Travel

6 ways to work Qantas’ new frequent flyer points to fly free

Qantas has overhauled its frequent flyer program - here's how to get the most out of it!

Fly further for less with these top strategies to fly free (and further) using the new Qantas frequent flyer hacks.

By Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon 

Are you keen on flying free, long haul? Then the Qantas frequent flyer overhaul is good news for you indeed. 

Here are the 6 ways to work the new system for maximum miles, with a little vital intel from Citro first….

Qantas frequent flyers trick 1: understand the 3 different programs

At the outset, you need to understand that there are now not 2 but 3 parallel Qantas points redemption programs. 

A new Classic Plus Flight Rewards program sits in between – value-wise – the existing Classic Flight Rewards and Points Plus Pay

Here’s the basic breakdown of how far they each fly your dollars: 

Classic Rewards: You get between 2 to 7 cents per point, depending on the cash fare at the time.  

Classic Plus: It’s a pre-determined 1 cent per point in economy and 1.5 cents in business class. But the crucial difference with set-points Classic Rewards is that, here, seats are dynamically prices – in other words, you will pay less if they have fallen in price. But more on that in a mo…

Points Plus Pay: The conversion is usually about 0.6 cents per point. Which means – spoiler alert – you should only use this one if you don’t have enough points.   

(These conversions factor in the fees and taxes except for Classic Rewards. However, note that you pay these on top with both Classic Rewards and Classic Plus.) 

All that means, on the positive, that there are more opportunities than ever to fly free (or free bar taxes), 20 million more in fact… because that’s how many new Classic Plus seats will be released each year.  

On the negative, though, you need a solid strategy to do it. 

So here we go with the top tricks and tips.

Qantas frequent flyers trick 2: Get in early 

Get in early – 353 days early to be precise. 

It’s such a weird choice of number but you still want to book your seats through the rolled-gold, old-school Qantas program: Classic Rewards.

However, only 5 million of these seats are available in a year, and that’s across all Qantas’s partner airlines around the world. (That was frequent flyer members’ main “pain point” and what the airline is trying to address by introducing the new program.)

Try to book these first – and far in advance – though… because you will get that ‘conversion value’ of up to 7 cents per point (which sure beats the 0.6 cents for Points Plus Pay – as we said, don’t bother with this other original program unless you have to!).

But before you hit “book”, there’s a new sanity/savings check to do…

Qantas frequent flyers trick 3: Search sales

Double check that there isn’t a sale that means it has dipped cheaper to book on the Classic Plus scheme – remember, that’s the new program where you simply pay one point per actual dollar price of the fare.

These seats are released 353 days ahead too, but there are 20 million of them. 

Already, a Qantas New Zealand sale has seen the one-for-one point per dollar opportunity represent better value than Classic Rewards. You might particularly pick up a great deal on shorter routes. 

The extra advantage is that you could grab a near-term bargain – often sales are for flights departing in the shorter term. So that is also a new and great opportunity. 

All cabin classes will be on offer as well. Or they will until all the allocated seats sell. 

Probably the only catch here is that Classic Plus is only available on Qantas, not on Jetstar and not on any partner airlines, like Emirates. 

For now, only international seats that emanate in Australia (including returns) are released too and flying from July. Those from outside Australia will be added shortly and, later in the year, the domestic part of the program will open. 

So where you can fly will be limited. But getting back to how

Qantas frequent flyers trick 4: Book returns

If you fly often, you’ll know it is almost always cheaper to buy a return flight than 2 individual, out and back, legs. 

Of course, for Classic Rewards, this matters not: each leg is individually and identically priced. 

But given that return flights are often way cheaper than one-ways, you could win big by scoping sales for returns and snaring them via Classic Plus. (And, again, way closer to your desired departure date.)

The ‘point’ is: There will now be one-off opportunities to fly your points far further – but it will be a matter of keeping close watch.

One move will almost always pay off though…

Qantas frequent flyers trick 5: Pick the right program for your plans

We said sales could see the value equation tip in favour of booking through Classis Plus, especially on short routes. 

The flip of this is that on long-haul flights, Classic Rewards are likely to trump Classic Plus... no matter what.  

This is particularly the case in premium cabins.

(By the way, like Classic Rewards, Classic Plus flights don’t earn you more points and only if you’re in the Qantas Points Club do you earn status credits.)

But if it’s starting to feel intimidating to identify the best-value seat yourself, don’t fret. 

When you check the ‘rewards’ box and search a route, the Qantas booking system will call and display any Classic Rewards options you have (there may well be none unless you are organised early). Alongside this will appear the top deals on available Classic Plus seats. 

Then, it’s a simple matter of picking the seat – and program – that costs you fewer points. 

Finally… 

Qantas frequent flyers trick 6: Get your itinerary right the first time

You will pay a points-penalty of 6000 if you cancel your seat. That’s on both the legacy Classic Rewards and the new Classic Plus. 

And it’s also per person, so can mount up fast for a family.

But you will even lose 5000 points if you change your booking. And here’s the kicker on the new Classic Plus program: you will also need to pay any increase in the fare in the interim… in cold, hard cash.

With the new (more complicated!) Qantas programs, you CAN fly for far less. 

But, as we said at the top of this ‘how to fly free’ analysis, you need the right strategy to do it.

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