Qantas expands frequent flyer upgrades on LATAM, Aircalin

By Chris Chamberlin, January 19 2018
Qantas expands frequent flyer upgrades on LATAM, Aircalin

Qantas Frequent Flyer members can now use Qantas Points for an upgrade to business class on Aircalin flights from Sydney and Brisbane to Noumea (New Caledonia), and on LATAM Airlines flights from Melbourne to Santiago (Chile).

There’s just one catch – points-based upgrades are only available on flights booked under a Qantas codeshare flight number: so book with Aircalin on the normal SB flight number or with LATAM on an LA-coded flight and you’ll be stuck flying in economy.

The ‘magic’ flight numbers to book are QF361/QF362 between Sydney and Noumea, QF363/QF364 between Brisbane and Noumea and QF5027/QF5028 between Melbourne and Santiago, which can be booked via the Qantas website.

Between Sydney and Noumea, you’ll part with 11,000 points for a one-way business class upgrade from an economy Flex fare; 20,000 points on an economy Saver ticket or 26,000 points if your initial economy class flight was booked using Qantas Points as a Classic Flight Reward.

As with Qantas’ own international flights and selected codeshare flights on other routes, journeys booked on the least-expensive economy Sale fares are ineligible for upgrades – so if you’re planning to move forward into business class, consider purchasing a Saver fare or higher:

On journeys between Brisbane and Noumea, just 8,500 Qantas Points could see you upgraded from an economy Flex fare, with 15,000 Qantas Points required for a business class upgrade from economy Saver tickets and 18,000 Qantas Points on economy Classic Flight Reward tickets.

Further afield, trekking between Melbourne and Santiago attracts an asking price of 49,500 Qantas Points to upgrade from an economy Flex fare, 90,000 Qantas Points from an economy Saver fare and an even 100,000 Qantas Points if travelling on an economy Classic Flight Reward booking secured on the Qantas QF flight number.

As with all international flight upgrades in the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, these codeshare upgrades are also subject to availability in the days before departure, and aren’t guaranteed in advance, being a ‘request’ that’s considered shortly before you fly.

Since April 2015, Qantas Frequent Flyer members have also been able to upgrade to business class aboard LATAM Airlines’ flights between Sydney and Santiago via Auckland, when booking the journey as a Qantas codeshare flight.

Read: Qantas launches frequent flyer upgrades on LATAM

However, points-based upgrades with Emirates continue to be unavailable to Qantas Frequent Flyer members, even as regulatory approval for the Qantas+Emirates partnership comes up for renewal in March.

Read: No frequent flyer upgrades in renewed Qantas+Emirates partnership

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2015

Total posts 78

90k to upgrade from Economy Saver to Business one way? Ouch. Given that these Economy Saver fares aren't exactly cheap, this seems like quite bad value (eg you would probably pay $2000 for a return flight plus 180k in points!). LATAM have a decent business class product on their 787s but I think a much better option would be to book a Premium Economy ticket on Qantas' Sydney-Santiago service which is typically a similar price to an Economy Saver ticket. This would give you the advantage of earning more points and status credits and requires almost half the points for an upgrade to Business.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 95

I must say that I was distinctly unimpressed with the quality of the LATAM J class product when I last used it about 12 months ago. I would say that the hard product is surprisingly flawed for such a new aircraft (789) and the soft product left a lot to be desired.


LATAM also has quite a way to go with ensuring that staff are conversant in the world language. It doesn't cut the mustard where you have staff who can only speak about 3 words of English.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2015

Total posts 78

I must have had better luck than you as every time I have flown Santiago to Auckland the crew have been fantastic and have had impeccable English. The LATAM Brasil/TAM staff on the other hand often don't speak a single word of English.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Jul 2015

Total posts 40

What didn't you like about the hard product Covvers? I personally enjoy it and find the seat much more comfortable than the QF 747 Skybed they offer to Santiago. I'd also rate the LATAM 787 J seat above QF's A330 Business Suite and Finnair's A350 reverse herringbone offerings for comfort and space.


The only downside is the 2-2-2 config for me as a solo business traveler. Although QF also don't cater for solo travelers on this route either with 2-3-2, so unless you want to go the long way with Emirates or wait until Qatar put the QSuites on the DOH>GRU leg, you have to get used to having a stranger next to you.

A note on the LATAM crew, I found them to be very authentic and their English comprehension was very good. As I understand LATAM crew are expected to speak Spanish, Portuguese and English, I found it very impressive when they were greeting all the passengers in the business cabin and seamlessly switching between languages.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 95

Newbie, I do not disagree that it is superior to the QF744 Skybed product. In my view, it still falls well short of the quality of other modern J class products. The Skybed II is a very aged product now and, as such, it cannot be fairly compared to what LATAM is offering in relatively new aircraft.


In terms of the hard product, I have found the seats to be restrictively narrow and generally uncomfortable. Privacy is fairly non existent. Moreover, as you acknowledge, a 2-2-2 configuration is absurd for a new J class fit out.

I obviously understand that it is somewhat unfair to compare LATAM with the "first world" carriers. They are, in fairness, doing well for a Latin American carrier. However, for a J class customer, I think they have a long way to go to match it with the best.

Good to hear that some others have had better experience with the crew. The staffers on the flights I have taken have all been ex-LAN (Chile). On my most recent flight, there was only one staffer who was fluent in Portugese, so I daresay they have someway to go in better integrating the LAN and TAM organizations to ensure that they truly are a pan South American carrier.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Jul 2015

Total posts 40

Thanks for your reply Covvers. Another important point to consider is the value for money proposition that LATAM offer. You can regularly get Business Class return fares for under $5k to main ports like SCL, GRU, BOG and beyond. Whereas Qatar or Emirates from what I've seen, are usually around ~$8k on the same dates. For me I'm happy to take the minimum downsides on the LATAM experience and put the $3k in my back pocket.

I think LATAM does a great job of serving their target market and I agree with your comments around them being a South American carrier. Although some would say Avianca is ahead of them with a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone product on their 787s. I'd love to see them fly to Australia one day. LATAM is also under pressure from Gol, who has announced expansion to the US with the 737 MAX.

When I describe the service as authentic, it truly is what you would expect in South American hospitality, at least in my experience. This may be unusual for people used to the 'chatty' Qantas service. I think i may be in the minority from reading other comments on this site, but I'm more than happy for a quick hello and then to be left alone, I don't like to be drawn in to 10-15 minutes of small talk which always feels insincere anyway.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2015

Total posts 78

Out of interest, has anyone had luck upgrading on LATAMs Auckland-Santiago sector, or do they only upgrade you if you are booked on the Syd-Auckland-Santiago leg? I notice that the Auckland-Santiago leg hasn't been loaded into Qantas' upgrades calculator (nor has the Melbourne-Santiago leg).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1248

From memory I think you must be booked all the way from SYD to SCL (or vv).

100k extra on top of whatever it costs to book a classic award between SCL and MEL???

You can book a business class award for 104k QF points!


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