This article shows you how to book domestic QantasLink flights in Australia using Avios – and the answer is not to use ba.com!
If you are heading down to Australia in the near future, there are a couple of Avios quirks which are good to know about.
Qantas has a subsidiary, QantasLink, which flies between 56 regional destinations across Australia.
Reward flights on QantasLink 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.
How can I find QantasLink Avios availability?
There are two options.
The easiest way is to use the American Airlines website. You don’t need to create a frequent flyer account – simply select ‘use miles’. If a QantasLink flight shows as available with AA miles then it will be available with Avios.
The second option is to use the Qantas website, although this is a bit more fiddly.
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 ‘Use points’.
As an example, Sydney to Hobart is showing as a ‘Classic Reward’ for October 15th out and October 23rd back in Economy Class and Business Class. ONLY ‘Classic Reward’ seats can be booked with Avios.
Unfortunately, if you go to ba.com then the flight does NOT show up because it is QantasLink. The only flights you see on ba.com are connecting flights via Melbourne which will require twice as many Avios.
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 or American Airlines sites – and it should show as available on their system.
Sydney to Hobart is 646 miles and so falls into the cheapest Avios pricing band of 9,000 Avios return for Economy and 18,000 Avios return in Business. Ignore the number of points shown on the Qantas website – this only applies if you are booking via the Qantas frequent flyer scheme.
For comparison, even booking five months ahead and selecting the cheapest tickets Economy tickets available on that day, with no luggage allowance, a cash ticket is A$305 (£165). This makes 9,000 Avios look like a bargain.
Regular commentator Alan is well experienced in booking these services and gave the following tips last time we looked at this topic:
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.