Earning Qantas frequent flyer points on flights to China

By Chris C., July 16 2015
Earning Qantas frequent flyer points on flights to China

Through Qantas’ web of codeshare and Oneworld airline partners, it’s incredibly easy for Aussie travellers to earn frequent flyer points when travelling to China, along with status credits in many cases.

Whether you’re visiting Shanghai on business, taking a holiday in Beijing or admiring the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, here’s how you can earn Qantas frequent flyer points along the way.

Non-stop flights to China

1. Qantas: Sydney to Shanghai direct

Qantas flies daily from Sydney to Shanghai with an Airbus A330: offering both economy and business class, with the latter featuring angled lie-flat beds in a 2-2-2 configuration...

... or the airline's newer Business Suites on refurbished aircraft:

On the return journey, Qantas Frequent Flyer members would net at least 15,600 Qantas Points and 240 status credits in business class and 5,200 Qantas Points and 60 status credits in economy.

Business travellers could also earn their employer Qantas Aquire points on the same flights – atop their own personal frequent flyer haul – bringing in at least 1,560 Aquire Points in economy and at least 6,240 Aquire Points in business class.

Also read: Aquire: earning frequent flyer points for your business

2. China Eastern: Australia to Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing

Also with business class and economy aboard its A330s is China Eastern, offering non-stop flights to Shanghai from both Melbourne and Sydney and a Sydney-Nanjing-Beijing service for travellers headed to either city.

China Eastern flights with an MU flight number earn Qantas Points but not status credits, with a round-trip Melbourne-Shanghai trek delivering at least 4,982 Qantas Points in economy and 12,456 Qantas Points in business class.

Qantas also codeshares with China Eastern on its Melbourne-Shanghai, Sydney-Nanjing-Beijing and Shanghai-Nanjing services, on which frequent flyers can earn both points and status credits as though they were travelling on an actual Qantas aircraft.

3. China Southern: Australia to Guangzhou

As another partner of Qantas, frequent flyers can earn points and status credits on China Southern flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to Guangzhou when booked on a QF flight number, with onward connections to Xiamen, Kunming, Fuzhou and Ürümqi also available by codeshare.

The airline’s A330s offer economy, fully-flat beds in business class – similar to what you’ll find in Air China’s business class cabin

… and a single row of first class at the very front of the aircraft (excludes Brisbane flights), where the well-heeled would earn 20,800 Qantas Points and 360 status credits on a return journey from Sydney:

In business class and economy, it’s the same as Qantas’ own Sydney-Shanghai flights, being at least 15,600 points and 240 status credits in business class and 5,200 points and 60 status credits down the back in economy, although Aquire Points aren’t earned on China Southern flights.

Also read: Inside China Southern's Boeing 787 for Perth travellers

4. Jetstar: Gold Coast (Coolangatta) to Wuhan

Qantas’ low-cost offshoot begins direct Boeing 787 flights to China from later this year with the launch of non-stop services between the Gold Coast and Wuhan – central China’s most populous city.

But not every Jetstar ticket earns frequent flyer points: you’ll need to opt for a Starter Plus, Starter Max or Business Max fare, which are all pricier than the most basic seats in economy and business class, respectively, which earn nothing at all.

Frequent flyers can pocket 7,800 points and 80 status credits on return Starter Plus fares; 10,400 points and 120 status credits on Starter Max tickets and again 15,600 points and 240 status credits in Jetstar business class when booking a Max fare, mirroring the earn on Qantas’ own flights and its codeshares.

Also read: Jetstar launches non-stop Boeing 787 flights to China

One-stop flights to China

1. Cathay Pacific, Dragonair via Hong Kong

Hop aboard Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Cairns – or indeed Qantas’ own services from Australia’s east coast – and then fly onwards to destinations in China with Cathay or its sister airline Dragonair.

Among your one-stop options: Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo, Wuhan, Xi’an, Xiamen and Zhengzhou, with Qantas Frequent Flyers picking up both points and status credits on eligible Cathay Pacific, Dragonair and Qantas fares.

Stretch out in business class on Cathay Pacific's A330s...
Stretch out in business class on Cathay Pacific's A330s...

On a return trip from Brisbane to Chengdu via Hong Kong, business class travellers would collect 12,904 Qantas Points and 240 status credits when booked via Cathay Pacific (CX) or Dragonair (KA), or a higher 17,716 points and 360 status credits when swapping the Brisbane-Hong Kong leg to a Qantas flight.

But watch out down the back: Cathay Pacific and Dragonair only award Qantas Points on the most expensive economy tickets, so if booking your travel on the Cathay Pacific website, keep an eye out for fares that don’t earn Cathay Pacific Asia Miles – those don’t earn Qantas Points, either.

2. Malaysia Airlines via Kuala Lumpur

Serving Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin – and also Brisbane until August 9 – from its Kuala Lumpur hub, passengers can connect onwards to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen, earning frequent flyer points on the entire journey.

But don’t expect too many points – like Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines only awards Qantas frequent flyer points (and status credits) on the higher-priced economy tickets, and even then, the earning rate is a mere 0.25 points per mile between Australia and Malaysia, while in business class it's just 0.75 points per mile.

A return Sydney-Beijing journey via Kuala Lumpur nets 13,028 Qantas Points and 320 status credits in business class, while most points-earning economy fares serve up just 3,430 points and 80 status credits on the same.

Also read: Malaysia Airlines rolls out new business class menu

3. Japan Airlines via Tokyo

Last but not least, Japan Airlines flies daily from Sydney to Tokyo’s Narita Airport, with onward connections available to both Beijing and Shanghai after visiting one of JAL's flagship lounges.

Have a Qantas Platinum card? Await your flight in the JAL first class lounge...
Have a Qantas Platinum card? Await your flight in the JAL first class lounge...

Pointy end passengers can reel in at least 8,412 Qantas Points and 240 status credits round-trip, while in economy it’s at least 3,606 points and 60 status credits for the same.

That’s of course on the least-costly business class and economy fares – buy a more expensive ticket and your points haul will likewise increase.

To enjoy on your stopover: JAL's Tokyo Narita first class lounge

Heading to China on business?

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.


Air China - Phoenix Miles

20 Dec 2012

Total posts 105

One stop to China

4. Qantas to Singapore and codeshare on China Eastern to China.

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2472

True, or you simply fly with China Eastern non-stop from Australia to China, sans the Singapore stopover.


Air China - Phoenix Miles

20 Dec 2012

Total posts 105

Sure. But the domestic connection flights in PVG are limited to the specific region and several capital cities only.   

21 Sep 2011

Total posts 71

In the case of China Southern, as they are not a QFF partner, how does flight information pass back to QF? I assume flights won't post automatically? Does this need to be retro claimed?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Feb 2015

Total posts 150

No, you need to book these flights through QF (e.g. on qantas.com) with a QF flight number so they will have all of your details. It would be treated as a QF flight (but operated by a partner) and you will earn points and status credits as if you had a QF flight. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1378

What is China Eastern's product like on Australian legs?

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 149

I recently did PVG-SYD in J.  Cabin was full to the brim, about half Aussies and half Chinese.  Full hot meal service after departure, decent choices of wine and other drinks, all served from galleys, i.e. NO TROLLEYS blocking the aisles.

NIce quality cotton PJs were supplied and the doona and pillow were decent.  No mattress available.  Seat comfort much better than Skybed 1.

Screen was large; don't know what was offered in the way of TV/movies as I just turned it off.

Staff spoke good English; purser spoke excellent English with an Australian accent.

Note that due to Chinese aviation regulations, phones are NOT allowed to be used, even in flight mode.

I'd fly with them again, especially after their 330's are upgraded to the 4-abreast config that they are rolling-out.

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 149

And for the record, it was on MU.


Air China - Phoenix Miles

20 Dec 2012

Total posts 105

More new A332E will be deployed to Sydney as MU is replacing them with B773ER on North America routes.

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 149

Good news.  As I wrote above, I thought that the trip was very good, except for the lounge at PVG which was utter rubbish.  Inflight, though, the MU experience was up there with the Roo.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

12 Jan 2015

Total posts 9

How about the China Airlines codeshare agreement? It was announced back in August last year, where one can travel on CI to Taipei on a QF number, would it also enable onward connection from Taipei to China to be counted as codeshare?

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2472

As I understand, Qantas' codeshare arrangement with China Airlines extends only to flights between Australia and Taipei – not onward from Taipei to China – which means it's not an option for earning points through to China.

(Details in the announcement here.)

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 272

I have flown twice Mel to PVG on China Eastern.

One time was MU, the other was QF codeshare with MU

MU gave me about 5000 points each way in my QF account

QF gave me about 3800 each way but with status credits

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