How to use your Frequent Flyer Points

How to use your frequent flyer points

Information verified correct on July 25th, 2016

Learn the tips and tricks on how to use your frequent flyer points most effectively so you can maximise your rewards value in the long term.

Airlines give frequent flyer points to their customers as a reward for flying with them. Passengers who accumulate enough points can exchange them for free or heavily discounted airline tickets or merchandise.

Airline points are used to encourage brand loyalty, so are not interchangeable with points from other airlines unless they have some sort of exchange program like the One World Alliance, of which Qantas and various other airlines are members.

Here we look at how to earn frequent flyer points, how you can spend them and your best options for using these rewards for travel.

How to redeem your frequent flyer points

Plane flying in air
  • Don’t use them to trade goods

Frequent flyer programs have online stores where you can buy merchandise instead of spending your points on airplane tickets. But if you do the maths, it doesn’t take long to work out that the exchange rate isn't always the most competitive option. For example, to redeem Qantas points at the Qantas store, a $50 iTunes gift card costs 7500 points, yielding an exchange rate of 0.67 cents per point*. Various denominations of David Jones eGift Cards yield an exchange rate of 0.71 cents per point*. You would enjoy a much better yield for your hard-earned points by paying cash for the goods you need and using your points for flights.

*Figures are correct up to 19 December 2013

  • Reconsider ‘free’ flights

If you spend your points on flights that are already cheap, you may in effect be diluting their value and not getting the best deal. With cheap flights it’s better to pay money and collect more points that you can use later on expensive flights.

To get the exchange rate for the deal in dollars per points, divide the cash value by the number of points - typically the answer should range between 0.08 (eight cents) and 0.005 (half a cent) per point.

If you’re getting only the equivalent of less than half a cent per point, you’re not getting good value for your points. If, on the other hand, you are getting as much as eight cents worth of airplane ticket per point, then you have a pretty good trade opportunity.

Of course, if you don’t fly so frequently, it’s best to use the points any way you can, but you must also watch out for exorbitant taxes on flights paid for by points. If you factor in the worth of your points, a supposedly free flight can actually cost you more than if you had paid for the ticket.

  • Opt for an international business class seat

Paying with classic bonus points is an inexpensive option except for a big surcharge and tax, but there are limited seats sold for points, so they’re hard to come by. For example, Qantas offers an any-seat option for any flight, but it requires many more points.

You may want to consider the ‘any-seat’ option. While costing more points, it does not have the surcharge and tax. If you pay some cash, you can reduce the number of points down to the same number you’d have given up for the classic option and the cash component of the cost is only a bit more than you would have paid in surcharge and taxes with the classic option. This keeps your cash expenditure value down and the value of your points high.

  • Use them for upgrades

An efficient way to gain the most from points lies in buying an economy ticket and using points to upgrade it to a higher class, perhaps even first class. Not all tickets can be upgraded, so you have to check into the possibilities before you commit to a plan. For example, Qantas processes upgrades right up to the moment of boarding, so the astute bargain hunter can seize some strong last-minute opportunities.

  • Ask your travel agent

The options associated with flying are complex and often overwhelming. Travel agents can help you sort out the best way to get somewhere and even save you money. They do not, however, profit much from your use of frequent flyer points.

  • Watch expiry dates

If you don’t use the points you earn, it’s likely that they will expire. The timing depends upon the airline. Some count from the time you last flew. In this case, you might have earned some of your points years ago, but as long as you keep flying, the activity on your account keeps all its points alive. For example, your Qantas Points generally won’t expire unless you do not fly for 18 months.

With some airlines, points age according to when they were awarded to your account and new activity won’t help older, unused points. If they aren’t used, they slide off your account—typically somewhere between 12 months and three years after the time they were earned.

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How to use your Qantas frequent flyer points

  • Qantas and Partner Classic Awards

Classic Awards mean trading your points for tickets on flights aboard Qantas or any of a number of associated airlines. These airlines include Aer Lingus, Air Niugini, AirNorth, Fiji Airways, Air Vanuatu, Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, Brindabella Airlines, China Eastern, El Al, Jet Airways and South African Airways. By flying Qantas and connecting to any of the many associated airlines, you can win points for travelling almost anywhere in the world.

  • Partner Classic Awards

In addition to the Partner Classic participants listed above, airlines in the Oneworld Alliance will award Qantas frequent flyer points. Members of Oneworld Alliance include AirBerlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN (Chile), Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian and S7 AIrlines (Russia's largest domestic carrier).

  • Points Plus Pay

Qantas allows you to buy tickets with a mixture of points and cash. Passengers who buy their tickets through the Qantas website can select the ‘Use Points Plus Pay’ option while purchasing a ticket if they have the minimum amount of points. The option is not visible until you reach the ‘Check’ page of your booking.

  • Qantas Store

The online store sells luggage, kitchen appliances, headphones, alarm clocks and laptop computers. There are digital gift cards for Myer, David Jones and JB Hi-Fi. Subscriptions to popular magazines range from Better Homes and Gardens and Fishing to Golf Digest and Home Beautiful. You can buy music from Spotify and iTunes. You can also arrange a jet boat ride to speed you across Sydney Harbour or a stock car to race you around the track.

  • Auto Rewards

At your request, Qantas Auto Rewards will automatically convert some of your points to a Woolworths Gift Card every three months. You can opt for a $5 gift card for 750 points (again a 0.67-cent exchange) up to a $20 card for 3000 points.

  • Qantas epiQure

Qantas epiQure lets wine connoisseurs among frequent flyers enjoy at home the fine wines that Qantas serves on its flights. Qantas epiQure members earn points for buying wine on flights or from home, receive invitations to events that offer fine wine and food, rate wines served on flights and enjoy discounts on fine wine. A 12-month membership costs $99 (including GST) or 13,000 Qantas Points (an exchange rate of 0.76 cents per point, which is not a particularly good exchange rate).

  • QBE Travel insurance

Travellers departing the US with Qantas have the option to buy travel insurance underwritten by the QBE Insurance Corporation. Protection includes reimbursement of the flight cost if you have to cancel your trip because of illness or injury, trip delay and stolen baggage coverage, emergency medical evacuation and care and round-the-clock worldwide assistance.

Guide to the Qantas Frequent Flyer partnership with Jetstar - Earning and using points

Earning Qantas Points with Jetstar flights

The Jetstar group boasts 3000 weekly flights to 60 destinations in 16 countries and territories across the Asia Pacific region. These include destinations in Australia and New Zealand, Hawaii, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam. Jetstar flights earn Qantas Points if you travel on Starter Plus, Starter Max or Business max fares with the following airline partners:

  • Jetstar (JQ)
  • Jetstar Asia (3K)
  • Jetstar Japan (GK)
  • Jetstar Pacific (BL)
  • Jetstar New Zealand domestic fares

Earning Qantas Status Credits with Jetstar flights

As long as you fly with a Jetstar Group airline mentioned above, you'll earn Qantas Status Credits to go towards your frequent flyer tier.

How to use Qantas Frequent Flyer points on Jetstar

  • Classic Flight Rewards. Use your Qantas Points to book seats on eligible flights on Jetstar and other airline partners and affiliates. These flights can either be booked for yourself or any eligible family member. It is important to note that no Qantas Points or Status Credits are earned on Classic Flight Rewards.     
  • Points Plus Pay Flights. Allow you to book any available seat on a Qantas Flight with a QF flight number or Jetsar flight with a JQ flight number. You can book for yourself or any eligible family member.
  • Qantas and Jetstar Any Seat rewards. Qantas and Jetstar reserve only so many seats per flight that can be bought with points. There was previously a shortage of seats, meaning passengers sometimes had to book as much as a year in advance to use their points. So Qantas introduced the Any Seat program that allows points to be redeemed for any seat, but of course the catch is that these seats cost significantly more points.

Compare credit cards that earn Qantas Points

Comparing Qantas Transaction Accounts

You can also earn qantas points for purchases and also on your balances using debit cards.

Rates last updated July 25th, 2016
Maximum Variable Rate p.a. Standard Variable Rate p.a. Bonus Interest p.a. Fees Min Bal / Min Deposit Interest Earned
Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account
Earn Qantas Points on eligible purchases and on your account balance.
Conditions apply.
0.01% 0.01% $6 $0 / $0 Open More

How use your Velocity frequent flyer points

Velocity frequent flyer points is the frequent flyer program for Virgin Australia, its international airline partners and its global network of Program Partners.

  • Flights

As with all airlines, the original way to use frequent flyer points is to buy another airline ticket at a substantial discount. Passengers can buy tickets with cash, points, or a mixture of the two.

  • Airlines

Airlines participating in Virgin Australia’s frequent flyer program include Virgin Australia, Virgin Samoa, Etihad Airways, Air New Zealand, Delta Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Air Berlin, Hawaiian Airlines and Virgin America.

  • Flight upgrades

Virgin Australia offers three ways to upgrade your ticket: UpgradeMe Points, which draw on points on your account; UpgradeMe Platinum Member Offer, which uses one of the four complimentary upgrades received as part of platinum membership; and UpgradeMe Premium Bid, which allows passengers with Saver fares and above to submit a bid on an upgrade to a higher cabin class. If you win the bid, you'll be notified no later than two days before departure. Not all seats can be used for upgrades, which are subject to availability and to a quota. There might be empty seats at take-off even though you were not able to upgrade.

  • Car hire

You may use cash, points, or a combination to rent a car from Europcar in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, France, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland. You may make arrangements through the website. Hertz and Thrifty will also be available soon.

  • Hotels

You can exchange points for hotel accommodation at 180,000 different hotels in 180 countries. You may also exchange points for gift vouchers at any of several hotel chains. Arrangements can be made through the Virgin Australia website.

  • Holidays and travel extras

You can even spend your points at Virgin Galactic and take a trip into space. If you prefer something a little more down to earth, the travel agency, Virgin Australia Holidays, will accept your travel points (or some combination of points and cash) to plan a vacation ‘that's only limited by your imagination’. Virgin Australia Holidays will arrange flights, accommodation, tours, activities and insurance to plan your complete vacation.

  • Velocity rewards store

The rewards store sells iPads, Kindles, cameras, luggage, headphones, kitchen gear and sporty sunglasses, featuring brands like Panasonic, iHome, Sangean, brother, dyson and Coleman.

  • Online shopping

Velocity has partnered with Onsport, an online sport and fitness store that will accept any combination of cash and points for your purchases. The online store offers a wide range of clothing and gear for today's active Australian.

  • Lifestyle and entertainment

In the way of Lifestyle and Entertainment, Velocity has partnered with Onsport Golf Club. The club is offered exclusively to Velocity members and is free to join. Velocity members can redeem Velocity Points on golfing experiences, events, lessons and top golfing equipment brands with any combination of points and cash.

  • Charities

If you have the mind to spend your points not on yourself but for a worthy cause, you can donate 14,000 points that will translate into a $100 donation to Green Cross Australia, Surf Life Saving Australia or Virgin Unite. Lesser donations of $50 and $25 are available as well.

Comparison of cards that earn Velocity Rewards Points

Marc Terrano

A passionate publisher who loves to tell a story. Learning and teaching personal finance is his main lot at Talk to him to find out more about home loans.

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30 Responses to How to use your frequent flyer points

  1. Default Gravatar
    Helen | July 12, 2016

    Can you book tickets (international) for other people (friends) using your frequent flyer points if you the frequent flyer member are not travelling with them?

    • Staff
      Sally | July 14, 2016

      Hi Helen,

      Thanks for your question.

      This depends on the frequent flyer program you’re with.

      Some programs allow you to transfer your points to other members or use your points to redeem rewards on behalf of other frequent flyers, but most require you to the flight ticket to have the same name as the frequent flyer account to redeem points for flights.

      I hope this has helped.



  2. Default Gravatar
    Kerry | July 3, 2016

    Hi- my husband has 14000 points on his velocity card. What sort of discount does that give us on a flight from Melbourne to Cairns?

    • Staff
      Sally | July 4, 2016

      Hi Kerry,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately, the Velocity website doesn’t confirm exactly how many points you need to take a flight from Melbourne to Cairns.

      However, using the points table, I can confirm that a flight from Melbourne to Cairns (1453 miles) falls into the 1,201-2,400 points bracket that would require between 20,000 and 56,000 points depending on what flight class you chose.

      I hope this has helped.



  3. Default Gravatar
    helen | June 20, 2016

    What is the procedure for redeeming my Qantas points at Myer, David Jones or JB Hi-Fi?

    • Staff
      May | June 20, 2016

      Hi Helen,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      There are actually several rewards you can choose from to redeem your Qantas points. You can see how on the Qantas page I’ve forwarded to your email.

      I hope this helps.


  4. Default Gravatar
    Mike | May 24, 2016

    I find myself flying from the southern US, to WA State, about once a month.
    And, not always on the same airline. Usually United or American. What is the best way to take advantage of any and all frequent flyer points that may be available doing this?

    • Staff
      Sally | May 25, 2016

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your question.

      Just to confirm, you have come through to, an Australian comparison service.

      Unfortunately, as United Airlines and American Airlines aren’t partnered, I’m not sure if there’s a way you can merge frequent flyer points from both in one account. Instead, you might have to consider signing up for both separately.

      I hope this has helped.



  5. Default Gravatar
    Gerry | April 14, 2016

    how many points will it take to fly from Melbourne to Cairns?

    • Default Gravatar
      Gerry | April 15, 2016

      qantas frequent flyer been in it for 15 years
      so how many pts to fly from Melb to Cairns

    • Staff
      Sally | April 15, 2016

      Hi Gerry,

      Thanks for clarifying!

      If you were to fly economy from Melbourne to Cairns with Qantas, it would cost you 18,000 Qantas points.

      I hope this has helped.



    • Staff
      Sally | April 15, 2016

      Hi Gerry,

      Thanks for your question.

      How many points it will take to fly that route will depend on the airline you’re flying with and the flight status you’re after (e.g. economy, business, first etc).

      If you could please confirm the airline and frequent flyer program you’re with, we can provide you with further information.



  6. Default Gravatar
    Matt | March 11, 2016

    Is there an agency that one can use to redeem frequent flyer points?

    • Staff
      Sally | March 14, 2016

      Hi Matt,

      Thanks for your question.

      The ways you can redeem your frequent flyer points depends on which program you belong to.

      If you could confirm which program you’re referring to, we could provide you with further information.

      I hope this has helped.



  7. Default Gravatar
    Cas | January 14, 2016

    How long from gaining points to points expiry?
    Do I have to use points in a certain time frame?

    • Staff
      Sally | January 14, 2016

      Hi Cas,

      Thanks for your question.

      Whether your points will expire will depend on the frequent flyer program you’re with. If you could please confirm which program you’re referring to we can provide you with further information.



    • Default Gravatar
      Cas | January 14, 2016

      Hi Sally
      I have NAB Velocity rewards?

    • Staff
      Sally | January 15, 2016

      Hi Cas,

      Thanks for following up so we can help you with your enquiry.

      As your NAB Velocity Rewards will follow the same terms and conditions of regular Velocity Points, your points will only expire if you don’t have any activity on your account (e.g. earn or redeem rewards) within 36 months.

      I hope this has helped answer your question.



  8. Default Gravatar
    j | October 15, 2015

    i would like 1 business class seat on points with virgin from Sydney to San Francisco preferably in July 2016 but August will also work. I have kept calling since seats were supposed to have been released but found none. How can I set up alarms/notifications by email etc so I hear when they become available please so I can nab them. J

    • Staff
      Sally | October 15, 2015

      Hi J,

      Thanks for your question.

      Just to confirm, you have come through to, not a frequent flyer program.

      If you could please confirm which program you’re trying to get in touch with, we can provide you with further information and the relevant contact details.

      I hope this has helped.



    • Default Gravatar
      j | October 15, 2015

      Thank you Sally. I am unable to reply to you using the reply button , so using this way. Yes, I know I am on

      I would like suggestions about how to get instant notifications when award seats are available from virgin. It is likely to be a third party site that can do that for me, and I would be grateful to know the URL, or how to get notifications from whichever source.

    • Staff
      Sally | October 16, 2015

      Hi J,

      No worries and thanks for following this up.

      The official frequent flyer program or airline is always the best source to confirm this type of information.

      After speaking with a member from the Virgin Australia team, I can confirm that they don’t have an automatic notification service that can inform you when the seats are available.

      However, the representative mentioned that if you’re unable to locate the flight online, you can contact their customer service team to book a seat on the flight in advance over the phone. If you’re hoping to use your Velocity Points to pay for the flight, make sure to have your Velocity Frequent Flyer number on hand at the time of making the booking.

      I’ve sent you Velocity’s customer service contact number for your convenience.

      I hope this has helped.



  9. Default Gravatar
    Stuart | August 8, 2015


    Can i spend my British Airways avoid miles on the Qantas Store?

    • Staff
      Sally | August 10, 2015

      Hi Stuart,

      Thank you for your comment.

      According to the Qantas website, you can only use your British Airways Avios Miles for Qantas Classic Flight Rewards.

      I hope this has answered your question.



  10. Default Gravatar
    teresa | July 14, 2015

    can I use Qantas points with virgin atlantic

    • Staff
      Sally | July 15, 2015

      Hi Teresa,

      Thanks for your comment.

      No, as Qantas and Virgin aren’t partnered airlines, you can’t use your points with Virgin Atlantic.

      However, you can use your points to redeem flights with other airlines within the oneworld Alliance.

      I hope this has helped.



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