Use British Airways Avios Points to Get Big Travel in Australia

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Update: Beginning February 2, 2016, British Airways will no longer offer 1-way, short-haul (under 650 miles) coach award tickets on partner airlines in North America for 4,500 British Airways Avios points.  Instead these flights will cost 7,500 British Airways Avios points.

UPDATE: The offer for the British Airways card in this post has expired.  But check Hot Deals for the latest offers!

Australia is a long way from home!  So when you visit, you might decide to explore more than 1 city.

Did you know you can book award flights on Qantas with British Airways Avios points?  It’s often a great deal, and they’re easy to book!

Use British Airways Avios Points To Get Big Travel In Australia

Visit Beautiful Melbourne, Australia, Known for Its Art, Coffee, and Culture!  Then Use British Airways Avios Points to Fly to Other Cities

I’ll show you how!

About British Airways Avios Points

Link:   British Airways

Link:   My Guide to British Airways Avios Points

British Airways and Qantas (Australia’s national airline) are members of the oneworld alliance, so you can use British Airways Avios points to book award flights within Australia!

Because British Airways uses a distance-based award chart, you’ll pay 4,500 British Airways Avios points for a 1-way coach award flight under 650 miles.  You can fly between Melbourne and Sydney for this price!

Award prices go up from there.  But you can fly between most cities in Australia for 10,000 British Airways Avios points.  (I’ll show you how to easily calculate prices later.)

Use British Airways Avios Points To Get Big Travel In Australia

British Airways Makes It Easy to Book Award Flights on Qantas!

You can book Qantas flights directly on the British Airways website.  But if you call to book, you’ll pay an award booking fee of 25 Australian dollars (~$18).

How to Book Qantas Award Flights With British Airways Avios Points

Link:   Book Flights With British Airways Avios Points

To get started, you must sign-up with British Airways Executive Club (free to join!), or log into your account.

Use British Airways Avios Points To Get Big Travel In Australia

Under the “Executive Club” Tab, Click “Spending Avios”

On the website, hover over “Executive Club” then click “Spending Avios.”

Use British Airways Avios Points To Get Big Travel In Australia

Find and Click “Book a Reward Flight”

Scroll down to the “Reward Flights” section and click “Book a reward flight.”

Use British Airways Avios Points To Get Big Travel In Australia

There Are Usually Lots of Award Seats Available on Qantas, Even for Big Groups!

I checked prices from Melbourne to Sydney right before New Year’s Eve, to see the world-famous fireworks show at midnight.

There are over a dozen available flights on the date I picked for only 4,500 British Airways Avios points and $9 in taxes.  For comparison, the same flight would cost 8,000 Qantas miles if you booked it through their frequent flyer program.

Because there are so many seats available on this route, you’re able to find a flight with multiple award seats if you decide to visit with a large group.

Use British Airways Avios Points To Get Big Travel In Australia

1-Way Flights From Melbourne to Sydney Before the New Year Celebration Are ~$203

The same flights would cost ~$203.  So using British Airways Avios points in this case is an outstanding deal!

Note:  This is 1 reason I prefer using points for Big Travel rather than cash back!  In this example, you’ll need 4,500 British Airways Avios points.  You can get that by transferring 4,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways.  If you had used the 4,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for cash back, you’d get $45.  But here you’d get a flight worth over $200!

Let’s look at another example.

Use British Airways Avios Points To Get Big Travel In Australia

It Costs ~$221 to Fly to Perth from Sydney

Say you want to visit the West Coast of Australia, and decide to fly from Sydney to Perth.  A 1-way flight costs 315 Australian Dollars (~$221).

Use British Airways Avios Points To Get Big Travel In Australia

The Same Flight Costs 12,500 British Airways Avios Points

There are 4 award flights available on the date I searched.  Because of the longer distance, you’ll need to spend more points on this award flight.  But it can still be a good deal at 12,500 British Airways Avios points plus $11 for taxes.

This flight would cost 18,000 Qantas miles, so you’d still come out ahead by redeeming British Airways Avios points.

It’s not as great of a deal as the short award flight between Sydney and Melbourne, but you’ll still save money by redeeming points.

Use British Airways Avios Points To Get Big Travel In Australia

Business Class Award Seats Are Also Available on This Flight

I noticed a Business Class award seat was available, too.

Considering the flight between Sydney and Perth is ~5 hours, it might be worth it to some folks to fly in Business Class.  But you’ll pay 37,500 British Airways Avios points plus $11 in taxes.

You’ll save a little by redeeming 36,000 Qantas miles instead.

Use British Airways Avios Points To Get Big Travel In Australia

Business Class Seats on This Flight Cost ~$1,402

The same seat would cost ~$1,402 out-of-pocket, so you’ll save a lot of money using your points instead!

Use British Airways Avios Points To Get Big Travel In Australia

With Domestic Business Class in Australia, You’ll Get a Bigger Seat, Full Meal, and In-Flight Entertainment

If you have lots of points, this is a fantastic way to use them.  Qantas has nice Business Class seats on flights within Australia!

That said, it’s usually best to stick to coach award seats when you redeem British Airways Avios points.  That’s because they charge double, or even triple, the amount of points for Business Class and First Class award seats.

Use British Airways Avios Points To Get Big Travel In Australia

You’ll Get at Least 1 Free Checked Bag on Award Flights

Coach award tickets come with 1 free checked bag included.  And Business Class awards get 2 free checked bags.

See How Many Points You’ll Need

Link:   Wandering Aramean’s Avios Calculator

Wandering Aramean built a calculator to figure out how much flights cost with British Airways Avios points.

Enter your starting airport, and you’ll see a color-coded map of how many points it costs to fly to nearby cities.

Use British Airways Avios Points To Get Big Travel In Australia

From Sydney, You Can Get to Anywhere Within Australia in Coach With 12,500 British Airways Avios Points at Most

For example, from Sydney, you can use 4,500 British Airways Avios points to fly to cities including Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Perth.

Only 2 cities, Broome and Perth, cost the maximum amount of 12,500 British Airways Avios points.

Use British Airways Avios Points To Get Big Travel In Australia

From Melbourne, You Can Fly to Anywhere in the Country for 10,000 British Airways Avios Points (or Fewer!)

And if you fly from Melbourne, no award flight costs more than 10,000 British Airways Avios points.  So you can easily visit another city during your visit to Australia!

Keep in mind British Airways charges for each flight segment.  This makes it possible to stay as long as you want in each city!  One day or 1 week costs the same amount.

Earn More British Airways Avios Points

Link:   Chase British Airways

It’s possible to earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points with the Chase British Airways.

But to get the full bonus, you’ll have to spend:

  • $2,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account (earn 50,000 British Airways Avios points)
  • $10,000 (total) on purchases in the 1st 12 months of opening your account (earn an additional 25,000 British Airways Avios points)
  • $20,000 (total) on purchases in the 1st 12 months of opening your account (earn another 25,000 British Airways Avios points)

So you’ll have to make $20,000 in purchases during the 1st year to earn all 100,000 British Airways Avios points.

Even if you signed-up for the card to earn 50,000 British Airways Avios points, that’s still enough for:

  • 11 one-way coach award flights under 650 miles (or 5 round-trip flights)
  • 6 one-way coach award flights over 650 miles, but under 1,150 miles (or 3 round-trip flights)

If each short-haul 1-way flight under 650 miles (like between Melbourne and Sydney) costs $200 out-of-pocket, that’s over $2,000 you’ll save by redeeming British Airways Avios points instead.  And of course, you can earn up to 100,000 British Airways Avios points and save double that!

Check out my review of the card and for how to meet minimum spending requirements.

Use British Airways Avios Points To Get Big Travel In Australia

Besides the British Airways Card, You Can Earn British Airways Avios Points by Transferring AMEX Membership Rewards Points, Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, or Starwood Points

Here’s my full series about how to earn & use British Airways Avios points for Big Travel with Small Money!

And here are all the ways you can earn British Airways Avios points for Big Travel!

Bottom Line

You can use British Airways Avios points to book award flights on their partner, Qantas.  It’s a terrific way to see more of Australia!

You’ll pay 4,500 British Airways Avios points for a 1-way coach award flight under 650 miles, like between Melbourne and Sydney.

And most award flights within Australia cost 10,000 (or fewer!) British Airways Avios points.

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5 responses to “Use British Airways Avios Points to Get Big Travel in Australia

  1. While this is great for getting around Australia, what this article omits are tips for getting to Australia in the first place. As I imagine it would take quite a few Avios to get from North America to Australia.

    When I saw the headline I actually thought it was going to offer suggestions for getting to Australia. While I misunderstood the headline which does accurately say travel “in Australia” not “to Australia”, it still would have been nice if the article include some suggestions for getting there in the first place.

  2. Why do I get this message when searching for some routes?:
    “British Airways and its partners do not fly this route. Please consider alternative destinations or call your Executive Club Service Centre.”

    I know for a fact that Qantas flies that route (i.e. MEL-HOB, SYD-ZQN) because I can find it on their site.
    Is it because those routes are operated by one of Qanta’s subsidiaries like Jetstar or Jetconnect?

  3. The airport code for Hobart is HBA. That should do it.

  4. @Barb,

    That was a typo and would have no effect since their system will correct it anyway or prompt you to do it.
    Even with the correct code, you can’t book with Avios that route or other dosmetic Qantas flights. I think it may have to do with subsidiary airlines owned by Qantas.

  5. @Brian – Thanks for the comment! Maybe I’ll cover this in a future post.

    @Kevin – If you can find award space at the lowest level on the Qantas website, you can call British Airways to book an award flight with Avios points. Hope that helps!