The Qantas website now displays award availability on almost all Oneworld and other partner airlines. (The only exception is Jet Airways, but that airline is unlikely to fly again after suspending all flights.) Unfortunately, the Qantas website does still have its limitations though. One such problem is the inability to search for award availability or book Classic Flight Reward tickets originating in many destinations.
The Qantas website will not let you search for or book award flights – or even commercial airfares, for that matter – departing from many countries including Qatar, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Cook Islands, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Georgia, Cyprus, Malta, Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia. In fact, it is not possible to book itineraries on the Qantas website departing anywhere in Africa except South Africa, or anywhere on the Arabian Peninsula except the United Arab Emirates. Flights departing from most of central Asia are also not available online.
This can be rather frustrating, as you can’t even search for flights from Doha or Colombo. These are hubs for Oneworld’s Qatar Airways and Sri Lankan Airlines. In addition, you’ll often receive an error message if you try to search for award flights to/from Vietnam or Tahiti on the Qantas website.
The reason you can’t book itineraries departing from these countries online is that Qantas does not have the ability to accept payments in any of these countries’ local currencies.
If you wish to book an itinerary originating in one of these countries, you can do so by calling Qantas. (Be prepared for a long wait.) The price will be converted to Australian Dollars, which is the currency you’ll be charged in.
How to find award availability from cities that don’t appear on the Qantas website
If you wish to search for award availability before calling Qantas, there are some workarounds. One method is to search for return or multi-city flights that originate in a country where Qantas is able to accept payments. For example, if you wish to search for one-way award availability from Doha to Sydney, you can instead conduct a return flight search from Sydney to Doha and disregard the outbound flight results. This won’t give you an accurate price, but at least you’ll get an idea of availability.
If you’re specifically looking for award seats on Oneworld airlines, you could also use the British Airways website or Japan Airlines website. You do need to be a member of each airline’s frequent flyer program to search on their sites, but BA Executive Club and JAL Mileage Bank are both free to join.
There is some discussion on this topic on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Classic Flight Reward Booking from CMB
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