Qantas makes most award seats available for booking exactly 353 days before departure. But, when this initial award seat release occurs, Qantas only gives access to premium international reward seats to its frequent flyers with Gold, Platinum and Platinum One status. This means that anyone with Bronze or Silver Qantas status – as well as frequent flyers with Qantas’ partner airlines – don’t have immediate access to Classic Flight Reward seats in Premium Economy, Business or First Class on most international Qantas flights.
Qantas used to release those premium international award seats to Bronze and Silver members – if there were still any available – around 308 days before departure. This meant that Gold, Platinum and Platinum One members had a 45-day head-start at securing premium cabin award seats on the most popular international routes. But the Qantas award seat release time has recently changed.
Bronze and Silver members must now wait until around 297 days before departure. Only then are Qantas long-haul premium cabin award seats being released to anyone with Bronze or Silver status. That’s almost two months after Qantas’ premium international award seats are made available to frequent flyers with Gold or higher status.
Around the 297-day mark, there are usually still a few Qantas award seats between Australia and Asia or North America available. But if you want to redeem points for a Qantas flight to Europe, South America or South Africa, you’re probably out of luck. Qantas rarely releases award seats to Santiago or Johannesburg – even to Gold and Platinum frequent flyers. And there is no Business or First Class award availability on Qantas flights to London.
Qantas award availability is not restricted on domestic flights, nor flights to New Zealand or Pacific Islands destinations. Business reward seats on these routes are usually made available to everyone from 353 days out. (The Qantas award seat release time is midnight GMT, or 10am Brisbane time, to be exact.) And this restriction only applies to award flights operated by Qantas; all Qantas Frequent Flyer members have equal access to award seats on partner airlines.
The recent change also appears to affect Jetstar award seat release timing. Jetstar awards used to become available 308 days before departure. The award release time for Jetstar is now around 300 days out from the flight.
Read more: When to Book Qantas Reward Flights
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Take a look at the Frequent Flyer Solutions training course on Redeeming Points.