Qantas Frequent Flyer members will soon part with more points when upgrading to premium economy, business class and first class from many paid tickets, with some journeys commanding almost 50,000 more Qantas Points for a return upgrade than required today.
The new rates apply to upgrades processed from February 20 2017, including from lower-priced domestic economy tickets and on mid-range economy and business class fares when jetting abroad, but with a few exceptions, detailed below.
Explaining the changes to Australian Business Traveller, a Qantas spokesperson said that “when it comes to requesting upgrades on bookings, it makes sense that more Qantas Points would be required to upgrade on cheaper fares.”
“We haven’t changed upgrade rates on international bookings in 11 years and during that time we’ve given members more opportunities to earn points and expanded our number of partners, while demand for upgrades has grown,” the spokesperson added.
Wherever your travels take you, here’s what you need to know about Qantas’ new frequent flyer upgrade rates.
Changes to domestic business class upgrades
Passengers travelling on domestic Red e-Deal economy fares will need more points for a bump-up to business class, except on the shortest domestic routes like Sydney-Melbourne, Brisbane-Sydney and Sydney-Canberra where there’s no change.
Marginally longer flights like Melbourne-Brisbane and Sydney-Adelaide will command 17,500 Qantas Points for a business class upgrade, up from 15,000 Qantas Points at present on Red e-Deal tickets.
Cross-country flights such as Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to Perth see the asking price for upgrades increased from 20,000 to 25,000 Qantas Points from those same fares.
There’s no change to the number of points needed to upgrade from flexible domestic (Flex) fares, or from flights which had already been booked using frequent flyer points (Classic Flight Rewards).
New rates for international Qantas premium economy upgrades
Swapping your economy ticket for a premium economy seat on international flights will also require more points from Economy Saver tickets.
On the popular Sydney-Hong Kong route, the premium increases from 25,000 to 31,500 Qantas Points, while on Sydney-Tokyo, there’s a similar jump from 30,000 to 37,500 Qantas Points.
The bulk of Qantas’ long-haul flights including from Australia to Dubai, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santiago and Vancouver all move from needing 45,000 Qantas Points to 56,500 Qantas Points, while Sydney-Johannesburg flights are also affected with these premium economy upgrades rising from 35,000 to 44,000 Qantas Points.
Moving up to premium economy from Economy Saver tickets will also need more points on Sydney-Dallas flights – creeping from 50,000 to 62,500 Qantas Points – while an upgrade on the 24-hour trek to London or New York will now command 75,000 Qantas Points, up from 60,000 Qantas Points.
Again, there’s no change to upgrade rates for travellers booked on flexible (Economy Flex) fares, nor for travellers upgrading from Classic Flight Reward bookings.
New Qantas international business class upgrade rates
Across the board to all destinations, travellers will need 25% more Qantas Points to upgrade from international Economy Saver fares to business class than they do today, or 10% more Qantas Points to upgrade from Economy Flex and Premium Economy Sale tickets.
On those popular routes to Dubai, Los Angeles, Santiago, San Francisco and Vancouver, that marks an increase from 72,000 to 90,000 Qantas Points from Economy Saver tickets and from 45,000 to 49,500 from Economy Flex/Premium Economy Sale fares.
Travellers journeying from Australia to New York or taking the Kangaroo Route to London will instead need 120,000 Qantas Points for a one-way upgrade from Economy Saver (currently 96,000 points), or 66,000 Qantas Points from Economy Flex/PE Sale (now 60,000 points).
Closer to home, upgrade rates on flights to many Asian destinations including Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and Manila increase from 40,000 to 50,000 Qantas Points for Economy Saver travellers and from 25,000 to 27,500 Qantas Points when booked on an Economy Flex or Premium Economy Sale fare.
Trans-Tasman flights including Sydney-Auckland are similarly affected, rising from 16,000 to 20,000 Qantas Points from Economy Saver tickets and from 10,000 to 11,000 Qantas Points from Economy Flex.
However, there's no change to the number of points required for a business class upgrade from Premium Economy Saver or Premium Economy Flex fares, or from Classic Flight Reward bookings made in economy or premium economy.
Changes to Qantas first class flight upgrades
Following the trend, switching your Qantas business class seat for first class ticket will also require more points from both Business Sale and Business Saver fares, although upgrades from flexible business (‘Business’) fares retain the current rates.
On flights from either Sydney or Melbourne to Los Angeles and Dubai, you’ll now need 56,500 Qantas Points to upgrade from those more affordable business class fares, increased from 45,000 Qantas Points.
From Sydney to Dallas, there’s a similar jump from 50,000 to 62,500 Qantas Points for Business Sale and Business Saver travellers, while from Sydney to London via Dubai, the rate increases from 60,000 to 75,000 Qantas Points.
Moving from business class to first class only on the Dubai-London leg of your UK sojourn will instead need 18,500 Qantas Points from these same business class tickets, up from 15,000 Qantas Points.
Upgrades from economy and premium economy to first class remain unavailable, as are upgrades from Classic Flight Reward bookings in business class.
Will my Qantas booking be affected by these new upgrade rates?
In short, if your upgrade request is processed (confirmed, with points deducted) on or after February 20 2017, these new rates will apply, including if you requested that upgrade from November 16 2016 onwards.
There’s an exception for travellers who filed their upgrade request prior to November 16 2016, in which case, Qantas will honour the rate you were quoted at the time of the request, even if your flight departs after February next year.
Any upgrades successfully processed prior to February 20 2017, including for travel after that date, will also be charged at the current rates.
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