Man jumping for joy after using Qantas points to fly for cheap

How to Book Cheap Flights to Europe using Qantas Points in 2023

29 Aug, 2023

author profile picture

Eva Mitchell

We earned over 100,000 Qantas points to book cheap flights to Europe in 2023 and you can too! It is incredibly easy to rack up Qantas points, all you need to do is understand how you can gain the maximum amount of Qantas points by travel hacking and the best part is, you don’t need to spend a dime. 

Let me explain how we travel hacked our way to purchasing heavily discounted flights from Melbourne to Italy in 2023 by accumulating and using Qantas points. On our way to Europe, we wanted to catch up with family in Perth and to experience Singapore. Our Qantas points provided us with the flexibility to be able to add these two stopovers into our journey to Italy for an unbeatable price. We ended up flying with Emirates using Qantas points which was a nice bonus as Emirates have an amazing reputation as one of the top airlines in the world. 

Disclaimer: This post contains links to our preferred travel products and services. When you purchase through these links, your purchases can generate a small profit for us, without any added cost to you. This helps us to continue offering top-notch travel advice and savvy savings tips on how you can make cents of travel. Rest assured, we only share links to products and services that we personally love to use.

Chapters

How To Earn Qantas Points in Australia

In Australia there are multiple ways in which you can earn Qantas Rewards points. These are the best avenues to accumulate frequent flyer points so you can travel for much cheaper than everyone else on the plane. 



Credit Cards

The number one way to accumulate a substantial amount of Qantas points quickly, is to apply for a credit card that offers a lump sum of Qantas points as a sign-up bonus. Most banks in Australia will offer varying credit card deals, these offers change over time so I would suggest you investigate and compare the best offers at any one point in time. Most credit cards have a minimum spend you need to meet to receive the bonus points, so make sure this either fits your usual spending habits or you have a major purchase coming up, such as a phone or laptop, that would meet that minimum spend criteria. Most points credit cards have a yearly fee that you need to account for when signing up to a credit card. Points credit cards are a great way to start your point hacking journey so you can book cheap flights using Qantas points. 

In addition to a sign up bonus, most Qantas points credit cards will offer an ongoing accumulation of Qantas points per dollar spent at a rate set by the bank or credit card company. An average rate would be around 1 Qantas point gained per $1aud spent on eligible purchases within Australia.  Check out pointshack.com.au for the most up-to-date credit card reviews and offers in Australia & New Zealand. 

Please note that travel hacking with credit cards is only profitable if you pay off your credit card in full each month. Otherwise, you will end up having to pay interest on the negative balance and face additional fees which can end up outweighing the value of Qantas points you have gained by signing up to the credit card. The aim of travel hacking is to accumulate the maximum possible amount of Qantas points for the minimum amount of money spent.

I plan on doing a full blog post in the future, explaining in detail how to get into the travel hacking game and a logical explanation of how we decided on the credit cards we applied for and why, so keep your eyes peeled for that one!


Qantas Wellbeing App

It is possible to gain a few extra thousand Qantas frequent flyer points by downloading the Qantas Wellbeing App on your phone. On the Qantas Wellbeing App you will find Check-ups to complete to gain extra points. You will also see the Challenge section where you can set daily and weekly challenges to complete for bonus frequent flyer points. These challenges are a lot of fun and you can compete against your friends and family for the top prize. Tim and I both consider ourselves quite competitive, we set a weekly step challenge against each other on the Qantas Wellbeing App. I don’t mean to brag, but I happen to be the champion of our step challenges more often than not!



Everyday Rewards at Woolies 

Most Woollies shoppers in Australia will have an Everyday rewards card in their wallet. The best way to utilize your Everyday Rewards card in order to gain maximum Qantas frequent flyer points, is to download the Everyday Rewards App on your phone. Before you go to the supermarket or check out, log on to the app and boost the offers available to you. Sometimes there are offers that are well worthwhile boosting such as 5x points on your purchase. We managed to earn thousands of Qantas points through Everyday rewards.

Set up your Everyday Rewards to convert straight to Qantas frequent flyer points. Each time you reach 2000 Everyday rewards points, these points will be automatically credited to you as 1000 Qantas frequent flyer points. 


Qantas Shopping

If you need to purchase a product, whether that be clothing, homewares, or a gift, consider purchasing that product through the Qantas Shopping website to access Qantas point deals. There is a range of popular Australian shops and brands available to purchase through Qantas shopping such as Rebel Sport, Country Road, Breville, Dyson, Everyplate, the list goes on. Some offers allow you to earn up to a whooping 20 points per one dollar spent.

Do keep in mind that if a product is cheaper at a different store, then I wouldn’t use Qantas shopping to gain the points as the value of points gained is not as significant as the savings on the product when purchasing for a cheaper price. 


Petrol Stations

Many petrol stations offer bonus Qantas points when you purchase fuel. This isn’t something we utilized as we don’t have a car. However, if you do own a car this is an easy way to gain Qantas points for your everyday fuel expenses. 


Booking Flights with Qantas and Jetstar

This is the most obvious one. Every time you book a flight with Qantas or Jetstar and enter your Qantas Frequent Flyer number, you will gain Qantas points. Gaining Qantas points from flights is not the most effective way to accumulate points because you have to fork out the money for a flight, but we will take the points none the less if the flight is necessary! 


couple running in Sahara Desert


Using Qantas Points To Fly From Melbourne to Italy in May 2023

Qantas frequent flyer points we spent on flights: 108,000 total (54,000 each)

Primary credit card that earned us 70,000 of those Qantas points: Commbank Ultimate Rewards credit card 

Total money spent on flights in addition to Qantas frequent flyer points: $1447 ($723 each)

Total money saved on this route:

$1952 (Averaging a savings of $18 per 1000 frequent flyer points).

In May 2023, we officially quit our professional jobs in Australia to embark on our dream yearlong journey around the world together. We booked cheap flights from Melbourne to Italy using Qantas points. We spent 70,000 Qantas frequent flyer points that we had accrued by travel hacking our first credit card, the Commbank Ultimate Rewards credit card, plus an extra 38,000 Frequent flyer points we had accumulated through other avenues (as mentioned above). 

Instead of flying directly from Melbourne to Italy, we broke our journey up by staying in Perth and Singapore on the way to rest up and catch up with family. We booked our flights in February 2023, about three months before our flight date. Let me give you a full breakdown of how we used our frequent flyer points and how much money it saved us on flights to Europe. 

Note that all points and money expenditure stated below is the cost for two people unless stated otherwise.

The First Leg Using Qantas Points: Melbourne to Perth

We flew Melbourne to Perth with Qantas using Qantas points. We spent 18,000 frequent flyer points plus $40 on one ticket and an additional $292 on the other ticket. Unfortunately, at the time of booking we only had enough Qantas points to cover one points plus pay ticket. However, if we had accrued additional frequent flyer points, we would have managed to reduce the cost of this flight significantly by spending an additional 18,000 points for the second person instead of paying full price for the ticket.

This domestic Qantas route offers great value for points. 18,000 frequent flyer points saved us $252, equaling a savings of $14 per 1000 frequent flyer points spent. 


The Second Leg Flying With a Budget Airline: Perth to Singapore

We ended up flying Scoot from Perth to Singapore which meant we didn’t utilize any of our Qantas frequent flyer points on this leg of our journey to Italy. The Scoot flights cost us a mere $415 in total for both of us, including checked bags.

Scoot is a budget airline that offers great prices for flights that get you from A to B but, Scoot doesn’t come with the usual luxuries of entertainment, food and drink that you expect on a top airline like Emirates. For the short distance between Perth and Singapore, we decided flying a budget airline would be a comprise we were willing to take to keep within our budget. 


The Final Leg Using Qantas Points: Singapore to Bologna

This is where we made the most out of our frequent flyer points. We flew from Singapore to Bologna with Emirates using Qantas points we had accumulated over the past year. On this flight, we spent 90,000 Qantas frequent flyer points plus $700 altogether, saving us a total of $1700! 



Flying from Singapore to Italy with Emirates was an amazing opportunity to get the most out of our Qantas frequent flyer points and felt like our first travel hacking attempt had paid off. Our savings on this flight were an impressive $18 per 1000 frequent flyer points spent. To get this deal, we purchased points plus pay seats through the Qantas website. Emirates and Qantas are both part of the Oneworld airline alliance making Emirates a Qantas affiliated airline. This means that several seats on various Emirates flights can be purchased with Qantas frequent flyer points or points plus pay. 

Login to Qantas to bag yourself a points plus pay rewards points flight.

Comparing Savings vs Using Other Airlines and Routes to Italy

Now it’s easy to provide savings figures based on flying the exact same flight path and with the exact same airline that we booked. However, if we didn’t have Qantas frequent flyer points to use, I can assure you we would not have forked out full price for Emirates tickets on our budget! We would have investigated flights offered by cheaper airline companies. In addition to flying with budget airlines, we would have sacrificed our preferred route with stopovers, for cheaper plane tickets.

At the time of booking our flights from Melbourne to Italy, here are some examples of the cheapest alternative routes and airlines available that we could have purchased at full price on the same week, if we didn’t have Qantas points to spend.

$2650 for both of us flying Lufthansa & Thai Airways to Bologna, or 

$2500 flying with Scoot and Qatar Airways to Rome.

$3200 The same flight, Flying with Emirates the entire way to Italy from Melbourne.

Essentially if you look at it this way, we saved at least $1000 on flights from Australia to Italy by using Qantas points, all while being able to also catch up with family in Perth and spending two incredible days exploring Singapore. The multiday stopovers also helped to split up the trip meaning we didn’t have to fly the full 30+ hours in one go. 


Key Takeaway Points for Travel Hacking Your Way To Booking Cheap Flights Using Qantas Points 

1) Accumulate as many Qantas points as you can

All while sticking to your usual spending habits. I would only recommend applying for a points credit card if you are already spending the required monthly amount to gain the sign-up bonus points. If you are spending more money for the sake of earning frequent flyer points, it defeats the purpose of saving money when using Qantas points to book cheap flights. 

2) Book flights that offer the points plus pay option

This will provide you with incredible value for money! Many other travel hacking gurus promote that you get the best value for Qantas points when you purchase long distance business class reward seat flights. This strategy is definitely a great way to spend your points. But realistically, business class reward seats will usually cost over 150,000 frequent flyer points per person and are not as readily available as the points plus pay options. 

For us, we had only accrued 110,000 frequent flyer points by the time we needed to book our international flights. At that point in time, it made sense for us to spend our Qantas points on two ‘points plus pay’ seats to save money on our flights to Italy. 

3) When you have a destination in mind, figure out your different flight path options

Flexibility in your dates makes it even easier to book flights using Qantas points. We had a rough idea that we wanted to leave Australia for our year-long adventure before winter started and knew the first destination had to be Italy (because who doesn’t want to spend summer in Italy!?).

I started by investigating points plus pay flights from Australia, Perth and Singapore to Italy and it’s neighboring countries like Switzerland and Germany. 

When I was initially looking for flights into Italy, I assumed the most affordable cities to arrive at would be Rome, Milan or Florence. I honestly didn’t even know flying into Bologna was an option until I broadened my search of available international airports in Italy and then ta-da! There was an amazing points plus pay deal on flights to Bologna from Singapore.

We didn’t know much about Bologna before going so it gave us an opportunity to explore a city we wouldn’t have visited otherwise. Bologna was a colourful, lively city that we loved and it turned out to be the perfect place to begin our Italian summer. 


Bonus Airport Lounge Access

We love airport lounges! Some credit card sign up bonuses include complimentary lounge access. The ANZ credit card we signed up to recently allowed us both complimentary access to the Qantas Club Lounge at the Melbourne domestic airport before departing to Perth.  

We also had lounge access in Perth, Singapore and Dubai International airports thanks to our AMEX platinum credit card in combination with Priority Pass, making our journey to Europe significantly more comfortable and saving us money on expensive airport food.

Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming blog article where I will break down exactly how we have utilized our AMEX platinum card to counter the high yearly fee and how much we managed to save by utilizing this credit card.

If you have any questions about how to accrue and use Qantas frequent flyer points in Australia, drop a comment below. We would also love to hear about how you have used travel hacking to fly around the world cheaply.

All Blogs Home

A word from the authors

Eva and Tim are the creators behind this world-class travel finance blog.

In 2021 they decided to travel the world for an entire year and begun implementing savings strategies to achieve their goal of long-term travel. By May 2023, they quit their jobs to embark on their year-long adventure, sharing their invaluable practical and achievable savings, planning and travel tips they learnt along the way/with the aim to help others Make Cents of Travel.

You can find Eva & Tim on Tiktok, Facebook and Instagram as Make Cents of Travel.

About Us

Hello, Hola, Ciao! We are Tim & Eva, a couple of kiwis who have spent the last few years saving for and planning our epic year-long adventure around the world. Our goal is to inspire fellow wanderlust souls (just like you!) to Make Cents Of Travel by sharing our experiences and strategies we used to turn our dream of long-term travel into a reality.

5 comments

sellmymiles

Booking cheap flights to Europe using Qantas points is a game-changer! Thanks for sharing these practical tips for budget-conscious travelers.

4mo

Reply

Eva

I couldn't agree more! Thanks for your comment.

3mo

Reply

Kristin

Hi Eva and Tim,

Just curious if you ever did that blog article on how you utilize your Amex Platinum to counter the large annual fee?

Thanks!

3mo

Reply

Eva

Hi Kristin!
We have just about come to the end of our year using the AMEX Platinum card. I am hoping to get a blog out in the next month covering the details on how it was worth it for us. I'll let you know when it is published :)
Thanks, Eva

3mo

Reply
show more comments...

Leave a comment