guy_passenger_and_check_in_officer_Qantas

How to upgrade to business class with Qantas Points

Enjoy more luxury on your next flight by upgrading to business class with Qantas Points.

If you’re a Qantas Frequent Flyer member, you can use your points to request an upgrade on eligible flights you’ve already booked. As well as getting extra comfort on your flight, upgrades usually give you good value for your points. The downside is that not all requests for upgrades get approved, with factors tasuch as flight demand, your existing ticket price, your frequent flyer membership status and timing all playing a role.

Here, you can learn how the Classic Upgrade Reward option works for both domestic and international Qantas-operated flights (with a QF flight number), including how many points you’ll need for an upgrade. We also go through Bid Now Upgrades and other key details to help you make the most of Qantas Frequent Flyer’s upgrade options.

What you'll find in this guide

Qantas lounge with plum coloured seats

Domestic flight upgrades

You can request an upgrade to business class on domestic Qantas flights that have a QF flight number (shown on your ticket or online booking). If you’ve booked your ticket using Points Plus Pay or the Classic Flight Rewards option, you may also be able to upgrade, although this option is only available on selected flights.

How much does a domestic flight upgrade cost?

The number of points you’ll need largely depends on your existing fare class, flight distance and zone of travel. As a quick guide, here’s how many points you’d need to upgrade from discount or flexible economy if you were travelling on one of the top 10 domestic flight routes (based on 2017 data from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics).

Flight route Discount economy upgrade Flexible economy upgrade
Melbourne to Sydney 10,000 points 5,000 points
Brisbane to Sydney 10,000 points 5,000 points
Brisbane to Melbourne 17,500 points 7,500 points
Gold Coast to Sydney 10,000 points 5,000 points
Adelaide to Melbourne 10,000 points 5,000 points
Melbourne to Perth 25,000 points 10,000 points
Gold Coast to Melbourne 17,500 points 7,500 points
Adelaide to Sydney 17,500 points 7,500 points
Perth to Sydney 25,000 points 10,000 points
Hobart to Melbourne 10,000 points 5,000 points

In simple terms, the higher your existing fare class, the fewer points you’ll need to upgrade. For example, if you were flying between Sydney and Perth (zone 3), it would cost you 25,000 Qantas Points to upgrade from a discount economy ticket to business class, while upgrading from flexible economy would cost 10,000 Qantas Points.

You’d need even fewer points if you were upgrading to business class from premium economy or flexible premium economy. You can see full details of all the different point requirements below.

Full table of points required for a Qantas domestic Classic Upgrade Reward to business class

Zone Miles Classic Flight Reward – Economy Discount Economy Flexible Economy Classic Flight Reward – Premium Economy Discount Premium Economy Premium Economy Flexible Premium Economy
1 0-600 12,000 10,000 points 5,000 7,000 5,500 5,000 4,500
2 601-1,200 18,000 17,500 7,500 10,500 8,500 7,500 6,500
3 1,201-2,400 26,000 25,000 10,000 16,000 11,000 10,000 9,000
4 2,401-3,600 35,000 34,000 15,000 22,500 16,500 15,000 13,500

Points Finder tip

If you’re not sure of your flight’s distance, you can use the Classic Rewards Upgrade calculator on the Qantas Frequent Flyer website to find out how many points you’ll need. Just enter your flight details and existing fare class to get the results.

How to request a domestic upgrade

  1. Pay for your ticket and wait for the confirmation details. After this, you can request an upgrade at any time, up to 24 hours before the flight leaves.
  2. Log in to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account.
  3. Go to “Your Bookings” and click on “Upgrade”. If an upgrade is available, it will be confirmed straight away. If no upgrade is available, go to step 4.
  4. Register for an upgrade if one becomes available.

If you’ve used the Classic Rewards Upgrade calculator to check how many points you’ll need, you can also click on “Request Upgrade” to start this process.

Upgrade request registrations

Domestic upgrade requests are prioritised based on your frequent flyer membership status. So platinum members get first preference, then gold, silver and bronze.

If you’re a platinum or gold member, you also have the option of requesting a reward upgrade at the airport between 3 hours and 20 minutes before your flight’s scheduled departure time.

How to get higher Qantas Frequent Flyer status

flight attendant serving meal to passenger

International flight upgrades

International flight upgrades are available on Qantas-operated flights with a QF flight number between 1 and 199. Occasionally, you may also be able to use points for an upgrade on a codeshare flight that’s operated by another airline, as long as it still has a QF flight number.

But unlike domestic upgrades, you can’t request a Classic Upgrade Reward for international flights booked in discount economy (fare classes E, N, O and Q). It’s also worth noting that you won’t be able to request an upgrade with points for any booking with a ticket class of E, N, O, P or Q – which also includes some Classic Flight Rewards, Points Plus Pay and Red e-Deal fares.

How many Qantas Points do I need to upgrade on an international flight?

Similar to domestic upgrades, the number of points you’ll need is calculated based on your existing fare, the distance and the zones of travel. As the miles you travel could be affected by stopovers, the full table of points will be the most accurate guide to how many points you’ll need.

Zone Miles Classic Flight Reward – Economy Economy Flexible Economy Classic Flight Reward – Premium Economy Discount Premium Economy Premium Economy Flexible Premium Economy
1 0-600 12,000 10,000 5,500 7,000 5,500 5,000 4,500
2 601-1,200 18,000 15,000 8,500 10,500 8,500 7,500 6,500
3 1,201-2,400 26,000 20,000 11,000 16,000 11,000 10,000 9,000
4 2,401-3,600 35,000 30,000 16,500 22,500 16,500 15,000 13,500
5 3,601-4,800 54,000 50,000 27,500 36,000 27,500 25,000 22,500
6 4,801-5,800 64,000 60,000 33,000 40,000 33,000 30,000 27,000
7 5,801-7,000 80,000 70,000 38,500 54,000 38,500 35,000 31,500
8 7,001-8,400 100,000 90,000 49,500 67,500 49,500 45,000 40,500
9 8,401-9,600 110,000 100,000 55,000 75,000 55,000 50,000 45,000
10 9,601-15,000 124,000 120,000 66,000 85,000 66,000 60,000 54,000

As a general guide, here are a few examples of the number of Qantas Points you’d need for international upgrades from economy to business class on one of these flight routes. For the sake of simplicity, these routes are calculated based on the miles for a direct flight, as opposed to flights with stopovers:

Brisbane to Auckland: 20,000 points (zone 3)
Sydney to Hong Kong: 50,000 points (zone 5)
Melbourne to Los Angeles: 90,000 points (zone 8)
Perth to London: 100,000 points (zone 9)
Sydney to New York: 120,000 points (zone 10)

How can I request an international upgrade?

If you want to use Qantas Points to upgrade to business class on an international flight, you’ll need to register your request by logging in to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account, going to “My Bookings”, selecting “Upgrades” and following the prompts to opt-in.

Unfortunately, this means the earliest you’ll typically hear about an approved international upgrade is 7 days before the scheduled departure time – and this is only for Platinum One Qantas Frequent Flyer members. Below is the full timetable of when you can expect to be considered for your upgrade request.

Platinum One members. Between 7 days prior to the scheduled flight departure up until check-in closes.
Platinum members. Between 48 hours before the scheduled flight departure up until check-in closes.
All other members. Within 24 hours of the scheduled flight departure.

If your upgrade is confirmed, you’ll see it noted on your booking when you log in to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account. You may also get a text message or be told of the successful upgrade request when you check-in for your flight. Points will only be deducted from your account if the request is confirmed.

International upgrades at the gate

If you’re travelling alone, you also have the option of getting a reward upgrade at the gate. While this could increase your chances of being upgraded to business class, there are some key details to consider before you opt-in for this type of reward:

  • Flights with stopovers. If your flight includes stopovers, you’ll only be able to upgrade the last leg of the flight, which also has to have a flying time of more than three hours.
  • Business class or premium economy. With this option, you could be upgraded to either business class or premium economy and you can’t choose to just request a business class upgrade.
  • Fewer pre-flight benefits. Depending on when the upgrade is approved, you may miss out on upgrade perks such as additional baggage or lounge access before your flight.
  • Point cost. This type of upgrade requires the same amount of points as a regular Classic Rewards Upgrade.
  • No refusal. If you opt-in to get an upgrade at the airport and you’re offered one, you have to accept it – even if it’s only to premium economy instead of business class.
beautiful Qantas lounge with guests

Bid Now Upgrades

Bid Now Upgrades are an invitation-only option that’s available on select domestic and international flights. If you’re eligible, you’ll be emailed an invitation around 7 days before your flight departure.

You can then use a combination of points and cash to “bid” for an upgrade to a more premium cabin class. If you’re not a Qantas Frequent Flyer member, you may also be invited to bid for an upgrade using only cash. Other requirements include:

  • Minimum points. You need a minimum of 3,000 Qantas Points for domestic Bid Now Upgrades and a minimum of 5,000 points for international upgrades.
  • Minimum cash amounts. You also need a minimum cash amount for your bid. This amount varies, so make sure you check the minimum before you place a bid.
  • Upgrade notifications. If your bid is successful, you’ll usually get an email between 24 and 12 hours before your flight’s scheduled departure time. Make sure you check your flight details once your upgrade is confirmed so that you know the offer has been processed.
  • Payment details. If your bid is successful, the Qantas Points and money will be automatically deducted from your nominated accounts when the upgrade has been processed.
man using laptop inflight Qantas

What else do I need to know?

Take note of these details when you want to use Qantas Points to upgrade to business class:

  • Earning points and status credits. The number of points and status credits you earn for your flights will be based on the fare you originally booked, not on the upgraded fare class rates.
  • Upgrades for family. Upgrade requests will cover eligible family members travelling with you on the same booking. If you’re travelling with other people, you can request an upgrade for yourself by calling Qantas on 13 13 13 and splitting the booking.
  • Upgrading a reward flight. While it is possible to upgrade some flights you’ve booked with points (or a combination of points and cash), there are more restrictions compared to upgrades for fully-paid fares.
  • Cancelling an upgrade. You can cancel an unconfirmed upgrade request at any time without losing points. However, you may be charged a fee if you have confirmed an upgrade and want to cancel it more than 24 hours before your flight. If you cancel an upgrade less than 24 hours before a flight, you’ll lose your points and may not be able to get your original seat back.
  • Upgrade availability. Upgrades are subject to availability and also favour frequent flyers with higher status. You’re also generally more likely to get a domestic upgrade than an international one, as there are more frequent domestic flights, but even then there is no guarantee.
  • Frequent flyer status. Platinum One and Platinum Qantas Frequent Flyers get first preference for flight upgrades, followed by gold, silver and bronze members (in that order).

While flight upgrades are a popular way to use Qantas Points, they are subject to availability and may only be offered to you at the last minute. So, if you haven’t booked a flight yet, you may want to consider paying for business class or using a combination of cash and points to help guarantee your seat. Otherwise, you can always request an upgrade and hope for the best.

Compare Qantas Frequent Flyer Credit Cards

Rates last updated November 16th, 2018
Name Product Bonus Points Rewards Program Rewards Points per $ spent Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
Qantas Premier Platinum
60,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
19.99% p.a.
$299 p.a.
Get 60,000 bonus Qantas Points and a $300 Qantas Flight Voucher when you spend $4,000 within the first 90 days.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
90,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
19.99% p.a.
$295 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Collect 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 60 days of account opening. Plus, a $295 annual fee in the first year.
American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle - Qantas - Exclusive Offer
90,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
0.5
20.24% p.a.
$50 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($249 p.a. thereafter)
finder Exclusive:
Up to 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the criteria with this dual Visa (issued & serviced by Westpac) & Amex (issued & serviced by Amex).
Qantas Premier Everyday
40,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.75
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter)
Take advantage of up to 40,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $0 first year annual fee plus complimentary overseas travel insurance.
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
60,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
19.99% p.a.
$199 p.a.
Enjoy 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months. Plus, complimentary travel insurance.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Card - Qantas
60,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.5
20.24% p.a.
$50 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($200 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days of card approval. Plus, a $50 first year annual fee.
St.George Amplify Signature - Qantas
80,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.75
19.49% p.a.
$179 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($279 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Platinum
75,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer
0.75
19.99% p.a.
$295 p.a.
Receive 75,000 bonus Qantas Points and $75 back to your card when you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases within 3 months.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1
20.74% p.a.
$0 p.a.
Earn uncapped Qantas Points on purchases, pay $0 annual fee for life and take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 12 months balance transfer offer.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
55,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1.5
20.74% p.a.
$450 p.a.
Receive 55,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.

Compare up to 4 providers

Pictures: Qantas

Back to top

Amy Bradney-George

Amy is a senior writer at finder.com.au with more than 10 years experience covering credit cards, personal finance and various lifestyle topics. When she’s not sharing her knowledge on money matters, Amy spends her time as an actress.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Latest points deals on finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Privacy & Cookies Policy and Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site