Using your Qantas Points with Fiji Airways

Guide to using Qantas Points with Fiji Airways as an alternative to Qantas & American flights to the USA

GUIDE: Using Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 7 minutes
POSTED: June 6, 2018
UPDATED: June 12, 2018
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Qantas Frequent Flyer

Fiji Airways is one of the few select Qantas partners where Qantas Points can be redeemed at the same price as for travel on Qantas itself – which is why it makes it into our ‘Best uses of Qantas Points‘.

We thought we’d dig into the options Fiji Airways provide when it comes to using points – how to find award availability, and why you might choose them over Qantas or American Airlines when travelling to the US.


Key Points

When it comes to redeeming points, availability is ultimately what counts – and in our opinion, remembering that Fiji Airways operate to the US as a Qantas Point redemption option may end up allowing you to use your points when otherwise American or Qantas may have no seats on offer.

  • Opportunities for using Qantas Points to the US in Business Class are limited by the seats each airline makes available for using points
  • Qantas will tend to show available seats for Qantas and American Airlines by default when searching between Australia and the US, not Fiji Airways
  • As a result, you’ll need to search explicitly for availability on Fiji Airways (this guide shows you how later)
  • Points pricing is equivalent to Qantas and American flights, while taxes for Fiji Airways are usually cheaper than flying with Qantas, and about equal to American
  • Each carrier has a different Business Class product and lounges to choose from along the way (except for departing Australia).

Otherwise our take on which carrier to choose?

  • Best business seat: Qantas based on room, American based on overall product
  • Lowest taxes: American Airlines and Fiji Airways
  • Best customer service: Qantas and Fiji Airways
  • Best stopover opportunities: Fiji Airways (who wants to backtrack to Australia)

Aircraft and destinations

To Fiji

From New Zealand, Fiji offer the following direct services to Nadi:

  • Auckland (2-3x daily)
  • Wellington (1-3 flights per week; Thursday, Friday and Sunday)
  • Christchurch (2-3 flights per week; Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday)

All flights are on a Boeing 737, with the exception of at least one daily flight from Auckland, which is often on a newer Airbus A330. The A330 flights are the ones to target.

To the US

From its hub in Nadi, Fiji offer the following direct services to the US:

  • Los Angeles (1x daily)
  • San Francisco (2-3 flights per week; Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday)
  • Honolulu (1 flight per week; Sunday)

All flights are on an Airbus A330, with the exception of the weekly flight to Honolulu, which is on a Boeing 737.

Fiji-airways-routes

Product Comparison

When comparing the size of Business Class seats on their own, Qantas would win over both American and Fiji. Here is a comparison:

  • Qantas: 78” pitch, 21.5” width (A380); 78″ pitch, 21.5″ width, with full aisle access (A330 Trans-Tasman); 37″ pitch, 22″ width (737 Trans-Tasman)
  • American Airlines: 60-61” pitch/ 77″ bed length, 21” width, with full aisle access (787)
  • Fiji: 48″ pitch, 21″ width on 737s; 60″ pitch and 21-22″ width on newer A330s

Though obviously the added comfort on Qantas won’t make up for the back-tracking to Australia – and American only fly direct from Auckland seasonally. The good connections on Fiji Airways from New Zealand, favourable points pricing, and the opportunity for some ‘island time’ en route help to make their product look just a bit better.

Sydney-San-Francisco-QF73-Qantas-Business-Class-1

Qantas Skybed MkII on the A380

Business Class Cabin - FJ911 Fiji Airways to Nadi
2-Business-Class-seat-FJ910-Fiji-Airways-to-Nadi.jpg

Fiji’s 24 Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration on the A330

FJ 737 J

Fiji has only eight business seats in a 2-2 configuration on the single-aisle 737

Award space

Each of the three carriers (Fiji, American and Qantas) that you can use your Qantas Points for that operate across the Pacific seem to manage their points award space in different ways.

American seems to manage their inventory in blocks. There’s no redemption availability for a while, and then a block of seats will open up for redemptions.

Qantas tends to consistently release its Business Class availability at the edge of their calendar, so 353 days prior to flying, a couple of seats usually come up. If these are booked and not cancelled, extra seats often do not come up.

Lastly, Fiji tends to release award space to its partners quite far out and then some more a few weeks out from departure.

However because Fiji Airways award space is less in demand than the direct flights with Qantas and American, you may be able to find space with Fiji Airways when you couldn’t with Qantas or AA.

Layovers / Stopovers in Nadi

This is where using points for Fiji Airways to the US gets interesting for the leisure traveller (or those with flexibility in their travel plans).

Mainland USA

Heading on a Fiji Airways flight to LAX or San Francisco will set you back 84,000 points one-way in Business from Auckland, or 96,000 from Wellington or Christchurch. Here are your options if you want to spend some time in Fiji en route:

  • A layover (less than 24 hours) in Nadi is free, though only available for flights to LAX.
  • A stopover (24 hours or more) can be had for an additional 12,000 Qantas Points.

To understand the difference between a layover and stopover, read our guide on how to maximise the value of your Qantas points with layovers in transit cities.

Hawaii

If Hawaii is your destination, a flight to Honolulu will cost 60,000 points from Auckland in Business, or 72,000 from Wellington and Christchurch. Here are your options for an extended island holiday:

  • A layover (less than 24 hours) in Nadi is free. You’ll always have a one-night layover on flights from Christchurch due to flight timing.
  • Flights from Wellington to Honolulu are only possible at 72,000 points if you connect via Auckland on Jetstar on the Saturday before Fiji’s Sunday flight to Honolulu. Personally, I would recommend just booking your award flight out of Auckland, saving 12,000 Qantas Points. You can then purchase a cheap fare between Wellington and Auckland separately, either on the Saturday evening, or first thing Sunday morning to meet up with FJ410 at 1pm.
  • A stopover (24 hours or more) in Fiji can be had for an additional 26,000 Qantas Points from Auckland, or 14,000 from Wellington or Christchurch. Wellingtonians won’t have the need to fly via Auckland with this option.

What about Economy flights?

You can halve all of the points costs above for Economy travel, however using Qantas Points for Economy travel is only really viable on American Airlines and Fiji Airways due to the taxes and fees imposed on Qantas flights by Qantas Frequent Flyer.

It is viable from a cost point of view to use points to travel in Economy to the US with Fiji Airways, but unless you are short of leg and happy to economise, I’d look for a direct flight with American if possible (though sadly, this route is seasonal, so you may not have a choice).

How to use Qantas Points for travel on Fiji Airways

Fiji Airways flights are available for booking on Qantas.com using points, just like Qantas and American Airlines.

However if you’re searching for award availability between New Zealand and the US, Fiji Airways won’t always show at the top of the results list – or won’t show at all.

Take this example. Below I’m looking for a direct flight between Christchurch and Los Angeles in March 2019. The top results are all flights on Qantas via Australia, with Economy costing 55,000 points.

Using FJ to US - Qantas US Results 1

Yet, if I scroll down, I can find the option to fly to the US via Nadi – for only 45,000 points in Economy, and three hours quicker to boot.

Using FJ to US - Qantas US Results 1

Sometimes you won’t see availability at all, particularly in Business. Make sure to check using the multi-city search tool.

Multi-City Search Tool

Use the Multi City search to pick up results with Fiji Airways via Nadi

Using FJ to US - AKL-NAN selected

Using FJ to US - NAN-SFO

The final itinerary shows the five hour layover in Nadi.

Using FJ to US - final itinerary

To do a multi-city search, click the “Multi-City” option that’s found near most flight search fields on Qantas.com – or go directly there with this link, remembering to check “Use points – Classic Flight Rewards only”.

In either scenario of stopover or not, you’ll also want to make friends with the “Flexible with dates for all flights” checkbox, which can be found adjacent the calendar when you’re selecting an initial search date.

Qantas.com Flexible with Dates

For flights leaving out of New Zealand, input your preferred departure city (Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch), and then the same day for the onward flight to Los Angeles, Honolulu or San Francisco (regardless of whether you’re looking for a short stopover of a few days or not, it you’ll be shown an availability calendar for the results so don’t waste time fiddling with each exact date). Check the “Flexible with dates for all flights” checkbox.

For Wellington and Christchurch, make sure you’re concentrating on the days that direct flights are available – this can be confirmed via Google Flights, by using the sort tools (restrict to Fiji Airways, nonstop only). That way, you know you’re not wasting your time with routings to Nadi via Australia.

After you hit search, you’ll then be shown results in calendar format. It will default to Economy first. If you’re looking for Business Class, change that and hit “Go”.

Qantas.com choose class on results

From there, you’ll be shown two calendars of results – one for each flight. I would suggest starting by looking at the longest flight first which is likely to have the least award availability – in this case Nadi – San Francisco.

Qantas.com AKL-NAN

Above are the Wellington – Nadi results. Because I know that Fiji only offer direct Nadi flights from Wellington on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, I know to ignore availability on other days, as these flights will likely be via Australia.

Qantas.com NAN-SFO

These results are for Nadi – San Francisco. There is only one option on a Thursday, which I know will be with Fiji, as this is one of the days that they offer direct flights to SFO. This then allows you to look back up at the Wellington – Nadi results and see what day(s) might work for your travel plans – either choosing a flight the same day to connect (like on the 6th September) or selecting a flight a few days prior to build in a stopover in Fiji.

If you get no results for your preferred routes or dates, then branch outward – double check LA if you’re looking for San Francisco, and similarly check flights from Auckland and Christchurch. You might find an alternative option with an extra connection.

Summing up

Fiji Airways has a not as amazing Business Class product on flights to and from the US than either Qantas or American, however the option of combining a North America trip with a stopover in Fiji could be attractive to many – especially where you otherwise couldn’t find award availability to or from the US. There is also the added benefit of year-round flights (not offered by American), and not needing to track back to Australia first (with Qantas).

You may need to search each leg of your journey independently to find the Fiji Airways flights that might work to the US, so put aside a little extra time to do some digging for your dates.

Using your Qantas Points with Fiji Airways was last modified: June 12th, 2018 by Daniel Kinnoch