Frequent flyer programs have strengths and weaknesses, one of the best ways to get better value is to try to utilise programs for their strengths. The main two options in Australia for flying are Virgin and Qantas with a large number of Australians being a member of Qantas Frequent Flyer. I’m going to list out a few different redemption options for Sydney to Melbourne:
Qantas: 8000 points + $36.07 taxes
Virgin: 6900 points + $15.94
British Airways Avios: 4500 points + $15.94
Looking at this I’d say that two questions are immediately apparent:
1) Why does Qantas charge more taxes?
2) Why are the points for British Airways so much less
1) They include a fuel surcharge supposedly to do with the high price of jet fuel but more to do with raising extra revenue. Note that if you redeem using British Airways points you are still flying Qantas
2) Awards are based on distance and British Airways includes an extra category for short flights of less than 650 miles.
You can also use reduce the number of points used on the website by using 2250 points + $50.94 which seems a lot better value to me than Qantas’s 8000 points + 36.07 for exactly the same flight
I will have more on ways to obtain Avios later, but for now your main conclusion should be that if you want to redeem flights for Sydney to Melbourne Avios are a more valuable currency than either Qantas or Virgin’s frequent flyer points.