Qantas recently increased the number of points required for a flight upgrade to Premium Economy, Business or First class. An Economy to Business class upgrade to Los Angeles, for example, increased from 72,000 to 90,000 points. So, do Qantas point upgrades still represent good value?

The short answer is that upgrades are still good value for your points… but it’s now much better value to redeem points for a seat in the higher cabin outright. For example, an upgrade from an Economy Saver fare to Business class on a flight from Melbourne to Singapore now costs 50,000 Qantas points. But booking a Business reward seat outright costs just 60,000 points, and the seat is guaranteed. You would still need to pay a few hundred dollars in taxes and fuel surcharges for the reward seat, but clearly this is superior value.

In the past I have considered 30k for SIN-MEL, but not gone through with it. For 50k – fuggetabowdit.

If you’re WP why not just request release of a classic award seat for 60k guaranteed?

The trouble with booking reward seats outright, however, is the limited award availability. This is particularly the case for international flights. So, even if you would prefer to redeem your points for a reward seat, this may not be possible. Upgrades may not be guaranteed, but they do offer an alternative method to fly in a higher cabin.

Some business travellers say that they will continue using their points to upgrade, despite the recent price increases, as it remains the only way for them to fly in premium cabins. These members work for companies with “economy only” travel policies.

Interesting how YMMV – seems like I value comfort/sleep higher than most. Unfortunately my employer (multi billion dollar global company) doesn’t fork out for J class fares (or even PE!) so stuck with this situation where points upgrades are my only way into the J cabin. Been operating this way for last 14 years so have accumulated and used a lot of points for upgrades and direct flight purchases. Haven’t purchased a toaster yet though…..

Even with the recent price increases, point upgrades remain one of the best ways to use your points. Points spent on upgrades are generally worth around 5 cents each, depending on the route. By comparison, you’ll get well under 1 cent per point in value by redeeming for gift cards or merchandise.

I think there may be a lot of whinging and complaints but in reality the amount of points being earned nowadays especially credit card sign on bonuses make upgrades still a very viable and excellent value option. I can’t really see demand dropping off at this point in time.

Will you still use Qantas points for upgrades? 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]