Many people understandably wouldn’t choose to redeem points for domestic business travel on shorter flights – but if your travel preferences see you wanting the Business Class experience, and you have points to use, then why not?!
As a comparison, you may also be interested in our Virgin Australia 737 Domestic Business Class overview.
Update: On 10 March 2020, Qantas announced significant cuts to its international route network through to September 2020. This includes suspension of flights and aircraft swaps, including the grounding of a majority of its A380 fleet. Further information can be found in this guide.
Qantas 737 Domestic & Trans-Tasman Fleet & Routes
If you’re flying Qantas within Australia or across to New Zealand, you’ll more than likely be on a Boeing 737-800, which accounts for over half of all planes that Qantas currently operate.
Qantas’ longest routes that they operate the 737 on are to/from the East and West Coast, Perth – Singapore and Sydney – Bali routes. These are likely to have the most competition for Business Class redemptions and upgrades.
The alternative to Qantas’ most-common domestic Business Class is Qantas’ Airbus A330, a more modern product with a lie-flat seat and direct-aisle access for every passenger.
Or if you’re travelling to a regional airport in Australia, you may be on a smaller plane like a two-class Boeing 717 (which has 6 instead of 12 Business Class seats) or an all-Economy-Class Boeing 717 or turboprop aircraft.
Lacking a user-friendly route map, here is a full list of domestic and Trans-Tasman Qantas services.
Business Class passengers can check two 32kg bags and Qantas Platinum and Platinum One and oneworld Emerald status holders can add an extra one.
Qantas 737 Domestic Business Class: Seats & Seatmap
Compared to Virgin Australia’s smaller eight-seat Business Class cabin arranged in a 2-2 configuration across two rows, Qantas has 12 seats in total with a third row, meaning you’ll get not-as-attentive service but more award availability on some routes.
In my opinion, Row 2 is the ideal seat selection as you will be cushioned from the noise and movement from the galley in front and Economy cabin in the back, and your feet won’t be restricted by the bulkhead in front.
Passengers in Row 1 may appreciate having no other passengers in front of them as well as being served first, whilst those in Row 3 may like having a solid wall between their seat and the start of the Economy Class cabin, preventing being disturbed by any movement from passengers located behind them.
The seats are made of leather and are wide enough to feel comfortable with a stranger next door, especially given the 22-inch Qantas seats are 2½ inches wider than their Virgin counterparts:
Each seat has a moveable leg rest:
Generally the Qantas 737 Business Class seat is fairly comfortable, offering a ‘Premium Economy’ like seat (relative to international cabins). There’s just enough space to feel like you have more privacy and comfort than travelling in Economy, but it’s not anything too amazing.
Service – Food & Drink
You’ll get a full meal on every Qantas flight, regardless of the duration or distance.
Qantas’ domestic Business Class dining in my experience has left a little to be desired – a bit hit and mess, let’s say. In some cases the breakfasts or dinners have been great, but in others the choice has been limited, or what’s been presented has been overly greasy or not big enough. I don’t bank on getting a good meal with Qantas, unfortunately – unlike my experiences with Virgin Australia.
On newer 737s, Business Class seats have a personal seatback entertainment screen:
but the general trend of using personal devices means that streaming services and wifi are becoming more common on Qantas flights.
On older 737s, there are overhead screens. On more modern aircraft, each seat has USB and AC power outlets.
How to redeem points for this flight
The five main points currencies Australia-based travellers can use on Qantas flights are:
- Qantas Points (mainly through Qantas-linked credit cards)
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (transferable from a range of credit card rewards programs)
- American Airlines AAdvantage miles (mainly through buy miles promotions)
- British Airways Avios (mainly through buy miles promotions)
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles (mainly through buy miles promotions)
Following is a comparison of pricing on common routes. Note that the figures for Qantas Frequent Flyer are for bookings made before/after 18 September 2019.
|Route||Qantas||AAdvantage||Asia Miles||Avios||Alaska Mileage Plan|
|Melbourne - Adelaide||16,000/18,400||20,000||20,000||12,500||20,000|
|Brisbane - Perth||36,000/41,500||20,000||30,000||38,750||20,000|
|Sydney - Christchurch||36,000/41,500||25,000||30,000||22,000||N/A*|
*Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan does not allow routings between Australia and New Zealand
Avios offer great value for short hops in domestic Business Class on Qantas flights within Australia, as well as Japan Airlines flights within Japan and American Airlines flights within the US (although availability is limited for the latter.)
For longer domestic and Trans-Tasman flights, the region-based (rather than distance-based) award charts of AAdvantage and Alaska Mileage Plan come in handy.
You may also be interested in using your Qantas Points to upgrade an Economy Class ticket bought with cash.
If you are purchasing a cash ticket on a Qantas flight and want to get the most value out of the points you’ll earn, check out our guide on how to choose which program to credit your frequent flyer points to.
Qantas has a more comprehensive lounge network throughout Australia than its main competitor, Virgin Australia.
Depending on your location, you’ll get access to one of the five Domestic Business Lounges (in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra) or the lower-tier Qantas Clubs (in all capital cities as well as far afield as Karratha, Devonport and Mackay.)
The quality of the food in a Domestic Business Lounge is generally a cut above that found in the Qantas Club.
Our Other Reviews
- Qantas Boeing 787 Business Class overview
- Qantas Boeing 737-800 Economy Class overview
- Qantas A330 Domestic Business Class overview
- Qantas 717 Domestic Business Class review – Sydney to Canberra
- Qantas new domestic A330 Business Class review – Melbourne to Sydney
- Virgin Australia 737 Domestic Business Class overview
Summing up: why redeem points for Qantas Domestic Business Class?
My go-to points currency for short domestic Business Class flights with Qantas are usually Avios, earned through some of their cheaper purchase miles deals (I got lucky with Iberia’s Avios Groupon offer, for example).
It’s possible to also use some Avios by moving points over from Starwood to British Airways to redeem with Qantas.
Others would choose to use Qantas Points to upgrade into Business Class from Economy flights, either booked by their employer for for work.
Qantas Business Class seating and service on the 737 is good – it’s a workhorse fleet with a generally common experience across most flights.
In reality, travelling in Qantas’ 737 Business Class for short domestic flights is a luxury, which is priced accordingly – whether that’s paying using points or cash.
Whether you should use your points to upgrade yourself to Business would all be down to how many points you have, how you intend to use them and the context and duration of your trip.
Most trips wouldn’t warrant the upgrade but for times when you can afford it and really want the extra space and comfort, it’s a great option to take advantage of.