The island of Phuket in Southern Thailand is world famous for a reason. With stunning white-sand beaches, pumping nightlife and renowned cuisine, Phuket really does have something for everyone. Add in the hospitality of the locals and the relaxed vibe of the place and you’ve got an idyllic holiday destination that’s just begging to be explored. Five nights and four days is the perfect amount of time to soak it all up. And that’s exactly what my partner and I do.

Of course, I’m travelling for Point Hacks, so the entire roundtrip itinerary is taken care of. That’s Singapore Airlines Business Class from Melbourne to Singapore and then on to Phuket, with the Singapore-Phuket leg costing no extra KrisFlyer miles and just a smidgen more in fees and taxes. Now that’s a travel hack! We switch it up and fly Jetstar Business direct back home, a great affordable option for using Qantas Points.

In our second-ever Itineraries Experience, we’ve taken the hassle out of planning and booking a trip to Phuket on points by doing all the heavy lifting for you. We’ve researched, we’ve refined, we’ve booked and we’ve actually travelled. So here’s my entire 5-night Phuket itinerary from start to finish, designed to be replicated in full by you folks at home. Enjoy!

Phuket boat cruise 2
En route to the famous James Bond Island.

Our budget – per person

  • KrisFlyer miles: 68,500
  • Qantas Points: 51,300
  • Cash: $1,349 per person (total, for flight taxes and accommodation twin share)

We used two points currencies to book this trip – Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer miles, and Qantas Points. Flying Singapore Airlines in one direction grants access to that sweet travel hack we mention above. To recap, you can fly from Melbourne to Singapore in Business Class for 68,500 KrisFlyer miles. And then you can fly onwards from Singapore to Phuket – still in Business – for zero extra miles and just AU$14 more in fees and taxes! Too good to pass up? We sure think so.

You can certainly recreate this itinerary using a single points currency. But aside from that travel hack, you’ll also unlock greater reward seat availability and a variety of cabin experiences when you’ve got the flexibility of multiple frequent flyer programs

Our overall budget is based on a one-way trip from Melbourne to Phuket via Singapore in Singapore Airlines Business Class, and a return trip home direct from Phuket to Melbourne in Jetstar Business Class using Qantas Points. Of course, you can tailor the budget to suit your needs – for example, if you’d rather fly in Economy to save points or use a single points currency. To find more options with different cabin classes, airlines and points programs, here’s our guide on how to hack your way to Phuket with points.

I’m flying from Melbourne, but you can just as easily take off from other cities in Australia. Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney will set you back the same amount of points to fly up the pointy end with Singapore Airlines, and flying from Darwin or Perth requires even less of a points outlay.

Need points to get you off the ground, or want to start collecting points in another program? Then take a look at our credit cards page for the latest sign-up bonus offers to help you jet set to Phuket.

Singapore Airlines Business Class champagne
With some KrisFlyer miles up your sleeve, you could be sipping Champagne in SQ Business Class, too!

Getting there: Melbourne to Phuket via Singapore

It’s time to hop aboard my first flight: Singapore Airlines Business from Melbourne to Singapore. Next, I enjoy a three-hour transit at Singapore’s Changi Airport, before catching my onward Business Class flight to Phuket. So let’s dive in.

Melbourne to Singapore in Singapore Airlines A350-900 Business Class

  • Flight: SQ238
  • Flight time: 7 hours and 40 minutes
  • Miles needed: 68,500 KrisFlyer miles, one-way
  • Fees and taxes: AU$90, one-way
  • Value per mile (AU$): 3.15 cents per mile – excellent value

Check-in and the Melbourne SilverKris Business Lounge

With my flight’s 10:45 am departure from Melbourne, I’m up bright and early. This is my first international trip in five years, so the excitement’s pumping. I arrive at Melbourne Airport to find the Singapore Airlines Economy check-in queue pumping as well. But the Business lane is empty. It’s a great feeling strolling past that snaking queue on my way to security, my bag checked and Business Class boarding pass already in hand.

I make my way to the Melbourne SilverKris Business Lounge. Frequent pointy-end travellers may find the lounge a little tired, with few updates since our 2018 review. But if you’re new to Business Class travel, it still well and truly beats ordering and paying for your own food and drink in the food court.

SQ A350-900 Business Class

But it’s in Singapore Airlines’ A350 Business Class that the luxury really kicks in. I’m welcomed warmly and directed to seat 12A, which has a wonderful lie-flat bed and plenty of space. The ability to stretch my long legs all the way out – rather than having my knees jammed against the seat in front in Economy – is always welcome. Combine that with the sense of privacy and I feel as if I’m in my own luxury cocoon.

As the Economy passengers trudge past, I enjoy a glass of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, and another once we’re in the air. Soon, it’s time to dine. Of course, I’ve used SQ’s famed Book the Cook service to select my meal in advance. From the tender smoked duck with mustard dressing to the moist chicken main with its macadamia crust, every dish is a banger. A Singapore Sling and a glass of Bordeaux round out lunch. I’m a happy man.

Flight review: Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 Business Class (Sydney – Singapore) →

Transit in Singapore

Another perk of flying Business Class? I’m first off the plane in T3 and on the monorail to T1 quicker than you can say ‘SkyTrain’. It’s here you’ll find the most shopping and food action. I’ve only got a three-hour transit, but if you’ve got longer then don’t pass up a visit to The Jewel for its lush rainforest and Rain Vortex.

My flight to Phuket departs from T2, so I head to the T2 SilverKris Business Lounge for convenience. Of course, if you’re flying out of T3 or have more time to kill, then I’d recommend visiting the newer and more lavish SilverKris Lounge in T3.

After a drink and a bite of food, I head to the gate for my Business Class flight to Phuket.

Also read: A comprehensive guide to Singapore Airlines’ many Business and First Class seats and suites

Singapore to Phuket in Singapore Airlines Business Class

  • Flight: SQ740
  • Flight time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Miles needed: 0 KrisFlyer miles (included with the Australia-Singapore redemption)
  • Fees and taxes: $14 more in fees and taxes.

My plane is a 737-800 NG this time, a ‘regional’ jet with a single aisle. And what’s this – no personal entertainment screen? The terror! Though given the flight time of just 1 hour 50 minutes, I’m not too bothered. After another glass of Piper-Heidsieck and a full hot meal (scallops, rack of lamb and honey semolina cake, in case you were wondering) we land in Phuket. Our holiday awaits.

Flight review: Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 Business Class, Singapore-Bangkok →

Accommodation in Phuket

Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach

Great for: couples, DINKs

  • Cost per person (based on twin share): ~AU$1070 for five nights inc. breakfast ($214 per person a night, Accor Live Limitless rate)

A short 20-minute drive from the airport, the beautiful Pullman Arcadia Naithon Beach is perched on a cliff overlooking the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. Like many places in Thailand, Phuket has a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, from dirt-cheap hostels to opulent private pool villas.

At approximately $428 a night for our Grand Deluxe Room ($214 per person twin share), the Pullman Arcadia falls somewhere in the middle. As a member of the Accor Live Limitless program, I book directly through Accor to receive member’s rates, complimentary internet and online check-in. Plus, the Accor-Qantas partnership delivers 3420 Qantas Points to my frequent flyer account and 1850 ALL points (worth almost $60 on a future Accor booking). Talk about double dipping.

The hotel impresses us right from the start. Arrival, check-in and transport to our room are swift and smooth, and a wave of relaxation washes over us. The view from our room is excellent – even at night – with a soft silhouette of the mountains in the distance. The bed’s enormous and the room super quiet.

Included in our room rate, breakfast at Elements Cafe is delicious. The buffet is expansive (read dangerous). The next day, we enjoy sunset drinks and Italian snacks at the Pullman’s in-house restaurant Vero. The view over the infinity pool and Andaman Sea has to be seen to be believed.

If you’re looking for affordable luxury with a sleepy, relaxed vibe in a great location – close to a patrolled swimming beach, shops, restaurants, street vendors and great massage joints – then I’d highly recommend staying here.

Earning points towards your own Phuket getaway

Now that we’ve given you a taste of our flights to Phuket and our awesome accommodation, here’s how we made it happen using frequent flyer points. We dive into our four-day itinerary below – but first, find out how you can earn KrisFlyer miles and Qantas Points so you can jet to Phuket in luxury for less.

Earning KrisFlyer miles

The KrisFlyer program is a lucrative one as you can not only redeem points with Singapore Airlines but other Star Alliance airlines, too. Whether you’re new to collecting KrisFlyer miles or looking to top up your balance, one of the best ways to amass a stack of points towards your next holiday is with a credit card. Cards like the American Express Platinum Business, St.George Amplify Rewards Signature and American Express Explorer allow you to transfer points to KrisFlyer miles at a rate of 2:1.

If collecting Velocity Points is easier for you, then you’ll be glad to know that Velocity Points can be converted to KrisFlyer miles at a rate of 1.55:1. Alternatively, you can simply redeem your Velocity Points to book flights with Singapore Airlines.

Read our full guide to earning KrisFlyer miles in Australia →

Earning Qantas Points

It’s easy to earn points towards Australia’s largest frequent flyer program. Qantas Points open up opportunities for redemptions with oneworld Alliance partners, and there are lots of ways to earn points on the ground. Applying for a credit card with a sign-up bonus is one of the most popular methods. But note that you’ll need to be approved and often meet a minimum spend requirement before you receive your bonus points.

You can also pocket Qantas Points when you place an order via Qantas Wine, make a purchase through Qantas Shopping or Qantas Marketplace, book accommodation via Qantas Hotels, or link your Everyday Rewards card to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account.

Read our full guide to Qantas Frequent Flyer in Australia →

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Phuket 4-day itinerary

If you’re looking to get a taste of what Phuket has to offer, then four days and five nights is a great amount of time. (Though if you’re hoping to laze endlessly on a white sand beach, you may prefer to extend your trip to a week).

So here’s a blow-by-blow account of my four days in Phuket, with activities divided into morning, afternoon and evening. It pays to plan, right?

Day 1: Phuket

Morning: We kick off our first day in Phuket with a buffet breakfast at the Pullman’s Elements Cafe, included in our room rate (though it’s only around AU$25 per person if you’re adding it on). Its peaceful views over the pool and overwhelming selection of food tempt in equal measure. Next, we take the steep path down to the patrolled white sand beach below the hotel for a spot of exploring, before heading back to the lobby for our full-day Phang Nga island tour with Amazing Canoeing. I’d recommend booking directly with Amazing Canoeing for the best price (around AU$115 compared to $190 on Tripadvisor).

We’re picked up at 8 am and driven to our departure point, Ao Po Pier. Beverages, morning tea and a buffet lunch are all included, as well as air-conditioned transfers from your hotel. We board our big boat by 9:30 and the adventure begins. The weather is perfect – 34 degrees and sunny with a light haze. We hop into a canoe to explore Panak Island, paddling into a dark cave alive with bats. It’s a unique experience that alights the senses. Next up is the popular Hong Island, and then it’s back to the boat for lunch.

Afternoon: After a smorgasbord of fried food, rice and noodles, we cruise to James Bond Island (Ko Tapu), made famous in the 1974 movie The Man with the Golden Gun. We transfer to a long boat that drops us on the island. It’s a beautiful spot. Soon, we head back to the big boat, which anchors off a white sand beach for people to swim. We arrive back at our hotel just after 6:30 pm. It’s been a full day packed with sights, and I won’t be forgetting it in a hurry.

Evening: For dinner, we stroll 10 minutes down the road to cheap ‘n’ cheerful Thai joint Shameena. It’s packed, so don’t forget to book. We enjoy a few rounds of cooling Singha beers, followed by delightfully crunchy spring rolls – the best food we’ve had so far. The red coconut milk curry with king prawns and stir-fried mixed veg are the perfect mains. Overall, the bill comes to AU$65, a steal for authentic Thai food of this standard. Just be sure to pass on the ‘nation’ cocktail – it’s strong and most unpleasant. God knows what’s in it!

Day 2: Phuket

Morning: Our second day in Phuket is devoted to relaxation. We savour another breakfast at Elements by the pool, but today we’ve got time to linger. After a slow start, we wander down to the beach and set up our towels on the powder-soft sand. A patrolled swimming beach is a boon in Phuket, and we take full advantage. It’s hard to drag ourselves away from the calm turquoise water. And so we don’t.

Afternoon: We’re not overly hungry after our indulgent brekkie, so we grab chicken satay sticks from a local street vendor behind the beach. Talk about dirt cheap! Next up is a traditional Thai massage. Many hotels – including the Pullman – have spas attached. But the prices are usually steep. So we decide to try our luck at Naithon Beach.

After some online research and a sneaky site visit to verify the place looks good (and make a booking), we select Ayodiawan Massage and Spa. A 1-hour traditional Thai massage costs just 400 Baht (around AU$17). Everything is spotlessly clean, including the loose white clothes they provide for the massage itself. After a vigorous hour of being stretched and pummelled, I float out into the day. Highly recommended.

Evening: C-Bar at the Pullman is a stylish affair. Striking round open-air booths with incredible views invite lingering. And we don’t say no. There’s a daily happy hour from 4-6 pm, with two-for-one drinks. Bonus! And the place serves Asian tapas from 5-10 pm. A round of cocktails ensues, and then another. We order some tapas to soak it all up, then hit the hay early. Yep, it’s a hard life.

Day 3: Phuket

Morning: After a quick breakfast, we head down to the beach to find a taxi to take us to Old Phuket Town, a 50-minute drive away. Ultimately, we decide to hire a driver for the whole day, and it proves to be an excellent decision. For AU$115, we have a personal chauffeur for nine hours. En route to Phuket Town, we stop at the Big Buddha, an impressive structure that stands at over 25 metres tall. Afterwards, our driver Mr Poui drops us off in the Old Town, known for its brightly painted Sino-Portuguese townhouses. The town is a hive of activity. We even see a Bollywood movie being made!

But what we’ve really come for is lunch at the renowned finer-diner the Blue Elephant. When a restaurant is listed in the Michelin Guide, you know you can’t go wrong.

Afternoon: Housed in a Sino-Portugese palace with expansive grounds, the restaurant wins us over in minutes. From the varied Phuketian dishes on offer, we choose the Peranakan set menu, a steal at approximately AU$72 plus service charge and taxes. For starters, the Andaman fish cakes, steamed crab dumplings and deep-sea tiger prawns leave us speechless.

But the mains go one better. Free-range duck laced with smoked coconut husk and the rich mackerel curry – a signature dish – pair perfectly with a bottle of Austrian Grüner Veltliner. After lunch, we head to the excellent onsite shop. We walk away with eight jars of curry paste, teapots, incense burners, tea and an apron. That should test our luggage allowance on the way home!

Evening: It’s time to soak up a sunset at The Pullman, this time at Italian restaurant Vero. An Aperol Spritz goes down well, as do the complementary bread basket and olives. Basking in the sun’s rays, we also enjoy an Australian Angus beef carpaccio. Watching the sun sink into the horizon is a memorable way to close out the day.

Day 4: Phuket

Morning: After a well-earned sleep-in and a lazy breakfast at Elements, we set up shop by The Pullman’s infinity pool. Refreshments are on call at the press of a button – now this is living. In fact, we’ve got so much time I indulge in a sneaky Netflix session. And with super-quick Wi-Fi download speeds of 300+ Mbps, you’ll have no problem streaming video or even knocking off a bit of work.

Afternoon: If you love a good beach, you’ll find the beaches in Phuket to be paradise. My partner and I while away a blissful afternoon on Naithon Beach. Soft white sand and crystal-clear water just never get old. In between swimming, sunbaking and relaxing with a book, the hours fly by. We head back to the Pullman refreshed and utterly relaxed. This is what a holiday is all about.

Evening: After an amazing four days, we cap off our Phuket trip with a final memorable dining experience. Referring to the trusty Michelin Guide once again, we select the Bib Gourmand-rated Toh-Daeng by Baan Ar-Jor Museum Home. The renovated Chinese-Colonial mansion (also a hostel and museum) sits on a farm in the middle of nowhere, a 20-minute drive from our hotel. It’s spectacular lit up at night, and the quality food is surprisingly affordable. Seafood features heavily, so don’t miss ordering the Andaman sea crab and the deep-fried seabass with local herbs. Yum.

Coming home: Phuket to Melbourne

Phuket, it’s been an absolute pleasure.

Pleasingly, a direct flight from Phuket whisks me back to Melbourne in just eight and a half hours. I’m not scoffing at the thought of an overnight flight with a budget carrier, either. Because for just 51,300 Qantas Points, I’m flying home in Jestar’s Boeing 787-8 Business Class cabin.

While it’s not the luxurious lie-flat bed I’d enjoyed on the way up, a 9:40 pm departure has me feeling appreciative of the extra space that grants me some shut-eye after an adventurous trip. I touch down in Melbourne just after 10 am with the entire afternoon ahead of me for a leisurely bike ride. That’s 51,300 Qantas Points well spent.

Phuket to Melbourne in Jetstar Business Class

  • Flight: JQ18
  • Flight time: 8 hours 25 minutes
  • Points needed: 51,300 Qantas Points
  • Fees and taxes: $175.09
  • Value per point (AU$): 2.12 cents per point – above average value

If you’re home-bound elsewhere along the east coast, Jetstar also services Sydney with a direct route for the same amount of points for its Business Class cabin. And if you’d rather fly Economy, expect to fork out just 21,500 Qantas Points, with checked baggage and seat selection included. 

Alternatively, got some extra points up your sleeve and would prefer to lie flat on the way home? You can fly direct with Qantas between Bangkok and Sydney in Business Class for 68,400 Qantas Points. The short hop from Phuket to Bangkok in Bangkok Airways Economy – bookable on the same ticket using Qantas Points – takes the total to 78,400 points. And once you’re in Sydney, a handful of extra Qantas Points can connect you to other cities in Australia. We’ve covered all the possible routes – and how you can book them on points – in our guide to hacking your way to Phuket with points.

Hacks and tips

General tips for travelling in Phuket

  • If your accommodation offers airport transfers, consider booking one! It’s much more relaxing being greeted with a personal sign with your name on it and being guided through the airport than facing the huge number of taxis outside Phuket Airport touting for your business.
  • Hiring a driver for the day is a great way to get around the island, but note that payment can only be made in cash. Our driver stopped us at an ATM to withdraw some Baht, but it helps to be prepared.
  • Alternatively, the rideshare app Grab – Thailand’s version of Uber –  is great for short trips around the island.
  • Before leaving Australia, I’d freed up the physical sim slot on my iPhone 11 Pro Max by switching to an eSIM. When I landed in Phuket, I headed to the DTAC stand at the baggage collection area to pick up my local SIM. The 16-day Unlimited Internet SIM cost just 299 Baht (approximately AU$15). With my eSIM in place for my Australian number, I could still receive text messages from home, and I had unlimited data for everything else while travelling.
Local street stalls in Phuket
Explore the street stalls to nab yourself a bargain.

To save

  • If you’re planning to do some serious sightseeing, I’d recommend booking a driver for the entire day. This saved us the hassle of hailing a taxi or booking a Grab between each destination, and we had more time to explore since our driver was always on-hand. At just 2,700 Baht (around $115 AUD) for nine hours, this was a cost-effective way for two people (or more!) to see the sights of Phuket.
  • Our resort had on-site massage facilities, but we opted for a local massage house nearby, with cleanliness and service of a high standard.
  • We saved over $70 per person on our canoeing cruise by booking directly with the service provider instead of through a third-party website. Always compare prices before booking tours and activities in Phuket.

To splurge

  • There’s no shortage of fine-dining experiences in Phuket. We visited Blue Elephant and the Bib Gourmand-awarded Toh-Daeng by Baan Ar-Jor Museum Home, and you can find many more in the Michelin Guide.
  • Our Grand Deluxe room at the Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach was worth the splurge for the views, the space and the serenity. The latter is especially important if you’ve got a long day ahead and need all the rest you can get!
The splurge is well worth it to finish off your days by the Pullman’s stunning infinity pool.

Your Phuket holiday awaits

Whether you’ve never travelled to Phuket before – or you’re a return visitor – there’s never been a better time to explore this beautiful island. And with reward seats bookable both on Singapore Airlines and Jetstar in Business Class, a Phuket holiday is closer than you think.

From its white-sand beaches to its excellent dining and natural beauty, Phuket entices on every level. This is my second trip, and I’m already itching to return.

All photography by Adam Leadoux, who travelled at Point Hacks’ expense.

Five nights in Phuket + Business Class flights for under $1,400 with KrisFlyer miles and Qantas Points was last modified: October 10th, 2023 by Adam Leadoux