Cathay Pacific First Class
Cathay Pacific First Class

The Qantas Oneworld Award is one of the best uses of Qantas Frequent Flyer points. For a fixed amount of Qantas points, it’s possible to fly around the world with up to 5 stopovers!

Qantas’ Oneworld Classic Flight Reward, as it’s officially known, can be used to fly up to 35,000 miles on any Oneworld airlines. It’s available in Economy, Premium Economy, Business and First Class.

Here are the Oneworld Award prices:

  • Economy: 140,000 Qantas Points + taxes
  • Premium Economy: 210,000 Qantas Points + taxes
  • Business Class: 280,000 Qantas Points + taxes
  • First Class: 420,000 Qantas Points + taxes

For many frequent flyers, the Qantas Oneworld Award “sweet spot” is Business Class. It’s only a little bit more expensive than flying Premium Economy, and Oneworld airlines offer Business Class seating on most flights.

On the face of it, 420,000 Qantas points for a round-the-world trip in the ultimate luxury of First Class is also a good deal. But is the First Class Oneworld Award really a good use of Qantas points? There are several reasons why it often isn’t.

The difficulty with booking a Qantas Oneworld Award in First Class is that only around half of the Oneworld member airlines actually have First Class cabins. What’s more, these airlines typically only offer First Class on a small number of long-haul routes served by a few specific aircraft types. Even then, First Class award availability is typically very limited. So it can be extremely difficult to actually book the majority of flights into First Class.

Where First Class is not available, it is possible to book some flights into Business Class (or any other class of travel) instead. But you’ll still pay the full First Class rate of 420,000 Qantas points. Even if just one of the flights is in First Class, the higher rate applies to the rest of the booking.

If you lucky enough to book First Class for most or all of your flights, the First Class Oneworld Award is definitely a great use of Qantas points! But this will generally require you to actively seek out airlines and routes where First Class is available. You’ll probably have to build your itinerary around this, rather than finding flights to suit your preferred routing.

If you are still interested in booking a Qantas Oneworld Award in First Class, here are the Oneworld airlines and aircraft types where First Class is available:

  • American Airlines: International Boeing 777-300ER and domestic trans-continental Airbus A321 flights
  • British Airways: Boeing 747-400, Boeing 777-200, Boeing 777-300, Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A380 flights
  • Cathay Pacific: Selected Boeing 777-300ER flights only
  • Cathay Dragon: Selected Airbus A330 flights only
  • Japan Airlines: International Boeing 777-300ER and domestic Boeing 777-200/Boeing 767-300 flights
  • Malaysia Airlines: Airbus A350 and Airbus A380 flights
  • Qantas: Airbus A380 flights only
  • Qatar Airways: Airbus A380, Airbus A340 and Airbus A330 flights; on many short-haul flights, the premium cabin is also sold as “First Class”

Only 4 Oneworld airlines currently operate First Class cabins from Australia. Here are the Qantas (red), British Airways (blue), Malaysia Airlines (white) and Qatar Airways (purple) routes to/from Australia with First Class service currently available. (Both British Airways and Qantas serve the Sydney-Singapore and Sydney-London routes.)

Oneworld routes to/from Australia with First Class cabins
Oneworld routes to/from Australia with First Class cabins

 

The following Oneworld airlines do not offer First Class on any of their flights:

  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • Sri Lankan Airlines

Booking a Qantas Oneworld Award in First Class can still make sense if First is available. Here’s one example of a Oneworld Award routing where it would be possible to book First Class on every flight. This routing uses Qantas (MEL-SIN), Malaysia Airlines (KUL-NRT), Japan Airlines (NRT-LAX), American Airlines (LAX-JFK), British Airways (JFK-LHR-DOH) and Qatar Airways (DOH-MEL). There is a surface sector from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.

Sample Oneworld Award routing in First Class
Sample Oneworld Award routing in First Class

But if you’re travelling to places like South America, South Africa or Russia – where First Class is typically not available – you’re probably better off booking a Oneworld Award in Business Class for 280,000 Qantas points.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: First Class Oneworld RTW – your experience? was it worth it?

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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]