Perhaps one of the most exciting things you can do in the world of travel is redeeming your hard-earned Qantas Points for an award seat. And if you’ve taken advantage of a Qantas earning credit card bonus, you potentially have a number of award seats that you can book.
It’s not too complicated if you know what you’re doing, so here is a step-by-step guide to booking your next journey with Qantas Points.
Booking a Classic Flight Reward seat with Qantas Points
There are three stages to this. The first step is to plan your journey. This means knowing the route you want to fly, the dates, the cabin class availability and then finally finding the award seats.
Afterwards, it’s fairly straightforward to reserve those seats and pay for them.
Stage 1: Planning your journey
You will also need to know how many Qantas Points your proposed route will require. You can check this on the Qantas website — all you need to know is the operating airline, and the total distance flown between all the airports in your itinerary.
The choice of airline is important, as the number of points needed will vary between them. There are four Qantas Classic Rewards points tables, and all partner airlines will fall under one of them.
- Qantas Classic Flight Reward table: travel on Qantas, Jetstar (when mixed with other airlines on this table), Airnorth, Fiji Airways, Air Vanuatu, American Airlines and Emirates.
- Jetstar Classic Flight Reward table: standalone travel on Jetstar (JQ), Jetstar Asia (3K), Jetstar Japan (GK) and Jetstar Pacific (BL) on the same trip.
- Partner Classic Flight Reward table: travel on Air Niugini, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, China Eastern, Cathay Pacific/Cathay Dragon, EL AL, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and SriLankan Airlines.
- Oneworld Classic Flight Reward table: When combining any two or more Oneworld member airlines, excluding Qantas, and does not include any travel on non-Oneworld member airlines, such as Jetstar and Emirates.
For the distance, I suggest heading to the Great Circle Mapper website (no affiliations) and enter your airport codes in the search box. For example, Perth to Brisbane to Los Angeles would be PER-BNE-LAX.
As long as the transit between flights remains under 24 hours (international) or the same calendar day (domestic), then you can add up the total distance and pay the points applicable to that distance travelled, rather than per flight which usually works out to be more expensive.
You can see that the combined distance is 9,407 miles. Assuming we are flying Qantas and are just having a short transit, go to the first Qantas Classic Flight Reward Table and look up that distance.
In this example, our travel distance fits within Zone 9, so you would need 51,200 Qantas Points in Economy, 94,900 in Premium Economy, 126,500 in Business, or 189,800 in First.
But what if you wanted to fly Perth to Los Angeles via Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific? Firstly, the distance travelled would be much higher at 10,993 miles.
Secondly, you would need to consult the more expensive partner award chart in Zone 10, which requires 66,200 Qantas Points in Economy, 124,800 in Premium Economy, 159,000 in Business Class, or 227,500 in First Class.
That is some pretty steep partner award pricing!
Stage 2: Looking for award seats (the old way)
When you’re ready to book, it’s time to hit the Qantas website. Ensure your account has enough points to book for everyone in your party (you can move points around with Family Transfers). A reminder: you can only book for yourself and family members, not unrelated friends or colleagues.
Start by switching on ‘Use Points’. Put in all your search parameters including origin, destination, one-way or return, number of passengers, travel class and dates. You can also switch on ‘Flexible with dates’ if you want to see a calendar of seat availability.
Once you’ve selected a day to check, any available results will show up. Qantas flights are normally prioritised to the top, even if there are better non-stop options by other airlines.
Stage 3: Booking the award seat
Click next, and double-check the flight summary including dates, times, flight numbers, travel class and baggage entitlements. It will also show you the taxes payable.
Over the next few pages, you’ll be required to enter passenger details and make payment. You don’t need passport details at this stage.
For Australian bookings at least, you can pay by card (fee applies) or POLi (uses bank transfer, no fees apply). Current Qantas payment fees can be viewed here. POLi bank transfers can be made from eligible Australian and NZ personal bank accounts.
Once your payment is received, your booking will be confirmed. This is usually instant for card payments and POLi, assuming the bank transfer went through correctly.
Keep an eye out for your itinerary which should appear in your email within the hour. If you still haven’t received it after 24 hours, check if there is a valid booking under your Qantas Frequent Flyer account, or contact Qantas. Complex itineraries may need someone to manually ticket it.
Alternative: Working out taxes when looking for award seats
One drawback about the old way of booking reward flights is that it doesn’t show the taxes payable unless you have enough Qantas Points, Thus, it makes it difficult if you want to check what the taxes are.
A method to overcome this is to try to use Qantas’ new booking interface. It won’t work for all reward flights, but it’s worth a try. You’ll need to start by using the Qantas Australia home page. Once again input your search, but don’t switch on ‘Use Points’.
On the results page, which is initially showing cash fares, switch on ‘Classic Rewards’. You’ll now see a list of Classic Reward seats with the taxes included. Some partner airlines will show up as well.
Booking your award seats through this new interface also means you can select seats at the time of booking rather than manually doing it afterwards, which saves a little bit of time. It also shows your baggage allowance in a clearer graphical form.
How to book multiple award flights with Qantas Points
Booking a more complex multi-city trip is basically the same steps as booking a single flight, but you need to search sector by sector and find available award seats for all flights.
Make sure you’re aware of all the rules of mixing and matching different airlines (e.g. a oneworld Award can’t contain Emirates or Jetstar flights), otherwise the pricing can get messed up.
Here is an example of a trip, booking Perth-Doha and Doha-London. In your example, split up the flights into the different sectors you want to fly.
The first page will show results for your first sector. In this example, we are going to pick the Perth to Kuala Lumpur to Doha option in Business Class, which mixes Oneworld partners Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways.
Next, you choose your second flight and so-on. In our example, I am picking a connecting Qatar Airways Business Class flight to London.
Doing it this way, you could fly from Perth to London all the way in Business Class, even if there isn’t any award seat availability when you search Perth-London directly.
This is the itinerary our examples end up with, which cost 150,000 Qantas Points per person plus taxes. The pricing is from the Oneworld Classic Reward Table, since it mixes at least two oneworld airlines.
At the next stage, you’ll get a quote for the points and taxes required, before filling out passenger details and making payment. That’s all there is to it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Call Qantas and mention you can’t book your itinerary online. They should waive any phone booking fees because of this, and help book it for you.
There may be a mistake somewhere in your booking. For example, you could have stopovers longer than 24 hours between flights, or you may be mixing airlines between two different Qantas Classic Reward Tables, meaning the numbers quoted will be off.
Ask us in the Point Hacks Community if you keep on having problems.
Yes, it costs 5,000 points per person to change an itinerary, or 6,000 points per person to cancel. Everything else will get refunded back after a week or two. No cancellations can happen after the first flight on the itinerary has been travelled.
We don’t recommend you use more points than you need, especially for Points Plus Pay. That process converts your points into cash at a very low rate. You are better off saving them for another trip.
Don’t pay more Qantas Points than you need. Keep the slider as low as possible.