Did you know that you can fly around the world using the Qantas Oneworld Award? Clifford Reichlin, the founder of the Australian Frequent Flyer, explains exactly how to do this from just 132,400 Qantas points using the Qantas Oneworld Award, which is also known as the Qantas Oneworld Classic Flight Reward.
What is a Qantas Oneworld Award?
First thing’s first – what exactly is a “Qantas Oneworld Award”? Essentially, it’s a multi-city award booking on steroids in that it lets you fly around the world for as little as 132,400 Qantas points in Economy, or 318,000 points in Business class!
Considering that a simple return booking from Australia to London costs 110,400 Qantas points, a Qantas Oneworld Award is an excellent – actually, probably the best! – way to redeem Qantas points. For only slightly more points, you can travel up to 35,000 miles on Oneworld airlines with up to five stopovers anywhere in the world!
Where can I travel to?
You can easily use it to fly around the world with Qantas points, but this is not a requirement. Almost any combination of flights is possible with the Qantas Oneworld Award, as long as your itinerary meets these requirements:
Oneworld Award routing requirements
- Up to 5 stopovers
- Up to 35,000 miles
- Up to 16 total flight sectors
There are a few other rules that also need to be followed:
- Maximum of 1 stopover & two transits per airport
- You cannot have a stopover in your country of origin mid-way through the itinerary (only at the start or end)
- Surface sectors are allowed, and count as one stopover, but the distance between the two airports counts towards your total limit. Although there is no published limit, Qantas seems to allow up to 2 surface sectors per itinerary.
The only other condition is that your itinerary must include travel on at least two Oneworld member airlines other than Qantas. You can also use Qantas, but airlines that are not Oneworld members cannot be used in any part of the ticket. The following airlines are members of the Oneworld alliance, and may be used as part of any Qantas Oneworld Award booking:
- Alaska Airlines (from 31 March 2021)
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Air Maroc
- Royal Jordanian
- S7 Airlines
- Sri Lankan Airlines
So as you can see, the Oneworld Award isn’t just great value, it also offers unbeatable flexibility with countless possible itineraries! To give you some inspiration, here is one possible routing:
What will it cost?
The number of points required is determined by the total mileage of your itinerary and the class of travel. There are ten different “mileage zones”, ranging from 1,200 to the maximum 35,000 miles. An Economy ticket will cost 20,000 points for a trip up to 1,200 miles and 132,400 points for 35,000 miles. Here is the Oneworld Classic Flight Reward table from the Qantas website:
As you can see, the best value is in Zone 10, for trips up to 35,000 miles in total distance.
Points required for travel up to the maximum of 35,000 miles
- Economy: 132,400 Qantas points
- Premium Economy: 249,600 Qantas points
- Business: 318,000 Qantas points
- First: 455,000 Qantas points
Other cash charges
In addition to the Qantas points, you will also need to pay a cash component to cover taxes and other airline surcharges. This amount will vary depending on the airlines used, the exact routing, exchange rates and a range of other factors.
As a very rough guide, the tax component is often around $1,000-$2,000 per passenger – although this may be considerably more or less.
How do I book a Qantas Oneworld Award?
1. Determine your itinerary
This is the fun part! The first step is finalise the cities you wish to visit. Remember, you can have up to five stopovers. And this doesn’t include transit stops of under 24 hours.
If you fly into city A, make your own way to city B (e.g. by train), and then fly out of city B, it only counts as a single stopover. So you can actually get to visit more than five cities!
You will need to ensure that your entire trip does not exceed 35,000 miles. To calculate the number of miles being flown, simply plug your itinerary into an online mapping tool such as Great Circle Mapper.
2. Find award availability & select the Oneworld airlines you will be flying with
Be sure to include at least two non-Qantas Oneworld carriers. While you are free to select any Oneworld carrier, in reality your itinerary may well determine which airlines you will be using. So this is really an iterative process with the first step.
The easiest way to determine which Oneworld airlines fly between different cities is to use a booking site like Skyscanner, with the filter set to Oneworld airlines.
As you’ll be redeeming frequent flyer points to book this trip, you’ll also need to ensure there is award seat availability on your chosen flights. You can use the Qantas website, Japan Airlines website or British Airways website to find Oneworld award availability.
3. Book your trip!
For relatively simple itineraries, it’s possible to book a Oneworld Award using the multi-city booking tool on the Qantas website. However, the Qantas website may give an “error” if your itinerary is relatively complex. The Qantas website also does not display award flights on all routes. If you’re unable to book online, simply call Qantas on 13 13 13. A phone booking fee of $77 or 7,700 Qantas points may apply.
This article contains some useful information about the booking process: How to Book a Qantas Oneworld Classic Flight Reward
Useful tips to maximise the value of your Oneworld Award booking
Here are some extra tips to help you get even better value:
- Use up to two “surface sectors”, where you fly into one airport and then make your own way to another airport, to visit more cities.
- Maximise the number of stop overs by spending less than 24 hours in a city. Transits of under 24 hours don’t count towards the 5 stopover limit.
- Reduce the tax component by traveling on airlines with low or no fuel surcharges. These include American Airlines, Japan Airlines, LATAM Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines and S7 Airlines. Try to avoid airlines with high fuel surcharges such as Royal Jordanian and British Airways.
Where to get help with booking a Qantas Oneworld Award
If you’d like help with planning and booking your own Qantas Oneworld Award, you’re in luck!
The Australian Frequent Flyer (AFF) forum has a dedicated thread for helping with Oneworld Award planning. Here you’ll find tons of information and can read about other peoples’ experiences. Other members will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
If you’d prefer to sit back and let someone else do the work, Frequent Flyer Solutions offers an expert service called Award Flight Assist. Just let them know where you’d like to go and the team will put together an itinerary using your Qantas points for you!
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