Most of our readers would have heard that Qantas announced changes to their redemption pricing last week. As part of the overhaul, the popular oneworld Classic Flight Reward will also increase in price in Premium Economy, Business (the most popular) and First Class; Conversely, Economy Class prices decreased immediately from the time of the announcement.

Qatar Airways Qsuite Business Class
You can include a Qsuite flight in your round-the-world Business Class trip

Here is a comparison of the points pricing before and after the changes:

CabinUntil 17 September 2019From 18 September 2019Change
Economy132,400132,400-6% compared to previous 140,000 price
Premium Economy210,000249,600+19%

As a point of comparison, you can book a round-the-world Business Class ticket with only 210,000 Asia Miles or 240,000 KrisFlyer miles (cheaper than Qantas) or 372,000 Velocity Points (more expensive).

My advice

If you have been saving your points up for a round-the-world ticket in Premium Economy, Business or First Class, try to lock in your booking before 18 September. That can include travel for after this date, but you’ll need to ticket your itinerary before then. If you don’t, you’ll need 38,000 more points in Business Class, for example.

Economy Class redemptions used to cost 140,000 points—that’s dropped to 132,400 effective immediately. That means you will save 7,600 points and can book anytime from now!

Qantas has stated that there has been a 40% and 20% increase in international Business and Economy Class award seat bookings, respectively, since the announcement. In addition, there has been a 25% increase in reward bookings from members who have never previously redeemed points for an award seat.

Olivia Wirth, CEO of Qantas Loyalty has stated:

We’ve been overwhelmed by the level of interest in the changes to our frequent flyer program. Early indications show members are already seeing the benefits of more seats and lower fees.

The increase in international Business Class award seats has been backed up by some Point Hacks readers. However, it remains to be seen whether the increased award availability will remain at these levels in the longer term. Hopefully it does!

In this guide

I’d imagine that the majority of Qantas frequent flyers usually use their points to redeem award travel for simple one-way or return tickets to Europe, the US, 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 Flight Reward—which can be used for up to 35,000 miles of travel, in Economy, Premium Economy, Business or First Class.

In this guide, we outline how Qantas oneworld Classic Rewards work as a great way to maximise the value of your Qantas Points for round-the-world (RTW) trips.

Do note that these awards do not technically have to go around the world, but this is the most common use for them. See FAQs later on for more information.

We have a supplementary guide specifically for travellers in Perth and Adelaide.

And there is a RTW guide using KrisFlyer miles or Velocity Points.

Why does Qantas have four different award tables?

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

The key uses for the oneworld Classic Flight Reward are to fly:

  • further (i.e. RTW)
  • on more carriers
  • on more flights

compared to redeeming an award using one of the other three tables.

Qatar A350 Business Class
With an extensive network and modern product on its A350, A380 and 787 aircraft, you might aim to include a Qatar Airways Business Class flight as part of your trip

Why does a Qantas oneworld RTW redemption represent good value?

A RTW itinerary booked as a oneworld Classic Flight Reward is one of the best ways to maximise the value of your Qantas Points.

The RTW ticket allows you to explore the world and stopover in up to five cities over a 12-month period, provided there is award availability and the total distance is kept under 35,000 miles.

oneworld logo

If you bought a RTW ticket with cash, retail fares usually start from $3,000 in Economy, $11,000 in Business and upwards of $20,000 in First. We know that RTW Business Class itineraries are very popular with couples and with this guide, some of our readers have saved between $20,000-$35,000 in out-of-pocket costs.

With this award, you can choose from over 1,000 destinations in more than 150 countries covered by the oneworld alliance:

  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LATAM (leaving the alliance on 1 May 2020)
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • Sri Lankan Airlines

Emirates is not part of the oneworld alliance and, therefore, cannot be included in this itinerary.

Emirates A380 Business Class
Although its a great airline to fly, you cannot include Emirates flights in this award

Note that Alaska Airlines is joining the oneworld alliance in mid-2021, meaning you’ll be able to include their flights soon.

Comparing the different long-haul Qantas Point redemption options

If you analyse the table below, you can see that tacking on a significant amount of extra flying comes with only minimal additional points cost.

Until 17 September 2019

CabinMelbourne to London return on Qantas or EmiratesMelbourne to London return on Qatar Airwaysoneworld Classic Flight Reward
Premium Economy192,000225,000210,000
Business Class256,000278,000280,000
First Class384,000406,000420,000
Miles travelled21,00721,007Up to 35,000

From 18 September 2019

CabinMelbourne to London return on Qantas or EmiratesMelbourne to London return on Qatar Airwaysoneworld Classic Flight Reward
Premium Economy216,800249,600249,600
Business Class289,200318,000318,000
First Class433,800455,000455,000
Miles travelled21,00721,007Up to 35,000

Say you want to fly return to Europe on Qantas or Emirates (which is a preferred partner). You’ll be up for 256,000-289,200 points in Business Class or 384,000-433,800 in First, plus taxes and fees of $500-1000.

Or you could fly one of their non-preferred oneworld partners like Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific or British Airways for 278,000-318,000 points in Business or 406,000-455,000 in First.

By comparison, you could fly almost double the distance (up to 35,000 miles) and have stopovers in five cities for the same price as flying on the latter combination of airlines (Qatar Airways, etc).

Just note that not all oneworld carriers operate a Premium Economy cabin, so you’ll want to target British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas flights—other flights would be in Economy.

Example 1: 32,000 miles in Business Class for 280,000-318,000 Qantas Points

The following basic Business Class itinerary totals 26,000 miles flown, well within the 35,000-mile maximum:

  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 or Cathay Pacific
Flight sample route1

If you want to check the mileage of a range of flights, I recommend inputting the airport codes into Great Circle Mapper to get the total distance, ensuring you are keeping it under the 35,000-mile maximum.

Because the Qantas RTW reward allows you to have up to 15 connections, you do not necessarily have to fly the most direct route, as above. 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, so let’s tweak it slightly and add more connections

  1. Sydney to Johannesburg with Qantas
  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 and Cathay Pacific
  5. Hong Kong to Sydney with Qantas or Cathay Pacific
Flight sample route1

This sample itinerary now comes in at a little under 32,000 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 that is where you want to go, is also a very useful way to get value from this award.

Example 2: 34,000 miles in Economy Class for 132,400 Qantas Points

Point Hacks reader Mark shared his round-the-world journey to South America, Europe and South Africa in the comments below, costing him 140,000 points (at the time) in Economy. The same journey in Business Class would have cost 280,000-318,000 points, or 420,000-455,000 in First.

When drawing his map on Great Circle Mapper, I can see that the total distance flown was 34,343 miles, within the 35,000-mile limit:

Flight sample route2

How to research and book a 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 search engine to find most award availability, with the British Airways search engine providing back-up results. You can read more about searching for award space on Qantas partners here.

Once you are ready to book, the simplest way to find reward seats for a RTW itinerary is to search one flight at a time. It can be time-consuming, so have a notepad handy to write down the:

  1. Date of travel (e.g. 4 July 2020)
  2. Departure and arrival cities (Adelaide to Doha)
  3. Flight number (QR 915)
  4. Departure and arrival times (10:25pm – 5:30am)

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

Then book online through the Qantas website or, if you need help and/or want to book a seat on a partner that doesn’t show up on the Qantas website, then phone Qantas Frequent Flyer.

Frequently asked questions

This guide is one of our most-read and has a long comments thread below, so we’ve picked out the most common questions to save you some time.

Please read carefully to see if your question has already been answered in the FAQ or comments section.


Do I have to go around the world?

No, not necessarily. The award is calculated on total mileage and doesn’t have to go in one direction.

Is backtracking permitted?

Technically, yes, however, some phone agents may apply geographical sense to your itinerary and prevent you from doing so. If so, hang up and call back.

Are transit cities calculated in the total mileage?

Yes, so if you are flying from Sydney to Johannesburg via Hong Kong, you will need to include the two segments, not the direct distance between Sydney and Johannesburg.

Are surface sectors counted?

Yes. A surface sector is when you fly into one airport, make your way on the ground (or a cheap airfare) to another airport to fly out of. For example, if you fly into Berlin, catch a train or bus to Paris, and fly out of Paris, then the mileage between Berlin and Paris will be calculated as part of this award.

Do I need to return to the same airport?

Yes. If you are flying out of Melbourne on a RTW trip, you need to return to Melbourne at the end of it.

Can I travel more than 35,000 miles?

No. Once you go even one mile more, it will recalculate as separate awards and be much more expensive.

Is it cheaper to start my redemption from overseas instead of Australia?

Yes, it can be! Read our two-part series on how to save points and taxes by starting your oneworld redemption from Asia or New Zealand.


How do I add segments?

You can add segments for most airline partners (except Japan Airlines) online, but note that you’ll be charged a 5,000-point change fee each time you alter your itinerary, so try to lock down as many flights and dates as you can at the start.

If you need to phone the call centre to make a change and are flying in Economy or Premium Economy, you’ll be charged an extra 8,000-point service fee; premium cabins do not attract this fee.

Can I mix cabins, e.g. fly Business Class for most segments and First Class for one or two?

The award is calculated on the rate for the highest cabin, which means that even if you have one First Class flight and the rest are in Business, you will be charged 420,000-455,000 points instead of 280,000-318,000. This means you’re best to stick to the same cabin the whole way.

How are infant and child fares calculated?

If you have a child under two years of age, then you just pay the taxes, no points. If a child is two years of age of older, then they are charged the full adult rate for points redemptions.

Why should I avoid flying British Airways?

Because they charge high fuel surcharges. Read more in our guide to airlines and frequent flyer programs that charge the lowest fuel surcharges.

Why should I avoid flying out of the UK?

Because departing flights from the UK are charged the Air Passenger Duty. However, if your transit through the UK is less than 24 hours, then your departing flight won’t be charged the APD. Read more in our guide to cities and countries to aim for to minimise taxes and fees.


Can I book this award online?

Yes, you can, and we recommend it. Remember to use the multi-city search tool on the Qantas website, not the round-the-world tool on the oneworld website.

The only exception is that if you include Japan Airlines in your itinerary, you’ll need to phone Qantas. And be prepared for potential long wait times.

Can I include Emirates in my itinerary?

No, Emirates is not part of the oneworld alliance, therefore it is not eligible for this award.

What should I do if the phone agent doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing?

Hang up and call back.

Summing up

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

You’ll be able to see at least five cities and, if you’re clever, add overnight stops of up to 24 hours in connecting cities too.

Just remember to keep your total distance flown to under 35,000 miles and try to book as many of the flights as you can at the start so you’re not slugged with change and service fees.

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

If you are looking to book a Qantas round-the-world award, here’s why you should do so in the next three months was last modified: December 10th, 2020 by Matt Moffitt