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How many frequent flyer points do you need for a flight in Australia?

Want to use frequent flyer points to book a domestic flight? Here’s how many you’ll need in your account.

Qantas Frequent Flyer, Velocity and flybuys rewards programs all offer a wide range of reward options, including flights around Australia. This option of cashing in reward points for domestic flights gives you a way to save money on purchasing airfares and requires fewer points than international flights.

So if you’re wondering where your points could take you in Australia, here we look at the current rates for the major frequent flyer programs in Australia including Qantas Frequent Flyer, Velocity and flybuys. We also go through other key details you should consider before redeeming points for flights, so you can get the most value out of your rewards.

Qantas domestic reward flights

qantas-new-logoThe Qantas Frequent Flyer program offers domestic flights with Qantas, QantasLink and partner airlines including Jetstar. Key details and restrictions include:

  • Limited availability. The number of reward seats available depends on the flight, date, season, destination and commercial demand. Some flights may not have any reward seats available.
  • Booking options. You can book a Classic Flight Reward online by logging into your Qantas Frequent Flyer membership account or by calling the Frequent Flyer Service Centre on 13 13 13. Note that a fee of 3,500 Qantas points or AUD$35 applies for phone bookings.
  • No online booking fee. You can book a Qantas Frequent Flyer Classic Flight Reward seat online without incurring a booking fee for flights operated by Qantas or by selected partner airlines (including Jetstar).
  • Booking times. If you make your booking on Qantas.com, you can use your points for Classic Flight Rewards up to 2 hours before the scheduled departure for domestic flights. Otherwise, the flights must be booked between 353 days and 24 hours before the scheduled departure. Note that some regional locations may require booking up to 14 days or more in advance.
  • Points required for a Qantas Frequent Flyer Classic Flight Reward ticket

Qantas Frequent Flyer calculates the cost of Classic Flight Reward seats based on distance flown and fare class. This means many locations around Australia cost the same number of points. We’ve included details of the points required based on miles, as well as some example flights in the tables below.

Points required for reward seats on Qantas and QantasLink flights:
MilesExample flightsEconomyPremium EconomyBusiness
0-600Melbourne to Adelaide
Sydney to Brisbane
Hobart to Melbourne
8,000 points12,000 points16,000 points
601-1,200Brisbane to Cairns
Adelaide to Sydney
Melbourne to Brisbane
12,00018,00024,000
1,201-2,400Perth to Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane Hobart to Darwin18,00027,00036,000
Points required for Jetstar flights:
MilesExample flightsEconomyBusiness
0-600Melbourne to Adelaide
Sydney to Brisbane
Hobart to Melbourne
6,400 points12,800 points
601-1,200Brisbane to Cairns
Adelaide to Sydney
Melbourne to Brisbane
9,600 points19,200 points
1,201-2,400Perth to Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane
Hobart to Darwin
14,400 points28,800 points
  • What if I don’t have enough Qantas Frequent Flyer points for a free flight?

The tables above show that you’ll need at least 6,400 Qantas points to redeem a domestic flight without paying extra. If you haven’t earned enough points for your chosen flight, you may want to consider one of the following options:

  • Points-plus-pay. The Qantas Frequent Flyer Points Plus Pay option allows you to use points to book any seat on a Qantas flight with a QFF number or a Jetstar flight with a JQ flight number. The number of points required varies between flights, so you will be notified of your options during the booking process. Note that you’ll need a minimum of 5,000 points per booking for this option.
  • Buying frequent flyer points. You can purchase additional Qantas points to allow you to make a flight redemption. Points are sold in blocks of 500 and start from $20. However, you must already have at least 85% of the points required for your reward flight and can only purchase points once every 12 months.

Virgin Velocity Frequent Flyer logo

Velocity

The Velocity Frequent Flyer program offers three different options for booking domestic flights with your points:

  • Reward Seats. Reward Seat redemptions start from 7,800 points and include a checked baggage allowance. These seats are subject to availability.
  • Any seat. You can also redeem your points for Any Seat with Virgin Australia. Points for these rewards vary based on factors such as the cost of the ticket, flight time, date and fare class. As an example, the points required for a one-way flight from Sydney to Melbourne in January 2017 range from 19,900 to 53,100.
  • Tigerair Australia. You can also use Velocity points to book flights with Tigerair Australia. Similar to Any Seat bookings, the total points required is calculated based on factors such as the cost of the ticket and demand for flights, rather than miles flown. As an example, a $99 Basic Fare from Melbourne to the Gold Coast in January 2017 would cost 15,231 Velocity points. If you’re considering this option, make sure you also compare the point cost to other rewards to decide if it’s worth it for you.
  • Virgin Australia Reward Seats

The table below outlines the points required for Reward Seats based on miles flown, with examples of popular destinations. Note that these are similar to the Qantas Frequent Flyer examples because the same mile ranges are used.

MilesExample flightsEconomyPremium EconomyBusiness
0-600Melbourne to Sydney
Sydney to Brisbane
Hobart to Melbourne
7,800 points11,700 points15,500 points
601-1,200Gold Coast to Melbourne
Adelaide to Sydney
Melbourne to Brisbane
11,80017,70023,500
1,201-2,400Perth to Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane
Hobart to Darwin
17,80026,70035,500
  • What if I don’t have enough Velocity points for a flight?

If you don’t have enough points for a full Reward Seat redemption, you may want to consider using one of the following options:

  • Points + Pay. You can opt to use the Points + Pay option on any eligible flight
    with Virgin Australia or a partner airline. To use this option, simply tick the “Use Points + Pay” box when searching for flights, select your flight and then use the sliding bar to choose how many points you’d like to use before finalising your payment.
  • Buy Velocity points. You can buy Velocity Points Booster for a flight reward, with purchases starting from 500 points for $18. You must have at least 80% of the points required for your flight to use this option and can buy points twice per year.

flybuys-image-logo

flybuys

If you’re a member of the flybuys rewards program, you can use the points you earn to redeem domestic flights via flybuys Travel. This service allows you to search and book flights in Australia with Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar or Air New Zealand.

The number of points required varies based on the ticket cost, with each point worth 0.5 cents of the retail value. To give you an idea of the potential points, here are a few example fares and costs:

FlightAirlineFare classTicket pricePoints
Brisbane to SydneyJetstarEconomy$8517,000 point
Perth to MelbourneVirgin AustraliaEconomy$26953,800 points
Melbourne to BrisbaneAir New ZealandPremium Economy$706141,200 points
Sydney to MelbourneQantasBusiness$770154,000 points

These examples show that you can shop around and get the type of flight you want and choose the number of points you’d like to use, with different prices and airline options available for most domestic destinations.

  • What if I don’t have enough flybuys points for a free flight?

The flybuys Travel program allows you to book flights using points or a combination of points and cash. You just need a minimum of 2,000 points and can redeem them in increments of 200 thereafter.

It’s worth noting that 2,000 flybuys would give you $10 of value towards your airfare, and the 200-point increments would add $1 each. Alternatively, you may want to book your flight through flybuys Travel and earn more points so you can redeem a full flight later on.

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Other factors to consider

Before booking a domestic flight with frequent flyer points, make sure you consider the following details.

  • Taxes and other fees. For reward redemptions with Qantas and Velocity, some flights may attract additional taxes and fees based on the flight route, use of other carriers or lack of available of seats. These will vary depending on your flight and when you book. Velocity provides examples of taxes on its website, with the lowest charge listed as $17.47 for taxes on a Reward Seat from Sydney to Perth and the highest as $137.67 for a flight from Sydney to Los Angeles.
  • Booking and service fees. Both Qantas and Velocity Frequent Flyer programs outline fees for bookings made over the phone. For domestic flights, Qantas Frequent Flyer outlines a booking fee of 3,500 points or $35 per passenger. Similarly, Velocity reward flight changes are subject to 4,500 points or $35 charge per guest per booking.
  • Cancellation policies. Qantas Frequent Flyer, Velocity Frequent Flyer and flybuys all allow cancellation of flights prior to travel commencement, but the specific details of each policy vary. Qantas Frequent Flyer, for example, states that Classic Flight Reward tickets may be submitted for refund “prior to commencement of travel” and attract a cancellation fee of 6,000 points per passenger. Velocity, on the other hand, specifies that cancellation must be requested at least 24 hours before the first scheduled departure, with a charge of 4,500 points or $35 per guest and booking. flybuys does not specify a timeframe or cancellation fee but states that refunds will be provided based on the payment method used (for example, points are refunded if you used points).
  • Ticket changes. Similar to cancellation policies, ticket changes are available but come with different conditions and fees for each frequent flyer program. For example, flybuys specifies that changes are permitted but that any associated fees must be paid by debit or credit card, while Qantas Frequent Flyer outlines a change fee of 5,000 points with additional fees for changes made via the Qantas Contact Centre.
  • Ticket availability. Both Qantas Frequent Flyer and Velocity reward flight bookings are subject to availability, so you may not always be able to get the flight you want. With flybuys, you can book any flight, but the number of points needed will vary based on demand for specific services.
  • Points and status credits for reward flights. You usually won’t be eligible to earn points or status credits for flights you book using frequent flyer points for any of these programs. However, if you’ve used a points-plus-pay option, you should be eligible for points on the portion of the ticket you paid for using cash.

These frequent flyer programs offer a number of options for using points to book flights around Australia, including full point redemptions and points-plus-pay. While the number of points you need varies based on factors such as when you book and where you want to go, being aware of the different options and planning ahead should help you get a great deal on all the flights you book with points.

Pictures: Shutterstock.

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Amy Bradney-George

Amy is a Senior Writer at finder.com.au with more than 10 years experience covering credit cards, personal finance and various lifestyle topics. When she’s not sharing her knowledge on money matters, Amy spends her time as an actress.

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