Rohit

Bali is popular with Australian tourists, so popular that in 2017, nearly 1.6 million of us went there, making it the no.1 destination for Australian’s heading overseas. For a country whose geography is forever spoken in the same breath as the phrase ‘tyranny of distance, the relatively short flights to Bali help in breaking down the stereotype.

Flight time’s to Denpasar airport range from as little as 2:40 hrs from Darwin to as much as 6:45 hrs from Sydney. This guide takes a comprehensive look at all the points & miles options available to Australian travellers, from each of the capital cities with the exception of Canberra & Hobart. If you live in either of these 2 cities, you can fly to capital cities closest to you, which in this case is Sydney & Melbourne respectively.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I should add that the low cost options such as Jetstar, AirAsia etc are excluded from this guide, since the goal is to redeem for business class flights. Also, the guide only covers direct flights.

With that out of the way, lets dive right into it.

Darwin to Denpasar

The only option for Territorian’s to fly this route until recently was Jetstar. That changed on 10th April 2019 when Virgin Australia introduced 3x weekly, seasonal services from Darwin to Denpasar.

You can redeem points/miles from the following program to fly Virgin Australia:

Velocity Frequent Flyer Program

A one-way business class redemption on this route costs 23,500 Velocity points. The route is served by Virgin Australia’s workhorse B-737, featuring 8 business class recliner seats, perfectly acceptable for this less than 3 hr flight.

Virgin Australia
Fly Virgin Australia from Darwin to Denpasar in business class for 23,500 Velocity points

Etihad Guest

Etihad Guest is a transfer partner with several credit cards in Australia, which makes accumulating miles in the program quite easy. As Virgin Australia and Etihad are close partners, it is usually possible to redeem Etihad Guest miles to fly Virgin. This route though, having just been introduced does not yet appear on Etihad’s redemption table for Virgin Australia. A quick phone call to Etihad confirmed that flights on this route are not currently redeemable with Etihad Guest miles.

If and when Virgin Australia allows the redemption, based on flights of similar distances on Etihad’s redemption table, I expect a one way business class redemption on this route to be priced at 13,800 Etihad Guest miles.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

The 3rd option to fly this route is by redeeming miles from Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program, a transfer partner with several credit cards in Australia. A one way business class seat on this route go for 30,000 Flying Club miles, which is poor value & should be avoided.

Perth to Denpasar

The premium market between Perth & Denpasar is an Indonesian duopoly. Both Garuda Indonesia & Batik-Malindo Air operate daily flights on this route.

Garuda deploys its A-330, offering either angled-flat or lie-flat seats in business class depending on the day of travel. A cursory research indicates flights departing Perth on Sunday & Monday are equipped with seats that turn into lie-flat beds. Flights on other days offer angled flat seats, not necessarily a deal-breaker on this short, 3:30 hrs route.

Garuda Indonesia taking off
Garuda Indonesia A-330 takes flight

You can redeem miles from the following program to fly Garuda Indonesia:

GarudaMiles Miles

GarudaMiles is the loyalty program of Garuda Indonesia. Unfortunately, miles in GarudaMiles are not easy to collect in Australia. Outside of flying Garuda or SkyTeam airlines, the only other way to earn miles in the program is through it’s partnership with Diner’s Club.

Garuda Indonesia is a transfer partner with Diner Club’s reward program. If you have a Diner’s Club card, you should be able to transfer points to GarudaMiles program. A one way business class redemption on this route will set you back 36,000 GarudaMiles miles.

Etihad Guest Miles

For those without access to GarudaMiles miles, your best bet is to redeem Etihad Guest miles. Although Etihad is not part of SkyTeam, it has a bilateral partnership with Garuda Indonesia allowing Etihad Guest members to redeem miles on Garuda. You can redeem 28,000 Etihad Guest miles for a one way business class flight from Perth to Denpasar on Garuda Indonesia.

You can redeem miles from the following program to fly Batik Air:

Batik/Malindo Miles

Batik Air is owned by Indonesia’s Lion Group, which owns several other airlines including Malindo Air. It’s Perth service is operated by B-737 offering recliner seats. Besides Batik, tickets on Perth – Denpasar route are also sold by Malindo Air, though the actual plane and crew are embellished in the Batik livery.

As frequent flyer programs go, both Batik Miles & Malindo Miles (no marks for creative names) are pretty bare-bone. Neither publish award charts. I created an account with Malindo Air to check out the redemption rates, but couldn’t get very far.

Malindo Miles Perth-Denpasar redemption

As you can see above, not only does Malindo not publish an award chart, it also requires you to have miles in the account to even work-out the mileage required. Since I didn’t have any Malindo Miles, this didn’t work for me.

Batik operates a 2 class cabin (business & economy) on this route, but guests flying business class should not expect lounge access at either end. Batik’s solitary lounge is located at Jakarta airport and it hasn’t bothered forming lounge partnerships at other ports.

Batik Air Business Class Seat
Batik Air Business Class Cabin, with the economy further back

There are no credit cards or airline partners where you could earn or redeem Batik Miles. The only way to earn Batik Miles is by flying them, which for majority of Australian’s is not really a realistic option.

Malindo does not have any airline partners for miles redemption either, but it’s program is slightly better than Batik, since it has some (mainly Indonesian) retail partners. When you shop with these partners, you earn points in their respective loyalty program which can be converted into Malindo Miles.

It’s a shame Batik & Malindo run such half-baked frequent flyer programs, cos their product offerings on the route by all accounts is quite good.

Adelaide to Denpasar

Malindo Air recently commenced 4x weekly service between Adelaide & Denpasar. Sadly for South Australians though, it is the only full service carrier servicing the route and as noted earlier, redeeming Malindo Miles is no easy feat.

The route is served by Malindo’s B-737 featuring both business & economy class cabin. I once flew Malindo from Kuala-Lumpur to Denpasar in economy & came away impressed.

Malindo Air Business Class
Malindo Air Business Class Photo Credit : airlineratings.com

If you live in Adelaide and wish to redeem points/miles to fly to Bali, your best bet is to catch a positioning flight to Melbourne and go from there.

Melbourne to Denpasar

Melburnian’s looking to get away to Bali have a choice of 3 full service carriers: Qantas, Garuda Indonesia and Malindo Air who operate on this route.

You can redeem points/miles from the following program to fly Qantas:

Qantas Frequent Flyer Program

You can redeem 50,000 Qantas points for a one-way business class flight and get yourself a seat aboard the flying kangaroo. Qantas operates B-737 featuring recliner chairs in the business cabin, which I must admit, is not ideal for this 6+ hr route.

Qantas B737 Business Class
Qantas B-737 business class seats

That said, Qantas have recently upgraded its Sydney – Denpasar service to A-330, featuring lie-flat seats in business class, so the expectation is that at some point, Melbourne will receive the upgraded product too.

Emirates Skywards Miles

Emirates Skywards is the frequent flyer program of Emirates. Since Qantas & Emirates are close partners, Skywards members are able to redeem the same number of miles (50,000 Skywards Miles) to fly Qantas on this route.

Asia Miles

While both Qantas & Emirates charge you 50,000 points/miles, you can save big redeeming Asia Miles. As Qantas & Cathay Pacific are OneWorld partners, you can redeem a tiny 30,000 Asia Miles to fly Qantas in business class on this route, which is exceptional value.

Asia Miles is transfer partners with numerous credit cards in Australia, which makes earning miles in the program very easy. And while I do not generally advocate redeeming miles from another program, where Qantas is an option, I will happily break the rule on this redemption.

Transfer Amex points to Asia Miles
Asia Miles is a transfer partner with American Express

You can redeem miles from the following program to fly Garuda Indonesia:

GarudaMiles Miles

Garuda operates A-330, featuring angled-flat seat in business class for it’s daily service from Melbourne to Denpasar. Those with access to miles in Garuda’s frequent flyer program can redeem 54,000 miles to fly business class on this route.

Etihad Guest Miles

For most Australians, Etihad Guest is a better option. You can redeem 42,000 Etihad Guest miles for a one way business class flight from Melbourne to Denpasar on Garuda Indonesia.

Etihad Guest
You can redeem Etihad Guest Miles to fly Garuda Indonesia

You can redeem miles from the following program to fly Malindo Air:

Malindo Miles

If you have been successful in redeeming Malindo Miles, I doff my hat to you. Please leave a comment below and enlighten the readers of pointsHq.

Sydney to Denpasar

Like Melburnian’s, Sydneysider’s planning to holiday in Bali get to pick from 3 full service carriers: Qantas, Garuda Indonesia and Virgin Australia.

You can redeem points/miles from the following program to fly Qantas:

Qantas Frequent Flyer Program

Until not long ago, the Sydney to Denpasar route was operated by Qantas’s B-737 featuring 12 recliner seats. That changed at the end of March 2019 when the flying Kangaroo swapped Boeing for the much nicer A-330. The business class on Airbus is decked out in 28 lie-flat seats, which you can redeem for 50,000 Qantas points a piece.

Qantas A-330 Business Class
Catch-up on some lost sleep aboard this Qantas A-330 on its late night departure from Denpasar to Sydney

Given cash prices on this route can trend as high as $2,500 (one-way), redeeming 50,000 Qantas points may provide better value.

Emirates Skywards Miles

The price for Skywards members is 50,000 Skywards miles, which is identical to what you would pay in Qantas points. If you collect points/miles in both programs, redeeming Qantas points is a better option, as there are plethora of ways to earn them back in quick time.

Asia Miles

This is one program that gives Victorians bragging rights over their Northern neighbours. Remember how I said redeeming 30,000 Asia Miles to fly Qantas from Melbourne to Denpasar was a very good deal? That is because Sydneysiders must cough up 50,000 Asia Miles to fly the same route, albeit some 150 miles and 15 minutes longer.

The way Asia Miles award chart is structured, puts Sydney to Denpasar in the next Zone, resulting in the 20,000 miles premium. Oh well, at-least people in Sydney have access to a much better onboard product πŸ™‚

You can redeem miles from the following programs to fly Garuda Indonesia:

GarudaMiles Miles

As is the case with Garuda Indonesia’s other Australian routes, the choice of aircraft on Sydney to Denpasar remains the A-330, featuring angled-flat seat in business class. A one-way, business class redemption is priced at 54,000 GarudaMiles miles.

Garuda Indonesia Business Class seat
Business Class seats onbaord Garuda Indonesia’s A-330 to/from Sydney

Garuda Indonesia’s mileage calculator makes working out the redemption prices straightforward, you can access the calculator right here.

Etihad Guest Program

You can also redeem 42,000 Etihad Guest miles for a one way business class flight from Sydney to Denpasar on Garuda Indonesia. Etihad’s redemption table for Garuda Indonesia can be found here.

You can redeem points/miles from the following program to fly Virgin Australia:

Velocity Frequent Flyer Program

Virgin Australia flies 10x weekly from Sydney to Denpasar. The flights, like most of Virgin’s domestic and short haul international route is operated by B-737 featuring 8 recliner seats at the pointy end, which quite frankly is a substandard product for a flight of this length.

Virgin Australia B-737 Business Class
Virgin Australia B-737 Business Class seat

A one-way business class redemption will set you back 49,500 Velocity points, which is OK value. Virgin Australia was scheduled to induct B-737 Max in its fleet from November 2019. It was widely anticipated that these planes, equipped with some kind of lie-flat beds, would be deployed on medium-haul routes such as Sydney/Brisbane to Denpasar.

For now at-least, the worldwide grounding of 737 Max’s have put paid to those plans πŸ™

Etihad Guest Program

You can redeem 33,800 Etihad Guest miles for a one-way, business class flight with Virgin Australia on this route. Although numerically, this is roughly 1/3rd less than the price in Velocity points, I would rather save my Etihad miles for other, more lucrative redemptions.

You can check out Etihad’s full redemption table for Virgin Australia over here.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles

Virgin Atlantic charges 40,000 Flying Club miles for a one-way business class redemption on this route. As is the case with Etihad miles, the pricing is deceptive.

If you have access to both Velocity points and Flying Club miles, you are better-off putting Velocity points to work, while leaving Flying Club miles in the bank for redeeming elsewhere.

You can find Virgin Atlantic Flying Club’s redemption table for Virgin Australia over here.

Brisbane to Denpasar

The 2 full service airlines operating flights from Brisbane to Denpasar are Virgin Australia & Malindo Air.

You can redeem points/miles from the following program to fly Virgin Australia:

Velocity Frequent Flyer Program

Virgin Australia flies 10x weekly from Brisbane to Denpasar. Queenslander’s on this route will find themselves flying the same B-737 business class cabin as their cousins in Sydney. The pricing, at 49,500 Velocity points for a one-way business class flight is identical too.

Etihad Guest Program

A one-way business class flight redeemed with Etihad Guest Miles on this route costs 33,800 miles.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles

A one-way business class flight redeemed with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles on this route costs 40,000 miles.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Flying Club

You can redeem points/miles from the following program to fly Malindo Air:

Malindo Miles

Words fail me.

In Conclusion

Bali has been Australia’s favourite playground for a very long time. There was a temporary blip in numbers of Australians visiting Bali in the aftermath of 2002 bombings, but the market has since recovered and continues to hold strong. For some strange reason though, both Qantas and Virgin Australia have been reluctant in deploying planes with their advanced business class product on this route.

A lie-flat seat in business class is no longer seen as the epitome of space & comfort. It is something that is increasingly routine and airlines offering anything less need to catch-up with changing times. To this end, it is indeed pleasing to see Qantas finally recognising and taking steps to address this anomaly by introducing A-330 on Sydney – Denpasar route. Let’s hope Virgin Australia follows suit.

Have you redeemed points/miles to fly to Bali? Leave a comment below.

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