New Restrictions on Qantas Award Availability?

It appears that Qantas is now severely restricting Classic Flight Reward seat access to Bronze frequent flyers, particularly in premium cabins. Members of oneworld and other partner airline programs wishing to redeem points for Qantas flights may also be affected.

Our members have noticed a significant difference in the award availability seen on the Qantas website by Gold and Platinum members, compared to flights available to frequent flyers with no status. In one example, a Platinum Qantas Frequent Flyer member could see Business class award availability from Singapore to Brisbane most days. Conducting the exact same search on a Bronze member’s account, seats were only available on five days across the whole month.

My WP search is showing lots of QF J (including QF52 on the 14th and 15th Feb, lots of options via QF6 too) whereas Mrs BD is only seeing EK at the beginning and end of the month.

It would appear that Qantas has changed its policy, in order to offer preferential premium award availability access to its Gold and Platinum flyers. It has always been the case that Silver (and above) frequent flyers have access to more award seats. In fact, this is a published benefit of Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One status. However, the current award availability situation appears to exclude Bronze frequent flyers from almost all premium award availability on international Qantas flights.

One member has noticed that this lack of award availability on Qantas flights is also now a problem when trying to redeem points through a partner airline, such as American Airlines. This member could not see any Qantas award flights when searching on the American Airlines website.

Some members believe that it’s a great thing if Qantas’ most loyal customers benefit from greater access to award availability. For Gold, Platinum and Platinum One flyers, the change actually means many more award seats are available.

Far as I’m aware there has ALWAYS been greater inventory access for Gold and above. And to be frank – I think its a good thing

Other members view the change as highly negative, for two reasons. Firstly, they believe it’s unfair to the millions of Bronze frequent flyers that may no longer have an opportunity to redeem their hard-earned points for high-value rewards.

I disagree. As a WP I benefit but it’s quite unfair to issues billions of points to non status holders and offering them no meaningful opportunity to redeem them. (We all know Y awards are no better than paying cash) The current system of offering WP (and SG if they want to) access to more seats if there’s plenty of seats works fine.

Secondly, some members are concerned about Qantas’ partner airlines reciprocating the lack of partner award availability. While Qantas’ actions to restrict award availability to members of partner airlines may benefit some in the short term, Qantas flyers may end up worse-off if other oneworld airlines decide to do the same thing.

It’s probably also blocking access to OW partners – then it’s a slippery slope – QF have already devalued points earning and status earning with OW partners – we could lose OW benefits when other carriers follow QFs lead.

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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]