Hot tip: trim your Qantas travel budget by booking flights separately

By Chris C., July 7 2014
Hot tip: trim your Qantas travel budget by booking flights separately

When flying together with either Qantas or Virgin Australia, business travellers are often booked onto the same reservation as their colleagues to keep things simple.

However, savvy business owners should book journeys for their high flyers as separate tickets, saving some real coin in the process.

The secret lies in fare buckets – each passenger on an airline itinerary must be booked in the same ‘bucket’, so if there are more travellers than cheap seats, the higher price applies to everyone.

On Qantas, there are four levels of business class fares. J and C are the most expensive, and are treated as ‘Flexible Business’ under the revised Qantas Frequent Flyer program.

At the opposite end are the D and I ‘buckets’, which see travellers paying less to sit in the same business class seat.

Armed with this knowledge, let’s book business class flights from Sydney to Melbourne for a group of four colleagues.

By consolidating the flights together on the one ticket, you’d pay $930 per passenger on QF439, and overall, you’d burn $3,720 in 95 minutes:

Using our trick, let’s book the tickets separately instead. You’ll notice that the price drops from $930 to $796 for the first passenger:

On this particular flight, there are two of the cheaper D-class seats available, so we could even book the first two travellers together at the lower price:

Then, passenger #3 could book an $870 seat in C class, which is still less than the original $930 asking price:

Finally, our fourth passenger would cost the company $930, as the less-expensive seats have all been snapped up:

Overall, your company just shaved $328 – or nearly 9% – from its travel expenditure, bringing the total cost down to $3,392 for the four high flyers.

It’s also the smart way to keep a lid on your business’ travel budget: paying less for the same flights and seats, while still keeping your road warriors happy in business class.

The same principle also works when travelling with other airlines, and even for economy-class flights.

There’s also an added bonus – Qantas upgrades to business class can only be actioned for every person on an itinerary, and even then, only for eligible family members.

With a different ticket for each passenger, there’s nothing stopping your staff from using their points for a relaxing journey in business class.

Have you booked flights separately to slim down your business travel budget? If so, how much did you save?

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2207

Great article, Chris! I happened to have discovered this tack on AirAsia some years ago, but never thought that it would make such a good article.

Good stuff!

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 442

I don't know any companies that pay for J SYD-MEL!


17 Dec 2013

Total posts 48

I agree with smith0847.

Does anyone actually pay $900 (or even $700) to sit up the front for 75 minutes ?

J seems to be full of people on there on points, upgrades, bids, cheap/sweet company rates, & freeloading. Nothing wrong with any of this of course. They are all much smarter strategies than paying $900 to fly to Melbourne

22 Jul 2011

Total posts 96

I tend to agree. Think I'd rather pay $200 for economy and save the $700 for the Park Hyatt Sydney.

It's a general gripe I have with Qantas - their Y pricing is not realistic. Why would any rational person pay this much for a 1 hour flight. Sure, corporates pay a lot less, but still they should think about value for money and trying to appeal to the average punter. Businesses too demand value for money. Yes, it is a trait of global aviation, but I'd argue old school aviation. 

It's exactly why Emirates is so successful - people feel they get great value for money from econony to business to first. Surprised Qantas hasn't learnt anything from their "partner" during their "partnership". Rant over.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2207

I should point out that SYD-MEL in Y is normally available for $145; during sales it goes down to $105 (or sometimes even $99).

It used to go down to $85 last year.

22 Jul 2011

Total posts 96

sorry typo. Obviously I meant J or Business class

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jun 2015

Total posts 5

Its all about maximising efficiency. I foot the bill for my own OOL-SYD-MEL hops on QF Business, which normally run at about $1200 return. I can usually get a few hours work done in the lounge in between flights too - all of which is impossible flying any of the other carriers direct OOL-MEL, with cramped seats and all. 

After flying to LHR last week with EY in J, and being able to work the whole way, and remain connected with very decent wifi for 90% of the flight, my only points of contention are that the last booking of QF business was on the old 737 product, which is feeling very tired now, especially when compared to others, and the fact there is no connectivity option for Australian skies is a massive flaw.. 

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