With Business upgrades virtually impossible for Bronze FFs - is it worth earning points?

I’m new to the points community & still learning the ropes. My main goal was to accrue enough points to upgrade our international economy fares (2) to business. This would typically be every 2 years for our major overseas holiday.
I had naively assumed that enough Qantas FF points would automatically earn me an upgrade from Economy to Business for a future SYD-LHR flight. But feedback I’ve been hearing is that for a new Bronze status member like me, it’s highly unlikely I’d ever achieve this due to limited seats & other silver, gold, platinum members ahead of me.
Even if I gain more status points, it’s unlikely I’ll ever get past Silver as I don’t travel regularly enough
So with this in mind, am I wasting my time with a FF program?

Not wasting your time. Simply book Classic Awards instead. That is, you buy your ticket outright with points (though there would be cash component too). All up, you need more points, but less cash, and if you can find available seats in the class you want, you’re confirmed directly into that class from the moment you book.

Qantas’ upgrading system can be hard to get value out of. The cheapest fares are not upgradeable at all, the number of points needed in the next cheapest category is quite high, and getting the upgrade is a lottery, even with status. So, you might find yourself spending $1000 or more for a higher fare category just to be eligible, and nonetheless miss out.

Does anybody have any info on how Qantas’ upgrading system works, in terms of what criteria it uses to prioritise and grant upgrade requests?

Thanks for the info. I was also concerned about the “lotto” nature of not knowing until just before you fly. Sounds like Classsic Awards are the way to go.


Upgrade awards are allocated in the following order as stated in the terms on Qantas’s website. Platinum -> Gold -> Silver -> Qantas Club -> Everyone else.

I’m a QC member (Bronze status) and was upgraded on MEL-JFK (via LAX) and again on the homeward journey LAX-MEL for a trip in July of this year. Both were confirmed 24 hours prior to departure. It just depends on how many seats are vacant, how many people higher in the food chain request an upgrade and how early you requested yours compared to the people in your same membership level.