Decided you want to use your frequent flyer points to get to Australia? Here’s how, if you’re looking to visit the East Coast, or as far as South Australia.
First up – flights to Australia are usually going to be less than four hours, and cash Economy fares are very competitive, so you’ll want to maximise the value you get for your points if you do decide to use them.
In essence – use your cash for economy flights, and save your points for Business or First Class tickets.
With that decision made, here are our pointers for getting the most from your cash or points to get to Australia.
Point Hacks Australia Guides
Part I: The How: A beginner’s guide to using your points to get to Australia (East Coast & South Australia)
Using cash for Economy and Business Class tickets
If you are travelling economy, your best value is generally to buy the ticket outright. There are also some opportunities to purchase good value Trans-Tasman Business Class fares with Air Asia and LATAM.
There are nine airlines servicing the Trans-Tasman route
- Air New Zealand
- Virgin Australia
- Singapore Airlines
- China Airlines
Prices are competitive and generally hover around $350-460 for a return trip in Economy to the East Coast. If travelling to Adelaide, Canberra, Cairns or Hobart, you are looking at more like $430-710.
Cheaper Economy fares can also often be found from the foreign airlines that service the route as an extension to a long-haul flight to/from New Zealand and Australia.
Look at pricing from Emirates, LATAM and China Airlines for Economy travel. You’ll trade some convenience in flight frequency and timings, and some familiarity, in exchange for cheaper flights.
The AirAsia service started service from Auckland to the Gold Coast in March 2016, and ‘discount’ Business Class seats on this route can frequently be purchased at around $400 NZD return. While you’re pretty much paying for a hard product only, this is a great option that doesn’t require a points redemption.
LATAM return airfares to Australia in Business Class can be relatively affordable too, often coming in around $900 NZD. You’ll also pick up some Qantas status credits and points too, although fewer if you book through LATAM than if you booked the same class of travel with Qantas (but paid a lot more).
Using points for Business Class tickets
Business Class is where the most value is to be found using points to get to Australia.
Assuming direct routes only, here is an overview of the points needed to buy a return business ticket from:
- Gold Coast
- Sunshine Coast
|Frequent flyer program||Airlines||Points required for return trip||Important notes|
|Air New Zealand||Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines||Air New Zealand/Virgin Australia: Variable, based on price of fare|
Singapore Airlines (Wellington - Canberra): 1440 Airpoints Dollars
|Etihad Guest||Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand||26,700 (VA Sydney - Queenstown), 43,600 (VA all other routes)|
52,000 (Air NZ Sydney - Queenstown), 180,000 (Air NZ Auckland - Cairns), 68,000 (Air NZ all other routes)
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia||35,000 (Air NZ until December 6), 56,000 (Air NZ from December 7), 56,000 (Singapore Airlines), 70,000 (VA)||There is limited availability for redemption on Air NZ operated flights made available to its partners. Here is a review of Air NZ's Sydney to Auckland 777 premium economy service|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, American Airlines AAdvantage||Qantas, LATAM||50,000|
|Velocity||Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines||71,000 (Air NZ and VA)|
76,000 (Singapore Airlines)
|Again, limited availability for Air NZ reward flights (see KrisFlyer note above)|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||Qantas, Emirates, LATAM||72,000 (Qantas and Emirates)|
|You can also fly First Class on the Emirates A380 for 108,000 points, although this option will soon only be available between Christchurch and Sydney|
Note that Emirates is cutting the majority of its Trans-Tasman flights between July 2017 and March 2018.
All these redemptions usually come with taxes between $120 and $210 depending on the airport you fly into.
If you have American Express Membership Rewards points then transfer them to:
- Air New Zealand Airpoints
- Asia Miles
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- AAdvantage and Etihad Guest via Starwood
So what are you waiting for? Book a flight and say ‘G’day’ to Australia.
Part II: The How: A beginner’s guide to using your points to get to Australia (WA)