How to coordinate family travel combining points redemption (adults) and paid fares (kids)?

We’ll be travelling SYD-LAX return as a family of five: two adults and three kids under 12 years. We’re planning the trip to be outside peak times, departing mid-November, returning mid-February. Because the kids are under 12, it seems better value to pay for their economy fares. That means the adults will be travelling economy too but we’ll get ours via Qantas FF points, of which we have plenty.

Can you please confirm my logic here … because it’s a three month trip, I need to nab the adults SYD-LAX one-way points redemption flights as soon as those bookings open. Then I have to wait a few months for the LAX-SYD leg to become available to redeem two more adult flights. It’s only then that I can pay $$ for the three kids’ return tickets once I’m certain of our tickets. Is that right?

Further, how do I pay for three children’s fares that look ‘unaccompanied’ but they’ll actually be on our same flight? Oh, and how to make sure they’re seated with us! Is this best done on the phone rather than booking online?

For direct flights, it looks like I can choose between Qantas and American Airlines. Do they both offer children’s fares at a comparable rate, and/or also taxes/fees? Given we’re aiming for economy and also off-peak, I don’t think scarcity will be as big an issue as at other times. Thanks.

Hi @tara9670
I’ll be honest, I don’t have experience in booking award and cash bookings for the same party. However, it doesn’t appear like there is any option to do this online, which means you’d either have to go through a travel agent or over the phone. My advice would be to search for award availability on the dates you want to travel, but then note down the flight number and arrival/departure times, so that you have everything you need infront of you when you call. But yes, the cost of child fares is 75% of an adult fare.

In terms of actually redeeming your Qantas points, you’re 100% right - this honestly shouldn’t be an issue, as economy award space is usually plentiful outside of peak travel times. You can afford to wait until award availability is open for both legs of the journey i.e. when they release award space for Feb 2023, so that you can confirm your dates in one swoop rather than having to book multiple times. For economy, award space opens 353 days before the flight, so if you’re planning to fly in mid-Feb 2023, the award space will be opening soon. I just did a quick search for mid November 2022, and there is Economy award space available every single day in November, so personally, I wouldn’t be too concerned.

Of course, if you’re not willing to brave the Qantas call centre, then you could book 1 adult and 2 children as a cash fare, and then 1 adult and 1 child using points, and just select seats next to eachother. Yes, it will be a couple hundred dollars more expensive, but that is an option as well.

Hope this helps!

Thanks for your input. We’re actually travelling Nov 2023, returning Feb 2024, so I’ll provide an update of our actual experience later. As of right now we’re points-rich and cash-poor, so still not sure whether we’ll book 5 Rewards seats or 2 adults as Rewards and 3 kids as 75% cash fares. I’ll update later!

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We’ve gone the points route for all 5 tickets so I can’t help others, sorry, with my initial question of how to combine points tickets with cash tickets for the same travelling party.