It’s easy to think that booking award flights is as simple as just going to Expedia and finding a flight that’s available there, and saying I’ll take that flight. But booking award tickets has some quirks.
Availability on award flights is different from general availability. To find this out we can use the Qantas online booking engine, but it does have some quirks:
- It doesn’t list all Oneworld airlines, specifically Malaysian Airlines;
- You can’t see all partner only flights, i.e. Doha to Vienna on Qatar Airways without booking a multi stop booking with flights from New Zealand or Australia first.
So how do you see if there’s availability on a particular flight? Sign up to British Airways, and then use their booking engine to redeem flights for Avios. Their booking engine will tell you if a flight has award seats available. Then you can use the Qantas booking engine to target that particular flight by picking particular city pairs.
Award availability between destinations
It’s tempting to think that because we have five stopovers, we can just pick five cool places and stop there. But sometimes flights don’t connect all the way between destinations. I’ve only ever seen up to three flights chain together to reach a destination. Any more flights requires a stopover.
A good example of this is getting from the Maldives to Tenerife. On Google Flights if you enter Male and Tenerife it shows you a connection – via Doha and Madrid. But the Qantas booking engine would never show this connection, and would instead error. Why? Because there’s no flight availability on the flight between Doha and Madrid. So I had to have one of my stopovers as Vienna. That’s because there was availability between Doha and Vienna, as well as Vienna to Madrid. Obviously this could be viewed as a waste of a stopover, but I’d never been to Vienna before, so I treated it as an interesting stop.
In summary – gaining great value from Qantas Points
If you have a significant amount of Qantas Points, i.e. 140,000 you don’t have to spend them on just a return flight to London. Consider a round the world flight, with a lot more destinations, for not much more money at all.