It has changed recently, particularly with Qantas. It used to be that for long-haul routes, Qantas would follow the schedule as per the Point Hacks guide below. But as the guide itself states (second paragraph), that has changed post-COVID and Qantas seems to be releasing its seats in batches at random times.
And yes, when seats are released they do tend to go straight away. So you need to be checking every day (late morning, I believe, is the best time).
I also note you wrote about “return” flights. It’s probably best to search for one-way flights and book them as they become available.
The part I’m finding tricky is distinguishing between “yet to be released” and “released, all gone”. Trying to find QF7 economy seats for April/May 2024 and just have no idea if anything will appear. :\
Sorry @Quixic , my bad – I was doing a SYD-DFW search and wasn’t clicking through to see that the flights were via LAX.
I know that LAX is a nightmare but flexibility is part and parcel of successfully using points for flights … is SYD-LAX-DFW better than nothing, or do you absolutely need to be on QF7? Only you know the answer, but it’s a question worth asking.
Personally, my strategy would be to grab the SYD-LAX-DFW option, but to continue to look for availability on QF7 and, if it comes up, snatch it and pay the cancellation fee for the SYD-LAX-DFW flights. This works best, though, if you have enough points for both flights because you don’t want to be in the situation of cancelling one flight, waiting for the points to come through and by the time they do, the second flight is taken!
Yeah, that’s exactly my current thinking. That’s where the original “are they all gone or not yet released” question came from. There’s still so much available on the AA via LAX flights that I’m going to play chicken a few weeks longer I think.