diceHaving saved up a healthy balance of Qantas points, one member wishes to use them to fly in Business class to Rome. But they’re now faced with an all-too-common dilemma: Redeem the points for a Business ticket, or try to upgrade with frequent flyer points from an Economy ticket?

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Buying an Economy ticket and requesting an upgrade can be exceptional value. However, there are numerous downsides to this approach. Just to be eligible to request an upgrade, our member would need to purchase an upgradable fare on a Qantas-operated flight. This means that discounted sale fares would be off-limits, along with flights on partner airlines such as Emirates.

There is also a very real a risk that the upgrade would be unsuccessful. Upgrades on international Qantas flights are only allocated in the days before departure, and only if there are still empty seats in the pointy-end. So, the chances of a successful upgrade can be quite low. This is especially the case for travellers with Bronze or Silver status, as top-tier flyers receive priority in the Qantas upgrade lottery.


Despite the higher number of points required, the majority of our members recommend booking a Business reward seat outright. This may require forward planning, but it’s the only way to guarantee a seat in Business class without actually paying it. Unfortunately, the fuel surcharges on a Business class points redemption can be high. To overcome this, one member recommends booking a reward seat on an airline that charges low fuel fines, such as Cathay Pacific.

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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]