Best Ways to Book Qantas Airways First Class With Points [Step-by-Step]

Qantas First Class Bed

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Qantas first class is undoubtedly one of the most difficult products in the world to book. Getting to the Great Outback has been, and continues to be, exceedingly difficult and expensive. Making this logistical journey via a nonstop flight turns the odds significantly against our favor.

As it turns out, Qantas is one of the few companies connecting the U.S. to Australia, and there’s a lot of demand for this niche. Qantas has built a reputation around making a hub-and-spoke business model work as its bread and butter.

For this reason, Qantas has opted to offer superjumbo aircraft on most direct U.S. routes to Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Furthermore, the A380 is the only plane offering a first class product, so you’ll need to book one of these (offered to Sydney and Melbourne) to fly Qantas first class.

Note: With the COVID-19 outbreak hampering commercial aviation, Qantas has suspended or downgraded most of its U.S. routes. The only U.S. A380 route still being offered at the moment is between Los Angeles (LAX) and Sydney (SYD). 

Booking Qantas first class using points is an incredibly difficult feat to achieve. Let’s get into all the best ways you can go about booking this aspirational product.

A Look Inside Qantas First Class

Qantas first class is somewhat of a legendary product. Although it’s not necessarily as famous as Emirates first class or Etihad First Class Apartments, it lands solidly in our list of the best international first class airlines in the world.

Qantas is known for having a well-rounded first class product. Whereas Emirates may blow you away in the amenities offerings and may fall short in some small touches, Qantas is consistently one of the best choices out there.

Consider, too, that Qantas’s U.S. flights are ultra-long-haul journeys, meaning that if you book this flight with points, you’ll have anywhere from 13-17 hours of true bliss in your first class seat.

Qantas International First Lounge

Qantas International First Lounge Sydney
Check out one of the best first class lounges in the world when in Sydney. Image Credit: Qantas

Some first class lounges have reputations entirely separate from the inflight first class experience they’re associated with; the Qantas International First Lounge is one of those lounges. If you’re originating in Australia, you’ll have access to an amazing ground experience before stepping on your flight.

In the hub airports of Sydney (SYD) and Melbourne (MEL), you’ll be whisked through check-in and security and enter the glorious Qantas International First Lounge, with its sleek marble decor and signature touches of nature.

You’ll even get complimentary massage treatments— Qantas will reach out to you the day before your flight to schedule your spa appointment.  It’s no surprise that these are considered some of the best first class lounges in the world.

The Qantas International First Lounge at LAX is one of the best lounges in the U.S., so you won’t be disappointed by it. In fact, this lounge is so popular that those with Oneworld Emerald status go out of their way to visit it when departing Los Angeles on domestic American Airlines flights. With a reputation for great food and drink and a relaxing atmosphere, you won’t mind a small delay… or a long layover.

First Class Seat and Bed

Qantas First Class
With a long journey to Australia, you’ll have plenty of time to sleep on your Qantas first class flight. Image Credit: Qantas

Qantas doesn’t have the same flash as Emirates first class or the amazing amount of space that you’ll find flying the Apartments on Etihad, but what you will get is an amazingly comfortable flight. Because a flight from Dallas to Sydney is roughly 17 hours, comfort is going to be very important!

While you change into your pajamas, a flight attendant will make your bed. Not only will you get a nice blanket and a couple of pillows, but Qantas provides a mattress pad fitted to your seat to make your rest even more comfortable.

Qantas First Class amenity kit
Qantas first class amenity kit. Image Credit: Qantas

As soon as you step on the plane, you’ll find a spacious and private first class seat, a bountiful amenity kit, and some of the plushest bedding you’ll ever find on a plane, period. The amenity kit contains Aspar amenities and Martin Grant pajamas.

Your meal will be delicious. If you’re trying to figure out what to expect during the meal service, try imagining a classic Australian dinner.

First, you’ll start with a caviar creation paired with a fine bottle of Champagne. Then, you’ll savor a rich vegetable soup. After that, you might find yourself slicing through a juicy, tender filet mignon with all of the fixings. Of course, you’ll want to have a glass of red wine with that steak. Lastly, you’ll close out with popular Western desserts with fruity accents. Then, you’ll enjoy a cheese plate before unwinding into a food coma.

How does Qantas first class sound to you? If you’re sold on a nonstop first class flight that can retail for up to $15,000 to/from Australia, let’s get on with showing you how you can book Qantas first class using points!

How to Fly Qantas First Class Using Points

Qantas is a Oneworld member airline, which means you can redeem most miles from Oneworld frequent flyer programs for travel on Qantas, including American AAdvantage.

Additionally, you can redeem non-alliance partner miles, such as Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan to book Qantas first class.

Before booking the first class ticket, however, you’ll need to research which Qantas flights offer first class. These are:

Qantas A380 First Class Routes Globally
Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Sydney (SYD)Singapore (SIN) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
Hong Kong (HKG) – Sydney (SYD)Singapore (SIN) – Melbourne (MEL)
Los Angeles (LAX) – Melbourne (MEL)Singapore (SIN) – Sydney (SYD)
Los Angeles (LAX) – Sydney (SYD)

Overall, you have several ways to book first class on Qantas.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Qantas First Class Dining
Enjoy a nice meal (or 2) on your journey to/from Australia. Image Credit: Qantas

A great way to book Qantas first class is through the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program. Flying between North America and Australia will cost 70,000 Mileage Plan miles for a one-way ticket in first class.

To book, go to Alaska’s website and follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to the Alaska Airlines website.
  2. Sign in to your account.
  3. Search for your desired route (make sure you select Use Miles).
  4. Select your desired flight and click Add To Cart.
  5. Pay the necessary taxes/fees and complete your booking.

You can book a stopover on a one-way award ticket booked with Mileage Plan miles. Also, you will not pay for any fuel surcharges when flying Qantas.

Hot Tip: If you want to have a better chance of getting award availability, consider using Qantas Frequent Flyer, which costs many more points but has better award access.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

Qantas first class
Qantas first class is ridiculously spacious. Image Credit: Qantas

The Japan Airlines Mileage Bank program uses a distance-based award chart, which is broken into tiers based on how many miles you’re flying. If you fly multiple segments, you’ll also need to account for the distance between each airport.

Check out the following distance-based award chart to get a better idea:

JAL Partner Award Chart
The Japan Airlines partner award chart is split into distance brackets. Image Credit: Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines does require you to call when booking Qantas award tickets, but the process is simple.

  1. Go to the Japan Airlines website.
  2. Log in to your JAL Mileage Bank account.
  3. Select JMB Partner Airlines Award Ticket Reservation.
  4. Select Qantas under Partner Airlines.
  5. Select first class, your travel dates, and the departure and destination airports.
  6. Select your flights and hit Next.
  7. Confirm the Mileage Bank miles and taxes/fees required.
  8. If your booking involves a connection with another partner of Japan Airlines (such as American Airlines), you will have to call to complete the booking.

Japan Airlines allows stopovers, so you might be able to see multiple destinations if your stopover doesn’t add too many flight miles.

Hot Tip: For other ways to earn Japan Airlines miles, read our best ways to earn Japan Airlines miles. 

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Qantas first class bed
While you change into your pajamas, a flight attendant will make your bed. Image Credit: Qantas

Cathay Pacific’s loyalty program, Asia Miles, provides an easy way to book online. Additionally, you can book a stopover and an open-jaw to take your trip to the next level.

However, this can change the required miles for the booking and so check mileage by partner airline using the calculator. Also, you can only book one-way flights with at most 1 partner airline, unless you’re thinking about a multi-city, complex award booking.

As an example, Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Sydney (SYD) first class one-way is 135,000 miles.

To complete a booking online, follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to Asia Miles.
  2. Log in to your account.
  3. Scroll over Redeem Miles.
  4. Select Flight Awards from the drop-down menu.
  5. Enter your flight details (make sure you select Qantas).
  6. Select your desired flight (Standard Awards are what you want to look for).
  7. Review the mileage cost and the taxes/fees.
  8. Complete your first class booking.

If you need more miles to complete a booking, Cathay Pacific partners with American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Capital One Miles.

Amex and Citi each transfer to Asia Miles at a 1:1 rate, while Capital One transfers at a 2:1.5 ratio. Citi ThankYou Points generally transfer within 24 hours, and transfers from Membership Rewards are almost instant. Capital One transfers may take up to 36 hours to process.

Hot Tip: Use our Transfer Partner Tool to easily calculate how many miles you’ll need to transfer for your award.

American Airlines AAdvantage

Qantas first class dining
It’s not every day that you get to dine with your companion in Qantas first class, but it’s a truly special occasion when it does come around. Image Credit: Qantas

American Airlines AAdvantage is one of the most commonly used programs for booking Qantas first class.

This loyalty program is very useful if you need to connect to an airport in the U.S. where Qantas operates. This is because American Airlines restricts its flights to provide more availability to those booking through American AAdvantage.

For this reason, you’ll have better luck booking an itinerary, for example, from Phoenix (PHX) to Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) in a single reservation.

For flights between the U.S. and Australia, you’ll pay 110,000 AAdvantage miles. For flights between Singapore and Australia or Hong Kong and Australia, you’ll pay 50,000 AAdvantage miles. Lastly, for flights between Singapore and London, you’ll pay 90,000 AAdvantage miles.

To book with AAdvantage miles, you can head directly to American’s website.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Visit American Airlines and log in.
  2. Select your route and travel dates.
  3. Check the box next to Redeem Miles.
  4. Select First MileSAAver to see first class options.
  5. Select the date you want to fly.
  6. Select your desired flight. If there is a connecting flight within the U.S., expand the flight details to make sure the long-haul segment on Qantas is in first class.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. Fill in the passenger details and pay the required taxes to finish booking.

Hot Tip: The ability to put award seats on hold for 5 days makes using American miles one of the easiest ways to book Qantas first class!

Emirates Skywards

qantas a380 seat
The newly upgraded first class seat on the A380 has contoured cushioning and a higher resolution IFE screen. Image Credit: Qantas

If you’re considering flying on Qantas first class but you only have Chase Ultimate Rewards points, one of your only options is to transfer to Emirates Skywards. Although you’ll pay a large number of miles when booking through Emirates Skywards, it’s pretty much your only option besides British Airways Executive Club, which charges insane amounts of miles.

If you are planning on booking through Emirates Skywards, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Search for availability via the American Airlines or Alaska Airlines methods above.
  2. Call Emirates Skywards at 800-777-3999.
  3. Give the agent your flight details and information.
  4. Provide passenger information and pay for the ticket using miles plus a credit card for taxes and fees.

Other Options for Booking Qantas

You’re probably wondering why we haven’t included Qantas as one of the best options for booking its own first class award seats. Unfortunately, its award chart is so uncompetitive that it doesn’t earn a spot among the best options.

As a Oneworld member, you can also use several other programs to book Qantas flights including British Airways, Malaysia Airlines, and Qatar Airways.

Great Qantas First Class Redemptions

qantas a380 sydney harbor
Qantas first class isn’t an easy award ticket to find, but you have several options to book it. Image Credit: Qantas

Qantas doesn’t have many routes to the continental United States. In fact, it only flies to and from Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW), Los Angeles International (LAX), John F. Kennedy-New York City (JFK), and San Francisco International (SFO).

Let’s compare the different ways you can book these flights so you can decide which miles to use when booking Qantas first class.

Here are the mileage costs of one-way first class award tickets to/from Melbourne and Sydney.

Qantas A380 RouteAlaska Airlines Mileage PlanJapan Airlines Mileage BankAsia MilesAmerican AAdvantageEmirates Skywards
Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Sydney (SYD)70,000135,000135,000110,000168,000
Hong Kong (HKG) – Sydney (SYD)N/A90,00087,00050,00090,000
Los Angeles (LAX) – Melbourne (MEL)70,000120,000135,000110,000144,000
Los Angeles (LAX) – Sydney (SYD)70,000120,000120,000110,000144,000
Singapore (SIN) – London-Heathrow (LHR)N/A120,000110,00090,000126,000
Singapore (SIN) – Melbourne (MEL)N/A65,00087,00050,00090,000
Singapore (SIN) – Sydney (SYD)N/A65,00087,00050,00090,000

As you can see, there is no doubt at all that using either Mileage Plan or AAdvantage miles is the best choice. On U.S. routes, Alaska Airlines charges the lowest cost. On foreign routes, American Airlines charges the least.

How to Earn Enough Miles for Qantas First Class

If you’re ready to book a flight in Qantas first class but don’t have enough miles for the itinerary you want, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of ways to earn more.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Capital One Miles can be transferred to Asia Miles. Amex and Citi transfer at a 1:1 ratio, while Capital One Miles transfer at a 2:1.5 ratio.

Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months, worth up to $600 towards travel. Terms Apply.

However — you may be eligible for a much higher offer by using the CardMatch Tool. Plus, there's no hard pull on your credit to check for personalized offers.

This is our #1 card for accessing 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass). We leverage ~$3,000+ in value from the card every year. For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery, and 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x. Terms Apply). There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly.

With a welcome bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months and up to $100 airline fee credit per calendar year, it's a strong choice. For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, click here.

Recommended Citi ThankYou Cards (Personal)

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Citi Premier℠ Card
  • Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Redeemable for $750 in Airfare at ThankYou.com
  • 3 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on Travel, including Gas Stations
  • 2 points per $1 spent on dining/entertainment
  • Annual Fee: $95
Citi Prestige® Card
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening. Redeemable for $500 in Airfare at ThankYou.com
  • 5 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on Airfare and Restaurants
  • 3 points per $1 spent on Hotels and Cruise Lines
  • Annual Fee: $495
Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Citi Rewards+℠ Card
  • Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $0
Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $0

Recommended Capital One Cards That Earn Miles (Personal)

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card - This card is packed with a lot more benefits and perks. Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 mile sign up bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. We recommend this as a no-brainer card if you even semi-regularly stay at hotels.
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card - This is an excellent card for those looking to earn 1.25x miles per $1 on every purchase. With a 20,000 mile sign up bonus (worth $200 toward travel) after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months and no annual fee, it's a strong choice.

Emirates Skywards

Emirates Skywards can be transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1), American Express Membership Rewards (1:1), Capital One Rewards (2:1.5), and Marriott Bonvoy (3:1).

Marriott Credit Cards

You can earn Marriott points and transfer those to Japan Airlines, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Emirates Skywards at a transfer rate of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer, you’ll receive an extra 5,000-mile bonus.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card - Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary. Plus, earn 6X points per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and 2X points per $1 on all other purchases.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card - Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Earn 3X points per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, earn 2X on other travel purchases, then 1x on all other purchases. A solid card for Marriott loyalists looking for a no-annual-fee card offering Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. A solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Business Card, click here.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Earn 6x per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels plus 3x at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines. Annual fee is $450. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.

When Should You Search for Award Space

First class award availability on Qantas is notoriously difficult to find. If you really want to fly Qantas first class, you need to start looking 330+ days from departure — or be prepared to check back just a few days before the flight. Even then, it’s unlikely that you will find award space.

Qantas routinely releases lots of first class seats during April-May for travel during September-February. Qantas has done this for the last several years, so waiting for that time period is a great way to increase your odds of booking Qantas first class.

Also, Qantas has released up to 4 first class seats on lots of dates on the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Sydney (SYD) route, though this was bookable only with 189,000 Qantas points + ~$238 in taxes each way.

Your best chances will be on booking tickets for 1 person at a time and hoping that 1 more ticket is released.

If you’re wanting more information on award availability, explore our step-by-step guide on searching Oneworld award availability.

Final Thoughts

Let’s be clear — finding Qantas first class award availability will not be easy, and if you do find some, it’s going to be booked by someone very quickly. When you consider both the inflight experience and the first class lounge experience, this comes as little surprise to anyone.

If you have MileagePlan miles in your account, that will require the fewest number of miles to book Qantas first class on U.S. routes. If you’re considering foreign routes like Singapore (SIN) to Sydney (SYD), then AAdvantage holds the upper hand.

If you are going to transfer points to one of Qantas’ partner airlines, remember to keep in mind the transfer times, which can foil your travel plans quicker than you think. You might be better off booking with American Airlines since it allows 5-day holds on award tickets.

In the end, however you book this amazing flight, you won’t be disappointed!


The information regarding the Citi Premier℠ Card, Citi Prestige® Card, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, click here.


Frequently asked questions

What is the best way to book Qantas first class?

If you are booking first class on Qantas, check Japan Airlines Mileage BankAlaska Airlines Mileage PlanCathay Pacific Asia Miles, or American Airlines AAdvantage.

Alaska Airlines will have the best redemption rates for U.S. routes and AAdvantage will have the best redemption rates for foreign routes. Booking with American Airlines can be much easier. Qantas Frequent Flyer is one of the most expensive methods, but it offers the best award availability.

What credit cards can help me fly Qantas first class?

You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points, Citi ThankYou Points, Capital One Miles, or Marriott Bonvoy points to Cathay Pacific. You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Emirates Skywards if you only have Chase points.

Bank of America also provides co-branded cards that earn Alaska miles if you need to top off your Mileage Plan account, while Citi provides co-branded American Airlines cards.

What do I get when flying Qantas first class?

Qantas first class has a bed that can compete with any first class product in the sky. On a long journey to or from Australia, this will be of the utmost importance.

If you depart from Sydney, Melbourne, or Los Angeles, you can also experience the highly regarded Qantas International First Lounges.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

2 comments

  1. I haven’t seen one flight on Qantas from Los Angeles to Sydney that is redeemable with Alaska Airlines Miles in business class in the next 6 months. It is always mixed cabin (i.e. the domestic leg is in business class but the long-haul isn’t).

    Reply

    • Hey Brad,

      Thanks for reading. Qantas is generally a difficult airline to book premium cabin award travel on. Availability for 1 is much easier to find, especially within a week or two of departure. However, looking for any sort of award travel within the period of 1-10 months before departure is known as the award ticket black hole.

      We would say to keep looking around for flexible dates. The best luck you’ll find is either right before departure (0-2 weeks before the flight) or far in advance (when the schedule is released).

      Reply

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