Scarce access to QANTAS Intl First and Business awards

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GoldenWinger

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Dec 26, 2007
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I am still trying to understand QF’s logic of basically blocking the release of any P (First) or U (Business) award seats to destinations such as LAX, SIN and LHR. You may find a scattering of seats throughout the year mid-week (Tu/We/Th) but that’s about it. LAX is the worst culprit – and in a lot of instances award seats are never released – even the day before departure on the day of departure even if as in the case of First class it virtually unsold and empty. Here are examples I have personally experienced recently as a Plat One…I had a paid booking in First Class recently on the SYD-SIN…I thought I would try to see just how useful the “access to a greater choice of award seats” is for P1s…I requested a classic award First Class seat for my partner about a week before for my partner – it was denied. Flight at that time only had me and one other unticketed pax on the flight (I have a friend at QF who can check loads in Amadeus)…fair enough I understand QF needs to give priority to commercial bookings…thought I would try my luck again for the request at 1600 the day prior to departure – at this time the flight had me and the other pax who was now ticketed – there were 2 waitlist upgrades too. My request was denied and I advised to try again – P1 special services was very nice and tried again sending to the “business analyst” – it was declined once more. When I finally did travel it in the cabin it was me and on other pax – along with 4 non-rev tech crew…so obviously it seems QF like to ensure there is adequate space for non-revenue staff. As for the waitlisted upgrade pax – they were declined as advised my friend.

Same situation again when trying to request a classic award to LAX in First for myself – I did this the day prior – the QF107 has no seats sold and QF11 has 5 seats sold. The request was declined once again by the “business analyst”. In terms of upgrade requests for P1, I did one from Economy to Business – it only cleared about 5 hours before departure on a SIN-MEL. Flight was pretty wide open – this also goes against the P1 benefit that it may clear well ahead of time.

Not sure if anyone else experienced this, but there was also a small “window of opportunity” where P and U inventory would open up for these flights as long there were still “A” class inventory for First and “D” and sometimes “I” inventory for Business – I found this out while playing around with availability on the QF website and also directly on QF’s Amadeus system which I have access to…times are based on SYD local times…this has been the situation for the past few years but has recently changed in the last month or so.

For SYD-HKG on the QF127 P/U inventory would open up day prior around 1600 up until around 1740.

For BNE/SYD/MEL-SIN (QF51/31/5/9) P/U would be available day prior from around 2100 to 2330.
For SYD-BKK (QF1) it would be same time frame as SIN flights.
For LAX-AKL/BNE/SYD/MEL P/U inventory would show up around 2200 to 2330 for flight day prior local time – ie. If it was 27FEB in SYD it would be available for 26FEB (USA time).

The trick on the search engine at QF.com was to ensure “flexible with day” was ticked and then once the availability would come it would show “no seats” but all you had to do was click on the date (eg. You request search on 27FEB – you then clicked on 28FEB) and you would get the seats.

Maybe the above was during the time upgrades were being processed? There were possibly other flights but these are the ones I had found. Now all of the above doesn’t work – maybe QF has picked up on this possible “loop hole”? What a shame – it was good way of securing seats. Maybe not so convenient for LAX flights but for the rest it was good.

It’s unfortunate that QF can get away with basically not offering decent access to Premium cabins for award seats – well maybe they can get away with since there is very little government regulation on them in terms of frequent flyer award seats. So basically they are conducting in misleading and deceptive practices. British Airways on the other hand under UK law has to follow stricter conditions in the provision of award seats. You will notice BA generally within 48 hours of departure will have Z (First) and U inventory available if the flight is not physically full.

This can just be added to the list of things that QF does so well to alienate their customer base and in particular anger their top tier frequent flyers.
 
Joined
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I've had pretty much the same experiences!

The whole First and Business class redemption for QF Intl is an absolute scam - I'm also P1 and it's pretty much a waster of time. Nothing really worthwhile about it.

Those business analysts you mention - what planet are the from?

I notice RedRoo hasn't even bothered replying on this - I wonder what reply he/she would come back with? Looking forward to the BS spin as you put.

Hey thanks for the tips about the "window of ops" for those flights!! why didn't you tell us before??? lol. No point now seeing you mention it's over...
 

Globetrotter

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I've experience similar issues with F and J rewards availability - almost impossible. Probably why DJ is gaining more business from QF and I too have moved my travels to DJ including my reward credit cards.
 

GoldenWinger

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Globetrotter - I have found DJ/VA quite good for premium availability to LAX...if flight is not too full you can pretty much always score an award ticket.

I just wish QF would provide a little more inventory - not NO inventory...
 

nlagalle

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6,003
Qantas
Platinum
I've had pretty much the same experiences!

The whole First and Business class redemption for QF Intl is an absolute scam - I'm also P1 and it's pretty much a waster of time. Nothing really worthwhile about it.

Those business analysts you mention - what planet are the from?

I notice RedRoo hasn't even bothered replying on this - I wonder what reply he/she would come back with? Looking forward to the BS spin as you put.

Hey thanks for the tips about the "window of ops" for those flights!! why didn't you tell us before??? lol. No point now seeing you mention it's over...


Whilst I agree availability is bad, I don't agree with your assumption Red Roo hasn't replied. Considering the thread was created a couple of hours ago I wouldn't expect any reply today.. People don't work 24/7
 

Duffa

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I don't feel so bad as a lowly Bronze now, knowing that P1's are getting the shaft too!
That's why I'm taking my points elsewhere....
 

adrian

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Jul 17, 2006
Posts
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Last week, I found SYD-LHR in QF first on the A380, for a flight next week. Even though I was only looking for business class, I thought that was a pretty good/rare find, so I called the nice people at AA to hold the seat for me, which they did for 5 days... I then had it ticketed for 80k miles and USD75 :)
I am not sure I am going to take it, but if I need to cancel it, they will refund the points and taxes in full and without charge.
QF P1? No thanks... I am happy with AA EXP.
 

bugayev

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Jun 29, 2010
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I'm confused by your comments about the request being denied by others - the special services team are purportedly trained to give you an immediate response without waiting to extra seats coming out of the F/J revenue buckets.

Others who are P1 have confirmed that they could get award seats on high demand routes at very very short notice.

Did SST give you any further explanations as to why your requests were continually failing?
 

Danger

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Last week I searched for availability from Perth to New York and Perth to London over Christmas and new year. To my surprise there was a fair amount of availability in all classes, but premium classes were restricted to Cathay and British Airways.

Last week, I found SYD-LHR in QF first on the A380, for a flight next week. Even though I was only looking for business class, I thought that was a pretty good/rare find, so I called the nice people at AA to hold the seat for me, which they did for 5 days... I then had it ticketed for 80k miles and USD75 :)
I am not sure I am going to take it, but if I need to cancel it, they will refund the points and taxes in full and without charge.
QF P1? No thanks... I am happy with AA EXP.

Wow. Another reason to purchase AA miles in the current promo. I hope my AA Platinum would be similarly handy as your AA Executive Platinum when it comes to redeeming and the cancellation policy.
 

Paddy55

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While generally agreeing on the lack of availability compared to demand, as long as you are prepared to jump when seats are released nearly a year out, there are premium seats available.

I was fortunate enough to score 2 x JASA SYD-MEL-LAX for mid Dec, and 3 x JASA LAX-SYD :mrgreen:, however QF11/12 was off limits in J or F either way.

So QF drip feed premium Award tickets which continues to upset it's most loyal customers (P1 & WP).
 

grussellt

Active Member
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Posts
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If you're looking for premium awards online it's worthwhile signing up to one of the sites that display availability (eg Awardnexus) and also to consider a layover of more than 2 hours. There's now much better availability from Oz to Europe using JAL and BA (from NRT or HND) than some of the traditional routes. it still helps to start at 353 days out!
 

GoldenWinger

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Thanks for the replies...
I think in any event the QF FF will be investigated soon for deceptive marketing in terms releasing or lack thereof of Premium award seats - what is being done is nothing short of deceptive marketing.
 
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I do not often fly Qantas due to unavailability however friends fly each year to the USA and book seats just after midnight when the flights are released some 364 days
ahead. They tell me they have 10 mins or so after midnight until seats are gone.
 

nlagalle

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Thanks for the replies...
I think in any event the QF FF will be investigated soon for deceptive marketing in terms releasing or lack thereof of Premium award seats - what is being done is nothing short of deceptive marketing.

I've been hearing that one for years.. Although some routes are hard to find, there are plenty of others that aren't. Nothing deceptive, just demand. There won't be an investigation..
 

GoldenWinger

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But how does QF justify not giving even 1 in First using my example when they haven't sold any? So what QF are saying is they intend to sell 14 commercial seats in less than 24 hours.
for LAX it's a fact they do not realease any award seats in P and U on flights dep Mon/Fri/Sat/Sun - is that not deceptive?

QF should at least be more flexible and follow the BA example where First and Business seats are actually released if low commercial demand - BA does this within 48 hours prior in most instances.

In any event this needs to get a lot more media exposure so people are aware just how bad the situation is with QF and award seats...and also the biggest load of deceptive marketing has been with P1 - the whole thing of having access to a greater choice of awards is basically not true and getting upgrades cleared earlier - once again not true.
 

Walter_Plinge

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Mar 21, 2010
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I don't have a lot of experience in this area but my recent attempt to book 7 months in advance for MEL-Frankfurt return business class bears this out. Could only get one leg business class; the other three are premium economy. And I have to fly MEL-SYD to catch the flight (that leg is business). I was flexible on dates too -- and ending flying 10 days later than my preferred departure. If I had wanted economy -- not a problem. Plenty of seats.
 

GoldenWinger

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Dec 26, 2007
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LAX SIN and LHR are the biggest problem, however it is bascially every long haul QF destination where this policy of not releasing seats in P and U applies.
The most disturbing thing is that on lot of flights you will see the P and J cabin filled up with staff travel/non rev pax.
As expected still no reply from QF on this one as really how can they justify it? it will be some marketing spin to cover up this deceptive practice.
 

dfcatch

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Apr 22, 2010
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The small window of P and U seats opening up the day prior ceased when the new upgrade processes were launched.

Using EF - you can easily see this.

Unfortunately - the last minute availability no longer occurs, and it doesn't occur at the 7 day mark either.

In theory it should mean more upgrades are processed, but it's unfortunate that those last minute awards don't come up any more.

Your situation as described is strange - I would be contacting QF SST to query it - those upgrades should have gone through, and your request should have been granted if the cabin was mostly empty.
 

GoldenWinger

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Dec 26, 2007
Posts
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Thanks Dfcatch - appreciate the reply.

Wasn't aware of the 7 day, but the day prior P and U availability to SIN/BKK/HKG was quite good - it's a shame that now has stopped.

In relation to the SST, no issue with the people there - very nice and helpful but not sure why it was denied - they said the "business analyst" for the flight determind that commercial demand was too great to release any award seats.

Prior to the launch of P1, I must say with just the standard premium desk in most instances calling the day prior I would pretty much get the award seat in P or U.
 

dajop

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Jul 1, 2002
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13,458
Not sure if appropriate, but can share some experiences with a competitor .... SQ .... who allow award waitlisting which is IMHO a fantastic benefit, and have had lots of luck with the award waitlists clearing on fairly full flights. Something QF should consider. But like QF, they are tight with the F cabin as well (not that I've ever tried waitlisting in F, but they block awards altogether on the A380 suites. Back to QF, I found that the requests for award seats (for Platinum obviously no P1 back then) used to come through fairly liberally (I'm thinking back around 2004-6) and then they went to the automated system and hit rates went down, in my experience. I would have thought P1's have a much better chance of having requests clear - but from your story, it looks less than optimal.
 
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