Fancy a trip in one of the premium cabins?  Flight upgrades are a great way to utilise your points, on both domestic and international routes.  We’ve made our way through the plethora of information out there and dissected the ways and means for you.  Please note that you can only request an upgrade to Premium Economy, Business or First when you have made a booking in an eligible class.  The cheapest discount Economy tickets are generally not eligible for upgrade opportunities.

Domestic Flight Upgrades:

Here are the major points you need to know:

  • You need to have an eligible paid and confirmed ticket on a Qantas operated service (with a QF flight number on your ticket).
  • If you request an upgrade for an itinerary that includes an international and a domestic leg with the same flight number, this will be treated as an international upgrade and you’ll need to refer to those rules.
  • Flight upgrades are not available on Qantas Classic Awards seats. (i.e., you can’t book a seat in Economy with points, then use further points to upgrade to Business)
  • You will earn points and status credits for the fare class you originally purchased.
  • The fare conditions applicable to the fare originally purchased will apply.
  • Flight upgrades are subject to availability (which is limited in our experience).
  • You must have enough points for the flight upgrade at the time you request it, and not based on the amount of points you’ll accrue on a future flight booking.
  • If there are multiple people travelling in your booking and all passengers are eligible family members, your online request for a flight upgrade will apply to each passenger. If your booking includes passengers other than eligible family members, you will need to contact Qantas Telephone Sales to split the booking and then you will be able to make your request.

You can request a domestic upgrade any time after you have paid for your ticket and received confirmation, up until 24 hours before your flight leaves.  Additionally, Platinum and Gold members can request an upgrade at the airport on departure day.  Just log in to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account at Qantas.com, go to ‘Your Bookings’ and click on the ‘Upgrade’ button.  If an upgrade is available to you, it will be confirmed immediately and the points deducted from your account.  If your request cannot be confirmed at that time, you will be given the option to register for an upgrade should one become available.  These registrations are prioritised according to your membership level: Platinum, followed by Gold, Silver and then Bronze.  It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your request as Qantas will only attempt to notify you of your success via text message.  You will also be informed when you check-in for your flight, but we think it’s better to know ahead of time, if only to allow you the opportunity to use the Priority Check-In queue at the airport.

International Flight Upgrades:

The rules for international upgrades are very similar to those in Domestic, with just a few changes.  You can request an international Flight Upgrade Award for Qantas operated services with a QF flight number from 1 to 199 on your ticket any time up until 24 hours before your flight departs.

You may request an upgrade from:

  • Economy (excluding Discount Economy E, N, O, Q and X class) to Premium Economy or Business
  • Premium Economy to Business
  • Business to First

All rules listed above in the Domestic section apply.  If your request for an upgrade is not immediately available and you register for any future availability, you can opt-in to be available for upgrade right up to boarding time at the gate.  Upgrades may become available at the last minute due to cancellations, no-shows or missed connections and Qantas aims to confirm international upgrade requests as much as possible.  We think this is a great idea but it comes with a few conditions that we’ve listed further below.

Your request for an international flight upgrade will be considered in accordance with the following timetable:

  • Platinum One Frequent Flyers, from 7 days prior to the scheduled flight departure;
  • Platinum Frequent Flyers, from 48 hours prior to the scheduled flight departure; and
  • Other Frequent Flyers, within 24 hours of the scheduled flight departure.

As always, upgrade requests are always prioritised according to your Qantas Frequent Flyer membership level: Platinum first, followed by Gold, Silver and then Bronze.

Before opting-in to be eligible for an upgrade up to the gate, please note:

  • For upgrades at the airport, if you are travelling continuously on a flight that stops in one or more ports (with the same flight number), you will only be eligible for an upgrade on the last leg and only if that last leg has a flying time longer than three hours. Points will only be deducted for the portion of your flight that was upgraded.
  • Upgrades at the airport will only be awarded for bookings containing one passenger.
  • If your upgrade is confirmed at the airport, you may not be able to use some of the benefits that you receive with the upgrade such as your additional baggage allowance (or lounge access if your upgrade is confirmed at the gate) and there will be no compensation of points if this occurs.  I.e., an upgrade at the airport requires the same amount of points as an upgrade prior to arrival.
  • If a request for an upgrade at the airport is successful, it cannot be refused. You will be required to travel in the upgrade cabin in the seat you have been allocated. This is because the upgrade may be awarded as your flight is due to depart and airport staff will not be able to re-seat you on the aircraft.

For a table showing how many points you’ll need to spend for your upgrade you can refer to Qantas’ website at https://www.qantas.com.au/fflyer/do/dyns/upgradeCalculator