Upgrade to a Qantas first class suite for 17,100 frequent flyer points

By David Flynn, January 30 2018

Here's what has to be the best value for your Qantas frequent flyer points: upgrading from premium economy seat to a Qantas first class suite for a little over 17,000 points.

Yes, it comes with a few caveats – and this works best if you're a Platinum or Platinum One frequent flyer – but it's a brilliant bump-up all the same, so here's the deal.

The route: Sydney-Hong Kong

Qantas has two daily flights between Sydney and Hong Kong, and through until March 1, one of those flights features the airline's flagship Airbus A380 – replete with its 14 spacious first class suites – to help cater with high seasonal demand.

The flight: QF117/QF118

The A380 is being rostered onto the daily QF117/QF118 service, although it's not going to appear every day – on some days of the week, when there's less demand, QF117/QF118 will be on a Boeing 747.

So if you want to take advantage of this amazing upgrade deal, check the schedule when you're booking and make sure your flights are on the superjumbo.

The initial booking: premium economy

Premium economy is often considered a sweet spot in value – more affordable than business class but more comfortable than economy – and indeed, the corporate travel policy of many Australian companies doesn't permit business class on flights of less than ten hours (a deliberate demarkation intended to exclude most of Asia).

And as premium economy goes, Qantas does pretty well with wide seats, ample legroom and decent meals.

The upgrade: business class

On Qantas flights between Sydney and Hong Kong, an upgrade from premium economy to business class will set you back just 27,500 frequent flyer points if you book a premium economy discount or 'sale' fare.

Assuming you're a Qantas Platinum-grade frequent flyer, this fare will earn you 10,400 points on the one-way trip – pegging the actual cost of the upgrade (the difference between those two figures) at 17,100 Qantas Points.

You must have 27,500 Qantas Points in your account in order to get the upgrade, of course, but the net cost based on the total earn-and-burn is 17,100 points.

(Gold frequent flyers are looking at 9,100 points earned, so the net upgrade cost nudges north to 18,400 points.)

If you book a more expensive 'standard' premium economy fare the earning rates will also be slightly higher but the cost of an upgrade somewhat lower – in the case of a Platinum frequent flyer, you're looking at 11,700 points earnt on the flight and 25,000 points burnt on the upgrade, for an all-in difference of 13,300 points.

Either way, you've now scored yourself one of these seats on the upper deck of the A380.

But there's an even better way to spend those nine-odd hours above the clouds – in one of the superjumbo's well-appointed first class suites.

Of course, if you're already booked into business class you won't need to bother about the upgrade process and can proceed straight to obtaining a free bump into the first class cabin.

The seat selection trick: hello, first class!

Qantas' regular Sydney-Hong Kong flights on the Airbus A330 and Boeing 747 don't have first class – they top out with business class - so when the Airbus A380 is on this route, Qantas doesn't sell first class as, well, first class.

But rather than leave the first class cabin empty, Qantas treats those suites as if they're just part of business class.

Passengers in those 14 luxe cribs enjoy the same meals, wine and service as their business class counterparts upstairs, but of course that's all done in a much more comfortable environment.

Once your request for an upgrade from premium economy to business class has come through, it's then a matter of choosing one of the 14 first class suites from the seat selection screen in the Qantas app or website, rather than the picking one of the usual business class pews.

Top-tier travellers get first dibs at the suites: this includes Platinum One and Platinum frequent flyers, along with Chairman's Lounge members. Simply click anywhere between row 1 and row 5 and you're set.

Everybody else can see only the standard business class cabin (rows 11-22) when it comes to selecting their seat.

Roughly three days before the flight, any unoccupied first class suites can also be assigned to other passengers based on what Qantas terms their 'PCV' value – a secret, internal-only Perceived Commercial Value rating assigned to all travellers.

Much closer to the day of travel the first class cabin can 'open up' to all business class passengers regardless of status – so even if you don't have Platinum or above status, there's no harm in checking closer to the date of departure in case the first class cabin is now at your fingertips, so you can change your seat to a suite.

If you really want to make the most of this, check out our guide to choosing the best first class suites on the Qantas A380.

Have you snared one of the A380's first class suites on Qantas' recent Sydney-Hong Kong flights?

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 581

"Premium economy is often considered a sweet spot in value"

I disagree. Premium economy can cost easily double of Y but you sure as hell don't get double the value.

russell

russell

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 327

Have to say, have flown premium economy a few times and not really worth it. Would rather save the $ and fly in Y or spend extra and go J.

Theresnormissin

Theresnormissin

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 59

Great idea in theory, but in practice the success of this approach is based on the hope that a) there are not many P's or above booked in J on your flight and b) by the time your upgrade is confirmed its still ahead of the 3 days release for the High Value PCV who I'd imagine are pretty savvy to seat release times.

I don't mind QF Premium Economy which in my opinion is equivalent to the domestic business product (sans lounge). I don't have any recent experience on QF long haul J so I'm wondering if the step up is worth the net spend of 17,100k points if the First seats are already occupied? (This is not an invitation to talk about other airlines J products!)

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2336

Just sharing a data point, as this article was 'inspired' by my own recent Sydney-Hong Kong flight with Qantas, where I booked premium economy and then did the points-based upgrade to business class which came in the day before the flight – I jumped online to do seat selection in first class (by dint of my Platinum status) and the seating chart showed just five passengers in the 14-berth cabin. This to me indicates that very few people travelling in business class are aware of this 'trick' for seat selection. On the day of the flight Qantas had mostly filled the cabin by seating re-assignments at checkin, but there'd have been plenty of room for upgraders (or even savvy business class passengers) the day prior to snare a first class suite.

Theresnormissin

Theresnormissin

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 59

Oh I'm defiantly looking in to this for an upcoming trip, we'll be traveling as a couple so even being a Plat myself it does add another variable for limited seats at the front. Hence my slightly off topic follow up question ;)

Smithy

Smithy

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 54

I think David refer to the sweet spot of earning points as well in PE & the reduced amount to upgrade.

PE has better food, better seats & cabin space plus a 2 seats option versus the 747 - I note the 332/3 has 2 in Y availability.

I think PER-LHR will be okay in PE

Smithy

Smithy

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 54

Absolutely ...

Mr Miyagi Banned

Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

Super misleading title. A Plat flyer earns 10,400 regardless of whether they upgrade or not! So the cost of upgrading to 1st is 27,500 points not 17,100!

Ie. if I have 50000 points to start and take a PE flight I end up with 60400 points. If I take a 1st class flight via your upgrade method I end up with 32900 points. Difference between flying PE and 1st = 27,500! Clearly maths not your forte!

MarkJohnSon Banned

MarkJohnSon Banned

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 90

Unfortunately, I have to agree with Mr Miyagi - it is a little disingenuous for AusBT to use the "net" cost, given you are always going to earn those points if you paid for a ticket. The "cost" of the upgrade is 27,500 points.

It sure makes for a great headline, though! At the end of a day, this is a business driven on clicks.

Mr Miyagi Banned

Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

Agree. The deal at 27,500 points is pretty good already. No need to mislead with rubbish headlines.

Smithy

Smithy

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 54

... the cost from a W Class fare in the PE bucket is 22 500 net cost 10 100. From T is slightly more.

The story is about the F Class suite for a low net points use !

Mr Miyagi Banned

Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

Thank you. I am aware of what the story is about. NET COST refers to the overall points difference between being a PE customer and being an F customer upgraded via PE.

 

BMW offers a 325i for $100,000 and a cashback promotion of $10,400. They also offer you an upgrade to a 340i for $27,500 with the same cashback. What is the NET COST to upgrade from a 325i to 340i?!!

Smithy

Smithy

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 54

It is not an F Class flight .. it is access to the pseudo F cabin via a J seat.

I don't drive BMW !

Mr Miyagi Banned

Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

This discussion is lost on you...

Smithy

Smithy

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 54

no it is not ... it just with respect your calcs & statements are incorrect ...

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2336

On the maths: no argument that this is a different way to look at the cost of an upgrade, but that was part of what makes this deal. And this was exactly the trip I flew earlier this month, in fact it's what made me think "Hmm, there's an article in this..." – but the maths are exactly as detailed above because they're my own recorded net figure of 'earn+burn' (or to put it another way, burn-earn).


In the case of a Platinum frequent flyer, as called out in the article: plonk down 27,500 points for the upgrade from a premium economy 'sale' fare to business class; get back 10,400 points as your earn for the premium economy flight; so the total net cost of the upgrade, the number of points you actually part with, is 27,500 less 10,400 = 17,100.

The bump from a business class seat into a first class suite has zero cost but of course hinges on your status and the availability of suites, but as I've detailed in an earlier comment, I had zero difficulty snaring a first class suite as soon as my upgrade cleared on the morning before the flight because the first class cabin was wide open.

So this take on the maths is 'different' but it's meant to illustrate how little it actually costs for this great upgrade.

Now, let's get back to discussing the topic of the article rather than the treatment... :)

Mr Miyagi Banned

Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

I'm sorry David, but maths is not subjective. If you did not upgrade you would have an additional 10,400 points. So the fact you are DOWN 17,100 by upgrading means the NET COST to you is 27,500 points. You cannot just ignore the former point to make your numbers look good! Once you have taken the flight, you have PARTED WITH 27,500 points MORE POINTS than had you just flown PE. Claiming it is a 'net cost of 17,100 points' is not a "deal" it is a lie!

Put another way, if Qantas advertised "Upgrade SYD --> HKG from PE to J class for only 17,100 points NET" that 100% be deemed a false and misleading advertisement.

The article's point about the value of securing an F seat in J class for only 27,500 points is in itself a valuable statement. No need for clickbait headlines.

Mr Miyagi Banned

Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

Your title is clearly inferring that passengers are only 17,100 points worse off by upgrading. That is utter rubbish and entirely misleading. And as commentators have proven, your readers cannot be assumed to "do the maths" and will take your word on it.

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2336

We're clearly looking at this from two different angles, and both are valid, so let's have no more back-and-forth on this.

blart

blart

28 Aug 2016

Total posts 16

The headline says you can upgrade to F for 17,100 which is not correct. It’s a great article and a neat upgrade hack, and without this article I would not have known about it, but the headline is misleading by definition, because when I clicked on it I thought it was going to show me how to do it for 17,000 points, but it takes 27,500. I was mislead, therefore it was misleading and your intention isn’t what defines misleading.

Smithy

Smithy

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 54

the Upgrade is to J ... Business Claass not First :)

AT

AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 259

First class....slowly slipping away.

OCA

OCA

11 Nov 2014

Total posts 11

[Comment deleted as it was not relevant to the subject and added no value to the conversation]

Sr Batrill

Sr Batrill

04 Dec 2017

Total posts 25

David you've flown enough to know Qantas really doesn't offer a true premium First Class service. Thus your point where you are still served Business Class food is amusing considering the First Class service is only Business Class in standard at the best of times with QF on the A380.

Covvers

Covvers

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 96

I have to say I am getting really tired of people making comments about the QF F product not being a "true" F class product. These comments are getting made all the time and, in the most part, are made without any real relevance or context.

I think most people in this community are aware about the QF F product involves. If they aren't, Chris and David have posted a number of helpful reviews which would allow themselves to be educated.

I get it people, F on QF is not up to the standard of F on a lot of other carriers. We do not need to keep hearing about it. It is, nevertheless, the F product that QF offers.

Mr Miyagi Banned

Mr Miyagi Banned

18 Jan 2018

Total posts 63

It’s a consumer product/service being marketed against other comparable products/services.

Pretty sure it’s reasonable for consumers to give their opinions on it.

Covvers

Covvers

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 96

Sir,

Of course it is reasonable for consumers to do so. Unfortunately, we have the same few "broken records" who repeat the same tired comment over and over again often on threads which are really unrelated or, at best, only peripherally so.

To be clear, I am not a QF fanboy. I use them for domestic travel because they are the only real carrier. I do not, as a matter of course, use them for international travel.

Joe

Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 387

One wonders what forums like this are meant for. If an airline is offering a product that is clearly sub standard at ludicrous airfares and still keep offering it, despite multiple reviews and comments saying the same,...well let them keep hearing it! Also let potential pax who are about to waste hard earned money and or points know it's still not worth it. We can live in hope that qantas brainiacs are reading this and heed the feedback one day. Don't hold your breath.

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