Qantas launches Classic Plus Flight Rewards; bookings now open

The move unlocks seats across all cabins on most flights for fewer points than the Points Plus Pay option.

By David Flynn, April 8 2024
Qantas launches Classic Plus Flight Rewards; bookings now open

Qantas is giving frequent flyers an additional way to book reward seats with the rollout of a new ‘Classic Plus Flight Rewards’ tier sitting between its existing Classic Rewards and Points Plus Pay redemption options.

Classic Plus seats on Qantas international flights departing Australia from July 1 can be booked as of today, with flights originating from the rest of the world to gradually follow over the coming months, ahead of Australian domestic flights later this year.

On the table are seats across almost all cabins on most aircraft – Qantas operated flights only, no codeshare or partner flights – with Classic Plus fares also upgradable, even to first class.

Classic Plus Rewards are available to book now for international flights from July.
Classic Plus Rewards are available to book now for international flights from July.

Fare conditions are more flexible too, meaning you could book a business class reward flight on one leg and premium economy on the other, which is not possible on Classic Rewards.

Qantas says only Points Club members will earn status credits on Classic Plus flights, as they do now on Classic Rewards. 

Dynamic pricing 

Like Points Plus Pay, which converts the cash price into a points value, Classic Plus is dynamically priced, meaning cheaper flights in off-peak times and more expensive during high travel periods.

However, where it deviates from the path is the rate – the points price is tied to the cash value of the airfare on a rate of roughly 1 Qantas Point per 1c for economy flights and 1 Qantas Point per 1.5c for premium economy, business class and first class.

This will generally make them more expensive than fixed-rate Classic Rewards, but require less than half as many points as a Points Plus Pay fare combo. 

If you nab a sale fare though, you may end up paying less than a Classic Reward, as seen in this example between Sydney and Auckland: 

How much are Classic Plus rewards?

The points required for a Classic Plus Flight Reward varies in line with normal commercial airfares – a simple case of supply and demand. 

Fees and taxes for economy and premium economy remain on par with Classic Rewards, but will come in higher for business and first class under Classic Plus, with the airline explaining this is to offset the number of points required. 

By way of example, a return business class fare from Sydney to London booked as a Classic Reward seat costs 289,200 points plus $1346 in tax.

In an off-peak time, that same trip as a Classic Plus could set you back 553,800 Points and $1696 in tax, or 638,900 plus the same in tax during a peak school holiday period. 

While Australian domestic Classic Plus seats are yet to roll out, Qantas says indicative pricing would be: 

  • 10,800 points for Sydney to Melbourne
  • 12,200 for Adelaide to Sydney 
  • 30,200 for Perth to Melbourne

Qantas Loyalty boss Andrew Glance says Classic Plus gives frequent flyers “more options to fly where they want, when they want and more often, using their points.”

20 million reward seats 

The airline reveals 20 million Classic Plus Rewards will be added by the end of the year.

Classic Plus Rewards will be made available 353 days in advance, at the same time as Qantas releases Classic reward seats. That’ll be your first and best chance to snap these up, making Classic Plus seats a useful Plan B once Classic reward seats are gone.

No change to Classic rewards: loyalty boss Glance stresses there are no increases to the number of points needed for a Classic reward seat or indeed reductions to the number of Classic reward seats, which is estimated at five million per year across all travel classes on domestic and international flights.

Qantas first tipped its hand in a February briefing where the airline said it was "working to finalise improvements to the Frequent Flyer program that will represent a significant investment for members, with the aim of announcing them by April.”

In addition, the airline has redesigned its reward booking process, bringing Classic Rewards to the fore, while Points Plus Pay fares take a back seat in the payment screen.

Classic Plus vs Points Plus Pay

Points Plus Pay is a way of converting Qantas Points to a cash value at the payment stage of the booking process. This allows you to pay for some or all of your fare using a sliding scale (though generally at an unfavourable rate of 0.6 cents per Qantas Point).

Classic Plus works in a similar way, in that the cash price of a commercial fare is converted to dollar value, though the rate is much better – around 1c per Qantas Point for economy and premium economy, or 1.5c for business and first class.

In a way, it’s a retooling of the previous Points Plus Pay system. Classic Plus is also visible in the search stage of the process, allowing you to easily see the difference between the cash value and booking as a reward seat.

As previously reported by Executive Traveller, from April 18 Qantas will begin charging most passengers an extra-legroom fee to sit in row 4 on domestic Boeing 737 flights, closing a loophole known as the ‘T-80 rule’ through which savvy travellers could snare a free seat in the spacious first row of the economy cabin.

The same date also sees an increase to the cost of Qantas Club membership by an average of 41% and in some cases as much as 80%, ahead of the potential introduction of a more affordable monthly subscription-based model for airport lounge access.

Additional reporting by Chris Ashton.

21 Sep 2011

Total posts 71

This is designed to trick less savvy travellers into burning more points without releasing more Classic Rewards seats, an approach Air NZ has been useing to deceive Kiwis for over a decade. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 97

Nailed it! 

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 566

Agreed. It remains to see if content writers will ask the difficult (for the person making the announcement) but obvious questions on the day and risk future invites to corporate events by potentially becoming persona no grata. Let’s see how long this post will stay on this article.

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1529

IMHO it is even simpler and plain increase Classic Reward price. Without transparent understanding how many seats released in each category it is damn simple to convert some Classic Rewards into Classic Rewards Plus. It is NOT about "dynamic pricing", "flexibility of choice" or "increase availability" - it is plainly and purely about hiking prices.

21 Jul 2021

Total posts 3

Wonder how many SC's these will earn?

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 315

My understanding is the same rules as Classic Rewards Flights, ie 0 unless you're in Points Club.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2013

Total posts 49

If anything this actually makes me less inclined to continue with QFF. Just let me book a classic reward seat on any flight, whenever I want. That's all we want. 

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1197

Unfortunately, Qantas' behaviour in recent years just means this change will be viewed cynically by most.  

QF claims that the number of Classic reward seats released won't be reduced.  This is a fairly meaningless promise given the exact number of FF seats actually made available is a closely guarded secret.  How will anyone outside the revenue section of QF actually know if this is being honoured or not?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Feb 2017

Total posts 15

Agree 100% and that was my first thought also.   This is just a backhanded way of drastically reducing Classic Reward seats in the background, whilst still claiming they have more reward seats available. 

Although they have said they won't do that - we have no way of knowing - and trust in QF is at an all time low so I think most people don't believe them.

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 147

I like having this option as a less frequent flyer it’s difficult to get the premium seats as a Classic Reward flight for long haul flights. I noticed I can only see them for a week or a few days until flying, which doesn’t suit me.

Recently I have ended up using points on business short haul and paying in cash for long haul. I guess I’m where Qantas wants me and one step away closer in the direction of using points for a toaster!

I would hope for the Gold and above getting the Classic Rewards is a bit easier.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Oct 2012

Total posts 44

Qantas is essentially making up for the lack of Classic Rewards seats available by now magically offering seats but at a much higher points requirement with Classic Plus.  Am I surprised - no... just an attempt to reduce their points liability by a new CEO who was CFO... 

12 Aug 2020

Total posts 6

This is effectively an increase in the cost of points redemptions - using a new name.

31 Oct 2018

Total posts 12

Any idea why taxes are more for award bookings?

By way of example, a return business class fare from Sydney to London booked as a Classic Reward seat costs 289,200 points plus $1346 in tax.

In an off-peak time, that same trip as a Classic Plus could set you back 553,800 Points and $1696 in tax, or 638,900 plus the same in tax during a peak school holiday period. ”

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Mar 2018

Total posts 26

I just booked a Qantas reward seat MEL-CDG return in First Class (Emirates tin) and the taxes were $1,900, of which $1,700 were for Qantas charges.  What a scam.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 May 2016

Total posts 10

Aimed squarely at the Points Club churners who fly little, but who have hundreds of thousands of points sitting there to be used for a once or twice a year flight in a premium cabin.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Jul 2019

Total posts 2

Hi David, thanks for being so quick with this story - a far better explanation than today's SMH. One thing though to your point around nabbing a sale fare - I'm not sure that the example provided shows this, or am I missing something?

"If you nab a sale fare though, you may end up paying less than a Classic Reward, as seen in this example between Sydney and Auckland:" 

JKH
JKH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2017

Total posts 165

My immediate reaction is one of mistrust. And it will stay this way until QF prove otherwise.

mah
mah

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Apr 2018

Total posts 1

Agree with the all of you this is just another misleading and deceptive tactic by Qantas to deflect the real issue, which is not enough Classic Rewards seats. There are certainly other loyalty programmes out there that offer their frequent flyers far greater options for redemption. 

14 Dec 2022

Total posts 2

"...with Classic Rewards made available 353 days in advance, at the same time as Qantas releases Classic reward seats"

- I think there's a "plus" missing in there somewhere?

27 Aug 2020

Total posts 2

Just found BNE-LAX 'J' seats for 108K points, available most days.  Surely this is a positive move from QF?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Feb 2014

Total posts 27

I was at the launch this morning and the key to this is picking up fares during sales this is the only time this becomes reasonably viable. 

The points needed are still over double Krisflyer advantage rates. In comparison KF Saver to Europe from Australia is 130.5k/154K for advantage.  Qantas Classicis 144600 and 276900 for classic plus (though not on a sale fare for Feb 25 and it maybe less points when there is). Also the classic plus is based on a return fare. 

For one way given it is dynamic pricing it is 501,300 (for Feb 25). With Classic plus you can mix a classic and classic plus (for return). KF is still miles ahead in my opinion there also seems a lot more tickets available at the advantage level and the benefit of being able to wait list at either saver or advantage level. 

 Will have to wait and see what the points level are for the likes of LHR/LAX/JFK etc when there is a business sale. Most likely cheaper in Economy however that has never been the issue as there was classic rewards always around. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 126

Points+Pay rebranded to Classic Rewards+. Lipstick on a pig, and some marketing company got a big cash boost for coming up with this. 

Etihad - Etihad Guest

04 Mar 2018

Total posts 28

That was very sell said. "Lipstick on a PIG".   Absolutly correct

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Jan 2017

Total posts 7

Unimpressed - significantly more expensive seats therefore significantly less value.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 316

Thought they could have done something for points club and particularly points club plus and increased SC earn to full rate using the classic plus option as this actually devalues the benefit considerably.

25 Jun 2018

Total posts 45

Alatar144 has hit the nail right on the head; all we want is to be able to book a reward seat on the flight we want.   This latest ‘more options’ is yet another complication designed to confuse FF travellers.  I have never, repeat NEVER, managed to use QFF points to get a seat on a Qantas flight.  BA, JAL and AA, yes but not Qantas. 

28 Apr 2021

Total posts 24

With Qantas recently throwing out 'crumbs' with the series of what they think are mind blowing "Innovations",
really the big questions are, when will it be announced:

That there will be a vast improvement with the meals served to both Business and Economy Passengers.

That an meaningful attempt will be made to lift the moral well being of the domestic and long haul Cabin Staff.

Cease the attempt to 'flog off' various products and services and concentrate on the Core subject of being a well respected Airline instead of a Bunnings, Coles etc or health and insurance provider.

A great many were holding their breath with the disappearance of the previous CEO, that the new broom would sweep clean, however alas to date what of consequence has really occurred, as our National Carrier unfortunately is still languishing at the bottom of the heap?.

It is most demoralizing to see and read so many negative postings, when it is now very apparent that it is the same old tune being played on a not so new fiddle.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 712

When merely clicking on the 'thumbs up' button just doesn't seem enough - thumbs-up with both hands to you PassRob.  Thanks.

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

16 Oct 2017

Total posts 157

I predict the demise of the old Classic option in 1-2 years.  We'll be told something like it no longer suits the majority of customers.  Of course it won't, because the plan will be progessive withdrawal of available Classic seats.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

04 Mar 2018

Total posts 28

What an absolute waste of Time by QANTAS.   QANTAS are trying to suck more points out of pople. They could  simply just make more CLASSIC Rewards availble, and then earn some customer respect.

In my opinion this just a Total CON Job. The Rewards program is sold as a REWARDS Program, however its just a trick to suck more miney from their customers.

As a GOLD Member I tried to find a CLASSIC Business CLAss SYD to SFO, every day for months, and eventually gace up.   I decided I wold rather pay another ariline

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jun 2017

Total posts 36

How far out were you looking?

06 Apr 2018

Total posts 6

Qantas obviously cannot convert every seat into a low yielding classic reward as there will be no airline left at the end. Raising the price is the only sustainable way of increasing reward seats but of course nobody wants to pay more. In the end I still blame Qantas for carelessly issuing so many points over the years without the reward seat inventory behind it to soak it all up.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2013

Total posts 49

It would be interesting to see just how low yielding they are considering the money Qantas rake in from selling QFF points to banks, credit card companies and all the plethora of shops etc. Surely cashing in on points and have a 'low yielding' customer who'll then be encouraged to earn more points is better than bleeding more passengers to the competition? 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jun 2017

Total posts 36

Generally agree with the sentiment that this is a fancy way to largely devalue points but to find something positive in this it does add a middle ground. With classic rewards tough work and point + pay and toaster redemption a valueless joke for only the greatest suckers, it does create capacity in the middle. Hear me out… on the earn side there is a world of people who are generating millions and millions of points through their small businesses and even if government services are at a small earn rate, they’re still cleaning up on lying taxes and general small business consumption. Their points balances in the millions of points is not the same effort to earn as my 10 years of earning as a P1 in a corporate role. So the small business guys with these huge balances may find this middle ground affordable. Sure it’s not classic rewards, and they’re playing a premium price for those free seats, but we can just hope it takes some of the demand for reward tickets out of the system so the average Joe / Jane with their woolies earned qantas points have a chance at that occasional special trip in J. Thats about all we can hope for. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jun 2017

Total posts 36

Out of the press release on qantas website this morning. 

TLDR: 1) this new reward revamp makes us a lot more money. 2) the cost has already been announced as part of our customer investment…. It’s about half of the commitment.

“ Financial update

The program changes are expected to deliver a substantial improvement in member engagement and will help drive the long-term growth of Qantas Loyalty as it continues to target $800 million – $1 billion Underlying EBIT by FY30.

The Classic Plus product represents approximately $120 million investment in FY25, excluding benefits from the program. This investment includes the value of displaced seat revenue in the airlines as well as the non-cash impact to fair value assumptions applied to future sale of points in the Loyalty Segment. The combined financial investment will be managed within the existing planned customer investment of $230 million for FY25.

Following the launch of the new product, Qantas Loyalty is now expected to deliver between $500 – $525 million Underlying EBIT in FY24 before returning to growth of ~10 per cent in Underlying EBIT in FY25.”

28 Aug 2021

Total posts 3

Has anyone noticed that over the past few months Qantas is changing the credit card reward points terms & conditions with all of the banks? They are basically eliminating the ability to redeem points from a reward card to your FF flyer account, forcing people to only be able to earn points directly onto "Business Rewards Accounts". This will prevent a lot of people from attaining "Points Club" or "Points Club Plus". This further diminishes the benefits for a lot of people for example the rollover of 100 status credits every year, and the earning of Stauts credits on Classic reward seats. 

SCM
SCM

28 Sep 2022

Total posts 15

So basically they are rebranding anytime points as classic plus? Lol, these point prices are completely ludicrous - why would you even bother doing anything to get points? It's so not worth it.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

27 Feb 2015

Total posts 20

This measure is clearly to avoid having to change ratios for conversion of partner points. KF increased points required by 50% for most credit cards, Qantas has hung their profitability on selling points to financial institutions and retailers. This measure is so they can say the amount of points your customers get from us will not change. Cynical but likely to be swallowed. They probably also figured that the savvy would still be able to get Classic when they rarely pop up. It is incredibly cynical to say the amount of Classic across domestic and international won’t change. What we do know is the domestic flights with lots of spare seats will have heaps “available”, but no chance on Lord Howe for example. We have also been led up another path because they refused to commit to the same (or more) availability specifically on international seats. 

As with many recent Qantas ideas, this one will do nothing to improve their image and inevitably reduce the profitability of the frequent flier business as retailers hear back from customers that having a store of QFF points is not worth it. We might start seeing prices with and without QFF points. I bet heaps of people would prefer a discount. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 712

Great analysis.  I'm sorry, but when I (think) I finally got to understand this - it reminded me of John Hewson's proposed Value Added Tax from 1991, which was a good concept that eventually got up as the GST, but at the time was dreadfully sold in a far too complex way.  Astute 'Professional' Travellers, which 95% reading here are, will understand and move forward ' living with it'.  But I wonder how many others will be too suspicious and seek to 'abandon ship' to either Rex or Virdin?  No doubt some will, but I wonder if it'll be more than Ms Hudson anticipates?  Time will tell.  

04 Sep 2019

Total posts 54

More expensive and sub par standard by Qantas and qff

Krisflyer and Singapore Airlines is an easy win by a country mile for all international travel 

08 Apr 2022

Total posts 1

Don't forget Rex for InterCity flights.  Way cheaper than Qantas/Virgin, with excellent service.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Apr 2024

Total posts 1

I saw these headlines with excitement and that quickly faded when I logged in to search a few different random dates over the next 12 months. The points costs plus the cash component are just ridiculous! Seriously if you had the travel budget and partner spend to accumulate this level of points you would not need them. I save for years in my travel job to be able to treat my wife maybe every few years with a northern hemisphere trip and I really think I would be better off to just forget these so called loyalty programs and just search Skyscanner for the best deals at the time I want to travel, often significantly cheaper than QF and if Business Class you still get all the Platinum perks. It seems to me that the QANTAS model of REVENUE - REVENUE - REVENUE is a far more important strategy than loyalty. I remember the day that as a Platinum flyer if I arrive at a domestic airport early, you could get an earlier flight subject to seat availability, now you have to pay double the fare to get that chance if you happen to get to the airport early.  It really saddens me that the joys of leisure travel have become so outrageously expensive since the pandemic. I think it great the airlines are getting strong profitable returns now but I am getting better value from my points on the Qantas Store then flight redemption. Even a flight for my family to Cairns from Melbourne in August only offers Jetstar. I acknowledge it's tough for Qantas as is seems there are more people in the business lounges than the terminal these days and you can't please everyone. I'll keep searching as new dates come up and maybe one day I will find one of those original points redemptions flights.

18 Apr 2024

Total posts 1

I agree totally. Have previously nabbed a business class flight to London (from Syd) for 156K points. Now can’t see any classic business rewards, just rewards +++++ needing 350 to 500k points plus payment. Totally useless to me now. At 60+ I can’t do economy to London again. This it typical Qantas spin that allows them to appear like they are expanding the program while hoovering up points. I likewise have looked up Skyscanner and probably take my business elsewhere.

11 May 2020

Total posts 14

"In an off-peak time, that same trip as a Classic Plus could set you back 553,800 Points and $1696 in tax".

So let's assume in an off peak time a return trip in economy costs circa $2k. So say 550,000 points = $2k of value here.

Current offers on Qantas wine, for 600,000 points I can buy 4 bottles of 2019 Penfolds Grange which retails for circa $980 a bottle minimum. Oh and that will massively go up in value and is an actual investment. So for 50,000 extra points you basically get double the value and no actual monetary outlay.

So in what universe is this good value? For the same amount of points and not much more than the cost of the taxes, you can get the return flight and $4,000 worth of wine which will increase in value as the years go by. 

Anyone who actually redeems points in this way needs to see a psychiatrist.

Qantas have an enormous liability on their balance sheet for points redemptions and this is designed to reduce that liability to increase their net assets, and by extension their market cap and share price.

To pretend it's anything else is extremely naive.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

27 Feb 2015

Total posts 20

The 550k points redemption is for Business Class which sells for around 5x economy. Redoing the numbers using that pricing make the Grange a very expensive use of points.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2017

Total posts 93

Our Qantas reward points have just suffered economic Hyper-inflation especially at times we wish to fly along with their, ah, ahem!! "Dynamic pricing"!! concept.

05 Jan 2018

Total posts 57

I can hear the bells tolling for Classic Rewards. Can you?

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 111

At the end of tody's SMH article about the rewards revamp is the comment " There are 16 million members to keep happy". So Qantas tinkers with award seats but at the same time increases the cost of extra legroom seats and (most infuriating of all) is going to charge for Row 4 within T-80. QF has a long way to go in learning how to make nice with FFs.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Aug 2015

Total posts 9

Interested to hear if anyone (in particular Perth based folk) have chucked in Qantas Frequent Flyer and headed down the Velocity path (and used SQ/QR etc for Intl trips) and 'not looked back'?  

Is there much difference in reward seat availability on the other side of the fence?

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

10 Apr 2024

Total posts 1

So glad we switched allegiance to Krisflyer. Qantas was never going to change for the better when the architect of so many of the worst actions in the Joyce era was actually Hudson.....

05 Jan 2021

Total posts 25

Seems like the end of classic rewards to me .

In a way, happy about it as I should have changed a another program years ago !

Other airlines eg SQ and UA offer a better premium experience for a lower price vs QF and you can ectually access their equivalent of QFF Classic rewards!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Sep 2021

Total posts 16

I’m at point that I will just burn my 1.2M points on Classic Plus just to be rid of them. After which I can finally cut the umbilical cord with QF and fly with them only if their offer is superior to other airlines. Which will probably mean no more QF International for me.

I’ve had a gutful QF.

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 160

I feel this is a massive devaluation of Qantas points. If you want to use them on qf flights in business you’re going to have to spend a lot more points. It’s clear they’re moving classic rewards to JQ only and have less and less availability on flights you’d actually want to spend them on. Perhaps using for upgrades on quiet flights is all that will be left. Disappointed but not surprised 


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