Qantas is unleashing a flood of seats which can be be booked using frequent flyers points at the airline's lowest rates, covering domestic and international flights over the coming 12 months.
It's a rare chance to turn your pile of Qantas Points – a stash that's probably been steadily growing throughout the pandemic, thanks to strategic use of a Qantas-partnered credit card – into your pick of seats on that long-awaited holiday.
Qantas says it will unlock "up to 50% more reward seat availability on Qantas international, trans-Tasman and popular domestic routes until the end of 2022" from 7am Tuesday October 19, with those seats falling into the Classic Flight Reward category.
Why now’s the time to book with points
One reason that now is when 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.
More Classic Flight Reward seats being opened up means your 'point budget' can stretch a lot further.
Also in your favour: in pre-pandemic times, when everyone was flying everywhere, savvy travellers would snap up those limited Classic Flight Reward seats almost a year in advance.
But the game's now changed, and the halting restart of overseas travel combined with the availability of extra Classic Flight Reward seats means there's also a better chance of snaring two, three or even four seats on the same flight, if you're travelling with your partner or your family.
Qantas says it has "millions of seats available across international and domestic routes to be booked with points."
As a quick benchmark, here are the Classic Flight Reward rates for a number of Qantas destinations from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, based on a one-way flight.
|New Zealand, Fiji||18,000 points||31,000 points||41,500 points|
|Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok||25,200 points||51,300 points||68,400 points|
|Honolulu||31,500 points||61,500 points||82,000 points|
|Los Angeles, Vancouver||41,900 points||81,300 points||108,400 points|
|London||55,200 points||108,400 points||144,600 points|
Not shown above is first class on the Qantas Airbus A380s, which will return to the Sydney-Los Angeles route from July 1, 2022 – one of these superjumbo suites will set you back 162,800 Qantas Points.
International Classic Flight Reward bookings also attract a surcharge of assorted taxes and fees, which can range from around $130-$500 depending on your destination and class of travel.
Qantas flights to Fiji, Singapore, Honolulu, Tokyo and Canada are currently slated to resume from December 18, with other destinations such as San Francisco, Bangkok, Bali, Hong Kong, Manila, Johannesburg and Dallas expected to return by April 2022.
The airline has also scheduled flights between Australia and New Zealand to restart from mid-December 2021.
Domestic deals and ‘Points Planes’
Of course, you can go all out and book your calendar full of domestic flights as well – a quick Sydney-Melbourne or Sydney-Brisbane hop lands at 8,000 Qantas Points in economy or 18,400 points in business class, with east-west flights at 18,000 points in economy and 41,500 points in business class.
Qantas also intends to launch more 'Points Planes' flights, where every seat in every cabin on a specific flight is available to book at the same low Classic Flight Reward rates.
These will operate on a series of popular domestic and international routes as "our way of thanking our frequent flyers for their ongoing loyalty," says Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth.
Wirth says that Qantas Frequent Flyer members quickly splurged almost two billion points booking international flights in the first two weeks of those going on sale.
Qantas is waiving all fees to change or cancel international Classic Flight Reward seat bookings for travel until 31 December 2022, provided the booking is made by 28 February 2022.