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Monday 8 April 2024

Qantas adds 20 million extra seats for frequent flyers

Qantas has made a big move to try to win back the affection of its frequent flyers.

The airline announced today that Qantas frequent flyers will have access to over 20 million more reward seats with the launch of Classic Plus Flight Rewards, a new way for members to use their Qantas points to book flights.

The change is being promoted as one of the biggest expansions of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program in its 35-year history and will reportedly make it easier to travel to destinations including London, Tokyo, New York and Singapore using Qantas points.

While usually requiring more points than the existing Classic reward seats, Classic Plus will offer much wider availability, while Classic Plus reward seats are also eligible for upgrades.

The points required to book Classic Plus reward seats will vary - like normal airfares - which means they’ll be lower during off-peak periods or when booking early, and higher during peak periods. During sales and promotions, prices for Classic Plus reward seats may drop below a Classic reward seat on the same route.

Classic Plus reward seats can be booked from today on Qantas international flights departing Australia for travel from July 1, 2024, exclusively via and will be rolled out across the rest of the airline’s international and domestic network on Qantas-operated flights by the end of the year.

By the end of calendar year 2024, when Classic Plus has fully launched across the international and domestic network, members will have had access to 20 million new reward seats for travel across the rolling 12-month booking window. 

And the airline promises there will be a similar level of availability on an ongoing basis.

“The Qantas Frequent Flyer program is an integral part of Qantas and has always been about recognising our customers for their loyalty. We’ve spent a lot of time listening to members about how we can better reward them,” said Qantas Group CEO Vanessa Hudson.

“We’re adding over 20 million new flight rewards with the launch of a new type of reward seat called Classic Plus. It’s one of the biggest expansions we’ve made to the Frequent Flyer program in its 35-year history.

“The growth and success of Qantas Loyalty is driven by engaged members who earn and redeem points across the frequent flyer program, including with our partners, and that’s why we’re investing in making more seats available to book with points.”

Qantas says it will continue to offer more than 5 million existing Classic rewards seats across Qantas, Jetstar and 45 partner airlines.

These, however, can be problematic. I invested in a business class seat using points for a recent overnight trip from Bali back to Australia.

My flight had to be changed, however, for Jetstar operational reasons, and even though I paid for a business class seat I didn't get one; or lounge access, or priority boarding. Nothing at all, in fact. I'm still waiting for Qantas to reimburse those points.

You'd think this would happen automatically. But apparently not. Here comes another stressful encounter.    

So while the extra seats are good news, the system still needs some work.

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