How To Find Classic Reward Seats On Qantas

here is how to find classic reward seats on qantas
The Qantas Frequent Flyer program is the most popular frequent flyer program in Australia. Collecting points is extremely easy if you live here. You don’t even have to leave the ground with hundreds of partners to potentially earn points from. This is all well and good as you can rack up quite the balance with a little bit of conscious spending but then you get to using your points and find there are no seats or Qantas doesn’t fly to where you want to go. Qantas’ vast array of airline partners usually means you can find some seats to where you want to go. The trick is that the search engine doesn’t always show them to you. Here are a few of my tips on how to find classic reward seats on Qantas.
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    What is a Qantas Classic Reward?

    Qantas Classic Rewards is the name given to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program reward seats. Simply put, these seats are limited and do not correspond to the available seats on a flight. There is no guaranteed minimum reward seat availability, so popular flights might have very few or no classic reward seats available. To find classic reward seats, click the “Reward seats” toggle on the search page for a flight. This will let you see all Qantas and partner reward seats. This is important as the website will not show you some reeward seats without clicking the toggle. Qantas also has another type of reward called an “Any seat” reward which enables you to use points to redeem any empty seat on the plane. This is not the reward you should be going for, as the price depends on the airfare at the time and typically represents a worse value than the rates you see on classic rewards.

    To give yourself the best chance to redeem classic reward seats start searching as early as possible. Qantas releases domestic reward seats 353 days in advance. For international flights, if you have Bronze or Silver status, you can only see them 297 days and 323 days out, respectively. To see flights as far out as 353 days then you need to be Gold or above.

    find qantas classic reward seats by pressing this toggle

    How to actually find the seats

    It’s all well and good knowing Qantas’ partners and the potential redemptions but it’s another thing trying to find the seats. Qantas’ search engine can make it difficult to find routes and part of this is that the vast array of partners makes finding all possibilities quite difficult to present in an easily digestible manner. It doesn’t help that sometimes, even when a reward seat is available you may not be able to see it no matter how hard you look. These seats will require a call to a Qantas customer service agent.

    Let’s say you are looking for flights from Sydney to London and your first search doesn’t show any seats available. This doesn’t mean that there are no flights available. My next steps would be as follows:

    1. Search for flights originating from either Singapore or Los Angeles and go to London. Qantas has a number of partners that have many flights coming out of these two airports. On multiple occasions I have been surprised by many flights from either Finnair, Air France, Emirates or other partners from Singapore or flights from American Airlines or British Airways from Los Angeles.
    2. Look for flights to Singapore or Los Angeles for the day before. Often Qantas will have some availability either themselves or from their partners on these routes on either side of the date you’re looking at. While you may have to stay a night in one of these cities, your cost saving should still be significant.
    3. If you can’t find any look at other airlines. Luckily Los Angeles and Singapore are large hub airports with a range of budget airlines and of course the partners with some of the highest award availability – Singapore Airlines and United Airlines.You will almost certainly be able to find flights on one of these routes
    4. If all of these methods fail, have a look at British Airways’ website. Their Avios award search engine has a much clearer and comprehensive picture of award seats in the Oneworld alliance and may find seats you couldn’t see on Qantas’ website. You can book these by getting in touch with Qantas through their call center.

    Domestic Classic Rewards

    On domestic flights you have little choice. If you have Qantas points you need to use them on Qantas. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to redeem flights domestically and I’ve done it plenty of times. They are most valuable if you use them on monopoly routes and at peak times when tickets would otherwise be expensive.
     
    Qantas has an extensive domestic route meaning you have many options for points redemptions and I don’t think the additional fees you pay on top are unreasonable. I found flights to Canberra have been especially good value given cash fares here can be extremely high especially during the holiday period.
    You can see here that the cash fare in economy is $269. As I’ve mentioned before a quick way to see if you’re getting a good deal is to value a point at 1 cent. While I hesitate to say a point is worth x because it really is just a fake currency, you can use this as a mental reference point. So here you would be getting a $269 flight for $80 worth of points and $69 in taxes which isn’t too bad.
     
    Domestic Qantas flights have a business class option as well with far more seats than internationally. These can be a fun redemption for a special occasion as you get lounge access and decent meal on board. The Qantas domestic business lounges are generally very good. I think these upgrades are especially worth it when you’re flying transcontinental as you may benefit from a lie-flat seat on the longer flight (especially overnight). This isn’t on all aircraft though! Look for flights with the Airbus A330.

    International Classic Reward Seats

    Here is where most people’s dreams lie when it comes to redeeming points. Who doesn’t want a free flight for an overseas holiday?
     
    My opinion is Qantas flights are poor value when redeeming for Qantas international flights. The taxes are too high to make flying economy worth it in most cases and while you might occasionally find a business class seat which is better value, the taxes can still be very high and you’re better off finding an alternative. Business class classic rewards are extremely hard to find and require you to search well in advance.
     
    But all is not lost! Qantas has a huge list of airline partners with which you can redeem flights. They can get you to most places around the world and I’m going to highlight some of the best ones to look for. I might have mentioned a few of these before but hopefully this list will help you find a classic reward seat.

    Japan Airlines

    This is an airline I have enjoyed redeeming flights on personally. They have excellent service, a solid route network and make for an easy transit from Australia. Most importantly they are fairly easy to redeem on Qantas’ website with very low taxes. In fact, if you’re redeeming for domestic flights there are NO taxes!
    They also offer decent value on their international flights. With flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Tokyo it’s reasonably easy to find a redemption. I’ve booked a points flight 2 weeks out which is often impossible!

    Finnair

    I’ve touched on Finnair before and I’ll briefly highlight them here. Another excellent airline with an excellent product and a streamlined transit in Helsinki to get to your onward destination.
     
    I think flights within Europe are not worth looking at with Qantas points but where you get a significant advantage is flights from Asia to Europe and Europe to US. The taxes are very low and in fact the lowest of any carriers flying similar routes that I’ve seen.
    Compare these two flights for example. One flies with Finnair from Helsinki to New York, the other flies Finnair Helsinki to London and the rest of the trip is on British Airways. Ignoring the points cost (because one is 2 flights so costs more points) you can still see the huge difference in taxes you need to pay. This is a redemption worth looking out for.

    Westjet

    Westjet is a relatively new Qantas partner. They have an extensive Canadian network with hubs in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. They offer flights to a number of popular European destinations and also flights to the US and Caribbean. Again, there are some extremely low taxes and flights from Vancouver and Calgary make it a potential stopover when flying to Europe via Australia’s East Coast.

    American Airlines

    If you’re looking for cheap domestic flights in the US, American Airlines is one of the options you should be looking at. Like Japan Airlines, taxes for domestic flights are almost nothing. As the US has a very competitive market for flights it’s always worth seeing if a cash fare is better than using your points (and think about saving them for another flight) but this can come in handy during peak times when flights are otherwise expensive.

    Standouts for poor value

    As well as the Airlines above, Qantas has a couple of partners who make redeeming flights with them so expensive that they are not worth your time considering. These unfortunately are the same partners that have the most extensive networks – Emirates and Qatar Airways. Taxes on Economy fares are routinely more than $400 and on premium classes these can go up to more than $1800. While economy tickets can be worth it on routes that are otherwise inaccessible with points, to me these costs generally defeat the purpose of using points as you end up paying so much out of pocket that it is no longer worth it. Save your points for one of the better redemptions above if they’re available.

    Other quirks of the Qantas Frequent Flyer Program

    Given the ease of getting Qantas points in Australia, if you’re interested in loyalty programs, it’s inevitable that you will have Qantas points. A few opportunities will make your life easier if you want to get regular reward seats. Many perks of the program are revealed once you get more status. Anecdotally, people can get reward seats released on flights with seats available for sale if they are a Platinum or above member. Qantas also occasionally has Points Plane promotions where every seat on the plane is open as a classic reward. This provides another opportunity to redeem a business or first-class seat; although you would expect these seats to go quite quickly, you need to be on the ball.
     
    An additional bonus to keep in mind is the Qantas Points Club. This is for people who have earned a large number of points through sources other than flying i.e. through spending money on credit cards and other Qantas partners. It offers a few nice perks but one I want to highlight is the ability to earn status credits on reward flights. This increases based on the class booked and can be a nice boost for those flying long distances using points. For example, a business class classic reward from Sydney to London (providing you can snag one) will give you 112 status credits! This only applied for flights on Qantas itself and not with partners.
     
    Lastly, I would suggest keeping an eye out for new Qantas routes. Whenever Qantas or their partners open a new route there will always be a brief period where reward availability is high as new seats are released onto the market. If you keep an eye out for opportunities like this, you will find classic reward seats and be able to redeem them a bit more easily with your points.

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