Using Qantas frequent flyer points to book British Airways flights

By Chris Chamberlin, December 12 2018

With daily flights to Australia and a broader network spanning Asia, the Middle East, Africa, The Americas and right across the UK and Europe, British Airways offers an extensive range of flights: and all of them can potentially be booked using Qantas Points.

Whether it's the airline's Sydney-Singapore-London trek, flights from London to points across Europe or even BA's exclusive all-business-class flights between London and New York, if your journeys take you to the UK financial capital, or you find yourself there and want to relax somewhere close by, a BA reward flight booking could be just the ticket.

Here's what you need to know to turn your hard-earned Qantas Points into a first class, business class, premium economy or economy seat with British Airways, wherever your travels may take you.

Booking British Airways flights with Qantas Points: key routes

Naturally, the most popular British Airways journey for Australian travellers will be the Kangaroo Route from Sydney to London, which British Airways runs via Singapore.

Sydney is the only Australian city served by BA, and the airline doesn't fly to New Zealand, but you don't need to be London-bound to board a British Airways flight: you can fly solely between Sydney and Singapore, without travelling anywhere else.

Known as a 'fifth freedom' route, it's the same concept as taking an Emirates flight from Sydney to Bangkok or Christchurch, or from Melbourne or Brisbane to Singapore without travelling to Dubai, and can be a handy option to keep up your sleeve when planning to spend your points.

Another popular path for booking BA flights using Qantas Points is for travellers taking advantage of their London location – such as when they're already visiting the UK on a business trip – and using Qantas Points to book flights out of BA's Heathrow, Gatwick or City Airport hubs to Europe, or even Northern Africa.

That could be as a simple day return on one free day in London, or as a mini-break at the beginning or end of a work trip, perhaps putting a weekend or a few days of annual leave to great use by seeing a new city, without losing 24 hours of your own time flying all the way from Australia for the same holiday.

Out of Heathrow, BA's route network is unmatched, with non-stop flights to a huge range of cities within a reasonably short flying distance of London – some naturally better-fits for overnight stays, of course:

BA also serves a large number of cities across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo (Narita and Haneda), Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Beijing, Doha, Dubai, Istanbul, Johannesburg and many more – so under the same idea, if you find yourself in one of these places and want a little break, without having to travel all the way there from Australia to get there, you could use your Qantas Points to fly to London and back, lining up with your other travel plans.

Finally, British Airways also jets across the Atlantic, linking the UK with many places across the United States, Canada, and Central and South America: but if you're planning to travel between London and New York, there's one particular return flight to keep an eye out for.

That's BA1 from London's City Airport to New York JFK (via Shannon, Ireland), and BA2 from JFK back to London City non-stop. This is British Airways' all-business-class flight, which can also be booked using Qantas Points, and certainly makes for a unique flying experience, given you're flying across the pond on a plane carrying only 32 passengers at most!

AusBT review: British Airways' all-business class flight, London-New York-London

Also read: What it's like to travel on an all-business-class flight

Booking British Airways flights with Qantas Points: how many points you'll need

British Airways provides up to four classes of service on long-range international flights such as to Sydney and Singapore, where economy is sold as World Traveller, premium economy as World Traveller Plus, business class as Club World and first class simply as First.

BA also uses terms like Club Europe and Club World London City for business class, and Euro Traveller for economy, but when it comes to using Qantas Points for BA flight bookings, the cabin 'brand' doesn't matter: only whether you're flying first class, business class, premium economy or economy class, and the distance of your flight.

Given how many destinations BA serves from London, we won't show you how many Qantas Points are needed to book flights to each one, but here's what you'd need to secure a booking on some of the more popular routes for Australian travellers, noting that premium economy and first class are generally only offered on long-distance international flights.

Route (one-way)

First class

Business class

Premium economy

Economy

Sydney-Singapore

95,000 Qantas Points

65,000 Qantas Points

52,500 Qantas Points

35,000 Qantas Points

Singapore-London

134,000 Qantas Points

92,000 Qantas Points

75,000 Qantas Points

50,000 Qantas Points

Sydney-London (via Singapore)

203,000 Qantas Points

139,000 Qantas Points

112,500 Qantas Points

75,000 Qantas Points

Heathrow to Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt, Milan (Malpensa), Paris

Not offered

18,000 Qantas Points

Not offered

10,000 Qantas Points

Heathrow to Copenhagen, Madrid, Milan (Linate), Rome, Venice

Not offered

26,000 Qantas Points

Not offered

14,000 Qantas Points

London Heathrow to New York

78,000 Qantas Points

53,000 Qantas Points

42,000 Qantas Points

28,000 Qantas Points

London City to New York (BA1/2)

Not offered

53,000 Qantas Points

Not offered

Not offered

From the table above, you'll notice a few interesting things – for example, booking BA's all-business-class flight doesn't cost you any extra points than a 'regular' BA business class flight, provided you can find availability.

Also, when travelling between Sydney and London, you can save some points by making sure both legs of your voyage are booked together on the one ticket: either as a continuous journey on BA15/16, or when spending less than 24 hours on the ground in Singapore in between flights, if changing flight numbers (such as taking BA16 from Sydney to Singapore, then BA12 onward to London).

If you choose to spend more time in Singapore, such as flying in from Sydney but jetting off to London a few days later, your ticket will be priced as 'Sydney-Singapore' plus 'Singapore-London' using points at the rates above (229,000 Qantas Points in first class, for example), rather than the more generous 'Sydney-London' rate (203,000 Qantas Points in first class), which is only offered to connecting passengers.

Finally, given the number of Qantas Points needed to book a flight is always based on the distance of that flight from airport to airport, and that BA sometimes flies into and out of several airports in the same city, there can be opportunities to save some points while still travelling between the same cities.

One such journey is from London to Milan, where you have three options, and each flight measures up slightly differently:

  • London Heathrow to Milan Linate (611 miles)
  • London Heathrow to Milan Malpensa (583 miles)
  • London City to Milan Linate (595 miles)

As Qantas Frequent Flyer charges more points for flights of 601-1,200 miles than it does for flights under 600 miles, and London to Milan is right on that line, business class passengers could save 16,000 Qantas Points round-trip by flying from Heathrow to Malpensa or City to Linate, rather than Heathrow to Linate.

For flights on all other British Airways routes not covered above, here's the full Qantas Classic Flight Reward table showing how many Qantas Points are needed to book each travel class (where available):

Read: Frequent flyer tip – how to calculate the distance of your flight

Booking British Airways flights with Qantas Points: making that booking

As with reward flight bookings on most of Qantas' partner airlines, points-based bookings with British Airways can be easily made via the Qantas website.

Just key in your travel plans, and select the "Use points..." option:

If your travel dates are flexible, you can also click into the date field and check the "flexible with dates" box to see more results over a one-month period, which could reveal options you may otherwise have missed.

In this example, we're searching for a straight Sydney-Singapore flight – but keep in mind that this flight booking process shows all known available options, not just flights operated by British Airways.

Naturally, Qantas prioritises its own flights at the top of the results, which are then followed by an endless list of connections: and at first glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking your only option was to fly economy...

... but, if you persist and scroll all the way to the very bottom – beyond odd suggestions like domestic transits of 7+ hours to still fly economy – you'll spot any available British Airways flights, and on the date we searched, BA had reward seats open for booking in first class, premium economy and economy:

The process is the same for all other BA flight bookings, including for the elusive BA1/2 all-business-class flights – but it does help to book in advance for the best availability:

That said, booking at the last minute, particularly on shorter routes within Europe, can still yield results, as BA often releases extra reward seats approximately three days before travel.

For last-minute business trips in particular, but where there's a spare day built in, that can be great for jetting off on a whim, and avoids buying last-minute tickets at generally high prices.

Read: Using Qantas Points for great value BA business class flights

However, be aware that British Airways levies rather high 'carrier charges' on reward bookings – often around $50 on short flights and the equivalent of hundreds of dollars on international flights – and when combined with the United Kingdom's APD charges on flights from the UK, this can quickly add up.

As such, you might also consider your other airline options, such as Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong to London, Japan Airlines from Tokyo to London, Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur to London, American Airlines across the Atlantic and of course Qantas on routes like Sydney-Singapore-London.

This could save you money on those pesky co-payments – and although extra charges on Qantas-operated flights also tend to be quite high, the number of Qantas Points needed to fly with Qantas is less than to book British Airways flights on the same routes, which could keep extra points up your sleeve for your next trip: provided you can find availability, of course.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Dredgy

Dredgy

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Apr 2017

Total posts 115

Can you redeem on South African "British Airways" franchise flights? Been meaning to research that for a while.

rnickey mouse

rnickey mouse

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jan 2018

Total posts 12

Yes. Done it often.

born2fish

born2fish

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 53

Yes - Comair are a OneWorld affiliate airline when operating under the BA franchise. They also used to fly between JNB-NBO (Nairobi, Kenya) which was a good link to fly BA branding to access eastern and southern Africa (LHR-NBO-JNB), but now only 5 southern African cities plus a few domestically from JNB.

When I flew them a few times the service was good, and from memory some of their B737 Classic fleet were ex-Qantas aircraft.

ozmacca

ozmacca

16 Dec 2018

Total posts 1

I booked BA Business Class from Singapore to London and from London to Hong Kong using points through Qantas. After booking, I was directed to the BA website to select my seats. I was shocked to find that I had to pay just under $150 per seat! I stress that this was for Business Class. I have been caught before (in 2016) by BA for an economy seat that cost around about $15, but I had forgotten about that. Please be aware when booking flights with BA that this is how they get more money out of unsuspecting customers. They won't get me again!

worldwanderer

worldwanderer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jan 2017

Total posts 71

Travelled on BA on QF point three times this year.

One of the biggest annoyances with travelling BA international (aside from very old planes, generally poor crew attitude and below standard meals) is the fact even J passengers cannot select a seat on booking without additional payment (aka Jetstar).


Seat selection can only be done for free in the period 72-24 hours before the flight where you can pick over whatever is left.


Also despite trying many times never was able to select a seat from their IOS app - always came up with an error or try again later.


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