Jetstar has really come onto the travel scene in our region over the past decade or so, now carrying almost one out of every 10 passengers travelling in and out of Australia, not to mention its domestic operations.
One unique use of Qantas Points is redeeming seats on Jetstar flights, given no other easily accessible points currency can do so.
In this guide, we outline the routes, aircraft and cabins Jetstar operates; step-by-step instructions on how to make a booking; sweet spots in the award chart; and links to Jetstar guides and reviews.
Summary: How to redeem Qantas Points for Jetstar flights
- See if Jetstar operates the route with Qantas’ route maps or timetables
- Check points pricing online – either via the Qantas.com using points calculator or as part of the booking process on Qantas.com
- You’ll see the applicable taxes along with the points pricing as you try to make a booking – if you have enough points in your account
- Qantas Point pricing on Jetstar flights is 20% less than if Qantas flew the route, in both Business and Economy Class
- Make sure you book through Qantas.com to avoid phone booking fees
Routes, aircraft and cabins
Jetstar operates to mainly leisure destinations within Australia and to New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Japan and Hawaii. Its largest international hubs are Melbourne Tullamarine and Sydney.
Jetstar operates just three types of planes:
- a larger twin-aisle Boeing 787 Dreamliner with both Business Class and Economy Class;
- a shorter all-Economy Class Airbus A320; and
- a longer all-Economy Class Airbus A321
The focus of this guide will be on Business Class redemptions on international routes (excluding New Zealand) from Melbourne, Sydney and Cairns.
Why? Because, at least for now, they are the only routes that are serviced by the 787 Dreamliner with both Business and Economy Class.
Currently, you can fly the Dreamliner between:
Gold Coast and:
All other routes (domestic and New Zealand) are serviced by the smaller all-Economy Class planes. As Jetstar is a low-cost carrier, they have regular sales and tickets on these flights are usually best to be purchased with cash rather than points, unless it is a last-minute purchase or during a peak travel period like school holiday.
If your home airport is one other than the four listed above, then you can still pick up an add-on flight in Economy Class to connect to Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns or Gold Coast to take advantage of a Business Class flight from there. This is called a ‘mixed cabin redemption’ and will come up automatically when you search for awards on the Qantas website.
Business Class on the Dreamliner is arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration, with leather recliner seats, similar to what you’d find on a domestic Business Class flight with Qantas or Virgin Australia. Our pick for the best seats are 3G and 3J, which offer extra recline.
In Business Class, you’ll get complimentary meals and beverages, inflight entertainment and 30kg a baggage allowance.
Unless you hold elite status with Qantas or are a Qantas Club member, you won’t get lounge access before a Jetstar Business Class flight redeemed with points. Only Business Max fares purchased with cash will deem you eligible. Read more in our definitive guide to Qantas lounges.
Economy Class is arranged in a 3-3 configuration on the smaller planes and 3-3-3 on the Dreamliner. Meals, drinks, entertainment and baggage are at an extra cost.
How to calculate points pricing and taxes
First things first: Jetstar award redemptions are 20% lower than flying the same route on Qantas. That’s because Jetstar offers an inferior product both in Business and Economy Class.
But you may still want to redeem an award on Jetstar as they have better award availability than Qantas and may offer a direct flight on the route you are looking at where Qantas does not, e.g. Melbourne to Honolulu or Gold Coast to Queenstown.
Step 1: Go to the Using Points Calculator for Classic Flight Rewards on the Qantas website and enter your desired route and cabin:
Step 2: An orange star will denote that the route is operated by Jetstar and will show which zone (based on distance) it falls into in the Jetstar award chart accompanied by the amount of points required to redeem an award seat:
Step 3: Now that you know how much the award will cost in points, it’s time to search for award availability by clicking Book and entering in your Qantas Frequent Flyer details on the next page:
Step 4: You will be taken to your home Frequent Flyer account page, where you will again enter your route, desired date/s and whether you would like a flexible date search (recommended). Make sure to tick the box at the bottom to make sure you are looking for award flights and not tickets purchased with cash:
Step 5: The site will default to just showing Economy Class tickets but you can change that to include other cabins if you like. In this example, it shows that there are no Business Class seats on the day I was originally looking at but there are on the following day:
Step 6: This page will show you the award availability on both nonstop and connecting flights. When you click on my desired flight and cabin, it will show the points required at the bottom of the page:
Step 7: Taxes will be displayed on the next page but only if you already have the required amount of points in your account. I didn’t for this flight, so here are the taxes for an Economy Class ticket from Perth to Bali for demonstrative purposes:
Step 8: Tick the boxes and proceed to make your booking and taxes co-payment.
It’s a pretty simple process overall!
As stated before, the best value redemptions of Qantas Points on Jetstar flights are for Business Class tickets, which are exclusively available on routes serviced by the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
If Qantas also operates on the same route – namely Sydney to Bali and Honolulu and Melbourne to Singapore – then it is generally worth paying the 20% premium to enjoy their superior Business Class product, provided you can find award availability.
If your home airport is one that does not have Dreamliner flights operating out of it, e.g. Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin, then the best value can be found in using your Qantas Points for Economy Class tickets for routes on which Qantas does not operate (examples below).
This table shows the best value one-way redemptions sorted from the highest per point value to lowest. Importantly, it does not factor in taxes, which reduces the per point value of all redemptions. The price in cash is for a random day in May 2017.
|Route||Class||Qantas Points required||Cash ticket||Per point value|
|Cairns to Osaka||Business||48,000||$1,618||3.4|
|Sydney to Phuket||Business||48,000||$1,563||3.3|
|Melbourne/Sydney to Honolulu||Business||57,600||$1,832||3.2|
|Melbourne to Bangkok||Business||48,000||$1,460||3.0|
|Melbourne/Sydney to Bali||Business||40,000||$1,079||2.7|
|Gold Coast to Tokyo||Business||48,000||$1,313||2.7|
|Adelaide to Sunshine Coast||Economy||9,600||$201||2.1|
|Brisbane to Hobart||Economy||9,600||$180||1.9|
|Perth to Cairns||Economy||14,400||$238||1.7|
You can see that you can get up to double the value per point by redeeming your points for Business Class rather than Economy Class.
Do you need to call to book or can you do it online?
It is best to search for and book your Jetstar online in order to avoid the 3500 (domestic) or 6000 (international) Qantas Point ‘Award Assistance Fee’ incurred by booking over the phone (call 13 11 31 Monday to Saturday between 7am and 7pm AEST).
When does award calendar availability open up?
Qantas Frequent Flyer will generally release awards for Jetstar flights around 300 days before departure.
A general rule is that Jetstar will release more award seats than Qantas.
Links to related guides and reviews
- Jetstar 787 Dreamliner Business Class Sydney to Melbourne review
- Jetstar 787 Dreamliner Business Class Cairns to Osaka review
- How to redeem Qantas Points for flights from Australia to Bali
- Beginner’s guide to using Qantas Points for flights with Qantas’ partners
- Best uses of Qantas Points
- How to use your points to fly to Hawaii
Other currency alternatives for booking with this airline
Jetstar has very few frequent flyer program partners, so Qantas Frequent Flyer is the best currency by far for redeeming with Jetstar, when it comes to availability of points and ease of redemption.
Using your Qantas Points for redemptions on Jetstar flights is quite an easy online process, but do try to get the most value out of your points by using them for Business Class flights internationally or for Economy Class tickets on routes within Australia and to New Zealand on which Qantas does not operate.
If you are happy to do a layover on the way to your destination, you can probably get better value from full-service airlines like Qantas and Cathay Pacific.
Finally, definitely try and book online to avoid the phone assistance fee.
Supplementary images courtesy Jetstar.