No, Qantas Classic Rewards to London Don’t Cost a Million Points

Qantas 787 Business Class cabin
No, Qantas Classic Flight Reward seats to London don’t cost a million points! You’re probably seeing “Points Plus Pay” pricing. Photo: Qantas.

If you’ve tried searching for Qantas Business Class award availability to London or Los Angeles recently, you may have been surprised to find that a seat could cost you more than a million Qantas points!

Qantas recently made changes to the layout of its website which are causing a lot of confusion. But don’t panic – Qantas has not massively increased the cost of Classic Reward flights while we’ve been stuck at home…

When searching for flights on the Qantas website, you can select “Use Points” to show flight prices in Qantas points instead of money. On the results page, the Qantas website will then present Classic Flight Reward seats – if any are available – as well as regular airfares converted to Qantas points using “Points Plus Pay”. Classic Rewards are marked with a red ribbon.

Qantas website screenshot
Classic Reward seats are marked with a red ribbon on the Qantas website.

But if no Classic Reward seats are available – which happens often if you’re looking for Business Class seats on international routes – the Qantas website will only show Points Plus Pay options (with the entire airfare converted to Qantas points) by default.

Qantas website screenshot
Only Points Plus Pay flights will display if there are no Classic Reward seats available on a given date.

A Points Plus Pay booking is not a Classic Flight Reward. With Points Plus Pay, Qantas simply converts any available airfare to Qantas Frequent Flyer points at a rate of 0.65-0.7 cents per point.

Using the example of a Sydney-London flight, a regular Business Saver airfare would cost $7,258. So this works out to be 1,044,500 Qantas points once converted at the Points Plus Pay rate.

Qantas website screenshot SYD-LHR business fare
Qantas Business fares to London when “Use points” is not selected.

Points Plus Pay vs Classic Flight Rewards

Unlike Classic Rewards, every seat on every Qantas flight is available to book using Points Plus Pay. The trade-off for that flexibility, most of the time, is the terrible value.

Classic Reward seats cost a fixed number of points, as set out in the Classic Flight Reward tables on the Qantas website. But Classic Reward availability is limited – seats can sell out quickly and they are not available on every flight.

Another advantage of booking Classic Rewards – if you can find them – is greater flexibility. You can cancel an international Classic Flight Reward ticket for a refund for any reason, and you’d normally just pay a penalty of 6,000 Qantas points. For international bookings made until 28 February 2022, with travel dates until the end of 2022, even that small cancellation fee is being waived for Classic Flight Rewards.

But Points Plus Pay bookings are basically just commercial airfares bought using points. You wouldn’t necessarily be able to cancel those for a full refund – just change your dates or cancel for a Qantas travel credit.

How to find Classic Reward seats on the Qantas website

If your search for reward seats only brings up Points Plus Pay options, it could be because there simply aren’t any Classic Flight Reward seats available on a Qantas flight on that date. But don’t give up just yet!

If you’d rather fly Business Class to London starting from 144,600 Qantas points, instead of over a million points, you’ll need to look specifically for Classic Reward seats when searching on the Qantas website. There are two tricks you can use to do this.

Method 1: Classic Rewards slider

After searching for flights, click on the “Classic Rewards” slider above the search results:

Qantas website screenshot
Click on the “Classic Rewards” option to remove “Points Plus Pay” flights from the search results.

This will change the search results so that only Classic Flight Reward seats are shown. Not only this, but the website will show you Classic Reward seats in all classes of travel on the same screen – rather than having to open each cabin class in a new tab.

In “Classic Rewards” mode, the Qantas website may also show you Classic Flight Reward seats on partner airlines that do not display when Classic Rewards is not selected!

Qantas website screenshot
When viewing Classic Rewards, you might find reward seats on partner airlines that weren’t previously visible.

Method 2: Use the multi-city booking engine

If you would prefer to use the old Qantas website layout with an award availability calendar, try using the multi-city search tool.

Qantas home page link to multi-city tool
Click on “Multi-city” to go to the multi-city search page.

Of course, if you want to book an itinerary online with multiple flight sectors such as a Oneworld Classic Flight Reward, you would need to use the multi-city search anyway. But you can still use the multi-city tool when you’re just searching for one flight. The crucial thing, when looking for Classic Flight Reward seats, is to select “Use points – Classic Flight Rewards only” at the top of the page.

Qantas website screenshot
Be sure to click on “Use points – Classic Flight Rewards only”.

To view a calendar with an overview of available Classic Flight Reward seats across a whole month, select “Flexible with dates for all flights” when entering the date of any flights in your multi-city search:

Qantas website screenshot
Click on “Flexible with dates for all flights” at the top of the calendar when selecting a date.

This will then bring up a calendar showing which dates have Classic Reward seats available on Qantas and its partner airlines. No Points Plus Pay seats in sight!

Qantas website screenshot

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Changes to Qantas search tool and points redemption?

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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]