Saving Qantas points for an upgrade to America or Europe?

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
1 0-600 8,000 5,000 5,000
2 601-1,200 12,000 7,500 7,500
3 1,201-2,400 16,000 10,000 10,000
4 2,401-3,600 24,000 15,000 15,000
5 3,601-4,800 40,000 25,000 25,000
6 4,801-5,800 48,000 30,000 30,000
7 5,801-7,000 56,000 35,000 35,000
8 7,001-8,400 72,000 45,000 45,000
9 8,401-9,600 80,000 50,000 50,000
10 9,601-15,000 96,000 60,000 60,000


Booking classes

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:

Expedia LAX return



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

2015-04-20 20_57_17-Flight Bookings - Select Flights - International



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

2015-04-20 21_00_56-Frequent Flyer - Points Calculators - Qantas Class Types


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.




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