Caucasian woman holding a tablet in a business class

How to use Qantas Points to upgrade and fly business class

Information verified correct on December 11th, 2016

You can now jet set in Business class luxury without forking out a cent courtesy of your Qantas Points.

Depending on the type of ticket you hold, you may now be eligible to bump that seat up to Business class using purely Qantas points. It’s a simple transaction for Qantas Frequent Flyers and the only downside is that not all requests for upgrades get approved, so put in your request and keep those fingers crossed. Use this guide to find out how you could use your Qantas Points to travel in luxury on your next holiday.

How can I upgrade my domestic flight with points?

Domestic Classic Upgrade Rewards

If your ticket is for a domestic QF flight, you may be eligible for an upgrade to business class from Classic Flight Reward Economy, Discount Economy or Economy classes. Upgrades are sometimes permitted on flights that you’ve redeemed via Qantas Points Plus Pay or Classic Flight Rewards, and occasionally on QF-numbered codeshare flights. Important note: If you request an upgrade for a flight itinerary that includes domestic and international legs with the same flight number, your upgrade will be considered an international upgrade.

How to request an upgrade

There are five different ways you can request an upgrade using your Qantas Points:

  • Online. Between the time your ticket is confirmed and 24 hours before departure, you may request an upgrade simply by logging in to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account, selecting ‘Your Bookings’ and clicking ‘Upgrade’. Your upgrade will be instantly confirmed if one is available, and your points immediately deducted.
  • By registration. If your online request for an upgrade can’t be granted at the time, you may register your request in case one should become available later on. Upgrade registrations are granted on the basis of membership status with priority awarded in the order of Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze. If your upgrade is confirmed, it will show up under ‘Your bookings’. You may also be informed via SMS or when checking in. Your points are deducted upon confirmation.
  • At the airport. Platinum or Gold frequent flyers and Qantas Club members can also request a domestic On Departure Upgrade Reward at the airport, provided your QF flight number is not from 1 to 199. You can make this request between 3 hours and 20 minutes of your flight departure time.
  • At Qantas Club. Platinum or Gold frequent flyers and Qantas Club members can request a domestic On Departure Upgrade Reward at any domestic Qantas Club lounge (except QantasLink lounges). Platinum frequent flyers can also request an upgrade in domestic Australian Business lounges. Simply enquire at the Qantas Club service desk.
  • At domestic check-in kiosks. When travelling by yourselves, Platinum or Gold frequent flyers and Qantas Club members can also request a domestic On Departure Upgrade Reward at any domestic check-in kiosk, where available.

How many points you'll need for Domestic Classic Upgrade to Business class

ZoneOne-Way MilesClassic Flight Reward - EconomyDiscount EconomyFlexible Economy
10-60012,00010,0005,000
2601-1,20018,00015,0007,500
31,201-2,40026,00020,00010,000
42,401-3,60035,00030,00015,000

Referring to the above table, if you want to upgrade a domestic flight from Sydney to Perth, you’d be looking at a 2,034-mile flight which sits on the Zone 3 row. This means that if your current ticket is a Classic Flight Reward Economy class ticket, you will need 26,000 points for the upgrade. However, if you’re holding a Flexible Economy ticket you will only need 10,000 points.

flight timetable

How can I upgrade my international flight?

International Classic Upgrade Rewards

If your ticket is for an international QF flight number between 1 and 199, you may be eligible for an upgrade to Business class from Classic Flight Reward Economy, Economy (except Discount Economy, E, N, O or Q classes), Flexible Economy, Classic Flight Reward Premium Economy, Premium Economy or Flexible Premium Economy classes. Upgrades are sometimes permitted on certain international flights that you’ve redeemed via Qantas Points Plus Pay and occasional QF-numbered codeshare flights, but not on Qantas Classic Flight Rewards or international airfares booked in E, N, O, P and Q classes.

How to request an upgrade

You can request an upgrade for international flights over the phone or online:

  • By phone. Contact Qantas Flight Reward and Priority Reservations on 13 11 31.
  • Online.
    1. Log in to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account.
    2. Select ‘Your Bookings’.
    3. Click ‘Upgrade’.
    4. Opt in for a ‘Classic Upgrade Reward up to the Gate’ (see below).

Requests are always considered according to membership status in the order of Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. If your upgrade is confirmed, it will show up under ‘Your Bookings’. You may also be informed via SMS or when checking in. Your points are deducted upon confirmation of your request.

International Classic Upgrade Rewards up to the Gate

Upgrades can become available up to the last minute because of cancellations, no-shows or missed connections, so opting in for an ‘upgrade at the airport’ means you could be the lucky recipient of a Business class seat at the final moment. These conditions apply:

  • If your single flight number stops in one or more ports, you can only upgrade on the last leg and only if that leg flies longer than three hours. Points will only be deducted for that portion of your flight that received an upgrade.
  • Your booking must contain only one passenger.
  • You may not be able to enjoy some Business class benefits such as additional baggage allowance or lounge access due to the last-minute nature of your upgrade. The same number of points will be deducted even if this is so.
  • You cannot refuse an approved upgrade at the airport if one is granted to you. This may be because your seat cannot be reallocated.

Points needed for an International Classic Upgrade to Business class

ZoneOne-Way MilesClassic Flight
Reward - Economy
EconomyFlexible EconomyClassic Flight Reward -
Premium Economy
Premium Economy or
Flexible Premium Economy
1 0-600 12,000 8,000 5,000 7,0005,000
2 601-1,200 18,00012,000 7,50010,5007,500
31,201-2,400 26,00016,00010,00016,00010,000
42,401-3,600 35,00024,00015,00022,50015,000
53,601-4,800 54,00040,00025,00036,00025,000
64,801-5,80064,00048,00030,00040,00030,000
75,801-7,00080,00056,00035,00054,00035,000
87,001-8,400100,00072,00045,00067,50045,000
98,401-9,600110,00080,00050,00075,00050,000
109,601-15,000124,00096,00060,00085,00060,000

So, looking at this table, if you’re wishing to upgrade your international flight from Melbourne to Hong Kong, you’d be looking at a 4,611-mile flight which sits on the Zone 5 row. This means that if you currently have a Classic Flight Reward Economy ticket, you’ll need 54,000 points to upgrade that seat to one in Business class. You’d need 40,000 points if your ticket was Economy class and only 25,000 points if it was Flexible Economy.

Can I upgrade flights for my family members?

  • If travelling with your family. Your upgrade request will include all passengers in the booking who are eligible family members. If your booking includes other passengers, you will have to contact Qantas Telephone Sales to split the booking before you can request your upgrade.
  • If you’re not travelling with your family. You may use your points to upgrade an eligible family member’s flight, but the upgrade will be approved based on that passenger’s membership status and not yours, unless you’re a Platinum One member.

Can I cancel my upgrade request?

  • You may cancel your request before it is confirmed without forfeiting any points.
  • If your upgrade has been confirmed, you may cancel the upgrade more than 24 hours before your scheduled flight departure and be refunded points subject to a fee.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before your flight departure or fail to board your flight, your points will be forfeited and a seat may also no longer be available in your original booked class.
  • If you cancel or change your flight before an upgrade is confirmed, you’ll have to make a new request.

An alternative: bid now upgrades

A bid now upgrade is another way you can score your Business class seat. This system operates strictly by invitation and allows you to use a combination of points and cash to bid for your upgrade. A minimum amount of Qantas points and money is required, and your offer will be accepted or declined solely on Qantas’ discretion.

  1. Receive invite to bid. A week before your scheduled flight departure, you may receive an email invitation to make a bid for an upgrade.  
  2. Make your offer. Make your bid bearing in mind the minimum required number of points and dollars. You can amend or cancel this bid up to 24 hours before your flight is to depart.
  3. Wait for the outcome. Between 24 and 12 hours before your flight departure, you’ll be notified by email whether your bid was successful.

Please check out the Qantas Frequent Flyer website for more detailed conditions and exclusions, or call 13 11 31 for more personalised flight rewards customer service. Press 1 for domestic flights and 2 for international flights.

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Sally McMullen

Sally McMullen is a journalist at finder.com.au who is a credit cards, frequent flyer and travel money expert by day and music maven by night.

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