Given that Australia is so large and that bird species are spread out over the entire country, most people will need to use domestic flights at some point. These can sometimes be purchased at a good rate if you keep an eye on the sales on Qantas, Jetstar & Virgin’s websites. You can get a pretty good snapshot of what’s available on Webjet. Take for example our first flight from Brisbane to Perth. Bear in mind that some fares do not allow a checked bag, you have to pay extra for this and that carry-on bags are limited to 7kg and by size.
Neither Star Alliance nor Skyteam have a partner in Australia, but luckily anyone who is in a program from the One World Alliance has some good options. Most people will use either American Airlines or British Airways Avios or Qantas points.
Using AAdvantage is very easy as flights can be booked online and only cost 10,000 miles for a one way award that allows a checked bag.
This search has produced 3 non-stop flights followed by several connections for 10,000 miles. As you can see, the blue tab for business/first class awards is lit up so you could also chose a premium cabin for 17.5k miles. Personally, for a 5.5 hour daytime flight, I would save my miles for something else but the option is available for those who wish it.
Once you choose a flight, log in with your account, you will see that there are taxes of $14.60 in addition to the miles. If you have been taking advantage of the Citibank American AAdvantage credit card bonuses which range from 40,000 – 100,000 miles, you can see that adds up to lots of free flights within Australia!
BRITISH AIRWAYS AVIOS
Since Avios redemptions are distance based, they may or may not be the better option. If the distance is more than 2000 miles, then AAdvantage would be cheaper as you can see by the chart below.
First you need to know the distance between origin and destination for each leg. I use the Great Circle Mapper. The non-stop flight is 2246 miles which means it costs 12,500 Avios. Since each segment of an Avios award is charged separately, if you connect in Sydney, you would be charged 4500 Avios for the first segment and 12,500 for the 2nd segment which isn’t a great deal. If you were going simply from Brisbane to Sydney, 4500 Avios is a much better deal than paying 10,000 AAdvantage miles!
Qantas points are zone based and you can get the mileage required from their calculator.
If you are from Australia, you probably have points in Virgin’s Velocity program which are very easy to redeem online. You can choose to use your points to cover the taxes or pay the taxes in cash and spend fewer points.