Why are award availability different when searching return flights vs separate flights?

Hello! I’m struggling to understand where i’m going wrong… I’m looking to book a trip MEL>LDN then home again LDN>MEL (rough dates some time in May-July 2022 for around 5-6 weeks away)
If i try to book both, so a return flight on Classic Rewards business class I can see a good amount of availability requiring c.320k points.
I’d prefer to save some points so only want to book the return leg as business class Classic Rewards (and can just pay for economy on way there). When i want to do this it takes me to the UK site and there is basically no longer any reasonable business class options?
Is this just the way it is or is there something smart I’m not doing?
Thanks so so much in advance - bit of a newbie here.

Hmm that’s weird. Can you give us some sample dates where this is happening for you or some screenshots?

Hey, can you let us know which airline/s you are experiencing this with? I know that some airlines, particularly Cathay Pacific, sometimes restricts reward seat availability so you can only see certain reward seats when paired together, but not individually.

Just on Qantas (i only have Qantas points) - and i’m scrolling through week after week throughout all those dates and theres not a single business class LDN>MEL available. i’m super flexible!

Hi @rosiemmmmm

A couple of thoughts:

  • When I do a search on Qantas for Business Classic Rewards flights from London Heathrow (LHR) to Melbourne, I’m seeing quite a few flights in early June (mainly on JAL and Emirates), then nothing from June 16-July 3, then another JAL flight via Tokyo on July 4 … and that’s it for July. There’s a little more Economy class availability, but hardly anything in Business.

  • I’m in the process of (re) organising a couple of trips to Europe myself at the moment, so I can speak more generally: There’s hardly any availability into Australia at all. I’m trying Qantas Frequent Flyer, KrisFlyer, Asia Miles, United… the story is the same. There’s plenty of availability leaving Australia, but next to nothing coming back in.

  • My best guess is that most of the airlines are being ultra-cautious while there are still government-imposed arrival caps into Australia, and minimising reward seat availability so they can maximise the number of paying customers. When those caps are lifted and international travel resumes, my guess (but it’s only a guess) is that airlines will make a glut of reward seats available.

  • There is slightly more availability out of and into Sydney. Consider flying via Sydney if necessary (I live in Melbourne too but my next trip to Europe will probably be via Sydney).

It’s dangerous in the current climate to make a booking out of Australia without having a return flight booked. You could gamble, especially if you’re super flexible, and book a flight out, in the expectation that there’ll be a flight back in made available at a future date. Or you could wait. What you choose to do depends on how much of a gambler you are!


Thank you so much for all your replies. If you’re getting the same issue it must just be down to availability.
I might wait another month or two and see if they release more seats I guess.
Thanks again brains trust!


Hi @rosiemmmmm ,

There was no mention on Point Hacks, but I hope you saw that Qantas released numerous “Business Classic Reward” seats London-Sydney straight after the PM’s announcement of international travel recommencing. I hope you got one, or if not you can still find one. There were quite a few available London - Sydney but they were being snapped up very quickly and from what I saw there appeared to be only a couple of Business Classic Reward seats per plane. I didn’t look beyond February (as this was the date I needed). I locked one in for February. Qantas London-Sydney (Via Singapore) 144,600 QFF points + $807.42 (AUD). As I live in Queensland, I am just banking on Qld removing border restrictions by then so I can do my 7 day home quarantine in Qld - not NSW. But I can always just cancel if necessary.

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