Best way to use Qantas FF points to secure Business Class to London?

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Hi all,

I’m planning on heading to London early next year (Jan-Feb 2017) and have around 200k Qantas frequent flyer points in the bank.

I’m hoping to use these to upgrade to business class as from researching, this seems to be best value. However, have also read that business class upgrade is a “lottery” with Qantas and given my tier status is Bronze, that would also my chances.

So my question is, what would be the best way to use these points to get an upgrade to business class flying to London? Would entering the Qantas lottery give me a better chance or should I try to book with say Emirates and use Qantas points to upgrade with Emirates?

Any help will be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

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Best Response

Mark is absolutely right; travelling later in January and February is going to help, as it’s sort of dropping off the peak and there’s likely to be fewer higher up frequent fliers for you to contend with for that upgrade.

As a bronze frequent flier I wouldn’t say buying an economy ticket and then upgrading is a reasonable way to go if you’re hoping to score the upgrade, just because you are right down the bottom in terms of upgradability. You’d be outranked by Silver, Gold, Platinum, Platinum 1 and even the bronze fliers with an earlier join date than you. You’d also be outranked by anyone looking for an upgrade from premium to business, and anyone else who’s upgrading from the same economy class fare as you but got in marginally earlier to request it.

200k is a fair amount but as I’m sure you’re aware it wouldn’t get you both all the way in business. Might be an idea to go for a mixed class redemption, as you’d probably be able to fund most if not all of your travel using the points? Do something like economy to hong kong if you can get availability on a day flight (only 9 hours) and then try and snag business with Cathay on the long connection to London?

But yeah I wouldn’t pay for an upgradable ticket on Qantas, just because realistically I don’t think you’d have a great shot at it and then if you don’t, you’ve just overpaid by a couple of hundred to have one you could upgrade when you could have gone a discount economy fare.

Best of luck

  • Thanks for the tips Jimmy. Will think about it a bit more and try to accumulate some more points and go for business class straight up rather than try for an upgrade since it sounds unlikely.

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Best Response

You can only use Qantas points to upgrade on Qantas operated flights . You can’t use them on Emirates even with a QF number.

If you want to upgrade from economy you will need to buy flexible economy which is often much more expensive than the cheapest economy which is ineligible for upgrade.  You will need to weigh this all up along with the chance you won’t get an upgrade

  • Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the reply. I know of a friend that booked an Emirates flight then used Qantas FF points to upgrade at the check in counter. Maybe a once off…got lucky?

    In any case, would you/anyone be able to advise the best way to try and maximise chances of getting to London in business class making use of Qantas FF points? Or is guaranteeing it impossible and only way would be to enter the “lottery”

    Thanks again

  • If you are travelling late January to February you have a better chance as more seats are available. As upgrades are allocated in order of frequent flyer status, the only way to maximise your chance is to be a higher tier .

  • I am in a similar boat and have about 400k of Qantas FF points I want to use to upgrade me and my girl next year. I thought I could just search for available business award seats, buy a flexi fare and upgrade them immediately? That’s what I do on Virgin. What’s this about going into a lottery?

  • Nomad, from what I’ve read it’s a lot easier to get upgrades on Virgin vs Qantas which is more of a lottery system where you apply for an upgrade but it’s not guaranteed you’ll get it.

  • So this is a key differentiator between Qantas FF and Velocity? This is huge IMHO, as for people who may collect lots of points but not hold status then the value of using them is lessened. Paying for a flexi and immediately getting the upgrade locked in is my preference and with Velocity it doesn’t matter what tier you are on to my understanding.

    Maybe I am incorrect here as I do hold Platinum status with Virgin, when I search for business reward seats maybe I see more than someone on a lower tier? Or does that not factor into the search for Virgin? Can anyone shed some light on this? I am stuck with heaps of Qantas FF points but no status.

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