The final internal state border within Australia was removed today as Western Australia resumed allowing quarantine-free travel from Victoria. It’s the first time there have been no interstate border closures within Australia for almost a year!
With domestic travel opening back up, but international borders still closed for the foreseeable future, now is a great time to use your frequent flyer points to book a holiday in Australia.
This article features 10 of the best value domestic frequent flyer redemptions within Australia using points with Qantas Frequent Flyer, Virgin Australia Velocity and a variety of other useful international frequent flyer programs.
1. Sydney-Lord Howe Island for 8,000 Qantas points
We’ve featured this great Qantas Frequent Flyer redemption before, but it still remains one of the best value uses of Qantas points anywhere in Australia… or even the world.
A return QantasLink ticket from Sydney to Lord Howe Island, an idyllic holiday destination around 600km east of Port Macquarie, would normally cost $1,000+. But the distance from Sydney to Lord Howe Island is less than 600 miles, placing it in Zone 1 on the Qantas award chart. So you can get there and back for just 16,000 Qantas points and ~$174 in taxes & carrier charges.
Classic Flight Reward availability to Lord Howe Island is usually limited, but there are some seats available on the Qantas website if you’re flexible with dates.
2. Sydney to Cairns in Business Class for 13,800 Etihad Guest miles
Etihad Airways is a partner airline of Virgin Australia, so you can redeem Etihad miles to fly with Virgin.
Due to a quirk in the award charts of Etihad Guest, Eithad’s frequent flyer program (and an American Express transfer partner), any award flight on Virgin Australia under 1,250 miles in distance costs just 6,900 Etihad Guest miles + taxes in Economy. In Business class, Virgin Australia award seats cost just 13,800 Etihad Guest miles + taxes.
On routes like Sydney-Cairns (which covers a distance of 1,222 miles), Virgin Australia would charge 35,500 Velocity points for a Business Reward seat. But with the Etihad Guest program it’s only 13,800 miles – and you won’t pay the $11 Velocity carrier charge, either (just taxes).
3. Melbourne-Perth in Business Class for 21,800 Etihad Guest miles
The Melbourne-Perth route is also a “sweet spot” in Etihad’s frequent flyer program, costing 21,800 miles + taxes for a Virgin Australia Business Class flight. For Economy, you would need half the amount of miles.
4. Sydney or Brisbane to Norfolk Island for 12,500 Singapore KrisFlyer miles
Air New Zealand has recently released award availability to its partner airlines on some of its flights between Sydney, Brisbane and Norfolk Island! Although the island is located between New Zealand and New Caledonia, Norfolk Island is an Australian overseas territory and is open to tourists from the Australian mainland.
You can use miles or points with any Star Alliance airline to book an Air New Zealand award flight to Norfolk Island. For example, it would cost 25,000 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles plus approximately $170 in taxes for a round-trip award ticket in Economy (Air New Zealand does not offer Business Class to Norfolk Island). This compares quite favourably to the usual $600+ return fares (or even more if you want checked baggage and a meal – which are included when booking an award ticket) on Air New Zealand.
If you have a bunch of expiring KrisFlyer miles and are longing to travel “overseas”, this could be an option for you! Of course, you can also transfer credit card points from American Express Membership Rewards, ANZ Rewards, Westpac Altitude, St George Amplify, NAB Rewards, Diners Club Rewards or Citi Rewards to KrisFlyer.
Read more on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Air NZ award availability to Norfolk Island
5. Brisbane or Hobart to Canberra for 8,000 Qantas points or 7,800 Velocity points
Routes like Brisbane-Canberra or Canberra-Hobart are interesting because they’re usually quite expensive (if buying a cash ticket), but are less than 600 miles in distance. This places them in the cheapest zone for Qantas Classic Flight Reward and Velocity Reward Seat redemptions.
It costs just 8,000 Qantas points + $59 to fly in Qantas Economy class from Brisbane to Canberra, or 8,000 points + $61 from Hobart to Canberra. In Business class it’s 18,400 Qantas points and the same amount in taxes.
Brisbane-Canberra with Virgin Australia is also a good Velocity redemption, at 7,800 Velocity points + $49.50 in Economy class.
Routes to regional destinations under 600 miles in length, such as Adelaide-Port Lincoln, Brisbane-Roma or Perth-Kalgoorlie, can also be good value for the same reason.
6. Sydney-Hobart for 6,000 British Airways Avios
Avios is the currency of the British Airways Executive Club program. If you happen to have Avios – or would like to buy some from British Airways – there’s an interesting quirk in the British Airways award chart.
With British Airways, any route up to 650 miles costs just 6,000 Avios in Economy or 12,500 Avios in Business class. This includes routes like Sydney-Hobart or Canberra-Adelaide which would otherwise cost 12,000 Qantas points in Economy or 27,600 Qantas points in Business class because they are longer than 600 miles (but less than 650 miles).
When redeeming Avios for Qatnas flights, the taxes payable are roughly the same as with a Qantas Classic Flight Reward booking (although not identical).
Read more: How to Buy & Redeem British Airways Avios
7. Fly Virgin Business Class anywhere on Australia’s east coast for 21,000 KrisFlyer miles
When redeeming Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles for Virgin Australia flights, any domestic itinerary without QLD, NSW, ACT, VIC, TAS & SA (i.e. any state/territory except WA & NT) costs the same number of miles. That’s 11,000 KrisFlyer miles in Economy or 21,000 KrisFlyer miles in Business Class, plus taxes, one-way.
If booking a return ticket, you could even add a free stopover in one direction. For example, you could fly from Adelaide to Cairns, then return from Cairns to Adelaide with a week-long stopover in Brisbane. That would cost 42,000 KrisFlyer miles in Virgin Australia Business Class.
8. Redeem Qantas or Velocity points on mid-length regional routes
If you want to fly to regional destinations like Alice Springs, Broome or Mt Isa, flights are often very expensive. Once again, Qantas or Velocity frequent flyer points can come in very handy!
For example, a Qantas reward flight from Darwin to Alice Springs costs 12,000 Qantas points + $65 in Economy. That’s good value compared to the normal $360 Economy class airfare!
9. Longer Qantas Business Class flights for 20,000 American or Alaska Airlines miles
American Airlines and Alaska Airlines (which will join the Oneworld alliance at the end of this month) are both Qantas partners.
When redeeming either American Airlines AAdvantage miles, or Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles, it costs exactly 20,000 miles for any one-way Qantas domestic itinerary within Australia. You’ll also need to pay any taxes, but there are no Qantas carrier charges.
While this isn’t such great value on short routes like Sydney-Canberra, you could book a much longer itinerary such as Launceston-Melbourne-Perth-Karratha and still pay a fixed 20,000 miles in Business class. When buying AAdvantage or Mileage Plan miles during a sale, purchasing the miles and then redeeming for a Qantas Business Class flight can even work out cheaper than paying for a regular Qantas ticket.
10. Melbourne-Broome in Business Class for 30,000 Asia Miles
With Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, another Oneworld partner of Qantas, all Qantas award flights cost a fixed 15,000 Asia Miles in Economy or 30,000 Asia Miles in Business for routes between 751-2,750 miles. That covers most of the long domestic routes within Australia, including Melbourne-Broome (either direct or via Perth).
You could also fly long Qantas routes like Sydney-Darwin or Brisbane-Perth for the same number of miles.
You can easily transfer points to Asia Miles from many Australian credit card reward programs including Amex Membership Rewards, Westpac Altitude, NAB Rewards, ANZ Rewards & HSBC Rewards Plus.
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