Winning the Qantas Upgrade Lottery

Having saved up a modest balance of Qantas points, one member hopes to upgrade to Business class on an upcoming trip to Europe. But our members warn that upgrading with points is a risky strategy that often ends in disappointment.

Luckily, our members have a range of useful tips and advice to help them fly in the pointy-end!

For Qantas domestic flights, point upgrades are confirmed instantly provided there is an available Business Reward seat on that flight. But for international flights, Qantas upgrades are a lottery.

To upgrade with Qantas points on an international flight, you’ll need to have booked an upgradeable fare on a Qantas flight with a “QF” number. Sale fares cannot be upgraded, nor flights operated by other airlines. After requesting the upgrade, you’ll find out just a few days before the flight if it has been successful. Our members explain that passengers with Qantas status receive priority in this “upgrade lottery”. So, holding status does assist greatly.

But even without status, success in the Qantas upgrade lottery is possible! One Bronze Qantas member explains how they successfully upgraded both legs of their recent trip to Thailand. For them, the hard work of accumulating points and strategically booking flights was all worthwhile.

You can greatly increase your chances of upgrade success by booking a flight that is unlikely to be full. Our members advise targeting flights during the middle of the week (especially Tuesdays & Wednesdays) and outside of school holidays.

A more advanced strategy is to check the current loads on any given flight before booking. It’s possible to do this through Expert Flyer if you have a subscription. AFF members can also request assistance via our Upgrade Probability Help Desk thread.

As point upgrades are never guaranteed, some members recommend booking outright award flights in Business class instead. This costs a higher number of points, but removes the element of risk involved with point 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]