Qantas travellers on domestic and international flights can now use their frequent flyer points to upgrade to premium economy and business class when booked on ‘Classic Flight Reward’ tickets bought using frequent flyer points.
('Classic Flight Rewards' bookings require a fixed and lower number of frequent flyer points compared to 'Points Plus Pay' bookings, which calculate the number of points you need based on the commercial cost of the flight, and already qualify for upgrades.)
It’s a great option to have up your sleeve when your travel dates are firm, such as for a business meeting or to align with your annual leave, but where only economy reward seats can be booked outright rather than something further forward on the aircraft.
The number of points needed to upgrade varies by route, but as a rule is always higher than what you’d need to upgrade on a ticket paid for with actual money.
Qantas domestic business class upgrades
On domestic flights, business class upgrades on Classic Reward tickets follow the same convention as all other fares – if an upgrade is available when you request it you can lock it in immediately, while if one isn’t available, you can ‘waitlist’ your request and find out closer to departure.
Short trips such as Sydney-Melbourne and Sydney-Brisbane can be upgraded with 12,000 Qantas Points for an all-out total of 20,000 Qantas Points for the journey, which includes the 8,000 points used to book your original flight.
That’s 4,000 more Qantas Points than needed for an outright business class Classic Reward booking on the same route – being 16,000 Qantas Points – so if that’s how you’d like to fly and a business class reward is available on your chosen flight, snap that up instead for the best value.
Longer flights such as Brisbane-Melbourne can be upgraded for 18,000 Qantas Points from a Classic Reward booking in economy, while 26,000 Qantas Points could find you in business class, or even in a Qantas Business Suite, on a cross-country Sydney-Perth trek.
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Qantas international business class upgrades
When jetting abroad, upgrades on Classic Reward bookings are again processed just as any other international upgrade – being waitlisted and then processed in the days, and sometimes even hours, prior to departure.
From Sydney to Los Angeles, an economy Classic Award flight can now be upgraded to business class for 100,000 Qantas Points, but as the original booking would have already cost you 45,000 Qantas Points, that option proves more ‘pricey’ than an outright first class booking at 144,000 Qantas Points.
Premium economy is much the same, with a business class upgrade priced at 67,500 Qantas Points atop the 72,000 Qantas Points used to book the original flight (totalling 139,500 Qantas Points).
Of course, first class reward flights are difficult to come by across the Pacific while economy rewards are much more plentiful, so for travellers with a stockpile of points but no decent way to spend them, this new upgrade option merely provides a new way to do so.
Upgrades can also be requested from premium economy to business class and from economy to either premium economy or business class across Qantas’ range of international routes (as offered), although first class upgrades on business class Classic Reward bookings remain off the table.
For more information, head to the Qantas website.
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About Chris Chamberlin
Chris lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, an opera ticket and a glass of wine!