For people that know a lot about points Qantas is considered one of the least valuable yet their frequent flyer program boasts 9 million members. A lot of people I speak say that their dream redemption is to buy a cheap flight to LA or Europe and upgrade using points. However the reality is that if they book the cheapest flight they may not be able to do so.
Points needed for a Classic Upgrade Reward to Business Class
|Zone||One-Way Miles||Economy~~~||Flexible Economy~~~||Premium Economy or Flexible Premium Economyπ|
You’ll notice the three tidle (~) marks denoting fine print. If you read the fine print it states:
~~~ For international flights: a) Economy includes classes G, K, L, M, S and V; and b) Flexible Economy includes classes B, H and Y.
How do you determine the booking class?
Say you want to find a cheap flight to LA on Expedia on Qantas in August as per below:
The booking class listed below is Q. That means that you won’t be able to upgrade. If you wanted to book a higher class you generally can’t do this through a third party booking agent and need to book on the airlines own site. Doing the same search on Qantas.com:
It’s a little hard to figure out on Qantas’s website what the booking class is and whether you can upgrade on a sale fare. Qantas does however provide a table as per below of what booking class each fare type books into
You can see that all of the Saver fare classes are upgradeable; however none of the sale ones are. Booking the Saver fare instead of the sale costs 1664 vs 1248 a difference of ~400AUD
There is no guarantee that you will get the upgrade as it’s subject to availability. The reason for this is that Qantas would rather sell a business class seat than retire the liability for the miles used as that results in more revenue.
So if your plan is to use points for an upgrade then be aware that you can’t do it on the cheapest fares. I’ll be covering alternative uses for Qantas points in future posts.