Qantas rejigs reward bookings for Emirates, Cathay Pacific and more

By Brandon Loo, June 21 2019

Forthcoming changes to the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme will not only require more points to book premium seats with Qantas – there's a similar uplift ahead for partner airlines including Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, American Airlines, JAL and many more.

The revised rates kick in from 18 September 2019, and will see an increase of up to 13% if you're looking to trade your Qantas Points on a seat in premium economy, business class or first class.

Changes to partner airlines on the Qantas Flight Reward Table

Qantas' own flight rewards table also applies to Emirates, American Airlines, Fiji Airways, Air Vanuatu and Air North.

Key premium-heavy routes for business travellers include Australia to Dubai and Europe, as well as Australia to Los Angeles and beyond. A business or first class redemption will increase by 12.5% on average.

Cabin class / route length

(Figures in Qantas Points)

Medium

(3,601 – 4,800 miles)

Longer

(7,001 – 8,400 miles)

Longest

(9,601 – 15,000 miles)

First

(currently)

90,000

144,000

192,000

From 18/9/19

102,600

162,800 

216,900

Business

(currently)

60,000

96,000

128,000

From 18/9/19

68,400

108,400

144,600

Premium

(currently)

45,000

72,000

96,000

From 18/9/19

51,300

81,300

104,400

Economy

(previously)

28,000

45,000

60,000

From now

25,200

41,900

55,200

'Medium' includes Melbourne to Singapore with Emirates or Qantas. 'Longer' includes Sydney to Dubai with Emirates, or to Los Angeles direct with American Airlines or via Nadi with Fiji Airways. 'Longest' includes any route from Australia's east coast to Europe, one-stop, with Qantas or Emirates.

Emirates flights in premium cabins will see a bump in Qantas Points needed

Changes to the Partner Classic Flight Reward table

All other Qantas partners (excluding Jetstar) sit under the Partner Classic Flight Reward table. This includes Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, British Airways and Malaysia Airlines, with business or first class redemptions will increase by 13% on average.

Cabin class / route length

(Figures in Qantas Points)

Medium

(3,601 – 4,800 miles)

Longer

(7,001 – 8,400 miles)

Longest

(9,601 – 15,000 miles)

First

(currently)

95,000

152,000

203,000

From 18/9/19

107,700

170,800

227,500

Business

(currently)

65,000

104,000

139,000

From 18/9/19

75,000

119,200

159,000

Premium

(currently)

52,500

84,000

112,500

From 18/9/19

59,000

93,500

124,800

Economy

(previously)

35,000

56,000

75,000

From now

30,200

50,300

66,200

'Medium' includes Sydney to Singapore with British Airways, to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific, or to Kuala Lumpur with Malaysia Airlines. 'Longer' includes Sydney/Melbourne to Doha with Qatar Airways. 'Longest' includes any route from Australia's east coast to Europe, one-stop, with a Qantas partner airline on this table.

Soon you'll need more Qantas Points to fly Qatar Airways' Qsuites

Qantas hasn't yet revealed if airline-imposed 'carrier charges' will decrease for partner airline redemptions, although these have been immediately reduced for Qantas-operated economy flights and will also drop for Qantas premium cabin reward bookings from 18 September 2019 onwards.

Obviously, if you're planning travel with Qantas partner airlines it's best to lock in your Qantas Points reward booking before 18 September 2019 and enjoy today's reduced 'exchange rate'.

To check how your next booking might be affected, look at the updated Classic Flight Reward tables here.

Also read: How the Qantas Frequent Flyer overhaul will affect you

Brandon Loo

Brandon divides his time between Perth and Launceston, with ample hours spent in airport lounges in between. He recently picked up photography and tries to capture the beauty of Tasmanian landscapes, aeroplane cabins and in-flight food, to varying degrees of success.

jubbing

jubbing

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 214

The Qantas marketing team is actually fantastic - they've managed to disguise a devaluation of points within other announcements so as to not bring an overly negative attention to it. Some people might say "oh but 12-14% isn't too bad a devaluation" - well it is when Qantas charge more points than most of their One World major partners already and this just pushes it even further.

It remains to be seen if this change actually means more Premium seats actually open up on Qantas, since it won't affect partner seat numbers. Especially disappointing with Amex having such a large devaluation which means we earn less and have to spend more - bad news for consumers generally.

levelnine

levelnine

27 Apr 2017

Total posts 39

Exactly. Classic Qantas. A few tiny positive changes to the least valuable part of the program (economy redemptions) outweighed by larger negative changes to the most valuable part of the program (premium redemptions).

Expect more negative changes to be drip fed without media fanfare over the coming days.

Kronocrusada

Kronocrusada

29 Jan 2016

Total posts 11

If you base the points redemption on the Qantas points shopping. 2000 Qantas points is equivalent to $20 Aud. So if you look at how the fees have come down in booking by 30%to 50% and increase by 12%-14%. It roughly balances out. They listened to Qantas frequent flyers who said they would rather spend points than real money. So all they really did was shift it more towards points. While making economy seat bookings more in reach for families

Gms5

Gms5

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Jun 2019

Total posts 3

Yep, total con Job as usual... fees will go down a little and pts up +15% - still a rip off compared to partners.

Let's look at a J reward booking I'm doing now...

BNE-LAX Qantas 96,000pts + aud$480 fees

BNE-LAX Fiji Air 96,000 + aud$160 fees

LAX-BNE Qantas 96k + aud$420 fees

LAX-BNE Fiji Air 96k + aud$85 fees

Sure there is a stopover in Nadi with Fiji but the arrival time both ends are preferable - and I don't have to put up with the appalling Qantas service.... I'm a semi regular J flyer and most of them are even worse than BA!!

Gms5

Gms5

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Jun 2019

Total posts 3

ps I always fly Latam to Sth America, Cathay to UK (and even BA if i have to). The problem are Africa trips - stuck on Qantas metal with just the worst service.....

Concorde1990

Concorde1990

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 65

In my humble opinion; BA is Nothing compared to Qantas.

I recently did a trip:

J MEL BNE B737 BNR HKG A330 QF

F HKG LHR A380 BA

Y VIE LHR A320 BA (cos J is a joke in EU)

F LHR SIN B777 BA

F SIN MEL A380 QF

BA vs Qantas A380: Qantas

BA vs Qantas staff: Qantas

BA vs Qantas lounges: Qantas

For a number of reasons I'll never fly BA again unless I have no other option.

Note: I used to be Gold BA Ex (equivalent to Qantas Plat). I switched to Qantas when it was clear I'd never be able to retain my BA status living in Australia.

I'll admit it's easier to earn Avios living in the UK than QantasPoints living in Aus. I don't have too many problems in redeeming either... I'm just more flexible than most.

We are spoiled in Australia when it comes to our top two airlines. But we do really pay for it $$$$

sra35

sra35

QF

02 Oct 2012

Total posts 38

I actually really like QF and am not someone who loves to be negative about them, however I agreed with levelnine and there are zero positives in all of the changes for customers. The reduction in the airline fees are not dramatic and time will tell if they actually release any extra seats on their own metal. For me SQ KrisFlyer with lower points levels, great premium cabin availability and no carrier charges (just taxes) is my go to.

Aidan

Aidan

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 118

I initially didn't think the devalue was too bad.

Now I look at the numbers properly, its 80,000 points extra for 2 passengers in business return Melbourne to London. I would rather a pay more fees option.

Can't see why Qantas can't do a 'use less points' option and increase the taxes (as per the current setup).

Oh well this will just mean banks will get more churn and burns with sign up offers, thus Qantas makes more money. Eventually if banks start getting hit hard with churn and burn points customers, they will probably reduce bonus's and then Qantas is back to the same position.

Savvy Qantas members that cant build a point balance with Qantas will move to competitor programs e.g. Virgin, Singapore Airlines or start purchasing Alaska points and use the Alaska points on Qantas.

From a marketing perspective I don't see how this new setup is meant to get people more addicted to Qantas points. Unless research shows that people want more economy availability, which is currently not really an issue even for Qantas Bronze lifetime users like myself.

Will be interesting to see how the public adopts the changes over the next year.

DownSouth

DownSouth

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 102

Ouch, look around at other rewards programs.

jch

jch

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Nov 2017

Total posts 52

Is the 18 September changeover for the booking or travel date?

Brandon Loo

Brandon Loo

10 Jul 2018

Total posts 76

It's the booking date changeover. Any bookings made from now until then will still be at the old rates. Travel can be at anytime from now.

djtech

djtech

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Sep 2018

Total posts 88

Booking date but if you need to change your booking after that Sep18, you'll have to pay the higher rate

hutch

hutch

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1218

I gather most people use points for economy tickets. But as I generally use mine for premium seats and I don't have issues getting extra points, I really prefer the lower fees. So I'm OK with the changes, but still think charges are too high and I'm not confident QF will release more premium seats.

I appreciate not everyone wins. But I was expecting much worse.

anonymous

anonymous

24 Dec 2013

Total posts 83

It would be interesting to revisit this in 12 months time to see if the fees are still the same or if Qantas has gradually increased them.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the fees slowly creep back up and we end up with high points cost and high fees.

Aidan

Aidan

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 118

Yeah they may add another fuel surcharge and call it a mandatory 'carbon offset'.

jubbing

jubbing

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 214

You're not thinking correctly, it will be a future 'enhancement'.

Aidan

Aidan

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 118

Haha yes.

Please everyone next Qantas survey say 'no more enhancements please, Qantas you have gone above and beyond with enhancements'.

hutch

hutch

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1218

Very true! Can see QF raising them again next time the fuel price rises.

Michael Kao

Michael Kao

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 338

I love how QF can sugar coat such devaluation. This is from their email under “Better Value”:

The number of points required for Premium cabins and upgrades will be increasing from 18 September 2019 to better represent the true value of this premium experience6.”


To better represent the true value of this premium experience.... hmm

Aidan

Aidan

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 118

Hehe sometimes all the stress with points is worth saving by just using cash.

The time and effort my brain has put into thinking about points would probably be better invested in other more lucrative areas.


Luckily now I have a have a fair understanding of frequent flyer points and spend less time pondering.

Great sites like this help brake down the jargon.


Aidan

Aidan

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 118

Yeah it’s a funny email how the ‘increase’ part if you look closely is a smaller font.


Qantas got shy with their cockpit there.

Flying High

Flying High

13 Feb 2015

Total posts 38

Interesting that Qantas is trumpeting a greater amount of availability of economy seats. Which is weird because I've never had a problem with economy class availability. It's the Premium/Business/First availability I'm more interested in. Qantas seems to have remained very quiet about this...

fiscal

fiscal

29 Jan 2016

Total posts 21

They have indicated UP TO 30% more seats in premium. That leaves it wide open. 0% to 30%. Of course, the PER-LHR flight might never get a premium reward seat, and if you can get (maybe) a PER-SIN to connect then there is usually no availability on QF flights from there anyway.

fiscal

fiscal

29 Jan 2016

Total posts 21

It bears thinking about, but like Flying High mentioned, they have not witnessed many economy reward seats being unavailable, which is the same experience I have, except on maybe very high demand periods. So, how many of the extra 700,000 economy seats will actually be taken up, if there are plenty already going wanting?

mikes1917

mikes1917

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jan 2015

Total posts 9

30% of zero is still ...... zero!

Stan Klan

Stan Klan

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Mar 2013

Total posts 6

Does anyone know if the Lifetime Platinum status credit count starts now, or is there a count back to when I gained lifetime gold?

John Phelan

John Phelan

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 322

It's your total lifetime SC count.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 525

...though realistically you'll probably need the SC count from your next lifetime too.

sra35

sra35

QF

02 Oct 2012

Total posts 38

Here is the idea. Cancel all of your Qantas branded and linked credit cards and replace them with Amex cards where your points can be converted to SQ (or Bank of Melbourne Visa if you must use Visa). Then book SQ to Europe - Melbourne-Zurich for example is 116k points one way business class plus taxes/surcharges of $96.44. Or stay with QF and pay 144,600 points and $450ish one way and good luck finding a seat ever in business class unless you have Platinum status.

hutch

hutch

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1218

Whatever works for the individual and their earn and spend patterns. I have use QF points for domestic economy redemptions when flights are too expensive or use the points for Oneworld awards (now 318k up from 280k). Given the trips I have taken and airlines I have flown using that, I still think it provides good value.

For others with different earn and burn plans, obviously other programs can work better for them.

Concorde1990

Concorde1990

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 65

I used points and managed to get J/F seats return to LHR & beyond using points and in the middle of the “high” season

Kronocrusada

Kronocrusada

29 Jan 2016

Total posts 11

Hi everyone,

If you base the points redemption on the Qantas points shopping. 2000 Qantas points is equivalent to $20 Aud.

So if you look at how the fees have come down in booking by 30%to 50% and increase by 12%-14%. It roughly balances out. They listened to Qantas frequent flyers who said they would rather spend points than real money. So all they really did was shift it more towards points. While making economy seat bookings more in reach for families

comeflywithme

comeflywithme

31 Jul 2012

Total posts 21

First they increased the cost of points to banks who reduced the earn on the card products (devalue), then they increased the number of points to redeem premium awards (devalue).

This forgets the simpler and fairer devalue where they removed a number of benefits.

As a lifetime Gold, pretty happy about my upcoming travel being on SQ.

duffa

duffa

11 Nov 2017

Total posts 10

Ha ha. All this speculation "it'll be good, it'll be bad" ..... two nights ago.

I've been around too long to know otherwise. As soon as I heard that Usyless was giving a press conference I jumped in and bagged a J return at the old rates.

27560gnp

27560gnp

06 Jun 2017

Total posts 3

To get luv and hutch, you have no idea re points, qualifying, time spent flying, loyalty etc. In 2007 I was Qantas most ff for the year, received 2 bottles of grange as a reward. I have demanded for years that it was absurd that there was not a Lifetime Platinum. "reason given was "too great a cost by management". Management would not get a job at a cashier anywhere. I think earning 40,000 Status credits earned warrants Lifetime Platinum

hutch

hutch

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1218

@27560gnp - actually, I know enough about airline loyalty schemes to extract the benefits I want and not expect the airline to do anything other than make things more expensive... Cause that's what airlines seem to do.

You can think earning 40k status credits is worth LTP. Many will agree. But it wasn't a benefit the entire time you were earning the status credits - so, why are you upset?

sharrkey

sharrkey

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 70

My take on the changes that airlines are making to FF programs is that they do not want you to make it easy for you to use points for premium seats, either they severely restrict the seats or they will gradually keep increasing the points required. Qantas is not alone in this , Singapore did this twice and they all will keep going further. Add to this the devaluation of points awarded by credit cards, and soon a premium seat using points will be almost impossible for most people. So the best strategy for us consumers is to forget airline loyalty and loyalty programs, and just pay for the cheapest business class deals that come by , it could be on an airline that’s not your first preference, but that’s the way it is. Dump all but 1 credit cards, save on fees as well. Stop purchasing via the airline website to earn points, stop using Qantas hotels and other inducements. It will bring Alan Joyce to his senses when he sees non travel related revenues dry up.

Adel_FF

Adel_FF

22 Jun 2019

Total posts 1

It is also worth noting that there has been increase in the Qantas RTW award rates as well. I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere yet. Business RTW awards have gone up 13.6%. You now need 318,000 points to the previous 280,000.

Colster

Colster

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2014

Total posts 23

Hey Brandon, any news on the RTW points per class?

hutch

hutch

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1218

Economy went down. Premium went up - business is 318,000

daft009

daft009

09 Jul 2016

Total posts 28

If availability for bronze status improves I don't mind the slight increase in needed points

readosunnycoast

readosunnycoast

05 Oct 2011

Total posts 179

I laughed when QF last week said "it was a long time since the cost (in points) increased for redemption. They seem to forget that the points are only earned by paying increasing cost for the paid seats. Remember when it was 36,000 RETURN Trans Tasman with QF??? That's what they get for economy and they slug you for fees as well. OH FOR THE OLD DAYS !!!

DrFazz

DrFazz

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Jun 2019

Total posts 1

I also find it amazing that Qantas can increase the number of frequent flyer points you need to book a seat, and reduce the benefits of the Frequent Flyer program as a whole, and say that that it's benefiting all Frequent Flyers.

Qantas needs to understand that loyalty is a two way street. You can't expect anyone to be loyal to you if you're not loyal to them. With its latest announcements re the QFF program and particularly the Lifetime Platinum threshold, its signalled that it doesn't care about its most valuable customers - the very frequent flyers who have supported them for decades.

My biggest annoyance is the stratospheric threshold for gaining Lifetime Platinum - 75,000 lifetime Status Credits. I've been flying with Qantas for over 40 years, I was a member of the QT flyers club in the early 1980s, and one of the first to join the QFF club when it started in January 1987. I've been a Lifetime Gold member for many years, but to get Lifetime Platinum I'll need to fly for another 35 - 40 years! Other very long time very frequent flyers I've spoken to are equally disgusted.

When I complained to Qantas about this, I received the usual marketing spin from someone called Shaun in the QFF group, saying the reason for the high threshold was due to the "extravagant benefits" of Lifetime Platinum. I pointed out that Platinum benefits a nowhere near that extravagant, but just a bit above Lifetime Gold. Shaun won't respond to my emails - so much for loyalty.

I gather from reading other posts that I'm not alone in my opinion. I would like to hear from others about this.

What I would also like to suggest to Qantas is that they take the many decades of loyalty into consideration when considering the Lifetime Platinum, i.e. the longer you've been a QFF member the lower the threshold. For example, keep the 75,000 SCs for 10 years or more, 50,000 for 20 years or more, and 25,000 for 30 years or more. At least then it's a bit more realistic, and Qantas could be seen to actually be loyal to the many long time very frequent flyers who have supported them for decades.

daft009

daft009

09 Jul 2016

Total posts 28

DrFazz I admire your loyalty.. hats off to you :)

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