There’s something about India that has long drawn in Australian travellers. Perhaps it’s the exquisite architecture, vibrant cities, and warm hospitality from the locals. And the statistics don’t lie, either – it’s the eighth most visited country by Australians. So where should you start when you fly from Australia to India? Travellers can set their sights on Bengaluru – the gateway to southern India.
Bengaluru is an energetic and inherently modern city that’s managed to retain its historical charm. It’s quickly gaining traction on the international stage for its technological advancements. But step into any of the city’s manicured gardens and you’ll feel right at ease – no small feat in one of the largest cities in the world. We’re sure you’ve added Bengaluru to your bucket list already – but on the off-chance you haven’t, did you know it’s easily accessible from Australia?
In this guide to Bengaluru, we’ll cover how you can fly from Australia using points – and there are a number of options depending on your preferred frequent flyer program. We’ll also explore Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport. And if you want to maximise your rewards from accommodation in Bengaluru, keep reading for our top tips.
Flying to Bengaluru on points
Bengaluru has put itself on the map as one of India’s fastest-growing cities, so it’s no surprise there are now more ways than ever to fly there. And Qantas Frequent Flyer and KrisFlyer members are spoiled for choice when it comes to redeeming points. Depending on your departure city, you can fly to Bengaluru from Australia with Qantas, SriLankan Airlines, Singapore Airlines or Air India. There’s often a layover between Australia and Bengaluru, although choosing Qantas means flying directly from Sydney to Bengaluru.
We’ve outlined all of the options below with various airlines and frequent flyer programs so you can decide how you want to travel from Australia to Bengaluru.
Qantas provides direct flights from Sydney to Bengaluru. You can also fly with Qantas from Melbourne to Delhi and then connect to Bengaluru with IndiGo. Qantas’ partnership with IndiGo, India’s biggest domestic airline, means that you can fly onward to other cities in India from Bengaluru using Qantas Points, too.
using Qantas Points
|Sydney to Bengaluru (Qantas)
|Melbourne to Bengaluru via Delhi (Qantas + IndiGo)
*IndiGo is an all-Economy airline, so travel between Delhi and Bengaluru is in Economy.
Ways to earn Qantas Points
There are plenty of ways to earn Qantas Points towards your trip to Bengaluru. And what’s great about the Qantas Frequent Flyer program is that you can earn points on the ground, and fast.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by purchasing an eligible case of wine via Qantas Wine. You’ll get up to 10,000 Qantas Points per case, and there are often promotions where you can earn bonus points. If you need a quick top-up of your points balance, why not sort out your Christmas presents early?
Another way to earn a stack of points is by signing up for a credit card. We’ve outlined some of the best Qantas Frequent Flyer credit cards that offer a generous stash of bonus points. Of course, your application will need to be approved and there’s often a minimum spend requirement. Depending on the bonus points offered, you may be able to cover a one-way trip to Bengaluru – if not return – and just pay for fees and taxes. You’ll be soaking up this gorgeous city in no time.
Flying SriLankan Airlines
Another option for Qantas Points redemptions is with SriLankan Airlines. You can fly from Sydney or Melbourne to Bengaluru via Colombo.
using Qantas Points
|Melbourne to Bengaluru (via Colombo)
|Sydney to Bengaluru (via Colombo)
Flying Singapore Airlines
To redeem Singapore Airlines reward seats on flights to Bengaluru, you can use KrisFlyer miles or Velocity Points. All flights from Australia to Bengaluru go via Singapore, so it’s the perfect opportunity to explore Singapore’s Changi Airport.
Using KrisFlyer miles
The number of KrisFlyer miles needed to fly Singapore Airlines is shown below. We haven’t listed rates for Premium Economy and First Class/Suites as these cabins aren’t available between Singapore and Bengaluru.
using KrisFlyer miles
|Perth/Darwin to Bengaluru (via Singapore)
|Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane/Adelaide/Cairns to Bengaluru (via Singapore)
Ways to earn KrisFlyer miles
While the KrisFlyer program is Singapore Airlines’ loyalty program, there are lots of ways to earn KrisFlyer miles in Australia. It’s a handy program to hold status with, especially if you travel with partner airlines like Virgin Australia or those in the Star Alliance network.
One of the best ways to earn KrisFlyer miles in Australia is by signing up for a credit card. Though you won’t earn KrisFlyer miles directly, many banks have flexible reward programs so you can convert your points to KrisFlyer miles. We’ve rounded up some of the top credit cards to earn KrisFlyer miles. Note that you’ll need to be approved, and often meet a minimum spend requirement to be eligible for any bonus points.
KrisFlyer miles have an expiry date – currently three years – so it’s best not to convert points from other programs to KrisFlyer miles until you’re ready to book your flight to Bengaluru.
Using Velocity Points
The number of Velocity Points needed to fly Singapore Airlines is shown below.
using Velocity Points
|Darwin to Bengaluru (via Singapore)
|Perth to Bengaluru (via Singapore)
|Melbourne/Brisbane/Adelaide/Cairns to Bengaluru (via Singapore)
|Sydney to Bengaluru (via Singapore)
Ways to earn Velocity Points
Velocity is another major frequent flyer program in Australia. And much like Qantas, it’s easy to earn points on the ground. You could rack up plenty of Velocity Points with credit card sign-up bonuses and aim to redeem them on flights to Bengaluru with Singapore Airlines.
Another way to earn Velocity Points is through Flybuys. This one requires little effort if you’re already collecting Flybuys points from daily purchases like fuel and groceries. You can transfer your Flybuys points to Velocity Points – so your next grocery run could get you closer to a trip to Bengaluru.
Flying Air India
You can also redeem KrisFlyer miles on Air India flights between Sydney or Melbourne and Bengaluru, with a transit in Delhi. From mid-December, Air India’s new Melbourne-Mumbai route provides another way to jet to Bengaluru, using Mumbai as the transit point.
using KrisFlyer miles
|Sydney/Melbourne to Bengaluru (via Delhi)
Melbourne to Bengaluru (via Mumbai, from 15 December 2023)
Exploring Bengaluru’s Kempegowda Airport
Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru is India’s third largest airport and is often the first port of call for international visitors looking to explore Southern India.
If Bengaluru is your final destination, the airport is located just 40 kilometres from the city centre. The quickest and easiest option is to take a taxi, Uber or private transfer, which will get you from Bengaluru Airport to the city in around one hour. The alternate option is to hop on a public bus, which will set you back less than the price of a cup of coffee in Australia. But the bus can take up to two and a half hours – and that’s time that could otherwise be spent exploring Bengaluru.
Lounges at Bengaluru’s Kempegowda Airport
Passengers on international flights from Bengaluru Airport can access the 080 International Lounge if they meet one of the requirements below. Qantas passengers can’t use a Qantas complimentary pass to gain entry though, as this is an ‘associated lounge’.
When flying Qantas:
- Business Class passengers.
- Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge.
- Other oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers.
- Qantas Club members (but not single-use passholders).
When flying Singapore Airlines:
- Business Class passengers.
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold, PPS Club and Solitaire PPS Club.
- Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers.
Velocity members won’t have access to the 080 International Lounge as it’s not a Singapore Airlines lounge.
If you’re flying to Australia with Air India, flights from Bengaluru go via Delhi or Mumbai – so your first leg will be domestic. You’ll be able to access the 080 Domestic Lounge or BLR Domestic Lounge if you meet one of the following requirements:
- Business Class passengers.
- Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers.
- Priority Pass members. (Note, Priority Pass is not currently accepted for access to the 080 International Lounge, only the 080 Domestic Lounge).
The 080 Domestic Lounge is absolutely stunning – one of the more modern and spacious of the Priority Pass network – so members are in for a treat. And for those wondering what’s in a name, 080 is the trunk dialling code for Bengaluru.
Earning and using points on hotels in Bengaluru
Bengaluru is dubbed the ‘Silicon Valley of India’, and this cosmopolitan city is a tech-lover’s paradise. It’s a popular hub for business travellers from all parts of the globe, as well as leisure travellers seeking a base to discover the southern region of India.
There are plenty of accommodation options – from budget-friendly hotels through to 5-star luxury properties. So you’re sure to find something to suit your needs.
No matter where you stay in Bengaluru, here are our top tips to earn rewards when booking accommodation.
Book directly with the hotel
If you’re working towards status with a particular hotel loyalty program, you’ll want to book directly with the hotel. This ensures that you’ll collect points towards achieving or maintaining status, which provides plenty of benefits for future stays. Early check-in or late check-out, daily breakfast or a coveted room upgrade are just some of the perks that may be included when you reach a particular tier.
Book through a third-party provider
Prefer to earn points towards a frequent flyer program instead? Many third-party providers dish out rewards for certain programs, so you can still maximise your points-earning potential. This is also a great way to get rewarded for stays at boutique hotels, or hotels that aren’t affiliated with a loyalty program.
If you want to earn Qantas Points
The Qantas Hotels platform lets you book hotels and Airbnbs – and you’ll earn Qantas Points from both of these accommodation options. For every $1 you spend on hotels, you’ll earn at least three Qantas Points (or 1/$1 with Airbnb). And if it’s your first time booking an Airbnb via Qantas Hotels, you’ll get a nifty 500 bonus points. Members of Qantas Points Club can also earn up to 50% more points on hotel stays, depending on their tier.
You can also redeem Qantas Points on stays through Qantas Hotels. Though this may not be the most efficient use of points, it’s handy when you want to save cash. Members can now use 30-45% fewer points on redemptions than the rates being charged earlier this year, so you can certainly nab some great deals.
If you want to earn Velocity Points
Virgin Australia’s partnership with Rocket Travel means that you can pocket Velocity Points on hotel bookings made through the platform. You’ll get at least three Velocity Points per $1 spent on bookings, and you can view the total number of points you’ll collect as you browse.
If you want to earn KrisFlyer miles
When you book a hotel through Rocketmiles, you’ll earn points towards Rocketmiles’ own program, which can be converted to KrisFlyer miles. There are a number of other frequent flyer programs that Rocketmiles partners with, so you’ve got plenty of options to convert your points.
If you want to save on the cost of your hotel bill
If you just want a solution that’s easy on the budget, you may be able to reduce the cost of your booking with an American Express card. Certain cards – like the American Express Platinum Edge Card and The American Express Explorer Card – offer travel credit that can be redeemed through American Express Travel. You can put this towards hotel bookings, but also flights and car hire.
Point Hacks’ tips and tricks
To top off our guide to Bengaluru, here are some extra tips to keep in mind when planning your trip.
- We’ve highlighted a couple of options to fly to Bengaluru, but it’s worth noting that there are lower fees and charges on reward seats with Singapore Airlines. The points required are similar across other frequent flyer programs, but you may end up paying less overall with a lower cash outlay. This applies when spending KrisFlyer miles, given Velocity now levies carrier surcharges on Singapore Airlines flights.
- Make sure you’re looking at ‘Classic Reward’ seats when booking with Qantas Points, as this will give you the best value on points redemptions.
- When you arrive in Bengaluru or elsewhere in India, it pays to already have some cash. The ATM in the international arrivals hall at Bengaluru Airport didn’t accept any of our Australian cards. (But if you see a DBS ATM out in the wild, you’re in luck if you have a Visa).
- Catching an Uber is quite straightforward at Bengaluru Airport, with a clearly signed and dedicated pick-up zone. Just make sure you’re sorted for data roaming or have a local SIM ready to go.
- Want to ride in a tuk-tuk but don’t want to be ripped off? In Bengaluru, you can order your tuk-tuk via Uber, too. In fact, even the ‘fancy’ option of Uber Premier is super cheap by Australian standards.
- When you’re passing through airport security, put all of your metal items into the trays for scanning. This includes travel adapters, charging cables, power banks, and other metallic items you mightn’t remove at security elsewhere. Metal credit cards are fine to stay zipped up inside your bag, though.
And that sums up our guide to Bengaluru! We’ll see you there.
All photography by Chris Chamberlin for Point Hacks.