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

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Qantas first class is without a doubt one of the more aspirational flight experiences on the market. Getting to Australia from the United States isn’t easy and often requires connections in Japan, South Korea, or a country in Southeast Asia.

With Qantas, you can fly to Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane directly from the U.S., which will greatly shorten your travel time. Not to mention, Qantas has a great first class cabin!

A first class award seat on Qantas isn’t easy to find, but we’ll show you how to give yourself the best chance and what to expect on this amazing flight.

A Look Inside Qantas First Class

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

If there’s one thing Qantas first class is known for, it’s the seat. Considered to have one of the most comfortable bedding sets in the sky, you’ll sleep well on your journey of 15-17 hours from the U.S. to Sydney. This experience is only made better by the comfortable pajamas you’ll get on board.

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

If you’re flying out of Los Angeles (LAX), Sydney (SYD), or Melbourne (MEL), you’ll have access to the exclusive Qantas International First Lounge where you can have a great meal, a nice drink, and relax. The Qantas First Class Lounge at LAX is one of the best lounges in the world, so you won’t be disappointed by it.

Qantas First Class Dining
Enjoy a nice meal (or 2) on your journey to Australia. Image courtesy of Qantas.

While your inflight meal might not be at the same level as dining in first class on Etihad or Singapore Airlines, your meal will still be very good.

How to Fly Qantas First Class Using Points

Thanks to Qantas’ Oneworld partners and Alaska Airlines, you have several ways to book first class on Qantas. Let’s dive into the best ways to book this flight.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

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 Alaska 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 Alaska miles.

If you need some other ideas for using your Alaska miles, check out our best ways to redeem Alaska miles.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

JAL Partner Award Chart
Check out Japan Airlines’ distance-based partner award chart for some fun redemption ideas.

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.

Japan Airlines does require you to call when booking partner 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 on 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 JAL miles. If you need some other ways to use your Mileage Bank miles, check out our best ways to redeem Japan Airlines miles.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific’s frequent flyer program, Asia Miles, provides an easy way to book online. Additionally, you can book a stopover and an open-jaw to really take your trip to the next level. However, this can change the required miles for the booking.

With the new Asia Miles prices effective June 22, 2018, you’ll need to check mileage by partner airline using their calculator.

As an example, New York (JFK) to Sydney first class round-trip is 270,000 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 find (otherwise you will be overpaying)
  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 points and Citi ThankYou Points.

These partners each transfer to Asia Miles at a 1:1 rate. Citi ThankYou Points generally transfer within 24 hours, and transfers from Membership Rewards can take 3-7 days.

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

American Airlines AAdvantage

American Airlines Partner Award Chart
Qantas first class can also be booked with your American miles.

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

It was more popular before they devalued their award chart in early 2016, but it’s still very useful if you need to connect to an airport in the U.S. where Qantas operates.

To book with American 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

If Qantas isn’t your thing, there are great other options for redeeming your American AAdvantage miles.

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!

Other Options for Booking Qantas

You’re probably wondering why we haven’t included Qantas as one of the best options for booking their own first class award seats. Unfortunately, their 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

How to Redeem Qantas Points
Qantas first class isn’t an easy award ticket to find, but you have several options to book it.

Qantas doesn’t have many routes to the continental U.S. In fact, they only fly to and from Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), New York City (JFK), and San Francisco (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 round-trip first class award tickets to or from Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.

Brisbane

U.S. AirportAlaska AirlinesJapan AirlinesCathay PacificAmerican Airlines
Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW)140,000 miles155,000 miles220,000 miles220,000 miles
Los Angeles (LAX)140,000 miles155,000 miles180,000 miles220,000 miles
New York City (JFK)140,000 miles155,000 miles220,000 miles220,000 miles
San Francisco (SFO)140,000 miles155,000 miles220,000 miles220,000 miles

Melbourne

U.S. AirportAlaska AirlinesJapan AirlinesCathay PacificAmerican Airlines
Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW)140,000 miles155,000 miles220,000 miles220,000 miles
Los Angeles (LAX)140,000 miles155,000 miles180,000 miles220,000 miles
New York City (JFK)140,000 miles155,000 miles220,000 miles220,000 miles
San Francisco (SFO)140,000 miles155,000 miles220,000 miles220,000 miles

Sydney

U.S. AirportAlaska AirlinesJapan AirlinesCathay PacificAmerican Airlines
Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW)140,000 miles155,000 miles220,000 miles220,000 miles
Los Angeles (LAX)140,000 miles155,000 miles180,000 miles220,000 miles
New York City (JFK)140,000 miles155,000 miles220,000 miles220,000 miles
San Francisco (SFO)140,000 miles155,000 miles180,000 miles220,000 miles

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.

Qantas Frequent Flyer

Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Capital One Miles can be transferred to Qantas.

Recommended Amex 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. This is our favorite card for getting into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass) and we get about $2,700+ in value from the card every year.

Plus, get up to $200 in Uber credits annually ($15 per month and a $20 bonus in December) — and up to $200 in annual credit for airline incidental charges (e.g. baggage fees). For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide and 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x). 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 a $100 airfare credit per year, for many this is an easy addition to your wallet. For rates and fees of the Gold Card, click here.

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a HUGE welcome bonus of up to 100,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 after you spend an additional $15,000, on purchases within the first 3 months.

We get ~$5,525+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks. This excludes getting one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork, up to $2,700 in value.

This is the best business card for lounge access as you'll get into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide. For rates and fees of the Business Platinum, click here.
American Express® Business Gold Card - probably our favorite Amex business card because we earn 4x points across the top 2 select categories that we spend the most money in each month. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. This means you'll max out at a (whopping) 600,000 points per year. After that, you earn 1x. For rates and fees of the Business Gold Card, click here.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express - This is a simple card that earns you 2x points on any business purchase, up to $50,000 annually (then 1x). That makes for an easy 100,000 points per year! The card has no annual fee. For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.

Recommended Citi Cards

Recommended Capital One Cards That Earn Miles (Personal)

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card - The big brother of the VentureOne and it's packed with a lot more benefits and perks. Earn a 50,000 mile sign up bonus (worth $500) once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening — and 10X miles per $1 spent across thousands of hotels. 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 10x miles per $1 across thousands of hotels. With a 20,000 mile sign up bonus (worth $200) after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months and no annual fee, it's a strong choice.

Recommended Capital One Cards That Earn Miles (Business)

Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business - This no annual fee card has a 20,000 mile sign up bonus after meeting the minimum spend of $3,000 within the first 3 months. Save on interest with 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 14.74% - 22.74% variable APR after that.
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business - Earn 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles can be transferred from American Express Membership Rewards and Citi Thank You Rewards (both at a rate of 1:1).

Marriott Credit Cards

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

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card - for a limited time, earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 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.
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. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Business 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.

In 2016 and 2017, Qantas seemed to release a chunk of first class award seats all at once for dates 9 months away. The availability was still very limited, and if you found award space it was only for 1 person.

For this reason, your best bet is to book this award for a solo trip; see whether you can find space on the day before or after if you want a friend or family member to join you in Australia.

What Makes Qantas a Great Redemption

Qantas first class is probably the best way to fly to Australia directly from the continental U.S. for several reasons. Let’s look at a few of those.

First Class Seat and Bed

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.

Considering the fact that 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 set up 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 International First Lounge

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.

Qantas’ first class lounge in Los Angeles (LAX) is one of the best airline lounges in the United States. With a reputation for great food and drink and a relaxing atmosphere, you won’t mind a small delay…or a long layover.

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.

And if you think that lounge is amazing, then you should check out the Qantas First Lounge in Sydney. You can of course enjoy a wonderful meal, but they take relaxing to the next level with the option to enjoy a massage at their spa.

Qantas will even reach out to you the day before your flight to schedule your spa appointment. It’s no surprise that this is considered one of the best first class lounges in the world!

Final Thoughts

Let’s be clear — finding Qantas first class award availability will not be easy. If you 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 Alaska miles in your account, that will require the fewest number of miles to book Qantas first class. However, if you are going to transfer points to one of Qantas’ partner airlines, that can take time. As a result, you might be better off booking with American Airlines, since they allow 5-day holds on award tickets.

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

FAQ

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, but booking with American Airlines can be much easier.

What credit cards can help me fly Qantas first class?

You can transfer Membership Rewards or ThankYou Points to Cathay Pacific.

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 First Lounges.

Spencer Howard

About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience. Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class! Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal).

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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).

    • Stephen Au · March 19, 2019 · 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).

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