Qantas Frequent Flyer has announced that members will no longer be able to earn or redeem points on Airnorth flights from 1 May 2020.
Airnorth is a Darwin-based regional airline. It services mainly routes within the Northern Territory but also flies to East Timor, Melbourne, Queensland and Western Australia. It has a small fleet of only 12 aircraft.
Until now, Airnorth has formed part of the (cheaper) Qantas Classic Flight Reward table rather than the (more expensive) Partner Classic Flight Reward table. This means that the shortest flights (of 600 miles or less) cost 8,000 Qantas Points rather than 10,000 points for other partners.
The remaining four ‘preferred partners’ in the cheaper award chart are Air Vanuatu, American Airlines, Emirates and Fiji Airways.
Given that Airnorth has a monopoly on a lot of these routes, they can charge high prices, making points redemptions an attractive opportunity.
For example, a one-way 55-minute flight from Darwin to Katherine starts at $249. If you were to use 8,000 points + the required $54 in taxes, you would be getting a solid 2.4c per-point value by redeeming your Qantas Points instead of paying cash. This is above our valuation of Qantas Points at 1.9c each.
It’s a shame that Qantas is ending their partnership with Airnorth. This will mostly affect those living in and travelling within the Northern Territory.
Whilst not many people are booking travel right now, if you do want to use your Qantas Points for travel on Airnorth, even for flights later this year and into next, then you may want to make your bookings by 30 April, the last day to do so.
Our original guide to using Qantas Points for flights with Qantas’ partners follows.
Beginner’s guide to using Qantas Points for flights with Qantas’ partners
Did you know you could use your Qantas Points with 27 other airlines?
In this guide, I explain who they are, how much they cost, where to search and where to book.
Which airline partners can I use my Qantas Points with?
Here is a list of them, with the airlines most likely to be used by travellers from Australia and New Zealand in bold:
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific (and its low-cost subsidiary Cathay Dragon)
- Japan Airlines
- LATAM (leaving the oneworld alliance on 1 May 2020)
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Air Maroc (joined on 1 April 2020)
- Royal Jordanian
- S7 Airlines
- SriLankan Airlines
Fiji Airways is a oneworld connect member, meaning travellers with elite oneworld status enjoy priority boarding and check-in on Fiji Airways flights.
Qantas has a surprisingly large amount of partners outside the oneworld alliance, numbering 15:
- Airnorth (partnership ends 30 April 2020)
- Air France
- Air New Zealand (limited to NZ domestic flights)
- Air Niugini
- Air Tahiti Nui
- Air Vanuatu
- Alaska Airlines
- China Airlines
- China Eastern
- EL AL
Aer Lingus and Jet Airways are no longer Qantas partners since July and April 2019, respectively. KLM and Air France reward seats on selected codeshare routes are expected to come online in late 2019.
How do I know how many points each airline charges?
There are four different points tables (in order below of cheapest to most expensive), depending on which airline you want to fly with:
- Jetstar Classic Flight Rewards: Jetstar and its subsidiaries in Singapore, Japan and Vietnam. These prices are 20% lower than the next tier, but you’re usually better off buying Jetstar flights with cash
- Qantas Classic Flight Reward: Qantas, Air Vanuatu, American Airlines, Emirates and Fiji Airways
- Partner Classic Flight Rewards: all other airlines
- oneworld Classic Flight Rewards: when travelling on at least two oneworld airlines other than Qantas. This provides excellent value when you are flying long distances, such as around the world since the points needed are capped if certain conditions are met.
You can view the four points tables here.
Which airlines can you search for and book through the Qantas website?
qantas.com can be used to search for availability on Qantas and most of its partners.
Like other award redemptions, seats are subject to availability and there is a decent chance you might not be able to fly on the date you desire, so you need to be flexible on dates and routes (as always when using points to travel).
You can book flights on these airlines through the Qantas website without having to call them on the phone, which means bookings can be done very quickly.
What about the other airlines?
If you can’t seem to find your desired partner airline through the Qantas website, then it’s a good idea to check through other oneworld partner websites just in case.
British Airways is the most reliable source for finding seats on most oneworld airlines, which Qantas may not have access to. Unfortunately, you can only register (for free) if you use a non-Australian address, but use a friend or family member (or make up an address) and you will be set.
One useful feature is that British Airways shows the number of reward seats available, which is great for planning. Try to avoid redeeming your points on British Airways flights themselves as the fuel surcharges are usually very high.
Meanwhile, the American Airlines AAdvantage website has a handy calendar view which shows which dates have reward seats in your requested cabin class.
As for the non-alliance partners, such as Alaska Airlines, you can either try their own website or there are a number of search engines that will do the work for you.
Once you are done selecting your preferred flights, call Qantas Frequent Flyer (Australia 13 11 31 / New Zealand 0800 101 500) between 8am and 7pm AEST Monday to Friday. Give them the flight numbers and dates you have found availability for to book your award flight.
If you cannot book the award online and have to call instead, then ask the phone agent to waive the phone booking fee. In some cases, availability can differ between partners. For example, the flights you saw on British Airways might not be available for booking on Qantas.
Using Qantas Points with partner airlines is one of the best uses of Qantas Points. If you didn’t realise you don’t just have to use your Qantas Points for Qantas flights, you have been missing out.
Understanding the different partners that Qantas Frequent Flyer has as well as how their points redemptions are priced is key to getting the most from your Qantas Points.
One final tip: try not to mix and match airlines from different tables because it means each flight will be priced separately rather than as one ticket. This almost always means you will be paying more points and taxes. The only exception to this rule is the oneworld round-the-world award, which requires multiple partner airlines.
Supplementary images courtesy respective airlines.