Free travel—two words that couldn't sound any sweeter together. Imagine exploring the corners of the globe without having to fork out to get there. Sounds like the dream, right? In reality, it’s not as far-fetched as it sounds.
Accumulate enough Qantas Frequent Flyer points and it's possible to travel the world for next to nothing. While your flights aren’t completely free (you’ll still have to pay taxes, fees and carrier charges), they’re not far from it.
Even if you're not planning on flying anywhere soon you can still start planning for that future holiday by using a Qantas points earning credit card for everyday purchases.
Once you’ve accumulated enough, you can then put them towards three types of Awards flights:
- Qantas & Partner Classic
- Qantas & Jetstar Any Seat Rewards
- Points Plus Pay
The most well-known and frequently-used among them is Qantas & Partner Classic, which lets you buy value seats at fixed points prices. The second most used is Any Seat Awards. This gives you the flexibility of choosing any available seat on any Qantas or Jetstar flight with a QF or JQ flight number. The last, Points Plus Pay, lets you buy flights with a combination of points and money. It won’t necessarily give you the best value for your points, but it is available should you want to use points to travel and don’t have quite enough.
Then comes the most difficult part of the process: choosing where to go!
To help you decide, we’ve narrowed down the Qantas & Partner Classic Awards options to seven of the most requested offers.
Economy Return Sydney to Singapore - 56,000 points
- FLY ✈️: Qantas serves this route with their A330s. Sit back on their award-winning Recaro seats and make your way through their Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment systems’ programming over your eight-hour journey.
- SLEEP 🛌: A first-timer’s trip to Singapore wouldn’t be complete without a stay at Marina Bay Sands. Its infinity pool on the 57th floor – likely one of the most Instagrammed of all time – makes a stay here unforgettable. If you aren’t keen to splurge however, there are more affordable places to stay around Marina Bay, as well as in Clarke Quay, Civic District, Chinatown and Little India.
- EAT 🍽: Dine at any restaurant along Keong Saik Road in Chinatown, and you won’t go wrong. You can also find delicious meals at hawker centres (Singapore's answer to food courts) spread across the city. The best one is a hotly contested topic amongst the locals. We recommend traditional Singaporean dishes including laksa, fried carrot cake and pork rib tea called bak kut teh. Trust us. #delicious
- PLAY 🛍: Singapore has a balanced blend of historical and new sights for you to explore. Head to Little India for cheap, custom-made threads; Orchard Road for mainstream shopping; and Raffles Hotel for the sight of where the first Singapore Sling was invented. Sentosa, an island resort off the southern coast, is also worthy of a half or full day of your holiday.
Business One-way from Sydney to Phuket - 60,000 points
The largest island in Thailand at 50km long and 20km wide, Phuket is brimming with beautiful beaches, luxury resorts and all types of dining.
- FLY ✈️: Start your holiday off in style by flying business class on Malaysian Airlines, with a quick pit stop via Kuala Lumpur. Sit back and relax in their luxury flatbed (1-2-1 configuration) on the Sydney to Kuala Lumpur segment.
- SLEEP 🛌: The main two areas to stay in Phuket are busy Patong and the much quieter Karon, which is often referred to as ‘Patong’s little sister’. The two are similar, but Karon is on a much smaller scale. Kata, next to Karon, is another alternative and even more peaceful than its neighbour. Nightly rates vary drastically between low season May to October and peak season November to April.
- EAT 🍽: The island presents a mix of western and Asian so you won’t ever be forced to have too much of either. The main streets of Patong and Karon are home to the bulk of restaurants. Try the mee hokkien noodle, massaman curry and satay. Being seaside, Phuket has some great seafood too.
- PLAY 🏖: Though there are a few museums in Phuket, most everything to do here is focused around rest and relaxation. There are more than 30 beaches to explore as well as plenty of day trips to take on nearby islands including Phang Nga Bay, Phi Phi Islands and Similan Islands. The chaotic nightlife of Bangla Road is also worth seeing.
Pick this for a beach-based holiday. From Phuket, catch flights or ferries to smaller Thai islands include Koh Samui, Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi. Book a flight home from your last island stop.
Earn up to 120,000 Qantas Points*
Earn up to 120,000 Qantas Points. Get 90,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 60 days from account approval date and an additional 30,000 points on payment of second year annual fee.
0% p.a. for 6 months on balance transfers. (2% balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to cash advance rate.
Up to 44 days on purchases.
Earn 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent on everyday purchases up to $5,000 per statement period.
Reduced Annual Card Fee of $295 in first year (reverts to $395 after first year).
*NAB may vary or end this offer at any time.
This credit card offer is subject to change and may not be directly related to the content of this article.
Business One-way from Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City - 60,000 points
Formerly Saigon, Ho Chi Minh is a dynamic city in southern Vietnam with plenty of culture and a rich history to enjoy. It’s most well-known for its food and architecture.
- FLY ✈️: Again, this flight is business class one-way on Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong so either arrive in style, or treat yourself on the way home. The A330s used are 1-2-1 so all have aisle access. Being business also means 10 more kilos of baggage, which, if you plan on shopping while in Ho Chi Minh City, is a very good thing.
- SLEEP 🛌: Most of the city’s quality hotels can be found in the city centre or as the locals call it, District 1. They range from three to five stars and are housed in striking buildings, a mix of French colonial and oriental style. Wander outside the centre and you’ll immediately hit the backpackers area.
- EAT 🍽: Visitors travel to Vietnam for its cuisine alone, and the food in Ho Chi Minh is considered to be the country’s best. Banh mi and pho are must-tries among the many street food options. No two are alike. To break up the stall feeds, pop into a traditional Vietnamese restaurant for an authentic dining experience.
- PLAY 🏯: The Notre-Dame Cathedral, the City Hall and the Municipal Theatre showcase the Saigonese people’s dedication towards preserving their history. When you’ve explored the landmarks enough, head to Saigon Centre or Zen Plaza to do some shopping.
Pick this if you can dedicate more than a few days to exploring Vietnam. From Ho Chi Minh, make your way up on sleeper trains and buses to Hoi An in the centre of the country or Hanoi at the top. Book a flight home from either.
Economy Return from Sydney to Honolulu - 70,000 points
Honolulu sits on the south shore of Oahu, a scrap of land in the Pacific Ocean. It’s Hawaii’s capital city and a gateway to the state’s many other islands. With superb surfing conditions and an overall relaxed vibe, it’s an easy destination choice for Americans and Australians alike.
- FLY ✈️: Like the Singapore flight, this route is also served by Qantas’ A330. It’s a longer flight time though, at nearly 10 hours, but that just means more time to enjoy the in-flight entertainment and that award-winning seat.
- SLEEP 🛌: The beachfront neighbourhood of Waikiki is home to the majority of Honolulu’s hotels and resorts. Its heavily-photographed crescent beach is lined with one after the other. Most are family-friendly or adults-only, but there are of course many in between.
- EAT 🍽: If you’re a fan of poke bowls, you’ll be happy to know they originated in Hawaii and the country still has some of the best. Other traditional dishes to try here are kalua pork, pork shoulder rubbed with sea salt, and poi, a starch dish made from taro root. There are dozens of American chain restaurants too.
- PLAY 🚁: While you can certainly unwind on Honolulu with no plans whatsoever, if you do feel like keeping busy, there are lots of options. You can clamber up extinct volcano Diamond Head Trail for panoramic views; board a chopper for a thrilling cliff-side flight; and try your hand at surfing on some of the world’s best waves.
Pick this if you’re after an easy resort-based holiday, and only have limited time.
Economy Return from Sydney to Tokyo - 70,000 points
Bright lights, kitsch stores, and crowds everywhere – Tokyo is a feast for the senses. Its cultural traditions are often so fascinating, everything you do will be an experience. Visiting will also see you eating extremely well – it has the most Michelin stars of any city on Earth.
- FLY ✈️: Book via Qantas and hop on Japan Airlines for this flight. The economy class cabin was named no.1 in the world (international routes) at the 2017 SKTRAX World Airline Awards.
- SLEEP 🛌: Tokyo is huge with over 20 district wards so pick where to stay based on the activities you plan to do. Shinjuku, the Tokyo Station area, Ginza, Shibuya and Roppongi are generally where tourists stay. If you have time, try spending a night in a capsule hotel – even if it’s just for the story to tell afterwards.
- EAT 🍽: From hole-in-the-walls to high-end restaurants, the city has all kinds of places to eat. Many of them only have a single dish in different styles on the menu. Though you can attempt to find specific ones you’ve heard or read about, it can be tricky to nail down their exact location as not all restaurants are on ground level. Do yourself a favour and hunt down some ramen while in town. Restaurants Konjiki Hototogisu, Tsuta and Fuunji are crowd favourites.
- PLAY ⛩️: No matter how long you make your trip, you will never get bored in Tokyo. There are temples and Japanese gardens to see; shopping centres to browse; and museums like Tokyo National Museum and the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum to marvel at.
Pick this if you’re in a creative rut – it will unleash your imagination. Or if you’re interested in seeing history be made start planning a trip to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Business Return from Sydney to Fiji - 72,000 points
There’s a reason Fiji is so popular amongst Australians, and it’s not only because it’s a direct, five-hour flight from the east coast. Though that is a major appeal, the South Pacific country made up of 330 islands also has jaw-dropping scenery, friendly locals and a rich culture to boot.
- FLY ✈️: Qantas partner Fiji Airways takes over this route, using the biggest plane in the airline’s fleet, its Airbus A330-300. At a four-hour flight time you likely won’t need to sleep, but if you do, the business class recline into a lie-flat bed.
- SLEEP 🛌: Generally speaking, accommodation here errs on the luxury end. Most accommodation is on Fiji’s largest island, Viti Levu. Its man-made island of Denauru, close to Nadi airport, has eight family-friendly resorts. Countless couples resorts can be found on the other islands.
- EAT 🦐: Curries and seafood feature heavily on menus here. Definitely worth trying is kokoda (pronounced ko-kon-da), their version of a ceviche, and kava, a root-based drink that will leave your mouth numb. Many hotels and resorts have all-inclusive food packages should you want to add them.
- PLAY 🏄♀️: Most activities to do in Fiji are on water. The republic is known for surfing, scuba diving and snorkelling. You can also paddle board, kayak or jet ski. If you’ve never been up in a helicopter, make here the place to try it. You’ll see turquoise and teal reef, toothpaste white surf breaks and even a heart-shaped island.
Pick this if you want to visit several islands in Fiji or are looking for a romantic getaway with your partner. After a night or two on Denauru, take a flight or boat ride to another island. Book a flight home from your last island stop.
Business Return from Sydney to Queenstown - 72,000 points
Queenstown in New Zealand’s South Island is one of the country’s most scenic towns – and that’s saying something. It’s at the base of steep mountains and on the edge of a lake, affording it some pretty spectacular landscapes. The town attracts skiers and snowboarders from around the world.
- FLY ✈️: This Qantas flight will be on a B737-800 so you’ll see soft, luxury leather seats designed by Marc Newson with an extended leg rest and ergonomic cushions. You won’t have too long to enjoy them though as the flight’s a speedy three hours.
- SLEEP 🛌: Most Queenstown visitors prefer to stay downtown as it allows easy access to restaurants, bars and activities. The Glenorchy road and Kingston road areas are lined with luxury lodges and holiday rentals. The Gibbston Valley has accommodation nestled amongst vineyards.
- EAT 🐟🍟: Queenstown’s got a burgeoning food and wine scene with every type of cuisine represented. Hamburger restaurant Fergburger is internationally known and sees lines out the door. Order seafood, lamb and fish and chips at restaurants and you’ll never go wrong.
- PLAY 🏂: In addition to skiing and snowboarding, there are plenty of other activities to do here – mainly ones appealing to adrenaline junkies. You can bungee jump, white water raft and skydive to name a few. If you’re keen on less of a thrill, you can visit a spa, hop on a bike for a ride or go on a boat cruise.
Pick this if you’re into skiing, snowboarding and adventure.