How to get to India using your Qantas, Velocity or other frequent flyer points

GUIDE: Using Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 4 minutes
POSTED: December 28, 2017
UPDATED: December 30, 2017
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Qantas Frequent Flyer, Velocity Frequent Flyer, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, American Airlines AAdvantage, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Getting to India can take a surprisingly long time (at least 12 hours), so it is worth making the trip comfortable with a Business Class redemption.

Whilst Air India flies direct to Delhi from Sydney and Melbourne, we explain below why this may not be the best use of your points—a transit through the Middle East or Southeast Asia seems like the way to go.


Point Hacks India Series

Part I: The Why: A two-week journey through India

Part II: The How: A comparison of your points options to get to India


How much?

Due to geographical proximity, it is generally cheaper to fly to India from Perth than any other Australian city.

Here is a comparison of the different award values for a one-way Business Class seat to Delhi:

Frequent Flyer ProgramAirlinesFrom Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or AdelaideFrom Perth
Qantas Frequent FlyerQantas, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Jet Airways, Malaysia Airways, Qatar Airways, SriLankan Airlines92,000-112,00092,000-103,000
Cathay Pacific Asia MilesQantas, Cathay Pacific, Jet Airways, Malaysia Airways, Qatar Airways70,00045,000
American Airlines AAdvantageQantas, Cathay Pacific, Jet Airways, Malaysia Airways, Qatar Airways80,00080,000
Virgin Australia VelocityVirgin Australia, Etihad, Singapore Airlines83,500 (VA) or 92,000 (partners)71,500 (VA) or 78,000 (partners)
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerSingapore Airlines, Air India76,000 (Singapore) or 87,000 (partners)55,000 (Singapore) or 87,000 (partners)
Etihad GuestEtihad121,000-125,000 (N/A from Adelaide)118,000

If flying into a southern Indian city like Kochi, Chennai or Bangalore instead of Delhi, the Middle Eastern hubs of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha offer more direct flights than the Asian gateway cities of Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur (due to the large Indian migrant worker populations in the Gulf countries).

These cities are slightly closer to Australia than northern Indian ones like Delhi, so some city combinations are cheaper than the miles quoted above.

Option 1: Air India direct from Sydney or Melbourne using KrisFlyer miles

India Air India

The only direct services between Australia and India are with Air India on the 787 Dreamliner flying from Sydney 4x weekly and from Melbourne 3x weekly. This aircraft has 18 lie-flat business class seats in 2-2-2 configuration.

The general consensus is that seat is comfortable (although if travelling alone, choose the middle row as the person at the window has to climb over the aisle seat in the other two rows). Whilst the service is adequate, the entertainment and food offerings are reported to be sub-standard compared to alternative airlines.

Air India 787 Business Class

Air India Business Class on the 787 Dreamliner

Option 2: Via the Middle East

The Gulf carriers fly to their hubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha respectively from the five major Australia cities (except for Adelaide with Etihad and Brisbane with Qatar), with direct onward flights to Delhi (and a host of other Indian cities).

Qantas/Emirates via Dubai using Qantas Points

India Qantas via DXB

Get more information in our beginner’s guide on how to use Qantas Points for Emirates flights.

Etihad via Abu Dhabi using Velocity Points or Etihad Guest miles

India VA via AUH

You can read our Etihad redemption guide.

Qatar via Doha using Qantas Points or Asia Miles

India Qantas via DOH

Check out our Qatar redemption guide with info on the A380 and A350 services from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth (upgraded to the A380 from May 2018).

Option 3: Via South/Southeast Asia

Qantas/Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, then Cathay Pacific/Jet Airways to Delhi using Qantas Points or Asia Miles

India Qantas via HKG

Malaysia Airlines to Kuala Lumpur, then Malaysia Airlines/Jet Airways to Delhi using Qantas Points or Asia Miles

India Qantas via KUL

Qantas (or Singapore Airlines) to Singapore, then Jet Airways/Singapore Airlines to Delhi using Qantas Points or KrisFlyer miles

India VA and Singapore via SIN

Jet Airways has upgraded their angled 737 Business Class seats to A330 lie-flat seats on their Singapore to Mumbai flights, meaning you could be flying flat the whole way.

SriLankan Airlines from Melbourne to Delhi via Colombo using Qantas Points

This oneworld carrier flies direct from Australia’s second largest city to their hub in Sri Lanka and then onto their northern neighbour—and it only costs 92,000 Qantas Points.

Transferring points

If you have:

How to get to India using your Qantas, Velocity or other frequent flyer points was last modified: December 30th, 2017 by Matt Moffitt