Using Qantas frequent flyer points to book Malaysia Airlines flights

Using Qantas frequent flyer points to book Malaysia Airlines flights

With a solid network across Asia linking in with routes to and from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, booking Malaysia Airlines flights using your hard-earned Qantas frequent flyer points is one of your many options for travel within the region and onward to London.

Provided you can snag a seat on the longer legs to Malaysia, pairing that up with an onward, shorter flight is straightforward, and is a handy option to keep up your sleeve when jetting to cities less-served by Qantas and its Oneworld partners, where you might not otherwise be able to use your points.

Here are just some of the ways you can use your Qantas Points to book Malaysia Airlines flights from Australia/NZ to Kuala Lumpur and then onward to London or across Asia as part of a single ticket.

Booking Malaysia Airlines flights with Qantas Points: key routes

Out of its Kuala Lumpur hub, Malaysia Airlines offers non-stop flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in Australia, along with KL-Auckland services for New Zealand-based travellers, and non-stop flights between Perth and Kota Kinabalu, too.

Beyond Kuala Lumpur, the airline also serves a variety of domestic destinations across Malaysia, along with double-daily non-stop flights to London Heathrow aboard the Airbus A350 (seasonally, the Airbus A380), offering both business class and first class service.

AusBT review: Malaysia Airlines Airbus A350 business class, Kuala Lumpur-London

Also read: Malaysia Airlines Airbus A350 first class review, MH1, London-Kuala Lumpur

The remainder of MAS' network is regional, serving key destinations across Asia and the Middle East including Bangkok, Beijing, Colombo, Delhi, Denpasar/Bali, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Jeddah, Manila, Mumbai, Nanjing, Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Taipei.

Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei), Chennai, Dhaka, Hyderabad, Kathmandu, Langkawi, Phuket, Siem Reap, Surabaya and Wuhan also form part of Malaysia Airlines' route network, as do a variety of other destinations in the region.

Of course, passengers from Australia can take advantage of the airline's broad regional network by pairing a flight from Down Under with an onward flight from Kuala Lumpur, making many destinations accessible with just one stop when using points.

Booking Malaysia Airlines flights with Qantas Points: how many points you'll need

If you're flying solely between Australia/New Zealand and Malaysia, here's how many points you'd need to book a one-way ticket. For a return journey, simply double these figures:

To/from Malaysia (one-way)

Business class

Economy

Sydney
Melbourne
Brisbane

65,000 Qantas Points

35,000 Qantas Points

Adelaide
Perth-Kuala Lumpur
Perth-Kota Kinabalu

53,000 Qantas Points

28,000 Qantas Points

Auckland

78,000 Qantas Points

42,000 Qantas Points

Planning to fly Malaysia Airlines right through from Australia/NZ to London as part of a connecting journey? Here's how many points you'd need all up, provided your connection time in Kuala Lumpur is 24 hours or less – again, double these figures for a return trip:

To/from London (one-way)

Business class

Economy

Sydney
Melbourne
Brisbane
Adelaide
Auckland

139,000 Qantas Points

75,000 Qantas Points

Perth

121,000 Qantas Points

65,000 Qantas Points

For Perth travellers, the number of points needed is marginally less than from other cities, simply because Perth is geographically closer to Kuala Lumpur, making the journey a shorter overall flying distance.

Remembering that Malaysia Airlines also offers first class on its Kuala Lumpur-London flights, although not on its routes to Australia or New Zealand, it's also possible to fly business class to Kuala Lumpur and then first class onward to London using points, but comparatively, it's not the best value.

That's because this mixed-class journey requires 199,000 Qantas Points from Sydney, one way: yet to fly Qantas or Emirates from Sydney to London requires only 192,000 Qantas Points to travel first class the whole way, while comparable bookings on other Oneworld carriers like Qatar Airways are just 203,000 Qantas Points: so for only 4,000 Qantas Points more than doing the Malaysia Airlines business+first combination, you could again fly first class gate-to-gate.

Instead, a savvier use of points is to book connecting journeys with Malaysia Airlines to nearby destinations, such as Singapore – particularly if you can't snag a non-stop flight using points on the likes of Qantas, Emirates or British Airways, because the number of Qantas Points needed is actually the same as flying only to Malaysia.

Yes, two business class flights for the 'price' of one: a leg from Australia/NZ to Kuala Lumpur, and a separate business class flight from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.

There's no requirement to book the shortest available connection, either, so if you had some business to attend to in KL, you could arrive in the morning on one of Malaysia Airlines' overnight flights, head into the city for the day for an array of meetings, and then return to the airport in the evening to fly onward to Singapore, all in business class, for the same number of points as flying only to Kuala Lumpur.

This works for passengers travelling from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Auckland, although Adelaide flyers aren't so lucky, as this bumps the number of points needed up to the next rung based on the total flying distance, being 65,000 Qantas Points for business class as opposed to 53,000 Qantas Points.

Regardless of where you're travelling to, you'll be asked to make a separate payment to cover any airport and government taxes and fees, plus any 'carrier charges' levied on frequent flyer reward bookings, using a major credit card when you book your reward flight, which is the next step.

Booking Malaysia Airlines flights with Qantas Points: making that booking

Recent improvements to the Qantas website mean travellers no longer need to call to book Malaysia Airlines reward flights, as these reservations can now be made online, by clicking "Use points - Classic Flight Rewards only" and entering the details of your proposed journey:

To maximise our chances of finding a suitable flight, we'll also click into the departure date box, and tick the "flexible with dates" option...

... which reveals a monthly calendar showing all award travel options across multiple dates, rather than only the date we've entered, and for best results, we'll also check all the cabin class options at the top, rather than just 'economy' as is selected by default:

Now, this screen doesn't show only Malaysia Airlines flights: it shows any flight than can be booked using Qantas Points, so to see what's available on any given date, you'll need to select that date and click 'continue', revealing the next screen:

Among the other options, we can see that the daytime MH122 flight has only economy seats open for points bookings, but the overnight MH140 service has both economy and business class. Malaysia Airlines doesn't offer first class to Australia, nor does it offer premium economy on any aircraft, so those two columns can be ignored.

By hovering the mouse over the flight number, we can also see that MH122 is operated by an Airbus A380, which has Malaysia Airlines' older-generation business class seats, while MH140 is served by an Airbus A330, with the airline's latest business class seat – perfect, given that's the flight with availability in business class:

AusBT review: Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330 business class, Kuala Lumpur-Sydney

Then, it's as simple as clicking on the flight you want, confirming the number of Qantas Points required, and completing the booking process by entering the passenger details and paying the associated taxes, fees and charges, which can vary from flight to flight.

If you were making a connecting journey, such as Sydney to London via Kuala Lumpur, you could simply search for 'Sydney to London' flights.

Qantas' website also has a multi-city booking feature, so if you're not finding any options by taking that simpler 'Sydney to London' approach, you could also program the site to search on each route manually – first, from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, and then from Kuala Lumpur to London, to book them as part of a single, connecting ticket.

More advanced flyers may also prefer to search for Malaysia Airlines reward seat availability using the subscription website ExpertFlyer, as we've previously written about.

Read: ExpertFlyer, your secret weapon for finding frequent flyer award flights

ExpertFlyer users should search for "First - Partner Award (P)" availability if wanting to use Qantas Points for Malaysia Airlines first class; for "Business - Partner Award (U)" availability for business class travel; and "Economy - Partner Award (X)" availability for economy flights. Ignore all other options like "Level 1/2/3" awards and "upgrade" awards, which are only relevant to Malaysia Airlines Enrich members, not Qantas Frequent Flyers.

If you can't find any suitable flights, it never hurts to try again closer to departure – particularly if hoping to book Malaysia Airlines first class flights using Qantas Points, which often become much more open in the week or so prior to travel, compared to booking further in advance.

That's not to say you can't book flights further into the future: just that if the award you want doesn't appear right away, you may get a chance to book it nearer to your planned travel date, which is also handy for business owners using their points to attend short-notice meetings, as seats can often come available when there were none previously.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

6 comments

  • BevanMcBevan

    BevanMcBevan

    15 Aug, 2018 03:11 pm

    10 points Chris. Once again giving us something useful and practical. Cheers.
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  • Martin Haynes

    Martin Haynes

    15 Aug, 2018 04:07 pm

    There are some great tips here, as always from AusBT.
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  • jubbing

    jubbing

    15 Aug, 2018 04:53 pm

    Those flight prices for 'Business' class are much too high, it's not really a great value to redeem on MH flights if you have other options.
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  • cow

    cow

    16 Aug, 2018 12:46 pm

    can you also upgrade on a current MH flight using QFF points?
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    16 Aug, 2018 02:29 pm

    Nope: for that, you’d need to use Enrich miles.
    No member give thanks

  • sven

    sven

    7 Mar, 2019 11:32 pm

    Trying to search on the QF website now for some award space come September this year. Plenty seems to be showing, but I can't seem to get a direct flight. If I search MEL to KL, all the options route me on a QF flight to SYD or BNE, then MH onward to KL. If I change the search to originate in SYD, searching the exact same date, I get options making me fly QF to MEL, then onwards to KL.
    In other words, there's a flight from MEL to KL direct, with award availability. But the only way I can book it is to originate in another Australian city and fly QF from there to MEL first.
    Anyone else seeing this? Or am I doing something wrong?
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Guest

18 Jul, 2019 03:02 am

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