With much of our travel grounded right now, it’s natural to wonder how you might spend a stash of Qantas Points. But the fact is, there are many worthwhile ways to use Qantas Points close to home.
A sizeable stash of Qantas Points is enough to get travelling to a number of destinations on the Qantas domestic network (excluding applicable taxes/fees). And if flying doesn’t appeal right now, there are also plenty of ways you could look to use the bonus points on the ground!
You could also use your Qantas Points to travel almost anywhere on the Qantas international network, once global borders open back up.
Qantas Points don’t expire so long as you earn or redeem at least one Qantas Frequent Flyer point every 18 months. So, while international travel is off the cards at present, you could look to build up your Qantas Points balance now and save it for future opportunities.
From luxury rail journeys to regional flights, accommodation, and even goods – here are our tips on ways to extract value from Qantas Points in the current climate.
Experience a luxury train journey across Australia
In the midst of a pandemic, you’d be forgiven for thinking that aspirational opportunities to redeem points are few and far between. But Qantas Classic Rail Rewards represent an exciting way to burn frequent flyer points on the ground.
For the ultimate ‘on the ground' experience, a luxury rail journey is where it's at. Qantas Points now unlock all-inclusive Gold Service train trips around Australia, providing an exciting way to burn frequent flyer points.
There are nine different routing and accommodation combinations available across three rail journeys. At the time of writing, redemptions start from just 100,000 Qantas Points, with no additional taxes or fees payable.
Depending on the route and the time of the year, it’s possible to extract up to 1.5 cents value per Qantas point (or more) with this redemption. That’s around three times the value you’d get by spending your points on gift cards at the Qantas Rewards Store.
So how does it stack up against flights up the pointy end?
Recently, I took a 54-hour journey on The Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin using my Qantas Points. It was an incredible journey, and it’s fair to say that I found it a more than fitting replacement for the international air travel I’ve been missing.
My experience included three days and two nights of accommodation in a Gold Service sleeper cabin, complete with excellent meals, a range of Australian wines, and three off-train excursions.
Note that Qantas Classic Rail Journeys are subject to seasonal variances, and disruptions may be experienced with border closures.
Book in a domestic business class Classic Flight Reward or upgrade
While international first and business-class flights remain off-limits to most of us, there are still opportunities to redeem for premium air travel at home with Qantas domestic business class. For some Australians, this travel is possible now, while for others it can be booked for flights once borders re-open.
Qantas business class Classic Flight Rewards and points-based upgrades have long been considered to offer solid value. This is still the case, even in the current restricted travel climate.
Most domestic routes are flown by Qantas’ fleet of 737 aircraft that features a standard recline seat. However, subject to border restrictions, selected routes are being serviced by the superior Qantas A330. And if you have a hankering to re-live the days of long-haul business class flying, these are the journeys to snap up with points.
Onboard the A330, passengers are treated to a true international-grade business class product, complete with spacious lie-flat seats, privacy, and multi-course dining.
Depending on the route chosen, it can be possible to extract upwards of 5 cents value per Qantas Point with business Classic Flight Rewards and upgrades.
Take a Classic Reward flight to Lord Howe Island
When it comes to domestic flight redemptions, it doesn’t get much better than Lord Howe Island, located 600 kilometres northeast of Sydney.
A one-way direct journey from Sydney to Lord Howe Island will set you back just 8000 Qantas Points (plus $86 in taxes/fees).
In the midst of the pandemic, travel on this route is not currently available. However, why not book now and fly later?
At the time of writing, flights on this route cost around $480, so that represents almost 5 cents value per point if you are able to locate a Classic Reward seat.
The catch? With only 400 visitors are allowed on the Island at any one time, accommodation is priced at a premium and can be in short supply.
Subject to border restrictions, you could use Qantas Points for a Classic Rewards Flight to Lord Howe Island
Of course, redeeming points on other regional Qantas routes can offer solid value, too.
Another popular destination serviced by Qantas is Kangaroo Island.
And the best bit? Qantas Classic Flight Reward bookings can be changed or cancelled without penalty, with the usual cancellation fee of 6000 points per person currently waived until 28 February 2022.
Lock in a staycation or a trip further afield with Qantas Hotels
Qantas Hotels provides frequent flyer members with the opportunity to redeem from over 200,000 hotel and accommodation options worldwide. Whether planning a staycation or a domestic holiday, there are plenty of properties to choose from.
And, when you consider that many properties are offering bargain rates as a result of Covid, choosing to redeem Qantas Points in this way can make sense. In fact, considerable value can be found in booking Qantas Classic Hotel Rewards.
At the time of writing, Qantas is offering deals for over 700 properties across Australia. From Daydream Island to Sofitel Sydney and QT Perth, there’s an accommodation style to suit everyone. Prefer to use Qantas Hotels Points Plus Pay? You could earn Qantas Points back to your account for making the booking.
Since many properties offer flexible cancellation policies, it’s possible to book now and modify your booking later if plans change.
In the current travel climate, it’s not hard to see why a Qantas Hotels redemption is an option that many frequent flyers will feel comfortable exchanging points for.
Purchase goods at the Qantas Rewards Store (ideally when on sale)
Lastly, it’s possible to exchange Qantas Points for goods at the Rewards Store.
Purchasing goods at the Qantas Store hasn’t always been considered a worthwhile use of Points. However, by planning strategically, it can be possible to increase the value of this redemption.
Firstly, it pays to wait for the right time to redeem – namely when the product you want is on sale. The Qantas Rewards Store regularly runs sales on coveted brands including Apple, Bose, and Dyson.
The second way to increase the redemption value of goods at the Qantas Store is via Qantas Points Club. Points Club Plus members receive an additional 10% off the redemption cost at the Qantas Rewards Store, and this can sometimes be stacked with other promotions.
You can find out everything there is to know about Qantas Points Club in our guide here.
Personally speaking, simply using the strategies above, I was recently able to obtain just under 0.8 cents value per Qantas point when redeeming for an iPhone:
In the current travel climate, that was a value I was comfortable exchanging my points for.
The Qantas Store offers many other coveted goods that could help you elevate your at-home experience right now. Think Dyson hairdryers, coffee machines, Bose earphones, and even linen sheets. You could even look to redeem your Qantas Points for gift cards, and save them up for a sale – helping to maximise your rewards.
Bear in mind that many goods on offer at the Qantas Rewards Store may not be offered at the most competitive pricing, so it pays to shop around. Products such as iPhones are almost never on sale through retailers, so these items can offer value when redeemed with points.
Redeeming Qantas Points: In summary
While international travel is currently off the cards, it’s fair to say that there's still solid value to be had in redeeming Qantas Points closer to home.
Plus, it’s important to remember that Qantas Points don’t expire so long as you earn or redeem at least one Qantas Frequent Flyer point every 18 months. So, if you prefer to wait, you could look to build up your Qantas Points balance now and save it for future opportunities.
Note: Redemption costs we've covered in this article are current at 22 September 2021 and may be subject to change at any time. The availability of redemptions may be subject to change at any time as a result of lockdowns and changing border and travel restrictions. Fees and charges may be payable in addition to the Qantas Points redeemed. Point redemption is subject to airline T&Cs and availability.
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