The Qantas Oneworld Classic Flight Reward, or Oneworld Award, is an extremely popular use of Qantas Frequent Flyer points. For a fixed number of Qantas points, you can travel up to 35,000 miles on Oneworld airlines with up to 5 stopovers along the way. You can even use the Oneworld Award to fly around the world, if you want – although this is not a requirement.
More information about the rules of the Oneworld Classic Flight Reward is available here: How to fly around the world using the Qantas Oneworld Award
Although the process of booking a Oneworld Award with Qantas points is simple in theory, in practice it can be quite a challenge. It can be especially difficult if you have to deal with the abysmal Qantas call centre.
This article explains the process of booking a Oneworld Classic Flight Reward using Qantas points, and some of the common mistakes, misconceptions and pitfalls.
How to book a Oneworld Classic Flight Reward on the Qantas website
Once you’ve found a suitable itinerary that is available and meets all of the Oneworld Award rules (which in itself is not an easy task!), it’s time to book. For the purposes of this example, let’s say we wanted to book the following itinerary in Business class, commencing in Sydney:
For relatively simple itineraries, you should be able to book your Oneworld Classic Flight Reward on the Qantas website. You would need to log in to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account and use the Qantas multi-city booking tool. Ensure that you select “Use Points – Classic Flight Rewards only” at the top of this page when doing your search.
Do not use the “Round the World” booking tool! That website is for booking paid Oneworld Explorer round-the-world tickets, which is a completely different product with different rules.
Using our example, your multi-city search should look something like this:
You’ll then need to go through and select each flight segment one-by-one.
If you make a mistake or get an error message, and you need to go back to the search page, be prepared to start all over again!
If your itinerary meets the Oneworld Award rules, the number of Qantas points payable will “max out” at the Oneworld Classic Flight Reward price level.
All going well, after selecting all flights you’ll be able to check your itinerary. If you have enough Qantas points in your account to make the booking, you’ll also be able to see the taxes & carrier charges payable.
To see a breakdown of the taxes, click on “Flight amount breakdown”. Airline-imposed carrier and fuel surcharges are listed under “Air transportation charges” and, in this example, they make up a majority of the co-payment. The genuine taxes and fees are listed below this.
If you’re ready to book, click “continue”. At this point, the website may crash and/or give you an error message. But if you can make it as far as the page that asks for your credit card details, you should be able to successfully complete your booking online.
You will need to pay for the taxes & carrier charges by credit card, and Qantas adds a card payment surcharge for this.
The Qantas website often throws up an error message before you get to this point. If this happens, you will probably not be able to book online. (This is a fairly common problem.)
What to do if you can’t book on the Qantas website
If you were unable to book online, or you wish to travel to a destination/s which is not supported by the Qantas website, you’ll have to call Qantas on 13 13 13. Don’t attempt to book via social media, SMS or online chat – this generally ends in tears if you’re trying to book something complicated.
Depending on your Qantas Frequent Flyer status, you could wait anywhere from 1 minute to 4 hours to speak to somebody at the call centre. In general, calling just after 7am AEDT seems to result in the shortest wait times. (If there is a long wait time – which there usually is – there is a good chance you’ll be offered a call-back.)
Once you get through to the call centre, state that you wish to book a “Oneworld Classic Flight Reward” and be prepared to read out the origin, destination, date and flight number of every flight on the itinerary.
If you get a good call centre consultant, they should be able to book this for you without any problems. Sadly, the chances of getting a good agent at the Qantas call centre these days are frustratingly slim – especially if you’re connected to the outsourced call centres in South Africa or the Philippines. You may be told that flights are unavailable, even if this is not true. Some agents may also misinterpret the award routing rules or even hang up on you!
If necessary, you can quote the Oneworld Classic Flight Reward rules as set out in section 14.5 of the Qantas Frequent Flyer terms & conditions:
If it becomes clear that you’re not going to have any success, you may need to hang up and call again to play another round of the Qantas call centre lottery. Alternatively, if you are lucky enough to be put through to the Qantas Premium call centre and get an experienced consultant, make sure you don’t hang up until you’ve completed the booking!
There is normally a phone booking fee of 7,700 Qantas points or $77 for booking an award ticket over the phone. You can ask for this to be waived if you were unable to book online, but some agents will simply not remove it. It is also possible that you will be charged the 7,700-point fee even if the agent has promised to waive it – so keep an eye on this.
Making changes to Oneworld Award bookings
It is possible to change or cancel Qantas award bookings, including to add segments to an existing booking. This is a very handy feature if all you wish to lock in the first flights of the booking, but seats on later flights have not yet been released by the airline/s.
Changes cost 5,000 Qantas points per passenger each time you request a change/s. You can also cancel for a full refund of the points and taxes, for a penalty of 6,000 Qantas points. (There may also be additional fees for changing or cancelling bookings via the Qantas Contact Centre, however these are waived for award bookings in Business and First class.)
You will need to call Qantas to make any changes to an existing booking. If the change results in a difference in points or taxes, you will either need to pay or be refunded the difference.
Qantas award bookings can be frustrating – but don’t give up!
Sadly, it is fairly common for Qantas Frequent Flyer members to experience difficulties when trying to redeem their Qantas points. It sometimes seems that the airline is trying to make the process as difficult as possible. But if you persevere, you’ll most likely be successful in the end.
On the Episode 19 of the AFF on Air podcast, there is a lengthy discussion about the process of booking a Oneworld Award and some of the challenges faced. You may wish to have a listen.
AFF member, MikeG, recently posted about his poor experience booking a Oneworld Award over the phone with Qantas.
There is also a lengthy AFF thread discussing the problems faced when booking a reward ticket using Qantas points: Is booking rewards flights always this difficult?
If you’d like the collective assistance of the AFF community in booking your Qantas Oneworld Award, feel free to post in “oneworld” award (140K/280K/420K) Planning – The Definitive Thread