Qantas Frequent Flyer is increasing the number of points required for upgrades across the board, for many fare classes, cabins and routes.
Qantas full set of FAQ’s are here. AusBT reported the changes in a lot of detail along with a number of examples, so there’s little reason for me to simply repeat what they’ve said. If you’re a heavy points upgrader, I’d recommend reading that piece – but in summary, here’s what’s going on.
What’s not changing:
- Classic Upgrade Rewards requested until 16th November are not affected by these changes – so if you’ve previously made an upgrade request, you’re all set.
- Classic Upgrade Rewards requested from 16th November, but confirmed before 20th February 2017, also see no changes.
- The cost of upgrades from Economy to Business Class on the shortest routes under 600 miles, e.g. Sydney to Melbourne and Brisbane
What is changing:
Classic Upgrade Rewards confirmed after 20th February 2017 will have new pricing.
For international upgrades, there are price increases from the more restrictive (and I would imagine, most booked) fare classes in Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class to higher cabins.
One example – Economy Saver to Premium Economy to London is going up from 60,000 to 75,000 Qantas Points.
These upgrade paths are affected by the increase:
- Economy Saver to Premium Economy
- Economy Saver and Economy Flex to Business
- Premium Economy Sale to Business
- Business Class Sale and Saver to First
For domestic upgrades there are price increases from Discount Economy to Business Class on all flights greater than 600 miles. Economy Flex fares are unaffected.
What does this mean for you?
International upgrades are hardest hit given they are processed close to the time of departure. Any international flight after February 20th 2017 will probably have upgrades processed after the cut off date for the lower pricing.
Domestic upgrades are more of a mixed bag, in that they are often processed immediately if there is availability. In theory, you could book and attempt to upgrade a flight that is after February 20th now to secure the lower points pricing.
But you’ll trade off the lower cost for more risk that you’ll need to change that booking in future, losing the confirmed upgrade and incurring a 5,000 point cancellation fee.
Either way, if you’ve booked a flight that you know you want to make a points upgrade request for, do it now (which you should do anyway given the earlier you request an upgrade, the higher priority it is given). This will at least maximise your chances of getting the reduced upgrade cost.
Upgrades are an important part of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, and it’s a shame to see their costs increase, as they are one of the better value uses of Qantas Points.
We’ll update a few of our guides to Qantas upgrades in due course.