One of the little-known benefits of Qantas Platinum and Platinum One status is the “Priority Economy seat purchase” perk. This benefit allows Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers to purchase up to two Economy seats on any Qantas flight until midday on the day prior to travel – even if the flight is sold out. This is a fairly niche benefit, but numerous AFF members have made use of it. So, how exactly does it work?
This is how the Qantas website describes the Priority seat purchase benefit:
Priority Economy seat purchase is available when holding or purchasing a Full Economy ticket for up to two people, including the Platinum member. Available on any Qantas operated flight with a Qantas flight number (excluding non-jet QantasLink services), for bookings made before midday on the day before travel.
This seems like a could be a useful benefit if you need to get on a flight but it’s full. Other than needing to buy the seats by midday on the day before you need to fly – meaning this cannot be used for last-minute travel – the main catch is that you’ll be required to pay the full “Y” class Economy ticket price. The full Economy fare on a Melbourne-Sydney flight, for example, is $876. On a flight from Melbourne to Perth, full Economy costs $1,729. And on a ticket from Perth to London, you’d be up for a one-way fare of $2,775.
This benefit is only available on Qantas and QantasLink jet services (i.e. not QantasLink regional Dash 8 flights) and is only offered for Economy seats. The other main catch is in the fine print. Qantas says the “facility may be restricted due to operational constraints” – meaning it’s not guaranteed. That would appear to render this benefit worthless, if that’s the case. But in practice, this clause does not seem to be invoked regularly.
Several AFF members have used the Qantas Priority Economy seat purchase benefit – mostly with success.
I’ve used this “benefit” successfully once on a sold out flight.I used it less successfully on a sold out flight that I didn’t check in online for. I arrived at the airport just in time to check in, only to be told that they had allocated my full fare seat to someone else! They put me on a flight with the competition departing at a similar time. I didn’t have lounge access, the special meal I’d booked, etc. – and could have bought that seat directly with competition for half the price! I did get ORC, though …
My boss used it when QF was ex Dubai. The QF flight was full, so they said they would bump someone off but would he accept an EK seat instead? He said ok as long as a QF codeshare, no probs and it was done
I’ve used it once. I sat in Business for the flight
In most cases Qantas will need to bump another passenger for the Platinum or Platinum One member, resulting in an overbooking situation. This could mean moving them to another flight, or it could also mean upgrading somebody for free. This obviously causes a level of inconvenience – and potentially some cost to the airline – which is why Qantas will only do this for frequent flyers that are willing to pay for a full-fare ticket.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Priority economy seat purchase for WP/WP1