qf-upgradeQantas has quietly announced a range of price increases for upgrades using Qantas points across its domestic and international network. The cost of a points upgrade will increase by as much as 25% on some routes, with those upgrading from cheaper Economy class tickets hit the hardest under the revised rates.

For domestic flights, the increased rates will affect passengers upgrading to Business from Economy “Red-E-Deal” tickets on flights over 600 miles in length. For example, the cost of an upgrade between Brisbane and Melbourne will increase from 15,000 to 17,500 Qantas points. Upgrades on transcontinental flights, such as Melbourne-Perth, will increase from 20,000 to 25,000 points. The good news is that there are no changes to upgrades from “Flex” tickets, nor on routes of under 600 miles such as Brisbane-Sydney, Melbourne-Adelaide and Canberra-Brisbane.

On international routes, upgrades from Economy “Saver” fares to both Premium Economy and Business class are increasing. Upgrades from the more expensive Economy “Flex” fares to Business, as well as from Business to First class are also being raised.

As an example, an upgrade from a cheaper Economy ticket to Business on most flights between Australia and Asia will now cost 50,000 Qantas points instead of 40,000. On long-haul flights from Sydney to London or New York, upgrades to Business will increase from 96,000 to 120,000 points.

Naturally our members are not happy about these changes. They believe that the price hike removes much of the value from point upgrades.

Destroys a lot of the value that used to be available through upgrades. E.g. 50K to upgrade Economy Saver to Business on most routes to Asia (meaning you’ve already paid for an Economy Saver & you’re merely going into the lottery to get a Business seat) vs 60K to buy a Business seat outright on most routes to Asia (you’re guaranteed a Business seat)

Nonetheless, point upgrades remain considerably better value than certain other uses of points, such as redeeming for gift vouchers or merchandise from the Qantas store.

I’m sure they’re still right up there in terms of value, purely because every other redemption opportunity has been devalued along with them

There are no changes to upgrades from flexible Economy fares to Premium Economy, nor from Premium Economy to Business class. There is also no impact on the cost of an upgrade for tickets that were originally booked using points.

The changes come into effect on 20 February, 2017. If your upgrade request is confirmed prior to this date, you will be charged the lower existing rate for the upgrade. However, if your upgrade request is not confirmed until after 20 February (which is likely to be the case for international flights after this date), you will be charged the higher rate.

Join the discussion HERE.

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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]