Qantas offers free first class upgrades to London, Dallas, Hong Kong

By Chris C., August 11 2014
Qantas offers free first class upgrades to London, Dallas, Hong Kong

  • Pay for Qantas business class to London, Hong Kong or Dallas/Fort Worth and receive a free one-way upgrade to Qantas first class on the Airbus A380
  • Earn frequent flyer points and status credits at first class rates on your upgraded flight
  • Gold and Platinum frequent flyers will earn enough points on the trip for a second first class upgrade to either London or Hong Kong!

Qantas is now offering business class flyers a free upgrade to its A380 first class suites between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth, Hong Kong and London, along with Melbourne and London (via Dubai).

Under the “Buy Business, Get First in one direction” promotion, you can book a return business class ticket from Sydney or Melbourne to London, or Sydney to Dallas or Hong Kong and end up in Qantas’ superb first class on one leg of the journey.

As always, there are some caveats – here's what you need to know.

Free Qantas first class upgrades to Hong Kong

First class travel on Qantas flights between Sydney and Hong Kong ends on September 28, 2014. That's when the flagship A380 is taken off the route and flights switch over to a Boeing 747 without first class.

To secure your spot up the very front, just head to the Qantas website and search for business class flights through to September 28 2014.

Your free upgrade can be locked in from any paid business class fare type – even the cheapest Business Sale seats – giving travellers one last chance to experience first class to Asia on the Red Roo.

If the deal is available on your flight, you’ll see the First Sale fare type available for no more than the cheapest business class ticket…

… and don’t worry – you’ll still get a business class Skybed on the flight home.

If you’d instead prefer the more opulent first class suite for your overnight shuteye, just opt for business class out of Sydney and first class on the return.

Either way, the first class segment is locked in from the moment you book – so you won’t need to sweat it out as though you were using Qantas Points to upgrade to first class.

You’ll also pick up both points and status credits at the first class rates on the upgraded sector.

Even when flying back on a mere Business Sale fare, a Gold-level frequent flyer nets a respectable 26,000 points, while a Platinum member can pocket a higher 28,600 points.

To sweeten the deal, it’s only 25,000 points for a first class upgrade between Sydney and Hong Kong, which gives these travellers a square chance of making the entire round-trip journey a truly first class sojourn.

Free Qantas first class upgrades to London

Like Hong Kong, upgrades to London can be had on any fare type, and are up for grabs for travel between August 15 2014 and January 30 2015.

One thing to note with the London freebie is that you can't split your booking with Qantas first class in one direction and business class on QF-coded Emirates flights on the return – it's valid only when flying on QF1 or QF9 to London, and QF2 or QF10 back home.

Even then, you'll want to check the prices in both directions before choosing which flight to upgrade.

As we found, QF9 had the cheapest fares in the Business Sale fare family, whereas the 'free' first class upgrade actually matched the Business Saver cost...

 ... but on the return, that 'free' upgrade was actually presented as nearly $400 less than the lowest business class fare.

Even so, you'll need to watch the overall price of your ticket as you make your selections to be sure you're getting the best deal.

For example, it's possible to pair the $3,993 Business Sale fare on QF9 with the $5,058 Business Saver type on QF10 for a grand total of $9,051 in business class.

However, when you opt for first class on QF10, that great QF9 Business Sale fare jumps by $275 to $4,268:

Overall you're up for $8,931, which gets you business class from Melbourne to London and first class on the full London-Dubai-Melbourne trek home.

That's actually $120 less than the cheapest return business fare to enjoy a mix of business and first class, but it's not quite the $8,656 that the booking engine would have you believe at first glance.

On the return journey, Gold and Platinum frequent flyers earn 62,000 and 68,200 points, respectively, along with 700 status credits.

With a one-way upgrade from business class to First between Melbourne and London coming in at just 60,000 points, that's again more than enough to turn your regular visit to London into something more enjoyable in first class.

First class on the Qantas Airbus A380
First class on the Qantas Airbus A380

New members would also see their status skyrocket from Bronze to Gold in the return trip, provided they take at least two more QF-coded flights in the same membership year.

Once you've got your head around it all, be quick – these London fares vanish at 11:59pm on Sunday, August 31.

Free Qantas first class upgrades to Dallas/Fort Worth

Qantas will upgrade its flights between Sydney and Dallas to the Airbus A380 from September 29, although under this promotion you’ll need to book by August 31 for travel from September 29 2014 through to July 31 2015.

You'll also have to book your business class leg using the more expensive Business Flex and Business Saver fare types, rather than the Business Sale category which can be over $2,000 cheaper that those primo fares.

Here, we’ll opt for business class on the way over…

… and first class on the return:

When combined, you’ll see your upgraded flight confirmed before you book:

Again with a mix of Business Saver and First, Gold frequent flyers can earn 45,000 points on the dot, while Platinum frequent flyers would see 49,500 points all up: just 500 points shy of another upgrade to first class between Sydney and Dallas.

But, when booking the business class leg as a Business Flex fare, the haul for a Platinum member just creeps over the 50,000-point line to a total of 51,750 points – enough for a first class bump-up on the journey home!

Start your first class voyage with a little reading:

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Chris C.

A former contributor to Executive Traveller, Chris 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.

No free lunches,  especially with QF.  They make you pay a higher fare for the J direction so that YOU subsidise your own upgrade. When I happened to be looking late last week (before this article) I did notice this deal and tired to make a booking. No matter what, they are determined that only they win. They do not understand the WIN/WIN principle.

22 Jul 2011

Total posts 96

I stand to be corrected, but this type of promo was pioneered by BA - and they typically specify only certain fares for the promotion, so I don't think Qantas is being tricky or unfair. I just like the fact that Qantas is (finally) being a bit more innovative (or at least copying others) with their promotions. More please.

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2566

Hi radic00l,

Both Qantas and BA have done this before – as to who was first, I couldn't really tell you!

(Exactly 12 months ago, Qantas offered a similar promo on Hong Kong flights, but you actually had to buy business class fares that were more expensive than first class to make it work!)

22 Jul 2011

Total posts 96

Thanks Chris. I booked this style promo with BA in 2010, but just wasn't sure if BA were the first to do such a thing.

I wasn't aware Qantas had. Perhaps first time they got some things wrong!

19 Jun 2012

Total posts 28

MEL/SYD-LHR is also included in this promo, why is that not reported?

15 Aug 2014

Total posts 9

What about current bookings?  We are flying SYD to LAX on 10 Oct, returning Dallas/Fort Worth to SYD on 2 Nov.

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2566

Hi paulbnz,

The booking dates for Dallas must be from August 8 through to August 31 (inclusive), so if you booked before that, the offer isn't available.

You could always see if your ticket can be changed (fees may apply), but being a multi-city ticket, you may not be eligible for this offer.

But, there's no harm in giving Qantas a call and seeing what's available to you I suppose!

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