The best way to spend all your Qantas frequent flyer points

There are plenty of ways to earn Qantas frequent flyer points, especially if you choose the right portfolio of credits cards.

(That's not just for those generous sign-up bonuses, which often exceed 100,000 points, but for the number of points you earn per dollar in everyday spending.)

But using those points is something else.

And using them wisely? That's taking it to the next level.

Book Sydney-Melbourne business class

Many people use the number of points needed for a 'free' Sydney-Melbourne trip as their benchmark, and that's usually in economy.

But business class yields much better value. A one-way Qantas flight between Sydney and Melbourne costs 8000 points ion economy or 16,000 points in business class.

Yes, that's twice as many points, but compare the retail price of those fares: you're looking at around $250-$300 for economy but $900 for business class, so you're paying twice as many points to get effectively three times the value.

Plus the value of being in business class is maximised if you lack any lounge-worthy frequent flyer status, because as a passenger at the pointy end you'll also enjoy entry into Qantas business class lounge.

Book an east-west business class flight

The economy vs business argument moves up a notch on flights from Sydney, Melbourne to Brisbane to Perth.


The same ratio applies: it takes only twice as many points to get a free 'reward' seat in business class as it does in economy (36,000 points against 18,000 points). But in the case of these long transcontinental flights, the cash price of a business class ticket can be a 5x multiple of economy class.

For example, Sydney-Perth economy fares tend to cluster around $400-$600 for the cheaper Red e-Deal category, while business class is a standard $2520.

Add business class lounge access at either end and this is a bargain.

Smarter investment

However, those points are best spent when your flight is on one of Qantas' big twin-aisle Airbus A330 jets, as they have a far superior business class seat (the same as on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, in fact) compared to the single-aisle Boeing 737s.

It's worth noting that these reward seats aren't always easy to come by - that's because they are so popular, and that's because many savvy frequent flyers are already wise to these tricks.

Premium economy Melbourne-Perth

This is a relatively new and very smart way to pull value from your frequent flyer points.

The Qantas Boeing 787 which flies non-stop from Perth to Brisbane actually begins its journey in Melbourne as flight QF9.

Travellers can book just the Melbourne-Perth leg as a regular domestic trip, and this isn't a bad way to go.

Even the economy seat is much more comfortable that on Qantas' Airbus A330s.

International appeal

In fact, many economy passengers holding Qantas Platinum frequent flyer cards deliberately book this flight because it departs from Melbourne's T2 international terminal, which means they get to enjoy a few hours before the flight in Qantas' Melbourne first class lounge.

However, Qantas is now selling premium economy seats on the Dreamliner's Melbourne-Perth leg – and you can upgrade from economy to premium economy for 4,000 points from a flexible economy fare or 10,000 points from a discount economy booking.

For a short flight of 4-5 hours the premium economy seats are markedly more comfortable again and you're also served international-grade premium economy meals.

Upgrade to first class Sydney-London

If you normally travel overseas in Qantas business class, using points to move up to first class delivers a markedly better experience for a relatively small number of points.

Again, that value really amps up if you wouldn't otherwise have access to the Qantas first class lounge before your journey.

It takes just 45,000 to 56,500 points to bump up from business class to first class on Qantas' Airbus A380 from Sydney to Melbourne to Los Angeles, depending on the category of your business class fare (sensibly, the more expensive flexible business class tickets require fewer points than the cheaper business class sale fares).

My go-to is the Sydney-London first class upgrade, which costs just 60,000-75,000 points – a terrific deal given the 20+ hours you'll spend in your cosy first class suite.

Around the world business class

This is the ultimate indulgence, and it costs not much more than a Sydney-London business class fare.

Flying Sydney to London and back in Qantas business class costs 256,000 points. But to extend that and fly around the world in business class costs only 280,000 points.

It's a special type of bookings are known as a 'Oneworld Classic Flight Reward' and is best stitched together with the help of a very points-savvy friend or a specialist travel agent.

And you're not limited to Qantas: you can fly with any number of airlines in the Oneworld family including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Malaysia Airlines, Japan's JAL, South American's LATAM and Qatar Airways.

That's a riot of choice so you can connect those dots on your round-the-world trek, and all for less than 300,000 points.