Using your Qantas points for international Economy class flights has just become better value! Qantas has reduced the cost of some Classic Reward flights, lowing both the number of points required and the “taxes” that need to be paid in addition to the points.

Economy Classic Reward flights on most Qantas international routes have seen a modest saving in the number of points required. For example, return Economy class flights from Perth to Singapore or Auckland now cost 45,000 points instead of 50,000. Flights from Sydney to Los Angeles have been reduced from 96,000 points to 90,000. And flights from Sydney or Melbourne to London will now cost 120,000 points instead of 128,000.

But perhaps the bigger news is a reduction in the dreaded “fuel surcharge” that can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of a “free” reward flight.

The noticeable ones for me are SYD-LHR with an ~16% reduction in taxes and surcharges and SYD-LAX with an ~30% decrease in taxes and surcharges. PER-SIN has had an ~42% reduction in taxes and surcharges.

Qantas has been under criticism for some time for the hefty carrier charges imposed on reward tickets. The fuel surcharges on some flights have been so high, that they have effectively rendered the reward worthless. For example, the extra taxes alone on a frequent flyer redemption from Perth to Singapore have almost added up to the price of a regular sale ticket. And on reward flights from Australia to London, the additional charges payable have often come in at well over $700. By comparison, Virgin Australia does not impose any fuel surcharges on its own flights.

The news has largely been welcomed by our members, though they acknowledge that this is only a small step in the right direction.

Over the past few years there has been so much competition in the airline industry that no one could argue that fares in general haven’t been very reasonably priced. But what has declined has been the value of award seats in economy, to the point that it doesn’t cost that much more than the fees and taxes to purchase a revenue fare. No one would argue too much about the actual taxes, ie those imposed by Governments, but so many of the fees are a business decision from Qantas.

Qantas changing this, even by a small amount is very welcome.

Some members are quick to point out that the change is only minor. There has been no reduction in the cost of reward flights in Premium Economy, Business or First class. Domestic rewards will also remain the same price, as will rewards on Jetstar and most other partner airlines.

A very small step forward, awaiting a giant leap that is needed to bring back some value to the points. Very disappointing to see that neither points nor fuel fines have dropped for premium cabins.

Nonetheless, it’s good news for those looking to use their points to fly overseas in Economy. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of these type of “enhancements” in the future.

Join the DISCUSSION.

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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]