Loyalty Lobby reports that Qantas Airlines intends to continue to offer availability of 50% more international award flights using points for travel over the next 6 months (including all cabins). Extra availability is expected to be released at 11am Sydney time on Friday, February 24, 2023 — which is 7pm Eastern time on Thursday, February 23, 2023. Based on the press release, it sounds like the extra availability will be for Qantas Frequent Flyer members, so I don’t know whether this will lead to additional partner availability — but it’s worth keeping an eye out if you’re hoping to head down under.
Again, I don’t know that we’ll see a noticeable change in partner availability, but it might be worth taking a look around/after 7pm Eastern time tonight in case some of these newly-available seats get released to partners.
You can of course transfer to Qantas from Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou points, and Capital One Miles. Qantas charges 41,900 miles + about $210 in taxes and fees one-way for economy class from Sydney or Brisbane to Los Angeles or 108,400 miles + about $335 one-way for business class. Those award rates aren’t necessarily the cheapest options to/from Australia, but if Qantas only releases the additional availability to its own members, it could certainly still be worthwhile since it is otherwise quite difficult to snag nonstop awards between the United States and locations Down Under.
If these seats are available to partners, the best value would be via Alaska Mileage Plan, which charges just 55K miles each way in business class between the US and Australia (and allows a free stopover on a one-way, so you could plan a stopover in Australia on either end of your award). Just be careful to watch out for mixed-cabin availability, which is very very poorly marked on the Alaska website (and almost impossible to identify if searching on mobile).
American Airlines AAdvantage would theoretically also be a good deal, though we’ve recently seen that some Qantas availability isn’t showing up online at AA.com. You may want to search the British Airways website and then try calling American Airlines to see if they can book the availability you find (British Airways charges far more Avios than Qantas is charging in Qantas points). Cathay Pacific Asia Miles would be another worthwhile program to consider if partner availability opens up.
I’m going to keep an eye on this as I currently have an AAdvantage award booked from Australia to the United States during the next 6 months. If availability opens up for my dates, I might consider rebooking via Alaska — though I probably won’t transfer to Qantas at 108,400 miles in business class.
I should note that skeptics here will tell you that 50% more than 0 available awards is still 0 available awards. There is no denying that snagging Qantas business class between the US and Australia is really tough. You are probably more likely to find one of their non-US routes available, but I’ll still take a look and see what I can find if anything.
About how far out can you book?
Well, I bit the bullet and used 162,800 Qantas miles for one way in F from SYD to LAX. I had that golden ticket with aa miles about 5 years ago but had to throw it back in about 5 months out. It broke my miles and points heart to do it so I decided I was going to do almost whatever it took to make it happen this time. I snagged a date in November. Other than one other seat in early Nov. and two on dates in August, there wasn’t a single seat in F that, using Qantas miles, went for fewer than 2,656,913 miles!! Yep, 2.6M. In other words, “nope.” Interestingly, I had my choice of seats for the date I booked. I didn’t look to see what the availability was on the 2.6M dates, but it would be interesting to see. I still have to figure out how to get over there, but I’ll probably be starting from Europe, so that will be a whole different learning curve. I mostly wanted to experience the SYD lounge and try one flight in Qantas F on the 380. It’s well worth spending my recently earned Venture X winnings, which is what I chose to use. Thanks so much for the heads up. But for this post today, I never would have known to even look. And, while nearly 163k miles may seem like a crazy # to spend for a 1 way ticket, I’m already thrilled. (FWIW, I did search aa and Alaska but no joy at all. aa wanted more miles than Qantas did for seats in F that I found. Congrats to all those who had success.)
DONE! LAX-SYD in qantas F, 105000 AA miles
alaska I don’t know will work, try calling in!
Any way to book through Alaska?
They said they can’t see it even when I called in. Space did exist on my dates though
Nope. Wasted some time on the phone there (in the hope of saving some big miles). Their line is if it can’t be booked online, we can’t book it. QF just didn’t release space to Alaska.
now I’m having trouble confirming!
it’s ON, find availability on BA or expert flyer, must call in to AA for P fare class for QF F. I’m booking LAX-SYD F in Sept
I’m giving up for now. I guess Qantas FF fans broke the page. I’ve been trying for 30 min. and keep getting a variety of error messages whenever I try to search (I’m logged in). I was actually willing to use the necessary boatload of Qantas miles I’d need to book that elusive F ticket (after 7 years of trying to get it with AA or Alaska miles). I’ll try again later, but right now it’s just a mess down under.
@Nick Reyes Reyes Slightly off topic, but have you ever heard of Chase not depositing points from a bonus, just points from regular spend to a partner(IHG) even though the statement says “x points sent to y partner”. For instance I got the IHG bonus, the statement says 190k sent to IHG but only 15k from the regular spend posted over to IHG. I’m really getting screwed for a trip in 2 weeks. Going to wait 1 more day. Hope your cruise is going well. Cheers.
If I’m doing my math correctly, 50% more than zero is still… zero 🙂
Not too often a comment makes me actually laugh out loud. Well done!
What about F?
Yup. The announcement says all cabins.