Qantas has boosted the number of available frequent flyer reward seats on domestic flights by up to 50 per cent.
If that tempts you into booking a holiday, here’s what you need to keep in mind.
Qantas’ generosity has two main motivations.
Firstly, it wants to fill its planes up at a time when many Australians are still reluctant to travel.
Secondly, it wants its 13 million Frequent Flyer members to feel like they still have ways to use their points.
The best-value way to use Qantas Points has always been on international flights, but Qantas has suspended bookings on international flights through to March 2021.
Offering more reward seats on popular domestic routes helps address that gap.
Qantas hasn’t released a detailed list of where the extra seats will be offered, but said destinations on the list include Cairns, Sydney and the Sunshine Coast.
Queenstown and Auckland are also mentioned, but New Zealand travel won’t be a viable option until coronavirus numbers in Australia are more stable.
The extra Classic Reward seats are being added to flights through to the end of 2020.
While availability may be better on many routes, the basic rules of booking frequent flyer travel still apply.
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Happily, Classic Reward flights, where you use points to pay for the flight but still have to pay taxes and airport charges, offer much better value than “points plus pay” deals.
If you spot a flight that tempts you, check how much the seat would be if you just paid for it.
The higher the price, the better value you’ll be getting from your points.
Reward seats are always tougher to find during peak travel periods.
On domestic routes, that means flights on Friday afternoons and Sunday afternoons in particular.
If you can shunt your holiday plans to not include a weekend, you’ll generally have more choices.
In recent Qantas sales, the most in-demand routes have included Sydney-Brisbane, Perth-Broome and Sydney-Cairns.
Those patterns are likely to be reflected in reward seats too.
Melbourne-Sydney, historically Australia’s busiest route, also made the popularity list.
However, flights to Melbourne aren’t top of many traveller lists right now because of the renewed coronavirus lockdown.
Finally, don’t forget to get travel insurance if you are taking a trip.
While most insurers suspended all insurance when the coronavirus pandemic first hit, several are now offering insurance for domestic travel.
Life’s risky enough right now without throwing extra travel hassles into the mix.
Angus Kidman is the editor-in-chief and travel guru for Finder.