How do Qantas Classic Rewards Upgrade requests work?

Hi all, points newbie here looking for some guidance on Qantas Business Classic Reward seats vs Classic Rewards Upgrade requests to Business.

Some background:

My partner and I have had a last minute change in plans and now are looking at flying with Qantas to Hawaii from Sydney in early-mid October this year (very close, I know, but it is what it is). I was wondering what our chances were in requesting an upgrade on the flight there with points.

I am currently Gold FF status but will be Platinum at least the end of September, if not end of August (due to points from work flights). I also have about 230k points at the moment, but again will likely have a bit more by the time Oct rolls around.

I can’t see any Business Classic Reward flights available for me to get with points outright (and assume they’re all gone because it’s < 3 months out haha).

So my questions are all probably related, but:

  1. Is it worth buying the Saver economy fare rather than Sale fare for the chance at an upgrade in these circumstances?

  2. Do Classic Reward Upgrades to business class only get approved if there is Award seat availability in business? Or can they be approved if there are any business seats available at the time of my request being assessed? So basically, if I don’t see any Business Classic Reward seats now, should I just forget about an upgrade?

  3. Will my platinum status be taken into account as long as I get it before the 3 day window before the flight, or does Qantas only look at my status at the time of putting the request in?

I’m not too fussed as it’s super close now, but thought this was at least a good opportunity for me to start learning for next time!

Thanks,

Bec

G’day @Beekybooky,

Q1: I will note that for international flights, you cannot upgrade from the Sale (lowest) fare bucket, end of story. You can see if the fare bucket is available for upgrades by selecting the fare, and looking for that green tick next to “Request Points Upgrade”.

  1. Upgrades are only available if there are award seats made available on a flight as far as I’m aware, and I’m sure I’ll be corrected otherewise. You can request to go on an upgrade waitlist though, and with your Gold/Plat status, as long as you book before the cutoff windows, you would immediately leapfrog all the Bronze/Silver members who requested upgrades. Obviously doesn’t guarantee an upgrade, but if Qantas was to release an award seat, you would be considered a higher upgrade priority. When you book the flights, and go to ‘Manage Booking’, there usually is an option to request an upgrade, unless the Business cabin is completely sold out through cash fares. I wouldn’t necessarily forget about an upgrade though.

  2. See above, but the short version is yes, your status is the key determinant in the order of upgrades applied, as long as you get in within the minimum period and fulfil the other rules.

The only thing I would take into consideration, as a general rule, is that the cost of buying an economy fare + upgrading vs getting a classic reward might not be worth it. To give an example, an economy flight + upgrade on SYD - HNL would be 65,400 points + $891 (16 Oct), while a Business class Classic Flight Reward would be 82,000 points + ~$200 taxes (roughly). Of course, it’s up to you whether its worth spending an extra $700 to save 16.6k points, and obviously, this isn’t relevant to your specific case as there is zero availability, but maybe something to think about.

I hope this answers your questions, but feel free to reach out if there’s anything more I can help with!

Cheers,

Wilson

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Thanks Wilson! Unfortunately I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to buy an award seat with points outright - the nature of my partner’s job means we probably can’t ever book enough in advance, so (potential) upgrades might be the best use of our points (but happy to be proven wrong!).

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Another strategy is spontaneity. Last minute awards usually open up from about a week out before departure. If you don’t mind suddenly packing and going away, this could work out in your favour as well.