Qantas vs Virgin Australia: which is best for frequent flyer award seats?

It’s easy enough to earn frequent flyer points with Qantas and Virgin Australia – but when it’s time to trade those points in on a free flight, which airline comes out in front?

We’ve crunched the numbers for these frequent flyer ‘reward’ seats (set aside on each flight for a fixed number of points) based on the most popular routes flown by both airlines within Australia and overseas.

The winner? Virgin Australia, for the most part.

Not only do you need fewer points to snare a seat on many Virgin Australia flights, but the associated taxes, fees and surcharges – the contentious add-on cost to what people think of as a ‘free’ seat – are also substantially lower than on the Flying Kangaroo.

Qantas vs Virgin Australia: Australian domestic flights

Whether you’re making a quick hop along the east coast or are crossing the continent, Virgin Australia’s Velocity scheme requires fewer points in business class or economy (and a slightly lower cash co-payment, too).

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That’s true whether you’re zipping between Sydney and Melbourne, jetting up to Brisbane or even crossing the country on flights to and from Perth: all of which demand fewer points and less cash on Virgin compared to Qantas.

Qantas vs Virgin Australia: Auckland

Virgin Australia is also better value for trans-Tasman flights, again asking frequent flyers to part with fewer points and less cash.

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