How to fly around the world in Business Class for 280,000 Qantas Points with the oneworld classic award

GUIDE: Using Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 7 minutes
POSTED: January 24, 2017
UPDATED: October 11, 2017
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Qantas Frequent Flyer
STATUS: Updated to answer the most frequently asked questions

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.

Why does Qantas have four different award tables?

  1. Qantas Classic Flight Rewards: the cheapest price table for Qantas and its preferred partners of Airnorth, 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 partner airlines
  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.

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, proided there is award availability and the total distance is kept under 35,000 miles.

You can choose from over 1000 destinations in more than 150 countries covered by the oneworld alliance:

  • Aer Lingus (rejoining sometime in 2017)
  • airberlin
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LATAM
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • Sri Lankan Airlines

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.

CabinMelbourne to London return on Qantas or EmiratesMelbourne to London return on Qatar Airwaysoneworld Classic Flight Reward
Economy120,000150,000140,000
Premium Economy192,000225,000210,000
Business Class256,000278,000280,000
First Class384,000406,000420,000
Miles travelled21,007)21,007Up 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 points in Business Class or 392,000 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 in Business or 406,000 in First.

By comparison, you could fly almost double the distance (up to 35,000 miles) and have stopovers in five cities for just 2,000 points more in Business Class or 14,000 more in First Class.

If you’d rather use your points for a trip in Economy or Premium Economy, you’ll actually save 10-15,000 points by doing a RTW itinerary compared to flying with one of Qantas’ non-preferred partners. Crazy, right?

Just note that not all oneworld carriers operate a Premium Economy cabin, so you’d 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 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

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

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 140,000 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 in Economy. The same journey in Business Class would have cost 280,000, or 420,000 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:

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 qantas.com search engine to find most award availability, with the British Airways search engine providing results for Japan Airlines, which does not show up on the Qantas website.

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 2017)
  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 call Qantas Frequent Flyer (Australia 13 11 31 / New Zealand 0800 101 500) between 8am and 7pm AEST Monday to Friday.

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.

Routing

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 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.

Pricing

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 5000-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 8000-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 points instead of 280,000. 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.

Booking

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 in connecting cities too by avoiding stopovers of less than 24 hours in some others.

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?

How to fly around the world in Business Class for 280,000 Qantas Points with the oneworld classic award was last modified: October 11th, 2017 by Nelson Yap