As we start to spread our wings once more, thoughts turn to catch-ups with long-lost friends and families overseas. The United States is one of the most popular international destinations from Australia. Your Qantas Points unlock travel on Qantas, American Airlines, Fiji Airways – and a host of other partners.

For this guide, we’re looking at travel to three popular destinations: Honolulu, Los Angeles and New York.

How many Qantas Points will I need to fly to the US?

You’ll need anywhere from 51,300 to 227,500 Qantas Points to fly in comfort to the US, in Business or First Class. Of course, it depends on the airline and the cabin you choose. While we don’t imagine many of you will fly the ‘long’ way eastwards to the US, we’ve included the figures here for comparison.

Route (one way)Airline / CabinQantas Points needed
BrisbaneHonoluluJetstar Business Class51,300
Melbourne / SydneyHonoluluJetstar Business Class61,500
East CoastHonoluluQantas Business Class82,000
East CoastLos AngelesQantas Business Class108,400
East CoastLos AngelesQantas First Class162,800
East CoastNew YorkQantas Business Class144,600
East Coast via NadiHonoluluFiji Airways Business Class82,000
East Coast via NadiLos AngelesFiji Airways Business Class108,400
All Australian ports via Hong KongNew YorkCathay Pacific Business Class159,000
Sydney via TokyoNew YorkJapan Airlines Business Class159,000
East Coast via QatarNew YorkQatar Airways Business Class159,000
East Coast via DubaiNew YorkEmirates Business Class159,000
East Coast via DubaiNew YorkEmirates First Class227,500
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Using Qantas Points for direct flights to the US

1. Qantas

Qantas’ main flights to Los Angeles are available from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. From Sydney, you can also hop on non-stop services to San Francisco, Dallas Fort Worth and Honolulu. Up in Canada, Vancouver is also now a permanent three-weekly flight out of Sydney in 2022.

Fly Qantas’ refurbished A380 Business Class in 2022 from Sydney-Los Angeles.

Pre-COVID, the Red Roo also operated from Los Angeles to New York for connecting passengers, though this isn’t set to return for a while. Qantas is also planning to launch Brisbane-Chicago flights with Boeing 787s sometime in the future, which we’ve included in the map below. Both routes are in white.

Points needed in Business Class (+ taxes):

  • Sydney-Honolulu: 82,000 Qantas Points
  • East Coast-Los Angeles | Sydney-Vancouver: 108,400 Qantas Points (or 162,800 points in First Class)
  • Sydney-Dallas Fort Worth | Brisbane-Chicago: 126,500 Qantas Points
  • East Coast-New York: 144,600 Qantas Points

2. Jetstar

Low-cost airline Jetstar flies from Melbourne and Sydney to Honolulu, which is another way to use your Qantas Points to fly to the US. These flights even have a small Business Class cabin (akin to International Premium Economy), which is comfortable enough for these flights.

Points needed in Business Class (+ taxes):

  • Sydney/Melbourne-Honolulu: 61,500 Qantas Points

3. American Airlines

Finally, we have American Airlines flying daily from Sydney to Los Angeles. It costs the same points-wise as if you were flying Qantas. However, the carrier charges are significantly reduced, saving you cash.

Points needed in Business Class (+ taxes):

  • Sydney-Los Angeles: 108,400 Qantas Points

Finding availability on Qantas-operated flights to the US

Seeking out Business or First reward seats on Qantas flights to the US – especially for multiple passengers – is sometimes like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But they do exist. You just need to be diligent with how you search for reward seats.

Qantas International Business reward seats can be rare, especially for two or more passengers.

From our years of experience, here are some tips to help your search:

  • Look when the booking calendar first opens up at 353 days from your day of travel – this is a useful time to find available seats. Look around midnight GMT, or mid-morning AEST each day.
  • If you don’t have Qantas Frequent Flyer elite status, see if you have an eligible family member who does have status and would be happy to book on your behalf. More seats can be made available to elite members, and you can Family Transfer them your own Qantas Points to use.
  • If someone cancels their Qantas Points booking, the availability usually goes back for rebooking by others within around 24 hours. It’s worth monitoring award availability (I prefer or for this).
  • The likelihood of cancellations increases the closer you get to the flight, so keep checking back last-minute to see if availability has opened up.
  • If you have Qantas Gold status or higher, then you may stand a chance in the points upgrade lottery. Otherwise it’s probably not even worth considering.
  • When new routes are announced (e.g. Brisbane-Chicago), these may have a little more availability.
  • Qantas Business Class availability to Honolulu is very limited. You’ll have better luck with Jetstar, instead.
  • Remember to check availability out of alternate cities to home (i.e. check Brisbane if you’re Sydney-based).

Using Qantas Points for other partner flights to the US

There are a number of Qantas partner airlines that will also get you to the US indirectly when using your Qantas Points. If you’re flush with Qantas Points and don’t mind flying a long way, these options could certainly tick the box:

1. Fiji Airways via Nadi

At first glance, adding an extra stop in Nadi doesn’t sound like a great option. But Fiji Airways’ Business Class cabin (if you can snag an Airbus A350 flight) is modern and fairly comfortable.

If you don’t have many other options, you may want to consider a transit in Nadi to work on your tan. Geographically-speaking, the route via Nadi to LA isn’t too indirect.

Points needed in Business Class (+ taxes):

  • East Coast AU-Nadi-Los Angeles: 108,400 Qantas Points

2. Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific is a good option for flights to East Coast US (and Chicago), as the connection in Hong Kong only adds a few hours to the overall flight time. You’ll get to travel in one of the world’s best and most consistent Business Class products on Cathay’s Airbus A350 and Boeing 777 fleet.

Cathay First Class B777
Indulge in First Class with Cathay Pacific’s Boeing 777s.

To Los Angeles and the West Coast US, Cathay Pacific is less practical since there’s a significant amount of extra travel time from the east of Australia. Cathay Pacific flies from all major Australian capitals via Hong Kong to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Newark, JFK (New York), Boston and Chicago.

Points needed in Business Class (+ taxes):

  • Australia-Hong Kong-US: 159,000 Qantas Points

3. Japan Airlines via Tokyo

Japan Airlines flies to Tokyo from Sydney and Melbourne, with connections to many US cities. But be careful of which airport in Tokyo your flight departs from. Melbourne-Tokyo flights arrive at Narita, while Sydney-Tokyo flights use Haneda, which is closer to the city. You don’t want to end up with a connection spanning both airports.

Again, this is most practical for connections to the East Coast (Boston and New York) in terms of total travel time.

Points needed in Business Class (+ taxes):

  • Australia-Tokyo-US: 159,000 Qantas Points

4. Emirates via Dubai

So far, we’ve mostly looked at travel options from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. But if you’re flying to the East Coast US from Perth, it’s worth considering the Middle East. The travel time isn’t that much more.

Alternatively, if you enjoy spending hours in Business or First Class and want to travel from East Coast Australia to East Coast US, you can still transit the Middle East to really stretch out the value of your Qantas Points.

Emirates First Class on the Airbus A380 features an onboard shower.

Qantas has a maximum upper limit of 15,000 flown miles for a partner reward booking. Sydney–Dubai–New York, for example, comes in at just under that limit.

Emirates flies to the US via Dubai from Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. You could pick up an Emirates A380 in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth and connect to another in Dubai. This would be very tolerable in either Business or First Class!

Points needed in Business Class (+ taxes):

  • Australia-Dubai-US: 159,000 Qantas Points (or 227,500 points for First Class)

Qatar Airways via Qatar

Qatar Airways usually flies from Perth, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra. Brisbane is slated to be added to the list if the airline can expand its capacity in Australia. Use Doha as a connecting port to East Coast US in the same way as Emirates. Most flights will feature the latest Qsuites in Business Class – luxury indeed!

Points needed in Business Class (+ taxes):

  • Australia-Doha-US: 159,000 Qantas Points

Summing up: using Qantas Points to fly to the US

While Qantas and American Airlines are your best direct options to the US, Qantas has many other partners that you might be able to use points with. The direct flights have very limited availability, simply because they’re convenient and popular. For good reason, too – the transit requirements for many countries are constantly changing in the face of COVID-19.

Also, Qantas mainly releases international premium reward seats to Gold and Platinum Frequent Flyers first. Without status, you’ll find it harder to secure that Business Class reward seat early on – unless of course there’s a Points Plane. Platinum Frequent Flyers and higher can request extra reward seats to be released though, which is certainly a handy perk of elite status.

Fly to the States in style with a new Qantas Points sign-up bonus.

Live outside of Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane – or just can’t find availability on Qantas for your dates? Then knowing about the other options and partner airlines gives you a head start in finding alternative uses for your points.

The options begin to open up if you’re travelling further afield, with flights to the US East Coast quite easily done via Hong Kong, Japan and the Middle East. Just allow for additional travel time and check the transit requirements beforehand.

The good news? The number of points needed remains capped at up to 15,000 flown miles, which covers most conceivable routings. So you shouldn’t need more than 159,000 Qantas Points for a Business Class reward.

If you’re willing to be more flexible about your routes and travel time, then there should be some availability with one or more partner airlines on indirect routes. Happy hunting!

This guide was originally written by Matt Moffit.

How to fly to the US with Qantas Points was last modified: November 9th, 2021 by Brandon Loo