Using Qantas frequent flyer points to book Air Vanuatu flights

Using Qantas frequent flyer points to book Air Vanuatu flights

Turn your hard-earned Qantas Points into a well-deserved holiday with Air Vanuatu, and be whisked away to a tropical island paradise with picture-postcard beaches and some of the world’s best scuba diving.

With key destinations within the Pacific Islands on the map – think Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia – your Qantas Points are equally useful for flying between island nations or for the longer trip back to Australia.

Journeys on Air Vanuatu are calculated on the same points tables as Fiji Airways and Qantas itself, meaning you can mix and match your own itinerary with any of those airlines for no extra points.

Here’s what you need to know to turn your Qantas Points into a ticket to Vanuatu and beyond.

Booking Air Vanuatu flights with Qantas Points: key routes

With just two Boeing 737s on hand, Air Vanuatu operates a few flights each week from Sydney, Melbourne (from June), Brisbane and Auckland to the capital Port Vila. There’s also a weekly flight from Brisbane to Luganville, which is Vanuatu’s second largest city.

From Port Vila, there are connections to 27 other domestic destinations within Vanuatu (not pictured).

Internationally, Fiji and New Caledonia are also on the map. If you’re already exploring one of those Pacific Island nations, then using Qantas Points to tack on a side trip to Vanuatu and then even flying back to Australia via Port Vila is an option.

Booking Air Vanuatu flights with Qantas Points: how many points you'll need

As with Fiji Airways, Air Vanuatu’s partnership with Qantas means that the number of points needed to book an Air Vanuatu flight is the same as to book a Qantas flight of the same length, making the overall rates more favourable than most of Qantas’ other partner airlines.

Here's what you'd need for a one-way ticket in both business class and economy on routes between Australia/NZ and Vanuatu. Simply double the figures for a return trip.

To/from Vanuatu (one-way) Business class Economy
Brisbane-Port Vila
24,000 Qantas Points 12,000 Qantas Points
Sydney-Port Vila
Melbourne-Port Vila
Brisbane-Luganville
Auckland-Port Vila
36,000 Qantas Points 18,000 Qantas Points

Want to fly around to other Pacific Island destinations? Here’s what you’ll need for those short flights. Note that most of them are operated by ATR turboprop aircraft that don’t have business class.

To/from Port Vila (one-way) Business class (if available)
Economy
Luganville
Nadi
Noumea
16,000 Qantas Points 8,000 Qantas Points
Suva (operated by Fiji Airways)
24,000 Qantas Points 12,000 Qantas Points

A quirk of using Qantas Points for flights is that you can stop somewhere for up to 24 hours (called a transit) and then continue on flying, with both flights being priced as one reward instead of individual segments.

For example, you could fly Sydney to Port Vila arriving in the afternoon, spend the night and a leisurely morning relaxing in Vanuatu before heading off to Suva with Fiji Airways later that second day – all for the same number of points as if you had booked Sydney-Fiji or Sydney-Vanuatu direct.

Here are some examples of how you could go from Australia to Fiji or New Caledonia via Port Vila if you can find a connection under 24 hours. All figures are one-way:

To/from Australia via Port Vila
Business class Economy
Sydney-Port Vila-Nadi
Melbourne-Port Vila-Nadi
Brisbane-Port Vila-Nadi
36,000 Qantas Points 18,000 Qantas Points

If you take a break for more than 24 hours, then it’s a stopover and you’ll be charged for the individual sectors. The Sydney-Port Vila-Nadi example would become 60,000 Qantas Points (36,000 points + 24,000 points) in business class if booked with a stopover.

As with any Qantas reward flight booking, taxes, fees and surcharges are levied in addition to the points needed and vary from route to route, but they'll show up during the booking process.

Booking Air Vanuatu flights with Qantas Points: making that booking

Air Vanuatu reward flights can be booked via the Qantas website, so there's no need to call unless you’re having technical difficulties online.

Start by logging into your Qantas Frequent Flyer account and start a search using points only. Fill in your desired flight details, and tick the box ‘Flexible with dates’ if you are open to other flights and dates.

If you did tick the ‘Flexible with dates’ box, then this calendar will appear with a range of alternative dates.

Once selected, you’ll be presented with any flight options.

Simply continue through the rest of the process to book your reward ticket.

With multi-city bookings, the process becomes more difficult as the Qantas website will often throw up an error when trying to create a multi-city itinerary involving Port Vila.

In these cases, it’s best to call the Qantas contact centre to check availability and book manually if you want to transit in Port Vila for a day or create a multi-stop journey throughout the Pacific Islands.

A word of warning: business class reward seats are extremely rare with Air Vanuatu while economy reward seats are plentiful. If flying in the pointy end with points is your goal, then you’ll have better luck using Qantas Points with Fiji Airways.

With only eight seats, Air Vanuatu's Boeing 737 business class is hard to get with Qantas Points.

Also read: Using Qantas Points to book Fiji Airways flights

Virgin Australia also runs its own flight to Port Vila from Brisbane three days a week, making Velocity points a competitive option too.

One final tip – if you're looking for flights to Luganville, you won't find that name in Qantas' system. Instead, start looking for the airport code 'SON' or 'Espiritu Santo', which incidentally is the largest island of Vanuatu and where the town of Luganville is located.

Brandon Loo

Brandon Loo

Brandon divides his time between Perth and Launceston, with ample hours spent in airport lounges in between. He recently picked up photography and tries to capture the beauty of Tasmanian landscapes, aeroplane cabins and in-flight food, to varying degrees of success.
 

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20 May, 2019 11:00 am

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