Finding a reward seat on a flight you want is one of the biggest difficulties faced by frequent flyers. Redeeming your points for international flights – especially in the pointy end – can be next to impossible!

Luckily for frequent travellers, elite status with Qantas can make things a little bit easier. Top-tier Qantas Platinum One members can request the release of additional award seats, even if none are available. And although it’s an unwritten benefit, this may be extended to Qantas Platinum frequent flyers.

Many Platinum members have recently reported successful award seat releases, from domestic economy class flights right through to international first class flights! One member was even recently able to secure two business class seats to Chile.

Just called and had immediate success getting 2 x J released for BNE-SYD-SCL-SYD-BNE. Very happy with QFF

If you’re a Platinum Qantas frequent flyer member, the process of requesting an award seat release is relatively simple. You’ll just need to call the airline and ask. Your first choice may not always be available, but generally the agent will be able to offer you something if you are flexible enough with dates and flight times.

As a general rule, award seat releases will only be approved if there is availability in the lowest revenue fare class on that flight. In other words, seats will only be released if many seats in the desired cabin class remain empty. For international business class, for example, there will need to be seats for sale in the “I” fare class before any request will be considered. Those with an Expert Flyer subscription will be able to check for this.

D for Domestic Business, I for International Business… Note that this doesn’t mean that you’ll get the seats, just that you won’t get an automatic “no” and that the agents can forward on for manual review.

While a relatively empty cabin will increase your chances of a successful reward seat release, it is never guaranteed. As this is an unpublished benefit for Platinum members, the airline is under no obligation to release an award seat to you. But if you’re hoping to use your points and can’t find an award, it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask!

For some Platinum frequent flyers, this is one of their most highly valued status benefits.

I’ve done this several times and always been offered good options. It is probably the best WP benefit apart from F Lounge!

Virgin Australia offers a similar, published “guaranteed reward seat” benefit to its Platinum members. This benefit guarantees up to four reward seats per year for a return domestic or international trip. There are just a couple of catches with Virgin: it’s only for Economy class seats, and you’ll have to book at least six months in advance.

Share your experience HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]