Fly Round The World with Qantas Points (16-flight sectors, 35,000-miles)

This article was published some time ago and content may be out-of-date.  Airlines are continually changing their loyalty programs. Always double-check with the airline. 

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Overview

In this guide, we show you how to fly around the world with Qantas points! The Qantas oneworld reward (or the ‘Round The World’ reward), allows you to add up to 16 flight sectors and very generous 35,000 miles into one itinerary. It offers some serious value for a flight reward, setting you back just 140,000 Qantas points in Economy or 280,000 in Business. Premium and First Class redemptions are also possible.

Using your Qantas points to book an around the world journey comes out well ahead of standard reward seats in our side-by-side comparison.

Around the world tickets typically come at a hefty price-tag, so a Qantas oneworld reward presents some big savings!

Although building this reward is not for the faint-hearted, it’s an outstanding opportunity!

Guide contents

Qantas Classic Rewards

The traditional Qantas points redemption method – individual Classic Reward seats.

Velocity RTW Reward

Although Velocity don’t offer a ‘Round The World redemption directly, you can transfer your Velocity points to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles and redeem the impressive Star Alliance Round The Wold reward.

About Redemption Value

Learn how to assess the rate at which your points cost to acquire vs their redemption value in this two part guide.

oneworld reward features & partner airlines

The Qantas points Round The World reward includes the following features on one single itinerary:

  • Up to 16 flight sectors
  • Up to 35,000 miles
  • 5 stopovers at different locations (+ your own time via surface sectors)
  • An itinerary up to 12 months long
  • Book family members under the same booking

The oneworld alliance covers 13 airlines across over 1,000 locations and 150 countries. These include:


Fly Round The World with your Qantas points to all corners of the globe.

Learn more about the specific rules for the oneworld reward here.

Qantas ‘Round The World’ vs ‘Classic’ Reward

To put things in perspective, we’ll compare a popular long-haul Classic Reward against using the Qantas Round The World itinerary. For instance, you can fly from Sydney to London return in Economy for 120,000 points (plus taxes). The oneworld Economy reward, which delivers over 24,325 additional miles of travel, will cost you just 20,000 points more (140,000 points for up to 35,000 miles of travel). Fly with a Qantas partner, like British Airways, and the same Sydney-London flight will cost you about the same as a Qantas Round The World reward!

The below table displays this Sydney-London return flight using both a Qantas and British Airways (partner) Classic Reward against the 35,000 mile Qantas Round the World redemption.

  • SYD-LON Q = The Sydney – London Qantas reward seat
  • SYD-LON P = The Sydney – London Qantas partner reward seat
  • RTW (VA) = Qantas Round The World reward

It’s also important to consider the flexibility a oneworld reward presents. These include 5 stopovers and the ability to build an itinerary that spans an entire year! You just don’t get these options (well you can, but you’ll pay a lot for them) with a Classic Reward.

Business presents the best value

Spending your points on the Qantas oneworld reward is one of the most cost-effective ways to experience lie-flat Business Class travel, period. The same applies to First Class, however, Business is definitely the sweet-spot. Unfortunately, if you go for First, you just won’t be able to find seats on every one of your flights (many flights operate only two-class aircraft – Economy and Business). So even though you’ll have to book Business for these flights, you will pay the First rate (420,000 points).

That’s not to say Economy offers average value. Far from it. If you can’t justify Business or don’t have a spare 280,000 points sitting around, you can feel very comfortable knowing you’ve redeemed one of the very best Economy rewards possible! However, if you plan on redeeming in Economy, be sure to have your itinerary 100% confirmed before you book. This is critical, as all changes in Economy attract a ‘Reward Assistance Fee’ (8,000 points – waived for Business and First Class), as they must be made over the phone. This can add up if you’re not careful, and before you know it you’ll end up at the Business Class rate anyway!

A Business Class Round The World ticket similar to our itinerary would set you back over $15,000! All this for just 280,000 Qantas points and about $1,000 in tax co-payments. This notches up a very impressive Guide Redemption Value of over 5c/point. If we were to book our trip further down the cabin this drops to around 4c/point, but it’s still way above Classic Rewards in Economy (which rarely exceed 2c/point).

Main Qantas Round the World rules

Before you use your Qantas points to book a Round The World itinerary, you’ll first want to jot down your desired travel plans. You’ll have to consider the following:

Number of non-Qantas oneworld carriers (2)

You are required to add at least two non-Qantas oneworld airlines to your itinerary. This is easy. You don’t have to use Qantas at all, which can help you save on taxes.

Flight sector limit (16)

A flight sector is any flight with a different flight number. The Qantas Round The World reward permits up to 16 sectors. Many international flights have a connection (‘layover’) between two or more flights on the same ticket. There are a few exceptions,  however. For instance, a flight with two sectors but the same flight number, e.g. QF1 Sydney to London, is an exception – this would be treated as one flight sector, not two, as both legs have the same flight number (QF1).

The high 16 flight sector limit is handy if you’d like to schedule a ‘day-stop’ at a particular location. However, it’s important to ensure your day-stops don’t exceed 24 hours. Any stops greater than a day are recorded as a ‘stopover’ (you get a maximum of 5 of these). Day-stops are a great way to ensure you use every one of your 35,000 miles!

You may only pass through any one location twice in your itinerary (either in transit with a connecting flight or as a stopover). This won’t be a problem for many, but it could be an issue if you’re focusing on a particular region or simply happen to connect frequently via one location.

Stopover limit (5)

Stopovers are defined as stops after an arrival for greater than 24 hours. You can have a maximum of 5.

This doesn’t mean you’re limited to 5 locations, however. You’re allowed what’s called a ‘surface sector’, which is travel that you do separately from flight sectors in your oneworld reward itinerary. You can travel to your surface sector destination in any method (for example, take the train, or fly on the cheap with a budget carrier). Surface sectors are recorded as part of your oneworld itinerary, but only under your total miles allowance. Miles are recorded at if you would fly. See our example here.

Miles limit (35,000)

You can book a Qantas Round The World reward up to a maximum of 35,000 miles. Any surface sectors are included in this limit (measured as per the equivalent flight distance from your last arrival airport to your next departure airport)

Time limit (12 months)

You have a very generous 12 months to complete your Qantas oneworld reward.

Other routing rules

You can’t pass through your starting nation after your initial departure (you can obviously return if it is your final arrival port). For example, let’s say you’re departing from Sydney, you cannot return to Australia until your itinerary’s final flight touches down.

Finally, you don’t have to start and end your itinerary at the same point, however, the Qantas Round The World reward will calculate the miles from your final flight sector to your initial starting point. For example, you can start in Sydney and end your itinerary in Singapore (but the oneworld Reward will deduct 6,300 miles, which is the distance between Singapore and Sydney, from your 35,000 mile limit – so be careful!).

Fare class

The Qantas Round the Word reward is calculated at the highest cabin class of any individual flight sector. For example, let’s say you add a single Business flight sector to your booking, where all other sectors are Economy. You’ll be charged the full oneworld reward Business Class points rate (which is 280,000 vs 140,000 in Economy).

Pre-planning your Round The World itinerary

To begin your Qantas Round The World itinerary, you’ll first want to plan your final itinerary before you book.

As we mentioned above, you’ll need to ensure that you don’t exceed the miles limit (35,000). The handy GCM Mapper is a great tool. Remember, you must count your miles by adding all flight sectors (e.g. you must include the ‘layover’ city), along with any surface sectors. To map a path (and sum the total miles), simply add the relevant airport codes in the following format. e.g. in our detailed walk-through example below, our itinerary is: Start> SYD-HKG-PVG-HKG-LHR-MAD-JFK-LAX-MEX-SCL-AKL-SYD <End

Below you can see a graphical representation of our example itinerary (click here to skip to our full walk-through). This itinerary comes in at 11 flight sectors and 33,328 miles (we’ve also planned our 5 stopovers). Here’s the direct link to our example itinerary’s map (via the GCM Mapper).

Use the GCM mapping tool to pre-plan your Qantas points Round The World journey, ensuring it fits within the rules.

Although the Qantas Round the World reward does not require your starting and finishing airport to be the same (you can finish in another nation/city), you cannot return to your starting nation unless it’s the final flight in your oneworld reward itinerary (this is to stop people booking multiple cheap flights with points, throughout the 12 months time period).

oneworld reward seat availability

Qantas Round The World reward itineraries are subject to the same availability limitations as Classic Rewards. However, if you’re travelling for leisure, your plans are likely to have a decent amount of flexibility. This works in your favour. Given the generous miles limit (35,000), you also have the freedom to get creative with your routing, adding additional flight sectors at no additional cost (as long as you don’t go over the limits). For example, choose an indirect flight for more availability by creating a ‘day-stop’ in a particular city, before restarting your journey (just remember that if your stopover is greater than 24 hours, it’ll count as one of your 5 stopovers).

The general rule is that oneworld availability in Economy is very good. It gets tougher in Business Class, however. Availability obviously drops further if you want to book multiple seats together.

Knowing when to search

It’s critical that you understand oneworld carriers’ reward seat release patterns, especially if you’re looking at a Business Class redemption. Try searching on/from the relevant release dates, as seats on high-demand routes in premium cabins are snapped up within days.

Note that high demand Qantas operated seats (like flights to the US and UK in Business and Premium Economy) are exclusively available to members with Gold Status or higher. If these have not been secured by Gold or Platinum members, they are later released to all other members around the 300-310-day mark. This is another reason to avoid Qantas completely in your oneworld itinerary.

Although seats are released per the table below, it doesn’t stop them appearing closer to your scheduled departure. For various reasons (cancellations, unsold inventory etc.) airlines release more space – so keep searching!

We’ve summarised both Qantas and their popular partner’s release dates below. Each release period is listed as ‘days in advance’ of scheduled departure. Note, this is a guide only. For Qantas operated flight release dates, click on each row (+) for comments on what seats are available in each period.

* Note, Emirates and Fiji airways are not oneworld partners and must not be added to your oneworld itinerary.

Learn more in our oneworld reward tips section.

Searching

You should search for your flights as per the Qantas reward seat search methods. As per our dedicated guide, you can use another oneworld carrier’s own reward search to locate seats that do not display on the Qantas website.

In our example, we’ll use 280,000 Qantas points to book a Round The World trip in Business Class. If you’d like to book in Economy (140,000 points) or Premium Economy (220,000 points), simply repeat the below process and select the relevant cabin class. Qantas Round the World rewards are calculated at the highest cabin class of any individual flight sector. For example, let’s say you add a single Business Class flight to your itinerary, where all other sectors are Economy. You’ll be charged the full Round The World Business Class rate (over 180,000 points more).

The Qantas Multi-City search is the best way to search for individual trips that will make up your itinerary. To begin, launch the Multi-City tool and enter your first destination. It is highly recommended that due to the complexity involved, you search for each flight individually. In fact, for high-demand routes, it’s actually best to search for each flight sector individually. For example, if you’re looking for a Cathay Pacific flight to Europe that you know has a layover in Hong Kong, try looking for the Australia – Hong Kong leg first (Flight 1), before searching for the Hong Kong – Europe flight sector (Flight 2).

The Qantas search tool can be a bit buggy, so it’s imperative that you break up your search or you may lose everything.

The first stopover destination in our example itinerary is Hong Kong (from Sydney as our starting point, departing Monday 7 June 2018).

Use the multi-city tool to search for your Qantas Round The World flights

The great thing about the Multi-City search tool is its month-long availability feature. This provides month-long reward availability, which can be filtered by cabin class. In our example, we’ll select just the Business filter. Once the tool return’s availability in the selected cabin class, you can jump back or forward 14 days at a time. To check a date with available flights, click on it and then click ‘continue’.

On a separate page, you’ll see the flights available on that particular date. Remember, non-oneworld alliance partner airlines are ineligible – so don’t choose these (notably, these include airlines like Emirates, Jetstar and Fiji Airways, which all display in Qantas flight searches).

We’re happy the selected flight listing (a direct flight from Sydney to Hong Kong in Business on Cathay Pacific flight CX110). This is our first stopover destination (of 5) as we’ll stay in Hong Kong for more than 24 hours.

Cathay Pacific is one of our favourite carriers. We highly recommend them, along with Hong Kong as your Asian hub (you’ll see how we’ve routed back via Hong Kong/ Cathay to fly to Europe below). Hong Kong departures also benefit from low tax co-payments due to local legislation. Cathay itself is a great full-service airline with top-tier Business and Economy classes. It also offers some of the world’s lowest airline-imposed fees.

Cathay Pacific and its Hong Kong hub are great options for Qantas Round The World flights to and from Asia.

As referred above, you are required to pay taxes as a cash co-payment. To view what this co-payment is for each of your flights, you must select the flight and click through to the next page. This particular flight incurred a very reasonable $165 tax co-payment (many of their taxes are actually cheaper than this). Taxes vary between each oneworld airline and some require significantly more co-payments that others (for example, British Airways, Qantas and Finnair charge relatively high taxes – avoid these if possible). Find out more in our tips section.

Once you’re happy with your first flight, record the important details (remember, you must include each flight sector – here, we have only one). Use our Qantas Round The World Reward Planner, where you can add the flight details, number of sectors, miles, taxes and stopover points. This tool provides a running balance to ensure you stay within the rules. Refer to your itinerary’s draft map to input each flight sector’s miles, which you planned earlier. You don’t have to add everything to this, however, it can be very helpful (for example, to keep track of the taxes that you’ll be up for). Download the planning spreadsheet here.

This section continues with a full walk-through of our entire Round The World itinerary. Although this provides valuable examples, you can skip to the next section here.

We now search for our second stopover trip, another direct flight from Hong Kong to Shanghai (we’ll spend >24 hours in Shanghai). We’re on Cathay Pacific again.

This fits well – we’ll add it to our spreadsheet. As you can see we’ve now used up 2 flight sectors (14 remaining), 5,360 miles (29,640 remaining) and 2 stopovers (3 remaining).

Our next planned stopover destination is London. We have a few options here. British Airways offer a direct flight, however, their taxes are high. Finnair also flies from Shanghai to London via Helsinki (although, here’s usually an awkward 3-hour layover and their taxes are quite high).

As we mentioned above, Hong Kong is a great Asian hub. We’re going to route back there via Cathay Pacific and jump on yet another Cathay flight to London. For clarity, there are no restrictions on routing back over your itinerary.

We’ve been able to find a nice connecting flight in Hong Kong to London on Cathay Pacific (2 hours is enough in Hong Kong airport, as the Cathay schedule runs like clockwork).

After adding our latest two Cathay Pacific flights into our spreadsheet, we’ve now used up 4 flight sectors (12 remaining), 12,134 miles (22,866 remaining) and 3 stopovers (2 remaining).

After our third stopover in London, we’re going to show a tip for saving on the excessive taxes (particularly in Business Class) charged on to passengers who depart UK airports, thanks to the UK’s notorious Air Passenger Duty. The trick is to plan your next flight sector (which may be a transit flight) within 2,000 miles of your UK departure port (as the duty for flights within 0-2,000 miles is very low – $30 in Economy or $50 for Business/ First Class). In our example, we’re flying to Madrid from London (this flight is easily under 2,000 miles), before heading to New York City. If we flew from London to New York directly, we’d be up for over $300 more in tax (Business) and about $175 in Economy.

We’ll kill two birds with one stone and use Madrid as our first ‘day-trip’. In this case, we’ll fly out of London early to get some sightseeing in. Although we previously said you should avoid British Airways because of their high taxes, this doesn’t really apply to short intra-Europe flights, and the tax here isn’t too prohibitive ($50).

Once in Madrid, we can do a morning of sightseeing, before heading back to the airport where we’re off to New York. This isn’t an amazing day-trip example (we plan a better one a bit later), as we only have 7 hours between flights, however, Madrid offers a great International airport and a 25-minute direct train to the city. You get the idea of the potential for day-trips.

Let’s check back in on our tracking spreadsheet where we’ve added in our two latest sectors. As you can see we’ve now used up 6 of our flight sectors (10 remaining), 16,497 miles (18,503 remaining) and after touching down in New York, 4 stopovers (1 remaining).

From here we’re going to use the ‘surface sector’ trick so that you can visit even more destinations! A surface sector involves travel that’s completed separately from your oneworld itinerary. You can travel to the surface sector destination any way you choose (fly with a budget carrier, drive, train, run!).

Surface sectors are recorded as part of your Qantas Round The World itinerary, but only as a single flight sector (you get 16) and from your miles allowance (35,000). They do not eat into your valuable stopover allowance, which is a massive benefit! Miles are recorded as if you would fly. So, in our example, we’re going to use a surface sector from New York to Los Angeles (LAX) and travel across central America! We’ll then rejoin our Qantas Round The World reward itinerary at LAX. We record this in our spreadsheet at the flight equivalent of 2,475 miles (see a separate map in the image below). You can learn more about surface sectors in our tips section.

Bulk-up your Qantas Round The World reward with surface sectors!

We’ll update our sheet with the surface sector. The important details are the additional flight sector, in this case, a surface sector (we’re now at 7), and the distance, which pushes our total miles out to 18,972 (16,028 remaining – we’re half-way there!)

Next, let’s try a better example of a day-trip. We’re thinking Mexico City. We find a flight that positions ourselves early in the day, arriving in Mexico City at 6:02 am.

After a full day touring Mexico City (we have 14 hours from arrival to departure), we’re off to Santiago, where we’ll position our final stopover! There are relatively few Business offerings into and leaving South America, however, LATAM offers a decent lie-flat product, with good availability.

Once again, we add the two latest flight sectors. We’ve now used up 9 (7 remaining), 24,610 miles (10,390 remaining) and after Santiago flight, 5 stopovers (zero remaining).

Next, we’ll drop by New Zealand to catch-up with some family and friends in Auckland for a 14-hour day-trip layover.

And finally, our last flight home to Sydney!

Here’s our final itinerary! We’ve used 11 flight sectors (5 left to spare), 31,827 miles (3,173 remaining) and have used all 5 stopovers ending with Santiago (Sydney, our finishing location does not count as a stopover).

We hope this example gives you an insight into the planning process. As you can see, your options are endless, and you can definitely get some serious value with day-trip stops and surface sectors.

Booking & changes

Initial booking

Once you’ve located all of your flights and are happy with the result, you can book a Round The World reward using Qantas points via the Multi-City Search tool. Do not use the standard Round The World search, which is only for cash bookings. If you’ve located rewards from a oneworld partner that don’t appear on the Qantas website (like Japan Airlines), you’ll have to book via the Qantas call centre.

This time around, add your entire final itinerary into the Multi-City Search. It can’t be stressed enough that you finalise your itinerary via the searching process. You should not be making changes to your flights at the booking step.

Ignore any references to your points total as you book each flight. If you’re within the Qantas Round The World reward’s rules, the balance will adjust itself to 140,000 points in Economy, 210 in Premium or 280,000 points in Business once you have completed your booking. Common mistakes including adding non-oneworld partners (like Emirates) or mistakenly adding a flight with at least one flight sector in a higher cabin class (for example, if you select one flight in Business, the entire itinerary will be priced as Business).

It’s strongly recommended that you book as much of your journey as you can online in one hit. You can gradually add to your booking online but, you’ll be charged the standard Qantas ‘Reward Seat Change’ (5,000 points) every time you add a new flight (e.g. add one flight in one session = 5,000 point cost; add 5 flights in one session = 5,000 point cost). Also, although you can add flights to your itinerary online, you can’t change or remove flights. For this, you must contact the Qantas call centre.

Book, change & assistance: Qantas call centre

You can book your itinerary via the Qantas call centre (phone 13 11 31), but Economy Class bookings and changes placed over the phone attract a ‘Reward Assistance Fee’ of 8,000 points. Depending on the operator, the assistance fee may be waived, especially if your itinerary includes a partner flight that’s not available on the Qantas website. This fee is waived for Business and First Class passengers, which is another tick in the box for premium redemptions.

All changes to existing online bookings can only be made via the Qantas call centre and attract a 5,000 point fee. The change fee is applied any time a Qantas representative makes an amendment to your itinerary, which can involve changing multiple flight sectors (e.g. remove and add one flight in one Call Centre contact = 5,000 points; remove and add five different flights in one call centre contact = 5,000 points). Note, you can add additional flights to your booking online as per the above, but these changes also attract the fee.

These fees can be quite damaging if you have your eye on an Economy Reward, as you’re up for 13,000 points every time you make contact. Be sure that you do everything possible to search and complete your booking online in one go.

The Qantas call centre can actually be helpful in filling missing gaps in your itinerary, although you’re going to have much more success if you’ve recorded at least some results into the Qantas Round the World Reward Planner before you call.

It’s also important to mention that like Qantas Classic Rewards, you’ll be up for a cash co-payment when using points for a Round The World reward. In our example, we’ve kept this to $1,010, which is reasonable for a Business redemption with 11 flight sectors. Find out how to minimise your tax co-payment here.

Like all Qantas reward seats, you may cancel your oneworld booking completely at a cost of 6,000 points (or $70). This is very reasonable. Cancellations must be requested at least 24 hours prior to scheduled departure and can only be made over the phone.

oneworld airline-imposed fees

Like Classic Rewards, you’re required to pay a cash co-payment on all Qantas Round The World reward flights. To view what this co-payment is for each flight, you must select the flight (see the searching process) and click through to the next page where the cash co-payment will display.

These fees are made up of airline-imposed fees (like fuel surcharges), along with government duties and airport taxes. The first, which is the focus of this section, is easily avoidable by choosing the right airline. The second two, which are relevant for long-haul itineraries, are only avoidable by switching by routing your flights via/to a recommended international hub.

We’ve outlined some general comments on each airline’s imposed fees to give you a guide. As a rule, Qantas (Intl.), British Airways, Qatar Airways and Finnair, are known for high co-payments. In these cases, you’ll be better off booking with a partner that adds a lower co-payment to their bookings.

Qantas

oneworld partners

* Note, Emirates and Fiji airways are not oneworld partners and must not be added to your oneworld itinerary.

Alternatively, use Google’s ITA Matrix (in the image example below, the total co-payment would be $71.08) to search for your flight and find a full break-down of the taxes and airline-imposed fees that you’ll be up for.

Use Google’s free ITA software to view the estimated taxes for each of your Qantas Round the World reward flight sectors.

Look out for (avoid) the airlines’ YQ surcharges (fuel surcharges).

Our Qantas Round The World reward top tips

Search for each flight sector individually

If you’re searching for flights as part of your Qantas Round the World itinerary that you know requires a transit stop, search for each flight sector individually to locate more availability. By searching for each sector individually, you’re not tied down to the automated routes and ‘married-segments’ that are sometimes generated by oneworld carriers. More often than not, you’ll find more availability if you piece together your own exact itinerary – including transit stops.

For example, looking for a Cathay Pacific flight to London from Sydney? Try searching for the Sydney – Hong Kong leg first (Flight 1), before searching for the Hong Kong – London Flight Sector (Flight 2). Simply position your departing flight within 24 hours to ensure you aren’t deducted one of your 5 stopovers.

Surface sectors are your friend

A Surface sector is any part of your Qantas oneworld itinerary that involves arriving in and out of different airports, making your own way between these airports via any travel method you like. You can stop as often as you like within any one surface sector, without it counting as an additional stopover! Surface sectors are recorded as part of your Qantas Round the World itinerary, but only as a single sector (you get 16) and from your total miles allowance (you get 35,000). Miles are recorded as if you would fly. We used a surface sector in our example, touching down in New York, but departing from Los Angeles, where we re-rejoined our oneworld itinerary at LAX. In this example, the total ‘cost’ was 2,475 miles (the equivalent of a direct flight from New York to Los Angeles).

Add surface sectors to your itinerary and squeeze even more out of your Qantas Round The World reward.


Airlines to avoid

You will want to avoid or minimise British Airways and Qantas flights from your Round the World reward itinerary due to their often excessive tax co-payments. Sometimes, other airlines (like Cathay Pacific and American Airlines) can charge as little as 10% of British Airways flights on the same route.

Budget-conscious travellers can avoid these airlines completely thanks to the 16 flight sectors permitted within the reward. This allows you to fly indirect to your destination(s) and still keep within the massive 35,000-mile limit.

Recommended airlines

Expand each section to view our airline recommendations for oneworld flights to and from each region.

Be sure to consider Cathay Pacific when using your Qantas points for the Round The World reward.

As a rule, Qantas, British Airways and Finnair flights should be avoided due to high airline-imposed co-payments.

Asia
Europe
America/Canada
South America
Asia

We absolutely love Cathay Pacific, and the popular airline, in addition to its Hong Kong hub, should definitely feature heavily. This is especially the case if planning an Asia visit, but even if you’re routing through to Europe from Australia. Cathay Pacific offers a renowned Business Class product and its Hong Kong Lounge is up there with the best.

Europe

Cathay Pacific is also a good option when flying to continental European destinations, especially for flights starting in their Hong Kong hub. As always, be strategic about your European/UK hubs. Learn more here.

America/Canada

American Airlines is recommended for flights to the US, however, availability can be limited. Tax co-payments are generally quite reasonable.

If you can’t find American Airlines availability, Iberia is a good option, offering decent flight routes from Europe (Madrid hub) to the US.

South America

We recommend Latam for Latin American routing. Its major hub is Santiago, but Sao Paulo and Lima are also serviced well. Latam offers a good schedule to Auckland, Sydney and Melbourne. Latam tax co-payments are quite low – definitely the better option over Qantas for flights back to Australia. It’s a full-service airline with a competitive lie-flat Business cabin.

Plan your itinerary through low-cost transit hubs

Another tip is to avoid flying into high-taxing airports. It’s handy to know what transit hubs to stick with, along with the regions and airports to avoid when booking Qantas oneworld reward. We provide some comments on some notable regions, and how to get around any high taxes, below.

Asia
UK
Europe
Asia

Hong Kong and Japan are great Asian hubs as the local law prohibits airlines from passing on any type of surcharge. However, this only applies to flights departing Hong Kong and Japan. Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong hub) and Japan Airlines (Tokyo) are great Qantas reward seat redemption options.

UK

All departures are charged an Air Passenger Duty, which is a large chunk of the high tax co-payments you’ll pay when flying out of UK airports. The tax is particularly large if you’re on a premium ticket. The higher taxes are not charged for transit flights stopping under 24 hours under on the same carrier and booking (so you’ll be spared if you’ve planned a day-stop in London under 24 hours and both flights either side of your layover are on the same airline/ booking, which your oneworld Reward Seats will generally be). This only applies to flights departing UK airports and not arrivals.

If you need to stopover (remembering you get 5 of these, over 24 hours) in London, there’s another option, which almost completely avoids the duty. The trick is to plan your very next flight departing London after your stopover, at a distance of under 2,000 miles away. This is because the duty is negligible within the 0-2,000 miles band (approximately $30 in Economy or $50 for Business/ First Class). For example, you could depart London for Dublin (flight under 2,000 miles) and do a day-stop in Dublin, before continuing onto your next destination, for example Los Angeles. If you flew from London to Los Angeles directly, you’d be up for over $300 more in tax co-payments in Business and $160 in Economy.

Europe

Scandinavia, Ireland and to a lesser extent Italy (Rome) are low-tax airports. These can be great options as European entry/ exit points. German and French airports can be expensive options.

Be flexible

Generally, oneworld Round The World rewards are snapped up by savvy leisure travellers. If this is you, your travel plans are likely to be somewhat flexible. This is helpful, as piecing together individual flights as part of your oneworld reward is extremely difficult if you’re not open to alternative dates, especially in Business Class.

The same flexibility rules apply as per standard Qantas reward seat redemptions.

As with most frequent flyer programs, the number one rule for securing a valuable reward seat redemption is to be flexible.

Travel plans
Book ahead
Search hard
Travel plans

Be flexible with travel dates (or even location if you’re holidaying). Search for different cities or airports at your destination. The oneworld Reward also allows you to plan surface sectors – so if you’re struggling for availability, find your own way to another destination with better availability, and get the added benefit of stopping wherever you like until the surface sector’s departure point. Reward seats from less popular European cities like Paris can offer considerably more availability than popular destinations like London Heathrow. You can also save on taxes by skipping flight departures from the UK.

Book ahead

Qantas releases its own, plus oneworld partner reward seats, 353 days ahead of scheduled departure. Some partners release periods are shorter. Try searching from these dates for maximum availability.

Search hard

Reward Seats are sometimes released a lot closer to their scheduled departure date. Keep searching to secure your seat!

Cancellations are cheap (but be careful with changes)

Like all Qantas rewards, you may cancel your entire Round The World booking for just 6,000 points (or $70). Cancellations must be requested at least 24 hours prior to scheduled departure.

Learn more about changes here. Changes can be expensive if booking in Economy due to the Qantas ‘Award Assistance’ fee (not charged in Business Class).

Book placeholders if availability is limited (Business Class redemptions only)

If you’re planning a Qantas Round The World reward, but experiencing Business availability issues for a particular trip, book a ‘placeholder’ flight in Premium Economy or Economy. This will allow you to lock down your journey and book. You can now continue searching for the missing Business flight, as oneworld carriers can release more seats as the departure date approaches. If you can, try to build a buffer into the missing part of your itinerary so it’s easier to find a Business redemption if something comes up.

If nothing eventuates in Business, you at least have a fallback flight!

Contact the Qantas Frequent Flyer call centre

Depending on the agent that answers your call, the Qantas Frequent Flyer call centre (13 11 31) can be a great resource in using your Qantas points to book a Qantas Round The World reward. Sometimes they may actually see more oneworld partner airline reward seats in their system than on the website. It always helps if you’ve done your research, however. Read more in our searching section.

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Stephen hall
    April 30, 2018 7:46 am

    I would like to fly around the world business class commencing Syd to Johannesburg, London, New Yok, LA to syd

    Reply

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