com without needing to register.

  4. Worth remembering that Amex Plat cardholders can access Virgin Australia lounges. Not sure if UK cards are meant to be accepted, but they all look the same from the front and I don’t think readers have ever had issues.

    Seehttps://www.headforpoints.com/2015/03/08/virgin-australia-lounge-access-american-express-platinum/

    • FormalHall says:

      Yes, the accept UK Platinum charge cards – card holder and a guest. They don’t swipe the card either, just look at it, and check the name matches the boarding pass.

  5. The real question is how can I get to Australia for cheap this (southern) summer while earning 460 TPs?

  6. I’m moving to Melbourne at the end of August, how do you all maintain collecting Avios whilst living in Aus..thanks

    • TBH I found it easier to collect QF miles instead. There are so many cards available with QF points and you can spend the miles on Oneworld airlines too, so if you have BA status you’ll still have the benefits from that.

    • Hingeless says:

      The easiest way to collect avios is in oz is through membership rewards, transfer them to SPG and then avios, you get 0.5 per 1 MR and if you transfer 20k you get a 5k bonus.

      It is a lot easer to collect MR in Oz as you can get up to 3 per $. As an avios is more valuable than QF points it is a much better option.

      Also you can transfer MR 1:1 to Etihad miles rather than virgin oz miles, you only need about a third of the miles to get a redemption.

      For those wondering how you get 3 points per MR, you need to get more than 1 amex card and use different cards in different places. You can also become the local champion in many places and get bonus points (so up to 4 per $).

      • Genghis says:

        How does one become the “local champion”? 🙂

        • Hingeless says:

          one uses the australian amex app, only available in the australian app store

        • SydneySwan says:

          You have to be the most frequent spender using Amex at a particular store (not a chain). So you can be local champion at the Coles store in Chatswood. Each Coles store would have its own local champion. Only direct Amex cards have local champions – it is not available to you if you are using an Amex card issued by one of the banks. The Amex app will tell you how many separate transactions you need to do to become local champion.

        • Hingeless says:

          Also works online at some places. The only downside is the 10k limit per card from this bonus.

      • Although depending upon what visa you’re on, Amex may not be willing to issue you a card. I found ANZ, NAB, CommBank, etc were all happy to issue one but Amex wouldn’t. Sign up on David Jones card was also very good for converting to SPG (that’s what I was looking to get!)

        • I’ll be on a permanent residence visa. I have amex platinum and will be looking to cancel once I get to oz.. of course I want to take out another amex but want the sign up bonuses.

          I’ve seen a lot of Qantas cards which are great and their sign up bonuses aren’t bad too.

        • Hingeless says:

          You can get any card on a PR visa, it is the temporary visas such as 457 that can be an issue.

          You can get better sign up bonus’s through sites similar to this rather than going direct eg amex plat 120k. So shop around for sign up bonus deals.

        • Mikeact says:

          But, don’t rely on Alex being accepted everywhere, we were disappointed on many occasions. So, usual thing, I used Supercard and the Lloyds Avios cards almost everywhere. (With a couple of other back ups….just in case)

        • Sundar says:

          Amex have an international transfer where you can use your history in a country with Amex to open a new account in another country. Very useful to contact customer care or can be done online as well.

        • Used to be even handier when the GBP was a strong currency and you’d get a big bump in your MR balance when transferring – not such a good plan now…

    • I would completely disregard avios if you’re in aus and as others have mentioned, collect Qantas and virgin Aus points.
      I love that my qantas points will help me fly emirates and my virgin points can be used on etihad or singapore. the instant transfer from virgin to SQ is an amazing feature as far as im concerned and since it was so easy to get VA points… it was relatively easy for me to fly SQ suites.

      • Totally agree re EK and SQ options via QF and VA – both fantastic options!

  7. Thanks guys for the advice.. ill bare that in mind 🙂

    • Simon Schus says:

      I thought I’d provide some of my experience too:

      I used HSBC UK’s International Bank Account opening, and AMEX UK’s Global Transfer service for moving to the USA for a bit with permanent residence. Both services were free and enabled me to have a US bank accounts and credit cards before or just after landing in both countries with a Permanent Residence. The HSBC US credit card earns points which can then be converted into statements credits whereas the AMEX credit card earn Membership Rewards which can convert to Avios etc. I got a signup bonuses for both cards – and having the cards meant that I now have a US credit history so I can sign up for other cards (e.g. the AMEX US PRG).

      Re: AMEX Global Transfer, my experience was a bit fiddly. I was told to apply for it using the USA website which didn’t give me an immediate decision (because I had no credit file). I followed the advice I was given by AMEX to to contact the Global Transfer office in the USA who then must have verified that I was a UK customer, and then a card was issued.

      Re: HSBC International Bank Account Opening process. HSBC UK handled everything for the debit card and bank account. I think that I had to apply for the credit card separately once I’d received my log-in username and password. The credit card has a tiny credit limit though as they had zero history on me but it is gradually increasing as they develop my history and a view on my spending patterns. The account was useful as I need as US bank account from which to pay my AMEX card (though I could have signed up for this with a local bank once arriving if I had wanted, but I didn’t want the hassle).

      Overall: The HSBC International bank account opening process was very simple, but the AMEX was the more valuable given the higher credit limit, better sign-up bonus, and better ongoing points earning. I only mentioned the HSBC approach because it was useful for me to have a local non-AMEX card for making purchases where AMEX was not accepted.

      • guesswho2000 says:

        I used Amex Global transfer UK-AU (Permanent Resident), and although it worked out fine, was a tedious process. In addition to the having to wait for an OK from the UK Amex people (fair enough), I had to get certified copies of my passport, utility bills and Aussie payslips before they’d issue the card.

        This is in contrast to ANZ, who issued a credit card after I emailed them a copy of my employment contract, despite having only a couple of months relationship with them (account opened whilst I lived in the UK, ID verified at a branch on arrival).

        I’d still recommend doing it though, the Amex cards here are good, but choose wisely, it’s 1x sign up bonus full stop (rather than per ‘currency’, e.g.Avios/SPG/MR, as in the UK), unless you canx all your cards and wait eighteen months! There’s also four flavours of MR programme, depending on the card you have (David Jones, Gateway, Ascent, Ascent Premium) – Pointhacks.com.au is your friend!

  8. O/T, I’ve just noticed that I’ve had an additional “August Bonus Play” (Stay once in August and get 2,000 bonus points) added to my current IHG Accelerate offers. They don’t count towards the Achievement Bonus though.

    May be worth checking it out if you haven’t already.

  9. OT, my Hilton extra 2000 avios for staying have just been posted after Sunday’s stay plus double points. Also a nice surprise was an extra 2500 points for using the card in the first year on a Hilton stay. I’d forgot about that perk and never used the card at Hilton before.

  10. guesswho2000 says:

    One other issue I’ve had booking Jetconnect flights, is the pushback from the UK call centre, who flat out refused to accept that I was right, and wouldn’t book the flight (this was ASP-AYQ a couple of years ago).

    In these circumstances, a quick call to the much more helpful US call centre had it sorted in about ten minutes.

  11. Prakash Kachhala says:

    What are the taxes on these internal flights, approximately?

    • Very low – £7 each way for a random one I picked out from my records in 2015.