What are the best options for redeeming our Qantas Points for a one-way trip to UK for two?

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Hi there,

My wife and I are heading back to the UK from Sydney later this year, up to Scotland. I’ve saved up about 193k Qantas points since we¬†returned home to Australia a few years back and am keen to make use of the points for the 1st time. Any advice would be much appreciated ūüôā

I’m just going to list out a few details, as otherwise I will probably ramble on.

  • We’re hoping to fly mid-October. We have some blocking¬†todos remaining incomplete (visas),¬†which will hopefully be sorted within the next couple of weeks. I’m apprehensive to book flights¬†today.
  • I’ll be flying with some surfboards. Probably 3, the bag weighs about 20kg. Emirates and Qantas¬†are good with surfboards from prior experience. I have silver¬†Qantas status which gives me a little more allowance IIRC.
  • We don’t mind where we fly into in the UK. Glasgow would be good, as it’s convenient.¬†We’ll probably hire a car and drive north when we arrive.¬†We’ve fitted in a London black cab with 3 surfboards in a 7ft board-bag before¬†and then rushed between trains. It wasn’t fun… a big hire car will be a bit of a relief I think, even if it’s for a day.
  • Neither of us have flown in a class higher than economy before, so whilst it isn’t necessary we’d definitely enjoy it for all or part of the journey.

I’ve seen a few options for classic awards flights from Sydney to various destinations in the UK. Some seem to be a mix of economy and premium etc. Some I have enough points for, some I don’t. I’m not sure if this is the best way to go about things. The interface on the Qantas site was not ideal for browsing¬†through the various options. Any¬†pro-tips here?

I’ve also pondered purchasing premium economy tickets for each of us and then¬†shooting for a business upgrade with points, but I have no idea if this is an unreasonable¬†idea. Definite newbie here ūüôā But if this is a¬†good plan, I’m OK with that.

Also, we don’t mind buying return tickets if it fits in somehow.

Thanks for any help!

  • Hey Dylan! What’s your ultimate goal here – reducing price while travelling as comfortably as possible, or cost minimisation outright? I am assuming given you mentioned you’d consider a Premium Economy fare you’d be in the former camp, hoping to get out of Economy without breaking the bank – kind of paying Economy money for not being up the back.

  • Hey Keith. I would have to go with “reducing price while travelling as comfortably as possible”. Of course cost minimisation would be appreciated, but it’s not the ultimate goal. I suppose I just want to make sure I’ve used my points effectively in this instance.

    We are planning a trip to the US from the UK for early November, so if there’s a better opportunity there it’s another option.

  • Unfortunately IMO, 197K QF points is rather useless for 2 to UK. It is just about enough to redeem 2 x economy class one way only.

    What you need to factor in, before you go and redeem these “free” ticket, is the fuel surcharges imposed by Qantas, which are usually a few hundred dollars. Then there is the cost of return trip that you need to consider. As you have redeemed one way already, the return trip will have to be purchased as one way ticket, which is usually significantly more expensive. Overall, the cost of fuel surcharge plus the one way ticket may be about the same (or even more expensive) than a discount return airfare in economy, which makes all your points wasted.

    Buying ticket in premium economy and apply for an upgrade may be a good option. But the chances of getting the upgrade is not that good, I heard it is about 25% success rate, and depend on your status. Silver is just second from the bottom so it is not really that high. Also premium economy with Qantas usually sells for well over $4000 pp (for upgradable fare, you can’t get sale fare), which in many cases, you can buy business class ticket outright with some other airlines.

  • Thanks Michael. Yea, I understand what you’re saying here. If all goes to plan (visa appointment this Friday), we’ll be over there for a number of years. That’s why I’m not wanting a return ticket. From our earlier experience it was cheaper to buy return tickets to Australia from the UK. We’d just move over there and start doing that for trips home.
    I’m going to try the HK route and see about a one way ticket Sydney – HK. That should hopefully be a good little balance.

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That’s great. I’m glad my advice helped out!

 

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The best value use of points is normally to fly business class. You simply get more value for each redeemed point that way. So I would look at a portion of the trip in business and make up the difference in cash.

Simply searching for SYD-LONDON on the QF website is going to bring up almost nothing this close to October – so you have to be a little more creative in your searching by breaking up the trip and maybe taking less obvious routes.

For example, if you search Hong Kong to say Manchester on the 14th Oct it will force the QF engine to bring up Cathy Pacific flights. Business flights are available on this date – 92,000 points each (50k for economy). Pay cash for a flight from SYD to HK and a cheap flight from Manchester to your final destination and your away. The majority of your flight will be in Business.

Anything via Dubai (Qantas and Emirates) will be difficult to find. There may be some economy flights floating around but I suspect nothing in business.

So maybe search for flights from MEL / PERTH to DOH. This will bring up QATAR flights which at the moment have more award bookings than QF / Emirates.

 

 

 

 

  • Thankyou oldknees! I like the sound of this. I recall hearing about HK to UK flights, this seems to be a good option. I’m going to do some research and see what I can come up with.

  • All booked now. We needed to wait for our visa applications to be processed, which came through yesterday. Booked Cathay Pacific business HK – Manchester with points, then a Qantas flight from Sydney to HK.
    Thanks for your help folks

  • Great work!

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