Last Chance to Fly to Norfolk Island with Qantas Points!

Norfolk Island
Qantas will fly to Norfolk Island until 29 August 2021. Photo: pen_ash from Pixabay.

Air New Zealand will take over from Qantas on the routes between Australia’s mainland and Norfolk Island from 30 August 2021, for at least two years. This means you now have just a few months left to redeem Qantas Frequent Flyer points to fly to Norfolk Island, while Qantas is still operating services from Sydney and Brisbane to the Australian external territory!

Qantas award availability to Norfolk Island up to 29 August 2021

There is currently plenty of award availability on Qantas flights between Sydney-Norfolk Island and Brisbane-Norfolk Island until 29 August 2021, when Qantas will withdraw from the route to make way for the return of Air New Zealand. Many of the Qantas flights scheduled to operate until the end of August have up to four Classic Flight Reward seats available in Business class, and there are various amounts of Economy reward seats available.

Redeeming Qantas points to Norfolk Island, while you can, is relatively good value because the regular airfares can be quite expensive. It normally costs at least $856 for a return Economy class ticket from Sydney to Norfolk Island. But by booking a Classic Flight Reward ticket, you could instead fly there and back for just 24,000 Qantas points + approximately $250 in taxes & carrier charges.

Qantas website screenshot
Redeem Qantas points to fly to Norfolk Island.

For Business Class, a return ticket from Sydney to Norfolk Island costs 55,200 Qantas points + $250.

Qantas Classic Flight Reward tickets from Brisbane to Norfolk Island cost the same amount of Qantas points, although the taxes are slightly lower.

Connecting Classic Flight Reward itineraries from Canberra & Orange to Norfolk Island (via Sydney), or from Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, Gladstone or Roma to Norfolk Island (via Brisbane), also cost just 12,000 Qantas points in Economy or 27,600 Qantas points in Business, one-way. But the taxes on connecting itineraries are higher.

If you’re flying to Norfolk Island with Qantas in Business class, or you are otherwise eligible to use the Qantas lounge, there’s another advantage of travelling while Qantas is still serving the route. Eligible Qantas passengers departing from Sydney to Norfolk Island have access to the reopened Qantas First Lounge, while Brisbane passengers are being welcomed into the international Qantas Business Lounge there!

Air New Zealand award availability to Norfolk Island after 30 August 2021

After Air New Zealand takes over Norfolk Island services again, you’ll be able to redeem Air New Zealand Airpoints for a ticket on any of these flights – although this is generally poor value.

If there is partner award availability, you would also be able to redeem points or miles in any other Star Alliance airline’s frequent flyer program to book a seat on one of the Air New Zealand flights. This includes Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, United MileagePlus miles and Air Canada Aeroplan points. But Air New Zealand partner award availability is nowhere near as plentiful as with Qantas.

At the time of writing this article, Air New Zealand has some award availability on many Brisbane-Norfolk Island flights operating on Thursdays – but only after 2 December 2021. In the other direction, Air New Zealand has two award seats available from Norfolk Island to Brisbane on 31 October, and a smattering of dates for travel beyond December 2021.

From Norfolk Island to Sydney, Air New Zealand has released a few award seats on flights scheduled to operate between October 2021 and January 2022, and reasonably good availability beyond February 2022. But award availability in the other direction, from Sydney to Norfolk Island, is virtually non-existent.

You can check Air New Zealand award availability on the United Airlines website.

Air New Zealand only offers Economy class on its A320 flights between mainland Australia and Norfolk Island.

Qantas has only been flying to Norfolk Island since March 2021

Air New Zealand had been operating between Australia and Norfolk Island since 2012, as part of an agreement with the Australian government. But in early 2021, Air New Zealand had to repeatedly suspend its flights to Norfolk Island due to crewing issues relating to trans-Tasman border closures. On each occasion, Qantas stepped in with rescue flights.

In March 2021, in order to maintain regular services, Qantas was temporarily awarded the contract and took over  regular flights to Norfolk Island from Air New Zealand. This was initially for a 3-month period, and the contract was later extended until 29 August 2021.

But Air New Zealand will now return to Norfolk Island at the end of August, having established a temporary crew base in Brisbane to ensure the continuity of air services for the foreseeable future.

“Prior to the trans-Tasman bubble opening, crew operating domestic flights in Australia were required to have been in Australia for 14 days or have arrived in Australia on a quarantine-free flight,” Air New Zealand COO Carrie Hurihanganui said.

“This unfortunately resulted in us having to suspend services between Norfolk Island and mainland Australia in February. Having crew based in Australia will ensure we avoid disruption should the Australian border close again.

“We’d like to thank Qantas for stepping in to operate the route over the past few months to ensure continuity of flights for our customers.”

After closing its borders for much of last year due to COVID-19, Norfolk Island resumed allowing tourists from mainland Australia in October 2020. With few other “overseas” holiday destinations currently open to Australians, the island has since seen a tourism boom.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qantas to Norfolk Island

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]