Qantas unlocks thousands of seats to book with frequent flyer points

Get clicking and get booking as Qantas rolls out extra Classic Flight Reward seats across international routes.

By David Flynn, February 24 2023
Qantas unlocks thousands of seats to book with frequent flyer points

Frequent flyers sitting on a mountain of Qantas Points should have their finger on the trigger at 11am (Sydney time) today, Friday February 24.

That’s when the airline will unleash thousands of new international ‘reward seats’ which can be booked for the lowest number of points.

Those extra seats will join the existing inventory across all cabins, including great value business class deals and rare A380 First suites, across the airline’s full international network of more than 30 destinations.

“Our frequent flyers have been using their points to book reward seats in record numbers, and demand for seats on international flights is particularly strong” says Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth.

“The number of points required to book reward seats hasn’t increased in years, and we’ve been consistently growing the ways that our members can boost their points balance, so these seats represent great value.”  

Converting existing seats on flights to ‘reward seats’ means there’s about to be a much better chance of planning your next overseas holiday or business trip without breaking the points bank.

As a quick benchmark, here are the Classic Flight Reward rates for a handful of Qantas destinations from the east coast, based on a one-way flight. 

  Economy +charges Business +charges
Fiji 18,000 points  ~$106  41,500 points ~$106
Tokyo  31,500 points ~$147  82,000 points ~$197
Los Angeles  41,900 points  ~$208  108,400 points ~$333
London  55,200 points  ~$230  144,600 points ~$440

Qantas says the most popular overseas destinations booked with points are London, Singapore, Bali, Tokyo and Los Angeles.

(Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong represent a particularly sharp use of points, with Classic Flight Rewards at 25,200 points in economy and 68,400 points in business class.)

International Classic Flight Reward bookings attract a surcharge of assorted taxes and fees, which can range from around $130-$500 depending on your destination and class of travel.

Wirth says this Friday’s flood of seats is an extension of Qantas’ promise to make available 50% more reward seat on international routes until December 2023.

However, these seats won’t all be released at once – instead, the plan is to make available around 25% of Classic Flight Reward inventory across all routes every month, so that more frequent flyers have a chance of snaring a seat.

One reason you should swoop on booking flights with Qantas Points is that while Classic Flight Reward seats are made available for the lowest number of frequent flyer points, there’s typically only a small number of such seats allocated on any given flight.

Once they’re gone, you can still buy any other seat with points but the number of points reflects the actual cash price for each seat, so you’ll end up spending a lot more points – easily three times as many as a Classic Flight Reward booking.

Simply put, more Classic Flight Reward seats being opened up means your ‘points budget’ can stretch a lot further.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Apr 2013

Total posts 41

I guess it is safe to assume this won't impact oneworld availability on qantas flights

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 467

Qantas have been make very few seats available for Classic Awards on international flights and then use the delayed release of seats as a marketing exercise.   

Qantas

02 Mar 2016

Total posts 3

Does this mean book on Friday for availability that ends in dec 2023?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Sep 2016

Total posts 7

Agree Greg XL. I have been searching for a couple of months now for some Classic Award seats to a couple of intl. destinations and they have been few and far between. Noticed last week a few (day/date restricted) reduced points fares to the same destinations have appeared. Extra charges seem to have increased though.

25 Jun 2018

Total posts 43

In early January, I tried getting OneWorld RTW using QFF points and there were no seats available anywhere near the dates we wanted (August/September) for flights out of Aust. or back in.  Finished up buying SYD - JFK on JAL (50% of QF price) and DOH - SYD on MH (35% of QF price).

QFF points have been used for AA flights in USA, BA flight to LHR, BA & Iberia flights around Europe and then to DOH.   No problem getting the flights we wanted on the dates we wanted.   Makes one think that Qantas didn’t release Classic Reward seats and somehow the other OneWorld airlines got the message to hold off releasing them as well.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2016

Total posts 165

Trying to book RTW business only 7/8 months in advance is pretty ambitious at anytime over the past 10 years, especially trying to get a northern summer. You really have to plan around the 353 day release date (and if you are doing 4-6 weeks it is obviously the end of the trip) and there will be 2 J seats 

Getting that one QF segment has always been the issue 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Apr 2017

Total posts 2

I  already have 2 X J reward seats SYD/SIN/LHR with BA for October but would  prefer QF. I want to try for these this on Friday but don't have enough points  without cancelling the BA flights first. Are points refunded immediately if I go through the call centre to rebook? i.e. call Qantas, make sure the QF seats are available, cancel BA flights and rebook on QF using those points straight away? The second question is whether it not I could trust the  all centre to do it without losing  everything? I'm Gold FF

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Oct 2012

Total posts 129

Just call them , they will want to know flight numbers dates ect .

Cancelling first is a gamble because sometimes what’s showing on their website as available, is not with an apology by call centre saying that flight hasn’t been removed .

P
P

17 Jan 2018

Total posts 84

Assume these extra seats/classic rewards apply only on point to point QF operated flights? 

05 Jan 2021

Total posts 25

Despite the hype re the award seat "dump" ( eg if it includes more than one or two business or first class seats in total  ) , I'm beginning to believe that there is little value earning Qantas Points apart from access to expensive toasters or high priced wines.

I agree with Paul2076 above that Qantas has upset other OneWorld carriers big time such that getting from Oz to Europe in less than 4  stops is near impossible. Qatar reward seat availability  is a lost cause and Cathay Pacific is releasing minimal awards on their flights from Hong Kong. 

I suspect that the release will prove to be overblown - eg - only economy seats released initially or only 10% released every friday!

The other question is whether the QFF online booking system can handle the expected hordes of punters logging in at 1100 hrs  fridays.

21 Jun 2019

Total posts 7

re: whether sytsem can cope.......all i get is "

500 - that's an error at our end

It looks like something went wrong with our system. Try reloading the page and it should work, otherwise head back to the homepage.  "

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 467

And yes, the website can't manage the queries at release time.  Good one Qantas.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Oct 2012

Total posts 129

Anyone else getting "Error 500''  on website and app?

11 Dec 2016

Total posts 42

Well, it's 11:09am now and the booking system has completely crashed. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 156

And at 11am the website is struggling. Badly. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2015

Total posts 76

Big fail by Qantas on this. It's 11:26am on Friday and I've tried searching over and over again and all I've managed to bring up is a '500 - that's an error at our end'. It's a pretty sad state of affairs that in 2023 they haven't sorted out their IT.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Oct 2012

Total posts 129

Anyone else having problems with QF website and app "Error 500" messages continuously 

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 275

Classic Qantas. Run a huge promo on this, and then forget their website can't actually handle traffic. 

Seems like another PR disaster in the making. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Oct 2012

Total posts 11

Why am I not surprised. Error page, error page. Can't even book a simple one way ticket to Melbourne if I had an emergency. Not holding my breath for one to Europe & I'm platinum.

05 Jan 2021

Total posts 25

Qantas bookings site frozen - so no one knows if there has been a release of seats as claimed!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Jun 2015

Total posts 71

In the past years i'll admit i've had a great run securing award seats with QF, CX first at Christmas time, QF first Christmas time to both London and New York to name a couple. 2022 did USA and Europe in business. 

Have all the tricks jumping on at the release time, expert flyer to assist the search and QF Platinum, however this year it has been impossible to get anything, regardless of a peak time or not. Maybe i am just having bad luck. 

Today is frustrating as 30 mins into their big awards release the website still crashes on each search so havnt had the chance to even try. so to senior flyers question.....no it can not. 

My millions of points will just have to sit, perhaps i'll grab a new toaster. 

31 Oct 2022

Total posts 1

Truly well done Qantas. Nothing but website errors and even if you do get through to selecting a flight it crashes again. How very predictable!

11 Mar 2017

Total posts 7

Trying to book a paid flight now and the site is crashing.

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 118

WASTE OF TIME - have tried to make bookings numerous times since 11am using different dates / destinations / multi city, and keep getting the same error which I assume is a timeout:

500 - that's an error at our end

It looks like something went wrong with our system. Try reloading the page and it should work, otherwise head back to the homepage.  

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 118

Update - after the initial "Error 500" frustrations, I was able later the same night to snag return LAX in F during Oct. Bit of a challenge trying to find F availability both directions to sync up with my preferred dates, but some weeks ex-SYD had 4 or 5 days in a row with F availability. Seemed to be plenty of Business availability for LAX/SFO/DFW until end of Nov, and Econ / Prem Econ almost any day. 

As for LHR and Europe in general (and Asia to a lesser extent) it continues to be the elusive white whale in premium cabins, and likely not helped by the disconnect with QR, and minimal EK releases. 

Interesting to note however that for paid tickets when comparing ticket costs on a 'per hour of flying' basis, F & J tickets are still significantly cheaper to LHR, than to LAX. Both still overpriced though.

05 May 2016

Total posts 624

Maybe QF should have thought about scaling up anticipating the surge in demand for the website today. It’s not like it would have been unpredictable. Lots of 500 errors trying to book seats today.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Oct 2019

Total posts 21

All of you saying they should have thought this through are missing the point.

Of course they knew this was gonna happen, they will release the award seats whilst the system is down and when the system is back running they will claim they are all gone.

Genius marketing and they won’t lose a dollar of revenue seats

24 Feb 2023

Total posts 1

The website has been a shambles since (at least) yesterday.  Those 500 errors are beyond annoying.  Having said that, I did manage to get a couple of business class rewards seats to Singapore (seats which were nowhere to be seen before today).  Plenty of pressing back, then refreshing the screen, entering/re-entering the same info - painful and a bit stressful when it takes at least 10 attempts to get past the payment screen and it took around 20 of the above steps to get to the final screen!!!  

Glad I got there in the end but surely it shouldn't be this difficult!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Nov 2021

Total posts 1

From One Mile at A Time:

>Update: There actually is a fair bit of award availability for travel as of July 2023, including in first class, and it’s bookable through partners. It’s not showing up on American’s website yet, but you can search award availability on British Airways’ website or ExpertFlyer, and then it’s bookable via the American call center. I just managed to ticket a couple of SYD-LAX first class awards. This is pretty exciting, as many dates even have two first class award seats!

I was able to book a Business SYD to DFW flight as well as change a previously booked DFW to Sydney Premium Econ flight to Business. I had to call Qantas support to do the change as my ticket was still processing, but they handled it gracefully. I thought about changing a different DFW to SYD flight in Business to DFW-LAX-SYD in First, but frankly I'd rather avoid another leg and save some points.

Yes the system is crashing under a heavy load, but you can get around it by using ExpertFlyer or British Airways to find availability and calling to book.

So yeah, Qantas isn't my favorite airline for booking, but its not as dire as some people make it out to be.

I have very few Qantas points and attribute all of my miles to AA. Its much cheaper to use for QF flights and you achieve all the status.

I had to use chat through AA but in the last hour booked return flights from SYD to SFO returning from LAX in biz in August for two people. 320k AA miles and about $150 in taxes all up for both of us.

SYD to Asia is 40k for biz and 50k for F with very low taxes. Didnt see much in the way of flights to HK/SIN from here but still see some decent availability in J and F to SFO, LAX from syd and mel and back. Mostly Aug, Oct and Nov. 

Another option is if Alaska is holding a sale (usually they are) you can buy their points to fly qantas. 55k to fly biz to aus with a stopover included.... No brainer compared to actually using QF points (which I find are mostly useless). Just because  you are in OZ doesnt mean you have to beholden to qantas. 

Lmc
Lmc

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Nov 2018

Total posts 105

Was lucky enough to get through after after multiple attempts…. Mel to CGK booked business. Very frustrating but all booked so ok

05 Jan 2023

Total posts 1

The media campaign was a success, shame and fail about their tech not being able to cope! millions of frequent flyers all trying to book flights with points only to be met with page errors. Tried calling and hours later got through only to be told nothing available, seats already taken for what my family were chasing. Feel sorry for the Qantas call centres over past 72 hours, really earning their money.


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