Can I upgrade some economy class flights on my Oneworld RTW business class redemption?

Hi everyone, first time poster here.

I have just booked a classic reward flight trip as per below using QFF points (for November of this year):

Leg 1: Melbourne > Hong Kong via Sydney (QF408 and QF127)
Leg 2: Hong Kong > London (CX253)
Leg 3: London > Barcelona (BA480)
Leg 4: Barcelona > Paris via London (BA483 and BA316)
Leg 5: Paris > Hong Kong (CX260)
Leg 6: Hong Kong > Melbourne (CX163)

All the above for 318k points (capped - under the Oneworld Classic Flight Reward) plus the related taxes.

Issue is, my partner is also on the trip as well and since we did her booking first under her QFF account, she was able to get business on all legs (also for 318k points capped).

For me, after her booking was completed, I was no longer able to find business seats on Legs 3, 5 and 6. It seems my partner’s booking must have been the last / only available business seat on each respective flight. Looking at the seat selections though from her account, there are some seats still available, so I’m assuming that either - Qantas’ allocation of reward seats have been exhausted or only higher status QFF members have access to those right now (we’re both Bronze).

I do have business for Legs 1, 2 and 4 though. Leg 3 is in Economy and Legs 5 and 6 are in Premium Economy. My PE seat is the closest possible to the business cabin though, so we’re still not too far from one another.

I’m not too fussed about Leg 3 being on Economy as that’s only 2hrs, but more specifically wanting to find / get business on Legs 5 and 6 as they’re longer flights. Not just that but also being together on the flight.

I have called Qantas and have received conflicting information - one consultant advised that should there be any new business classic reward seats available and if I wished to upgrade to those, I’d have to pay 50k+ points (yep, not a typo, fifty-thousand) to change even despite being already qualified under the 318k business class cap, and the other consultant mentioned that it would be “minimal points” and is calculated by the system at the time of changing.

On another forum, it was mentioned that since my award booking was 318k capped (as the highest travel class in my itinerary is business and thus the entire itinerary is then re-calculated based on that), that, assuming some new business class reward seats pop up, I should only pay a 5,000pts change fee plus the related additional taxes in $.

Just wondering if anyone has been able to get a change of travel class after their booking and if yes, what points or fees did you pay?

Thankyou in advance!

Have done this. Since you are already charged at the business class RTW price (318k), changing any non-business sectors back into Business will only incur the change fee and any additional taxes/surcharges that come with that but the points price will stay exactly the same so nothing to add there.

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Correct. You’ll only be up for the change fee. A couple of other points:

  • Just because there are seats available on a seat map, doesn’t mean there are business class class reward seats still available - airline is likely trying to still sell these as cash fares, and some passengers will have purchased their tickets but not chosen a seat yet. If there are still seats available closer to departure, the airline may release them as reward seats. However I’ve seen half-empty Business cabins (pre-Covid) that had no reward seats available in the weeks prior to the flight.
  • If business seats do become available and you are able to change to these via the call centre, make sure you get Qantas to reticket the booking straight away. There have been many instances recently where Qantas haven’t re-ticketed the booking soon enough, and portions of the itinerary have been lost. Qantas have just announced yesterday they have a dedicated team working on this issue now though. Just make sure you get a new itinerary sent to you within 12 hours… after 24 hours flights might start dropping off your booking.

Thanks guys, I’ve also FB messaged Qantas and am awaiting their response as well.

Hopefully what they advise mirrors the above (ie. only a change fee to apply and no other pts required, other than taxes/surcharges in cash) so I’ve got something in writing directly from Qantas.

I’ll just have to keep an eye out for any business reward seats on the flights that I’m on and hope that some pop up! If they pop up, I’ll be on the phone straight away to request to change. Fingers crossed!

I have heard though about that re-ticketing issue - is there anything that I’d be able to do (assuming that business class reward seats pop up), if I were to call and change, to make sure 100% that they re-ticket my itinerary, other than the obvious (asking them to re-ticket and re-confirm ASAP)?

Read this article and that will explain a bit more about the issues with re-ticketing.
There is also now a dedicated email address if issues do arise to get them resolved in a timely manner… the address is in the article.
I’m speaking from experience but we were lucky to sort alternative flights in business still.