Guide to using Qantas oneworld Classic Rewards for good value around the world flights

GUIDE: Using Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 6 minutes
POSTED: December 14, 2015
UPDATED: December 10, 2016
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Qantas Frequent Flyer

I’d imagine that the majority of Qantas frequent flyers usually use their points to redeem award travel for simple one-way return tickets – to Europe, the United States, Asia or domestically.

However, there is a great value points redemption that allows for up to 15 flights with Qantas and oneworld partner airlines – the ‘oneworld Classic Reward’ – which can be used for up to 35,000 miles of travel, in Economy, Premium, Business or First Class.

In this guide Nelson Yap, Point Hacks Community member, outlines how Qantas oneworld Classic Rewards work as a great way to maximise the value of your Qantas Points for round the world trips.

How do I snag a Qantas round the world redemption using Qantas Points?

Starting off, Qantas have a number of different reward price tables.

  1. The Qantas Classic Flight Reward – this is the cheapest price table for Qantas preferred partners – Qantas, Airnorth, Fiji Airways, Air Vanuatu, American Airlines, Emirates, Jetstar.
  2. The Jetstar Classic Flight Reward – for Jetstar flights only, this is 20% less than the Qantas Classic price
  3. The Partner Classic Flight Reward – this is for travel on one (only) of Qantas oneworld partner airlines
  4. The oneworld Classic Flight Reward – this is the focus of this guide, and is for itineraries including two or more oneworld airlines.

The key uses for the oneworld Classic Flight Reward are:

  1. To fly further (e.g. round the world) than any of Qantas’ other Rewards
  2. To fly on more carriers than any of Qantas’ other Rewards
  3. To fly on more flights, at a fixed cost, than any of Qantas’ other Rewards

Why are Qantas oneworld round-the-world redemptions good value?

A round the world itinerary booked via a oneworld Classic Reward is one of the best ways to maximise the value from your Qantas points.

The round the world ticket allows you to explore the world and stopover in up to five cities over a 12 month period.

You can choose from over 1,000 destinations in more than 150 countries covered by Qantas and their oneworld alliance partners including:

  1. Air Berlin
  2. American Airlines
  3. British Airways
  4. Cathay Pacific
  5. Finnair
  6. Iberia
  7. Japan Airlines
  8. LAN Airlines
  9. TAM Airlines
  10. Malaysia Airlines
  11. Qatar Airways
  12. S7 Airlines
  13. Royal Jordanian
  14. Sri Lankan Airlines

By comparison to a regular classic reward redemption, if you fly only Qantas or Emirates, it usually costs 128,000 points in Business Class and 192,000 points in First Class to Europe, for example – plus taxes and fees.

Qantas normally charges for a return award ticket to Europe, 256,000 points in Business Class and 384,000 points in First Class plus $500-$1,000 in fuel surcharges and taxes per person, if you fly Qantas or Emirates.

If you then add on Qantas oneworld partners like Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways, it costs more 139,000 points one way for Business Class and 203,000 points in First Class.

For a return trip, this comes to 278,000 points for Business Class and 406,000 points in First Class plus $1,000 or more in fuel surcharges and taxes.

In comparison, a Qantas round-the-world reward costs 280,000 points in Business Class and First Class costs 420,000 points plus $1,000 – $1,550 in fuel surcharges and taxes per person.

So for an additional 14,000 points, you can add on more First Class flights, more stopovers and get more value. For Business Class, the difference could be as little as 2,000 Qantas Points, and for Economy it could even be cheaper (in terms of points) to book a round the world award.

When comparing with cash fares, a ticket with Qantas and its oneworld partners in Business Class starts at $8,400 per person, and First Class in excess of $14,000 per person.

Comparing the different long-haul Qantas Point redemption options

Itinerary / Class of TravelQantas partner award - Qantas & American Airlines, Sydney to Los AngelesQantas partner award - Qantas & Emirates to EuropePartner Classic Flight Reward to Europeoneworld Classic Reward booked as a round the world
Economy96,000 points128,000 points150,000 points140,000 points
Premium Economy144,000 points192,000 points225,000 points210,000 points
Business Class192,000 points256,000 points278,000 points280,000 points
First Class288,000 points384,000 points406,000 points420,000 points
Distance travelled 14,976 miles21,802 (e.g. SYD-DXB-LHR) 21,802 (e.g. SYD-DXB-LHR) 19,201 (min) - 35,000 miles (max)

You can see that if you’re looking at using multiple oneworld carriers, and not just Qantas or their preferred partners, tacking on a significant amount of extra flying comes with only minimal additional points cost.

It’s also actually cheaper to maximise your itinerary to a round the world itinerary when you are flying in Economy or Premium Economy to Europe and using one of Qantas oneworld partners.

For Premium Economy, note that not all oneworld carriers operate this cabin – so you’d want to target British Airways, Cathay Pacific or Qantas flights. Other flights will be in Economy.

Example oneworld Classic Flight Reward round-the-world itineraries

The Qantas oneworld Classic Flight Reward can take you to any city on oneworld’s network, as long as there is reward availability, and you can keep the total distance travelled to under 35,000 miles. You are allowed up to 15 connections and a stopover at up to five cities over a 12 month period.

You make a sample Business Class itinerary like this:

  1. Sydney to Johannesburg with Qantas
  2. Johannesburg to London with British Airways
  3. London to New York with American Airlines or British Airways
  4. New York to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific
  5. Hong Kong to Sydney with Qantas/Cathay Pacific

This itinerary comes in at a little under 26,000 miles flown, well within the 35,000 mile maximum.

Because the Qantas round-the-world reward allows you to have up to 15 connections, you do not necessarily have to fly the most direct route. This is handy when there are no seats available on the most direct route and you have to fly to your destination via a different city.

Another benefit is that you can also stop in cities for under 24 hours. As long as it 23 hours and 59 minutes, it is considered a “transit” rather than a stopover.

The sample itinerary above only has five connections – let’s tweak it slightly and add more connections. If you want to check the mileage of a range of flights, I recommend inputting the airport codes into gcmap.com to get the total distance, and ensuring you are keeping it under the 35,000 mile maximum.

  1. Sydney to Johannesburg via Hong Kong with Qantas and Cathay Pacific
  2. Johannesburg to London via Doha with Qatar Airways
  3. London to New York with British Airways or American Airlines
  4. New York to Hong Kong via Los Angeles and Tokyo with American Airlines/Japan Airlines/Cathay Pacific
  5. Hong Kong to Sydney with Qantas/Cathay Pacific

This sample itinerary now comes in at a little under 35,000 miles.

You don’t have to tack on long flights, of course. Adding on a number of smaller flights to reach non-hub cities, if thats where you want to go, is also a very useful way to get value from award.

How to start booking and researching a round-the-world Qantas oneworld Classic Flight reward

Like other award redemptions, seats are subject to availability and there is a decent chance you would not be able to fly on the date you desire, so you need to be flexible on dates and routes – as always when using points to travel.

To kick things off, you can use the Qantas.com search engine to find award availability.

When searching award seats on Qantas, the one-way and return search engines work best for routes directly serviced by Qantas.

For example, you would not be able to search London to Moscow. To do that you need to select the multi-city option.

Not all award seats on Finnair and Air Berlin show up on Qantas search engine. Often these seats show up on British Airways search engine, but not Qantas.

Qantas’ search engine also cannot find seats on Japan Airlines or Malaysia Airlines. So to find award seats on those airlines, including the elusive Finnair and Air Berlin, you’ll need to use a British Airways Executive Club account, or rely on Qantas’ phone agents..

On the good news front, recently Qantas sync with Qatar Airways and now you can find Business and First Class award seats on the Qantas search engine.

Once you are ready to book, the simplest way to find reward seats for a round the world itinerary is to search one flight at a time. It can be time consuming, and have a note pad handy to write down the:

  1. Date of travel
  2. Departure City and Arrival City
  3. Airline Name and Flight Number i.e. Qantas QF1
  4. Departure and Arrival time i.e. 10PM – 8AM

Keep repeating this for each city, bearing in mind that sometimes you might need to connect via an intermediary city.

Once you are done piecing together each flight, call Qantas Frequent Flyer and tell them you would like to redeem a oneworld Classic Flight Reward for a round the world itinerary, giving them the details you’ve found.

Finally – try to avoid British Airways, because the fuel surcharges are very high.

Summing up

Qantas oneworld Classic Flight Rewards require a lot of points comparatively to simple one way redemptions, but you can get a hell of a lot of travel squeezed into one itinerary.

With 5 stopovers, you’ll be able to see 5 cities, and if you’re clever add overnight stops in connecting cities too by avoiding stopovers >24 hours in some others.

Have you successfully redeemed your Qantas Points for a round the world award, and if so, where did you go?


Footnote – Other key terms of the oneworld Classic Flight Reward

The oneworld Classic Flight Reward table only applies when your Reward Itinerary includes travel on at least two oneworld Alliance Airlines other than Qantas and does not include any travel on any airline that is not a oneworld Alliance Airline. Qantas flights operated by Jetstar Airlines (JQ, 3K, GK or BL) cannot be included in oneworld Classic Flight Rewards.

Classic Flight Rewards using the oneworld Classic Flight Reward table must be no more than a distance of 56,315 kilometres (35,000 miles). Longer journeys must be broken into separate Itineraries.

A one way oneworld Classic Flight Reward Itinerary will be charged as a return Itinerary. oneworld Classic Flight Reward Itineraries finishing in a port other than the port of origin must include the distance to return directly to the port of origin when calculating the number of Points required to redeem the Flight Reward and the maximum distance for the Itinerary.

The following Stopover conditions apply to oneworld Classic Flight Rewards:
(a) up to five free Stopovers are permitted;
(b) additional Stopovers are not permitted;
(c) only one Stopover is permitted in any one city in the Itinerary; and
(d) only two Transfers may be taken at any one city in the Itinerary.

Surface Segments are permitted as part of oneworld Classic Flight Reward Itineraries, but the distance between the disembarkation point and the next embarkation point will be included in the Reward Point zone calculation for that Itinerary.