LIFT OFF: Frequent flyer points can be used for seats on popular routes.
LIFT OFF: Frequent flyer points can be used for seats on popular routes. Erle Levey

8 flights you can easily grab with frequent flyer points

HAVE you accumulated a significant amount of frequent flyer points, but haven't been able to find an available award flight?

One of Australia's leading frequent flyer experts has done the research and found popular flights that will maximise your chances of finding a seat when redeeming your points.

Point Hacks (pointhacks.com.au), an independent platform with one of Australia's biggest communities of airline rewards experts, has found the award flights we are most likely to get across Qantas and Virgin Australia's Economy and Business classes on eight popular routes.

Point Hacks analysed flight availability both for early bird bookings (specifically, eight months out) and last-minute bookings (two days out).

Frequent flyer expert and Point Hacks' spokeman Daniel Sciberras said: "Generally, you will find more reward seats on airlines the further in advance you start looking, especially when their award calendar opens up. Most programs allow you to book award flights around 350 days before departure.

"When looking for either Economy or Business redemptions eight months out, Qantas appears to offer better availability for both domestic and international flights. For those spontaneous travellers, Virgin has the edge on Business redemptions."

Route: Melbourne or Perth to Denpasar

Airline: Qantas

Class: Economy

Booking date: Early bird

Airline: Virgin

Class: Business Class

Booking date: Last minute

Dreaming of jetting to Bali? Qantas has plenty of available seats in Economy when booking eight months out, whether you're departing from Perth or Melbourne. If you are booking at the last minute, you're more likely to get an award seat on Virgin Business Class than Qantas Economy and Business.

Route: Melbourne to Tokyo (Haneda & Narita Airport)

Airline: Qantas (preferred) or Virgin Australia

Class: Economy or Business

Booking date: Early bird

The Melbourne-Tokyo route has the greatest number of available reward seats across both airlines for those planning their trips ahead of time. Whether you're looking to travel on Economy or Business Class, Qantas reigns over Virgin in terms of seat availability eight months out.

Route: Sydney to Brisbane

Airline: Qantas or Virgin Australia

Class: Economy (Qantas preferred for last minute) or Business (Virgin preferred for last minute)

Booking date: Early bird or last minute

Across both airlines, timeframes and classes, flying from Sydney to Brisbane is the easiest reward seat to get. If you're looking to fly two days out, Qantas has more availability in Economy, while Virgin has more in Business by a small margin.

Route: Sydney to Perth

Airline: Qantas or Virgin Australia

Class: Economy or Business

Booking date: Early bird

Airline: Virgin Australia

Class: Business

Booking date: Last minute

Interestingly, there are a small number of reward seats available when flying from the east coast to the west coast. Both airlines have fairly equal availability for an Economy redemption, while Virgin has more availability for a Business redemption for a flight two days out. If you're planning for a flight eight months out, Qantas has more availability in both classes.

Route: Brisbane to Los Angeles

Airline: Qantas

Class: Economy

Booking date: Early bird and last minute

Airline: Virgin Australia

Class: Business

Booking date: Early bird and last minute

For an Economy reward flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles, Qantas has more availability overall. When it comes to Business class redemptions, Virgin is the one to go for both last-minute and planned flights, as it's rare to find availability on Qantas.

Route: Sydney to Singapore

Airline: Virgin Australia

Class: Business

Booking date: Early bird and last minute

Airline: Qantas

Class: Economy

Booking date: Last minute

The eight-hour flight to the Lion City may call for the comforts of a Business class seat and Virgin has more availability over Qantas regardless of when you book - both two days or eight months in advance. There are also a good number of Economy seats available, however your best bet for last-minute flights is with Qantas on Economy.  

Route: Melbourne to London (Heathrow Airport)

Airline: Virgin Australia

Class: Economy

Booking date: Early bird

Airline: Qantas

Class: Economy

Booking date: Last minute

For early-bird bookings from Melbourne to London, Point Hacks recommends Virgin for the volume of available Economy award flights. Qantas has more availability on Economy when booking two days in advance.

Route: Sydney to New York (JFK Airport)

Airline: Qantas or Virgin Australia

Class: Economy

When you can book: Early bird