Have you ever been frustrated when you can’t use your Qantas Points for the date, route and/or class of travel that you’re aiming for? You are not alone.

To help save you time and narrow your searches for award availability, I’ve compiled a list of the best (and worst) international routes for releasing award seats on Qantas flights.

As you’ll see, the number of routes that it is hard to find open seats on is more than double the easy ones. Hopefully, Qantas takes notice and becomes more generous in releasing award seats to its loyal frequent flyers.

Three planes Qantas Planes at tarmac | Point Hacks
Qantas has an impressive network, but award seats are not distributed evenly

The test

I’ve focussed mainly on Business Class award availability on international routes, given that is what most of our readers are aiming for. However, First and Premium Economy Class seat availability has also been taken into account.

Economy Class redemptions are not included in this test, given that you can usually find open seats in that cabin, especially during off-peak travel periods. However, redeeming Qantas Points for Economy flights usually does not provide very good value.

I’ve also restricted this test to Qantas-operated flights, not those serviced by partners like Emirates and Cathay Pacific.

Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner Business Class cabin
Using your Qantas Points for travel in Business Class is usually the sweet spot to aim for

Easiest international routes to find Qantas award availability on

It’s easiest to pick up an award seat when travelling on Qantas within the Asia-Pacific region.

Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane – Auckland/Christchurch/Wellington
Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane/Perth – Singapore
Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane – Hong Kong
Sydney – Beijing
Sydney – Manila
Sydney – Osaka
Easiest Qantas award routes
Easiest international routes to find Qantas award availability on

Hardest international routes to find Qantas award availability on

It’s most difficult to use your Qantas Points for premium cabin redemptions to North and South America, Europe and South Africa (Qantas’ longest flights).

Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane – US
Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane – Tokyo
Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane – Queenstown
Sydney – Bangkok
Sydney – Honolulu
Sydney – Santiago
Sydney – Vancouver
Perth – London
Singapore – London (as an extension of Sydney/Melbourne – Singapore)
Sydney/Brisbane – Lord Howe Island (not technically international)
Hardest Qantas award routes US
You’re not alone if you’ve found it difficult to find an open Business or First Class award seat to the US or Canada

Ways to increase your chances of securing Qantas award availability

Preference for premium cabin award availability on long-haul Qantas flights is given to those with elite status. As such, if you are a:

  • Gold, Platinum or Platinum One member: book 353 days before departure
  • Bronze or Silver member: you won’t get access to those seats until 297 days before departure, by which stage they are often already gone

You can increase your chances of securing an award seat using Qantas Points by:

Emirates 777 First Class suite
Redemptions on Qantas and Emirates cost the same, but you’ll tend to get better onboard service on Emirates

Summing up

Qantas is not the most generous airline when it comes to releasing award seats to its frequent flyers. A major factor in this is a lack of competition in the Australian frequent flyer market.

As such, when you are looking to use your hard-earned Qantas Points for an award redemption in First, Business or Premium Economy Class, it helps to narrow your search down to the most available routes. These tend to be within the Asia-Pacific region.

If you want to fly further afield, to places like North and South America, Europe and South Africa, then try to book when the award calendar first opens.

Do you agree or disagree with the classifications above? Based on your personal experience, which Qantas routes offer the best (and worst) award availability?

Which are the best (and worst) international routes for Qantas award availability? was last modified: June 14th, 2019 by Matt Moffitt