Qantas rejigs international fares: how the changes will affect you

By Chris C., November 28 2013
Qantas rejigs international fares: how the changes will affect you

Qantas is overhauling its international fares, with a streamlined set of ticket types going on sale next month for travel from February next year.

While many of the changes centre on ticket booking classes – or in the lexicon of travel agents, 'fare buckets' – they ripple out to impact on flight upgrades, as well as introducing new combo fares and a 'no show' penalty.

These changes – flagged for tickets to the Americas, South Africa, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Philippines and New Caledonia – logically follow those already made to destinations in the Qantas/Emirates Joint Coordination Agreement (JCA) network earlier in the year.

Here's a rundown of what you need to know.

New fare families

The existing fare types will be replaced by new ‘fare families’ – including Flex, Semi Flex, Saver and Sale – across the various cabin types.

The new business and first class fares will be available for purchase from December 11 2013, while the economy and premium economy fares are on offer from December 4, with all fares applicable to travel from February 16 2014.

Flight upgrades

Qantas' current set of ‘Red e-Deals’ are comprised of both upgradeable and non-upgradeable fare classes – making it difficult for travellers to know whether or not they’ll be able to try their hand at a points upgrade to premium economy or business class on any given international flight.

(Bear in mind that frequent flyers can request upgrades on most economy fares, with the exception of those in the E, N, O, Q and X fare buckets.)

Qantas is simplifying this by splitting out all non-upgradable tickets into its new Sale group, which will draw fares from the N, Q and O buckets, while X continues to correspond with award seats, and E is included during very heavily discounted sales.

As a result, frequent flyers will not be able to upgrade to premium economy or business from any Sale fare.

Upgrades will be possible only on Saver, Semi Flex and Flex fares.

Mixed-class itineraries

The changes will also allow passengers to book two different cabins on the same ticket – for example, flying from Melbourne to Los Angeles in first class, with the return Los Angeles-Melbourne leg in business class.

These ‘combination fares’ allow you to split your travel into pairs of either economy and premium economy or business and first class – so another example would be economy on the daytime flight from Sydney to Hong Kong, but the more comfortable premium economy on the overnight leg from Hong Kong to Sydney.

However, you can't fly one leg in economy or premium economy and another in business or first.

This means that a mixed-class ticket won't be available on the Asian routes operated by Airbus A330 aircraft, which don't have premium economy – so you could only split your travel into economy/business which is not permitted.

Flight change and cancellation fees

Fees for changing your travel plans are being simplified across the fare families, while a new ‘no show’ fee will be charged when making adjustments after missing your flight.

A ‘no show’ is defined by the airline as “a passenger not having checked-in for the relevant sector as shown on their booking, without prior notification to the airline of a change or cancellation of that sector in accordance with the applicable fare conditions”.

Travellers in business and first class will soon be bound by the following change and cancellation fees (including the ‘no show’ fee) for travel booked after the changes take place in mid-December.

Click the table below to enlarge the image.

Similar changes will be made to the economy and premium economy fees:

Child fares

If a family holiday is on the agenda, note that child fares (for ages 2-11) will increase to 90% of the adult price in business class and hit the full adult price in first class.

Fares will remain at 75% of the economy prices for youngsters down the back, while fares for lap infants (aged 2 and under) will avoid change and cancellation fees, maintaining their current 10% cost.

For advanced flyers

If you’re planning to credit your travels to AAdvantage or a different oneworld frequent flyer program, you may find the following information useful to help calculate your potential mileage haul.

Under the changes, the new fare buckets will align as follows:







Y, B


J, C


Semi Flex

H, K





S, L, M





N, Q, O, E









Full details on the changes are available on the Qantas website.

How will these changes impact your travel on the Flying Kangaroo? Share your thoughts with readers by leaving a comment below!

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Thank you Chris for that little table. Very handy!


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 732

Excellent article Chris and indeed, the addition of the table for AA (or other OW) earning is very useful, thanks!


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 732

on a different note, there appears to be a bug in the comment capability....

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 259

I don't understand why QF make it so difficult to do a mixed class itinerary. EK allow an F/Y, J/Y, F/J itinerary, why not QF for F/Y, F/W, J/Y, J/W?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1377

Not offering a mixed fare on the economy/business only A330s seems to be a big mistake, particularly when QFs modus operandi is day flight up and night flight back.

QF is already had a disadvantage to CX who offers multiple flights and thus day/day combinations for those time rich, but who can't stand Y overnight.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2199

I know right? Bit miffed by this, and by the lack of Premium Economy on the A330s, something I've whinged about a lot.

As someone whose primary use of QFi is to get to SIN, this is a sore point.

02 Jan 2013

Total posts 142

Anyone else confused?

What are you confused by Broderick?

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

Seems QF is determined to expand its price gouging ways on the one hand and align more with Emirates on the other - it's just a matter of time before QFi is subsumed into the EK juggernaut (not that I have a problem with that - just save us from the simpering stupidity of Australia's newly elected worst treasurer in history in the process).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Sep 2012

Total posts 131

I think I was sitting next to a bloke in J recently from DXB to SYD from some consultancy who was banging away on his laptop most of the flight who was reveiwing this detail.

I managed to spy on a few of his PPT pages (the ones in big writing anyhow) which was reviewing their pricing. 

The part about split class bookings was one of those pages!

So much for privacy in Business class! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 57

Has anyone booked mixed fares on the routes yet?  The QF web page still refers to single types but shows the new internationall fare groups. 

15 Oct 2015

Total posts 6

Not sure if this is well known or not, but has anyone seeking to buy a cheaper one-way flight considered buying the outbound leg on the 'Sale Price' and booking the return on the 'Fully Flex' fare, and then cancelling the return after completing the outbound leg? 

I can't see anything in the fare conditions that says this is not allowed, or have I missed something?

It seems a hell of a lot cheaper than a standard one way fare which can often be more than a return,

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