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How many points do you need to upgrade to business class with Qantas and Velocity?

Want to fly business class without forking out extra cash? Here's how many Qantas or Velocity Points it takes to get to the front of the plane.

Flying in the luxury of business class can be twice as much as an economy fare – or more in some cases. But you can use frequent flyer points to book new business class flights or request an upgrade to an existing flight.

So, let's take a look at how many points you need with Qantas and Velocity (the 2 biggest frequent flyer programs in Australia).

Qantas Frequent Flyer

qantas-new-logoQantas Classic Flight Rewards give you a way to book a new business class flight using points. To give you an idea, here's how many Qantas Points you need to fly one way from Australia to popular international destinations:

  • Melbourne to London: 144,600 Qantas Points
  • Melbourne to Auckland: 41,500 Qantas Points
  • Sydney to Los Angeles: 108,400 Qantas Points
  • Sydney to Denpasar (Bali): 57,000 Qantas Points
  • Adelaide to Delhi: 94,900 Qantas Points
  • Brisbane to Queenstown: 41,500 Qantas Points

Source: Qantas Points Calculators, accessed 13 July 2022.

If you're flying domestically, business class reward flights range from 18,400 to 41,500 Qantas Points:

  • Sydney to Melbourne: 18,400 Qantas Points
  • Sydney to Brisbane: 18,400 Qantas Points
  • Melbourne to Perth: 41,500 Qantas Points

Key details
The distance travelled and whether it's a Qantas or partner flight are 2 big factors for the number of points needed for a Classic Flight Reward.

As with most flight rewards, there is limited availability. So the earlier you look, the better your chances of getting a business class reward.

🔥 Hot tip: If you want to see where your points can take you now, Qantas has a points calculator on its website.

How many Qantas Points do you need for an international upgrade to business class?

If you've paid for an overseas flight with Qantas, you can request the upgrade any time after it's confirmed, up to 10 hours before your flight leaves. This table shows how many points you need to upgrade to business class based on example routes and ticket classes.

Example route (one-way)Economy to Business UpgradeFlexible Economy to Business UpgradePremium Economy to Business Upgrade
Melbourne to London130,800 Qantas Points71,900 Qantas Points65,400 Qantas Points
Melbourne to Los Angeles98,100 Qantas Points54,000 Qantas Points49,100 Qantas Points
Perth to London109,000 Qantas Points60,000 Qantas Points54,500 Qantas Points
Sydney to New York130,800 Qantas Points71,900 Qantas Points65,400 Qantas Points
Sydney to Delhi76,300 Qantas Points42,000 Qantas Points38,200 Qantas Points

Source: Qantas Points Calculators, accessed 13 July 2022.

Key details

You can request an international Classic Upgrade Reward for Qantas flights with a QF number from 1-299 and QF350-389. Upgrades are subject to availability and preference is given to frequent flyer members with Platinum and Gold status.

Qantas economy and premium economy fares can typically be upgraded to business class. But you can't usually get an upgrade from the following:

  • Codeshare flights that have a QF flight number (unless this option is made available through Qantas Loyalty).
  • Discounted Qantas international airfares, including Points Plus Pay flights booked in E, N, O and Q.
  • Business class Classic Reward Flights if there are other flights on your booking that are not Classic Reward Flights.
🔥 Hot tip: Check that you have enough Qantas Points for the upgrade at the time you request it – you can use the calculator on the Qantas website or ask when you phone to request the upgrade.

How many Qantas Points do you need for a domestic upgrade to business class?

The Qantas Classic Rewards Upgrade service also lets you request an upgrade from economy class to business class on eligible Australian domestic flights with a QF flight number.

Example route (one-way)Classic Flight Reward fare (Economy) to Business UpgradeDiscount Economy to Business UpgradeFlexible Economy to Business Upgrade
Melbourne to Sydney13,000 Qantas Points10,900 Qantas Points5,400 Qantas Points
Sydney to Brisbane13,000 Qantas Points10,900 Qantas Points5,400 Qantas Points
Brisbane to Melbourne19,600 Qantas Points19,000 Qantas Points8,100 Qantas Points
Sydney to Perth28,300 Qantas Points27,200 Qantas Points10,900 Qantas Points

Source: Qantas Points Calculators, accessed 13 July 2022.

Note that if you request a Classic Upgrade Reward for an itinerary that includes an international and a domestic leg with the same flight number, this will be treated as an international Classic Upgrade Reward.

Bid Now Upgrades

Bid Now Upgrades let you choose how much you want to pay for an upgrade on an eligible flight. You can use cash or a combination of points and cash, with a minimum amount set by Qantas.

Qantas sends out email invitations when your flight is eligible for a Bid Now Upgrade. You can also check eligibility on the Qantas website.

Bid Now Upgrades are available up to 5 hours before your flight’s departure. Approval is at Qantas’s discretion, and you’ll know the outcome of your bid between 24 and 4.5 hours before your flight.

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velocity-frequent-flyer-200x100

Velocity Frequent Flyer

You can book Velocity Business Reward Seats for flights with Virgin Australia and select airline partners – including United Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Air Canada. Here are some examples of how many points you'd need for an international flight:

  • Melbourne to London: 139,000 Velocity Points (flying with partner Etihad)
  • Melbourne to Queenstown: 35,500 Velocity Points (with Virgin Australia)
  • Sydney to Los Angeles: 95,500 Velocity Points (with Virgin Australia/United)
  • Sydney to Fiji (Nadi): 35,500 Velocity Points (with Virgin Australia)
  • Adelaide to Delhi: 92,000 Velocity Points (flying with partner Singapore Airlines)
  • Brisbane to Queenstown: 35,500 Velocity Points (with Virgin Australia)

Source: Velocity website, accessed 13 July 2022

As Virgin Australia currently has a smaller international network, we've included details about which partner airlines the international Business Reward Seats would be booked with based on flight searches in July 2022.

The network in Australia is much larger, and the points you'd need for Virgin Australia Business Reward Seats range from 15,500 to 35,500 Velocity Points:

  • Sydney to Melbourne: 15,500 Velocity Points
  • Brisbane to Perth: 35,500 Velocity Points
  • Hobart to Brisbane: 23,500 Velocity Points

Key details

Similar to Qantas, the number of Velocity Points you'll need to book a business class flight will depend on your travel route. You can use the points tables on the Velocity website to see how many points you'll need to book your flight.

International flight upgrades with Velocity Points

Currently, Velocity only offers business class upgrades on eligible trans-Tasman and international short-haul flights. For example, Sydney to Fiji or Melbourne to Queenstown.

These upgrades are only available for Platinum Velocity members, who get 4 complimentary upgrade credits as part of their membership. This means you don't need points for an upgrade, but you would need to have a Flex fare class on the flight to request an upgrade.

Domestic flight upgrades to business class with Velocity Points

You can request an upgrade to business class for domestic Virgin Australia flights with a VA flight number when you’ve booked on a Choice or Flex fare. You can do this through the UpgradeMe Points service, which applies the following point rates depending on where you are flying and the type of ticket you have.

One-Way MilesUpgrade from Choice fareUpgrade from Flex fare
0-600 (e.g. Sydney to Melbourne)10,000 Velocity Points4,900 Velocity Points
601-1,200 (e.g. Melbourne to Sunshine Coast)17,500 Velocity Points7,400 Velocity Points
1,201-2,400 (e.g. Brisbane to Perth)30,000 Velocity Points9,900 Velocity Points
2,401-3,60035,000 Velocity Points14,900 Velocity Points

Source: Velocity Redeem points to upgrade flights, accessed 13 July 2022.

Velocity also provides 2 other ways to request business class upgrades on domestic flights.

  1. UpgradeMe Premium Bid. If you’re a Virgin Australia guest travelling on an eligible flight but don’t have enough points for a business upgrade, you can use dollars to place a “bid” for the chance to upgrade to business class.
  2. UpgradeMe Platinum Member Offer. Velocity Platinum members can use their 4 complimentary fare upgrades for eligible domestic flights as well as trans-Tasman and international short-haul flights. Note that you can only upgrade from Flex fares.

Finder survey: What are the main features Australians consider when choosing a frequent flyer credit card?

ResponseGen ZGen YGen XBaby Boomers
Bonus points8.99%14.67%9.54%8.24%
Points per $1 spent6.74%13.32%11.18%13.92%
Annual fee5.62%11.41%8.22%14.2%
Airport lounge access3.37%5.98%6.91%3.69%
Complimentary insurance3.37%5.71%4.28%6.25%
Status credits3.37%2.72%1.64%1.42%
Interest rate2.25%6.79%2.3%2.84%
Interest-free days1.12%2.72%3.29%3.41%
Other travel benefits (e.g. flight or travel credit)1.12%1.9%0.99%2.84%
The bank or brand1.12%0.54%0.99%0.57%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1113 Australians, December 2023

5 tips to get enough points for business class

1. Plan ahead

Business class reward seats are limited and sell out quickly. You can typically book up to 11 months in advance, so planning for flights within the next year gives you a better chance of scoring a business class seat with points.

It also means you'll know how many points you need to get the business class flight, giving you time to earn more if you don't have enough yet.

2. Consider a frequent flyer credit card with a sign-up bonus

Many reward credit cards offer bonus points for new customers, usually when you spend a set amount in the first few months. Some cards offer 100,000 bonus frequent flyer points (or more), so it could even be enough to cover a business class reward flight or upgrade.

When you're looking at frequent flyer credit cards with sign-up offers, make sure you check the fine print for the offer – including how long it takes to get the points once you meet the requirements. And check that the rest of the card's features will work for you.

3. Only upgrade part of your flight

If your travel plans involve connecting flights, you might be able to upgrade to business class using points for just one part of the trip.

For example, if you're travelling from Melbourne to Los Angeles and have a stopover in Sydney, you might be able to fly economy for the domestic flight, but then upgrade to business for the longer, international leg of your journey. This requires fewer points and can sometimes offer better availability than trying to upgrade or book an entire trip in business class.

4. Check out frequent flyer program partners

Both Qantas and Velocity have a wide range of program partners that earn you points for your travel and everyday spending.

You'll also be able to earn points with airline partners to help boost your balance for a future business class trip.

5. Pay for a business class ticket

While it's more expensive to book a business class fare than a standard economy or premium economy fare, you'll have the chance to earn more frequent flyer points and status credits.

That could pay off in the future when you want to upgrade airfares with Qantas or Virgin using points and may help you achieve gold, silver or platinum status.

Want more tips for earning points? See Finder's guides to Qantas Frequent Flyer and Velocity Frequent Flyer. Or, compare the latest credit card bonus point offers here.

Images: Finder

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    DonnaMarch 4, 2019

    I have 560,000 Qantas points and I want to fly from Sydney to London business class. What is the best way to do this?

      AvatarFinder
      JoshuaMarch 6, 2019Finder

      Hi Donna,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. 😃

      Upon checking, you would need 256,000 Qantas Points to fly business class from Sydney to London with Qantas. However, this figure could vary based on factors such as on the fees and taxes, as well as whether you fly with Qantas or a partner airline. You can check the exact points you need by logging into the official website of Qantas. That is also the best way to book your flight using your points.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

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