Qantas Frequent Flyer members can now use their Qantas Points to book selected flights with Air New Zealand, and will soon be able to book flights with Air France, KLM, and Thailand's Bangkok Airways.
It's part of a broader sweep by Qantas to unlock one million additional frequent flyer seats every year – the majority of which, Qantas says, will be on those partner airlines – and to make it easier to find and book those seats.
Using Qantas Points to book Air New Zealand flights
With Air New Zealand, Qantas Frequent Flyer members can now book domestic NZ flights using their Qantas Points – although you can't book Air New Zealand reward flights on other routes such as between Australia and New Zealand, or journeys further afield like Auckland-Los Angeles.
At launch, most New Zealand domestic flights will cost 10,000 Qantas Points to book, such as between Auckland and Christchurch or Wellington, while longer routes like Auckland-Queenstown will require a higher 14,000 Qantas Points.
Air New Zealand doesn't offer business class on domestic routes, although domestic NZ economy flights booked using Qantas Points will include one complimentary checked bag and are now available via the Qantas website:
Taxes and fees on these bookings are very reasonable, with Auckland-Christchurch costing just NZ$9 (A$8.50) in addition to the 10,000 points paid for a one-way flight.
(By comparison, booking with Qantas Group's Jetstar on the same Auckland-Christchurch route costs 6,400 Qantas Points with a co-pay of NZ$21.)
Adding Air New Zealand seats to the broader Qantas Frequent Flyer awards pool comes just one year since Qantas and the Kiwi carrier joined forces in a codeshare partnership intended to isolate Virgin Australia, a former AirNZ ally but now common enemy to both airlines.
That alliance saw Qantas stamp its QF code onto 30 domestic AirNZ services across New Zealand, although trans-Tasman and other international flights are excluded from the arrangement.
Using Qantas Points to book Air France flights
Planning a trip to the City of Light? Qantas members will soon be able to book Air France flights from both Singapore and Hong Kong to Paris (and vice versa) using Qantas Points.
Of course, Qantas flies its own aircraft from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Hong Kong, and from the same cities to Singapore with the addition of Perth: these being flights that can already be booked using Qantas Points, and can get you to Asia before stepping aboard Air France.
However, just how soon this happens remains to be seen, with Qantas reluctant to lay out a timetable for the initiative or advise how many points will be needed to book those Air France flights.
It's also unknown whether Qantas members will be able to book Air France's La Premiere first class cabin on these routes, or whether Qantas Points bookings will top out at business class, as Air France usually restricts points-based first class bookings to its own elite frequent flyers, to the exclusion of partner airlines.
Qantas already sells Air France's Singapore-Paris flights under a codeshare agreement, but this is the first time Qantas Frequent Flyer members will be able to book those Air France legs using points.
Using Qantas Points to book KLM flights
Similar to the arrangements with Air France, you'll soon be able to book KLM's flights between Singapore and Amsterdam using Qantas Points, too.
It's not yet known how many Qantas Points will be needed, although the ability to book KLM reward flights on other routes is not expected.
KLM CEO Pieter Elbers told Australian Business Traveller earlier this month that the airline was looking to deepen its partnership with Qantas, with today's news marking the first expansion of the airlines' mutual tie-up since inking a codeshare deal last year on that Singapore route.
Using Qantas Points to book Bangkok Airways flights
Another soon-to-be-added partner for Qantas Frequent Flyer members spending their points is Bangkok Airways.
Centred in Thailand's national capital, you'll be able to able to fly from Bangkok to places like Chiang Mai and Koh Samui, as well as other Thai domestic flights separate to Bangkok, such as Chiang Mai to Phuket, which is also served by Bangkok Airways.
Qantas flies daily from Sydney to Bangkok, joined by three Jetstar flights per week between Melbourne and Bangkok. Jetstar Asia also flies Singapore-Bangkok, with services between Vietnam and Bangkok aboard Jetstar Pacific also.