What could you do with 120,000 Qantas frequent flyer points?

By Chris Chamberlin, November 13 2018
What could you do with 120,000 Qantas frequent flyer points?

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The information provided on this page is purely factual and general in nature. You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

With some of Australia's highest credit card sign-up deals pumping out offers of up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Points right now, there's plenty you could do with that bounty.

Whether your travels take you within Australia, to New Zealand, up to Asia or even to London or New York, we show some of the many ways you could spend a cool 120,000 bonus Qantas Points, such as you could earn with a new Westpac Altitude Black AMEX + Mastercard Bundle.

1. Snag up to 24 business class upgrades

If you wanted to make the most of your points by enjoying as many comfortable journeys as possible – rather than just one or two long flights – 120,000 Qantas Points can give you as many as 24 one-way upgrades from economy to business class on short domestic flights.

That's not just 24 seats at the pointy end, but the complete package for every journey: priority check-in, an increased baggage allowance, priority security screening, access to Qantas' Business Lounges or Qantas Clubs before the flight, priority boarding, and priority baggage delivery, across 24 journeys: that's two flights per month for an entire year!

This works best on short Australian domestic flights booked on a flexible economy fare, such as from Sydney to Melbourne or Brisbane, as each upgrade costs only 5,000 points – but even if you book the lowest-priced fares, upgrades may still be possible for 10,000 points, still providing 12 bump-ups from economy.

Another savvy way to use your points for a business class upgrade is on Qantas' cross-country flights, such as from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to Perth, where just 10,000 points can get you a business class seat when travelling on a flexible economy airfare, including on Airbus A330 flights with Qantas' Business Suites, again giving you up to 12 business class upgrades in return for your 120,000 points.

2. Splurge on first class travel with Emirates, Qantas

Booking flights in first class usually requires a lot of points, but with 120,000 Qantas Points to spend, you'd actually have enough to take a return first class flight from Sydney to Christchurch with Emirates, aboard the Airbus A380.

Charged at 54,000 Qantas Points each way plus a relatively small payment to cover taxes, fees and charges, your outlay of 108,000 Qantas Points provides access to Sydney's Emirates lounge – or better yet, to the Qantas First Lounge – along with your first class suite on board, with closing doors...

... and use of the Airbus A380's inflight shower spa:

That leaves you with 12,000 Qantas Points, which is enough for a mid-length Australian domestic economy class flight with Qantas, on routes like Melbourne-Brisbane.

Alternatively, you might prefer to fly Emirates first class from Melbourne or Brisbane to Singapore, or Qantas first class from Sydney to Singapore, costing you 90,000 Qantas Points for a one-way flight and giving you much more time to enjoy the experience on board, although your flight home would need to be in economy (or vice versa), unless you have extra points to spend.

AusBT review: Emirates first class, Melbourne-Singapore

3. Fly return business class to Asia with Qantas, Emirates

Given a one-way business class ticket from Australia's east coast to many points in Asia sets you back 60,000 points aboard Qantas or Emirates, 120,000 Qantas Points can get you a return business class journey on a variety of routes.

Using every last one of those points, from Sydney, you could fly Qantas business class to Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok or Manila, or also Emirates business class to Bangkok, while Jakarta and Denpasar (Bali) are also possibilities on Qantas for a rounded 100,000 Qantas Points.

Departing Melbourne, you could fly return to Hong Kong with Qantas; return to Singapore with Qantas or Emirates – or, for a reduced 100,000 points, return to Denpasar with Qantas – while out of Brisbane, Qantas' flights to Tokyo become a possibility given the shorter flying distance from Queensland to Japan, joining the expected non-stop options to Hong Kong and Singapore, including Emirates' Brisbane-Singapore flights.

Finally, Perth residents could fly Qantas business class return to Singapore for a cool 100,000 Qantas Points, leaving enough points for a further one-way economy flight from Perth to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, although be mindful that many of Qantas' Perth-Singapore flights are operated by domestic-style Boeing 737s with reclining business class seats rather than Airbus A330s with fully-flat beds, so consider this when spending your points.

4. Take a return trip to Los Angeles, San Francisco or Vancouver

Although flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to North America can be quite popular for both paying passengers and those travelling using points, with some careful planning, you may be able to fly return to LA, San Francisco or Vancouver, travelling in premium economy in one direction and economy the other.

Flights to Los Angeles are available from all three big Australian east coast cities; journeys to San Francisco are available from Sydney and Melbourne, and seasonally, Sydney-Vancouver flights are also offered: and whichever you pick, you'll spend 72,000 Qantas Points for your premium economy flight and 45,000 Qantas Points for the economy leg, leaving you with 3,000 Qantas Points to spare.

While you could transform 96,000 Qantas Points into a one-way business class ticket on those same routes, you wouldn't have enough points remaining to book a return leg, even in economy, and as one-way international airfares aren't much cheaper than paid return tickets in the same classes, this approach wouldn't provide the best value, as what you'd pay to get home would be similar to buying a return ticket outright, and saving your points for another day.

5. Fly return from Australia to London or New York

Finally, although 24 hours in economy isn't the most glamorous way to travel, 120,000 Qantas Points is exactly enough for a return economy class ticket from Australia's east coast to Europe or North America's east coast, including the far-flung destinations of London and New York.

To work around your schedule and travel plans, you can mix and match Qantas, Emirates and American Airlines flights here, without paying any extra points: so if you're jetting to London, for example, you could fly Qantas over and Emirates back; Emirates over and Qantas back; Qantas on all flights or Emirates on all flights, and you'd be charged the same 120,000 Qantas Points.

That's different to how Qantas charges for reward flights on other partners like British Airways and Cathay Pacific, which command a higher number of points to book flights of comparable lengths, but just watch out for the taxes, fees and surcharges you're being asked to pay when booking your journey.

While it could make sense to use points during peak travel periods when paid airfares are quite expensive (provided you can find reward flight availability), you may sometimes find competitively-priced sale airfares that aren't much more than the fees and surcharges on a frequent flyer reward ticket: and of course, paid fares also earn Qantas Points and accrue those all-important status credits, whereas flights booked with points do not.

Would you like six figures of bonus Qantas Points in your account? Then consider the following credit card offers:

  • American Express Westpac Altitude Black Bundle (AMEX + Mastercard): This bonus comes in two parts, starting with 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply for the bundle by June 2 2019 and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of approval using the Westpac Altitude Black Mastercard. Separately, get 40,000 bonus Qantas Points when spending $3,000 on eligible purchases within the same 90-day period using the AMEX Westpac Altitude Black Card. Annual fees of $250 for the Mastercard, $199 for the AMEX and $50 to earn Qantas Points ($499 total) apply.
  • ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa: Receive 100,000 bonus Qantas Points plus $200 back to your card when you apply, pay a $425 annual fee and spend $4,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months.

Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

The information provided on this page is purely factual and general in nature. You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

18 Nov 2013

Total posts 48

You mention the Emirates lounge in Auckland. Do Emirates now have a lounge in Christchurch, or are Emirates planning to restart flights from Auckland to Australia?

That was a typo, all fixed.

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 98

In Christchurch, Emirates use the Manaia Lounge near Gate 29 which is a shared lounge and only a short walk from Gate 30 which is used by the A380. Not as good as the other EK Lounge outstations with combined Business & First (SYD/MEL etc) , but quite OK by local standards and usually plenty of seats and a few different food options. Some lounges try to get overly fancy with food, but sometimes a sausage roll or a toasted sandwich really hit the spot before a First Class flight with all the trimmings.
EK tag flights from AKL to Aust east coast won't be happening anytime soon, given some of the concessions that resulted in QF subsequently doing more of the trans Tasman flights.

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 220

The first thing I would with the points is search for hours on end on the Qantas site to find a J award seat out of OZ, then in sheer frustration not finding one I would buy a one way flight to HKG and be able to get a award seat no problem to USA or Europe on a plethora of OneWorld airlines, and without paying the QF outrageous fees, problem solved.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2017

Total posts 87

Done this on many occasions

28 Sep 2011

Total posts 5

Can we use Qantas points for an Emirates economy to business upgrade for a family member?

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 98

No unfortunately - whilst you can redeem QF points for an outright ticket on EK operated metal, you can't use QF points for upgrade on EK..

28 Sep 2011

Total posts 5

Thanks for the responses above....I know we can get an option to use EK metal when booking Qantas points on sectors where both Qantas and Emirates fly on Qantas website....what about a flight from US east coast to say Dubai or somewhere in Europe to Middle East....we know these are prime areas where EK flys and Qantas doesn’t, can we still use Qantas points to redeeem these Flights?

You can use Qantas Points to book Emirates flights across its entire network: doesn’t have to be a route from Australia.

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 220

Don't we just love paying those exorbitant Qantas fees, well not me, recently we did HKG/JFK/HKG x 2 in J on CX fees were under $200, be more now but nothing like poor Q.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 97

Hi Chris, regrettably with B 787s flying to the USA west coast it is near impossible to score an upgrade from PE to business class given the very limited number of business class seats, unlike the A 380s previously on the routes to LA and SF. Has anyone scored one of these upgrades since the newer planes were introduced? Be interesting to find out as thousands of points continue to be on offer, but no routes to successfully use them?!


11 Oct 2017

Total posts 9

Sometimes I think I must be on a different planet. I've just spent many hours trying to use my Q FF points to find a way from IST to ADL. Business Class is almost impossible, and the Live Chat folk know less than I. And I have given up the idea of using points for upgrades. The sucker FF (myself) receives a notification if the upgrade application is successful 24 hours prior to flying!! That is just ridiculous. So I think many of the suggestions regarding using FF points (at least with Qantas) are very misleading or possibly deceptive.

"The sucker FF (myself) receives a notification if the upgrade application is successful 24 hours prior to flying!! That is just ridiculous. I think many of the suggestions regarding using FF points (at least with Qantas) are very misleading or possibly deceptive."

Hi NB, just to address this - the five suggestions we've made take reward availability into account, and the upgrades we've suggested can be confirmed at the time the request is made (up to a year before the flight), so no waitlisting is necessary unless you're requesting an upgrade on a flight with no availability or are travelling internationally. For more information, read: How to check for Qantas business class upgrades before you book

Our other suggestions, particularly in economy, can be readily booked using points. First class space is a little tighter, but easily done if you plan ahead.

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