Being cooped up is no fun, so there’ll undoubtedly be a surge of bookings for interstate travel once border restrictions are relaxed again. But with Qantas releasing scores of reward seats on domestic routes for future travel, why not get ahead of the pack and use your Qantas Points for an Australian outdoorsy adventure?

Classic Reward Seats are inherently quite flexible with no cash cancellation fees, and if it turns out you can’t travel due to continued restrictions, chances are you may be able to delay or cancel your trip without a points penalty either — Qantas currently has a waiver in place until 31 October 2020.

Here are the best ways to use your Qantas Points to explore your own backyard, and see Cairns, the Sunshine Coast, Launceston and Perth, possibly in 2021 and beyond.

COVID-19 Content Disclaimer
Best ways to use Qantas Points for an Australian outdoor adventure was last modified: November 9th, 2020 by Brandon Loo

Using Qantas Points to fly to Cairns

Status: open to visitors, though Queensland has strict border controls.

Cairns is (usually) a tropical paradise and also a gateway to the popular town of Port Douglas. In better times, it’s not uncommon for many people to flock upwards from the chilly parts of Australia to Cairns during winter.

Situated in Far North Queensland (FNQ), readers unfamiliar with the area might be surprised to learn that Cairns is a 2-hour flight away from Brisbane, despite being within the same state.

Sheraton Grand Port Douglas
Read our review of the Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas.

Both Qantas and Jetstar have numerous routes into Cairns during usual operations: here were the routes as of January 2020:

Qantas and Jetstar routes to Cairns.
Qantas (red) and Jetstar (red + orange) routes to Cairns.

Here are the Qantas Points needed for those reward seats, one-way and per-person, on either Qantas or Jetstar where applicable:

Jetstar EconomyQantas EconomyQantas Business
Brisbane, Gold Coast, Darwin to Cairns9,600 points12,000 points27,600 points
Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth to Cairns14,400 points18,000 points41,500 points

Using Qantas Points to fly to the Sunshine Coast

Status: open to visitors, though Queensland has strict border controls.

The airport serving the Sunshine Coast is located near the sunny beach town of Maroochydore. Nearby highlights along the coast include Mooloolaba, Noosa and Caloundra.

Need a break from the beaches? Just a short drive away is the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, where the scenery rapidly changes from sandy shores to undulating green hills and lush rainforest.

Sunshine Coast Hinterlands | Photo by Dualiti Photos, used under license.
Escape the sea and head into the Hinterlands. (‘Lone Bovine’ by Dualiti Photos CC)

As the town is only 90km or so north of Brisbane, Jetstar and QantasLink don’t fly to Sunshine Coast Airport from within Queensland. These were the routes in operation at the beginning of 2020, and the points needed:

Qantas and Jetstar routes to Sunshine Coast
QantasLink (red) and Jetstar (orange + red) routes to Sunshine Coast. Brisbane is included as a reference.
Jetstar EconomyQantasLink EconomyQantasLink Business
Sydney to Maroochydore6,400 points8,000 points18,400 points
Melbourne, Adelaide to Maroochydore9,600 pointsN/AN/A

Using Qantas Points to fly to Launceston

Status: all non-essential travellers need prior approval to enter Tasmania. Travel is not yet advised.

Tasmania is often likened to a ‘mini-New Zealand’, and it’s not hard to see why. Along the East Coast, you’ve got beautiful (if not slightly chilly) beaches and attractions such as Wineglass Bay, plus an abundance of fresh seafood.

In the Central Highlands, there are many national parks and walking trails to tackle. Cradle Mountain is a popular tourist hotspot and you could be lucky enough to catch some snowfall during winter.

Swansea sunrise Tasmania | Brandon
Catching the sunrise at Swansea on Tasmania’s East Coast.

Then there’s the rugged West Coast of Tasmania, with endless wilderness and historic mining towns. Travellers might make a beeline to Strahan and Queenstown where adventurous pursuits await.

Although many people may automatically default to the capital Hobart as the gateway to Tasmania, Launceston is actually better-placed for most tourists who want to explore the island state.

Qantas and Jetstar routes to Launceston
Qantas (red) and Jetstar (orange + red) routes to Launceston. Hobart is included as a reference.
Jetstar EconomyQantasLink EconomyQantasLink Business
Melbourne, Sydney to Launceston6,400 points8,000 pointsN/A
Brisbane to Launceston9,600 pointsN/AN/A

Using Qantas Points to fly to Perth

Status: open to intrastate visitors. Western Australia has strict interstate border controls.

It’s been previously said that Perth is one of the most isolated major cities in the world, known for its laid-back beaches, beautiful wine regions such as Margaret River, and the infamous quokkas on Rottnest Island.

Perth is also the gateway to other major attractions in Western Australia such as Exmouth and Broome, both in the state’s far north.

Turtle at Ningaloo Reef | Photo by Nicole McLachlan and used under CC license.
Perth is your jump pad to activities such as snorkelling at the Ningaloo Reef.

As a major capital city, Qantas and Jetstar usually have lots of flights to Perth. Here are the routes and points needed for them:

Qantas (left) and Jetstar (right) routes to Perth. (In white is a new JQ route between Melbourne and Busselton which is delayed due to COVID-19).
Jetstar EconomyQantas EconomyQantas Business
Geraldton, Kalgoorlie to PerthN/A8,000 pointsN/A
Broome, Port Hedland, Karratha, Newman, Paraburdoo to PerthN/A12,000 points27,600 points
Darwin, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Cairns to Perth14,400 points18,000 points41,500 points

Summing up

Qantas Points are quite versatile within Australian and can be used to visit many destinations, thanks to its Jetstar and QantasLink arms for more regional flying.

Business Class on Qantas is priced quite high relative to the length of flight for these routes, so you might find that Economy Class is a better use of points. Reward seat bookings are also quite flexible, which should be useful during these uncertain times.

Shaking hands in suits

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Best ways to use Qantas Points for an Australian outdoor adventure was last modified: November 9th, 2020 by Brandon Loo

Best ways to use Qantas Points for an Australian outdoor adventure was last modified: November 9th, 2020 by Brandon Loo