Welcome to Loggingmileage!

Upgrade Qantas flights with American miles

You can already use American Airlines miles to upgrade American flights. You can also redeem American miles to upgrade British Airways and Iberia flights booked into some high-fare classes.

But American Airlines promised earlier this year to introduce the ability to upgrade flights on other partners using AAdvantage miles in 2024. Now, it’s starting to make good on this promise by introducing the ability to upgrade Qantas flights using American miles. Here’s what you need to know.

Upgrading Qantas flights with American miles

The good news is that you can redeem American miles or cash to upgrade most Qantas-operated flights through the Plusgrade website. Almost all fares — including AAdvantage award tickets and travel booked through online travel agencies — can be upgraded, with the primary exception being sale fare classes for international flights.

Once you’ve booked your Qantas-operated flight, you can check whether your flight is eligible and the upgrade rates by heading to the Plusgrade website. Once there, you must enter your Qantas confirmation code and last name.


You must upgrade each segment individually if you have multiple Qantas-operated flights on your ticket. Assuming your fare is eligible, you’ll initially see an option to bid for a cash upgrade. Using the slider, you can choose a specific amount to bid for your upgrade.

Here’s the default bid for me to move from Qantas premium economy to business class on a long-haul flight from Sydney Airport (SYD) to Santiago Airport (SCL) this summer. For my flight, the potential bids range from $585 to $3,490 per person.


You can also toggle from cash to miles to see the number of American miles required for an upgrade. You can’t change the number of miles you bid for the upgrade, as it is static for your specific flight and date.


You may see multiple upgrade options depending on the class you’ve booked and the cabins offered on your flight. If you have multiple passengers on your reservation, you must request to upgrade all of the passengers. If you only want to upgrade some passengers, you may be able to contact the agency or airline you booked with and ask to separate the travelers you don’t want to upgrade from your reservation.

Once you submit an upgrade request, you’ll get a confirmation email from Qantas. However, upgrades won’t be confirmed until 24 hours or less before departure. So, you won’t know until shortly before your flight whether your upgrade bid was successful.

Daily Newsletter

Reward your inbox with the TPG Daily newsletter

Join over 700,000 readers for breaking news, in-depth guides and exclusive deals from TPG’s experts

You can cancel your request anytime before Qantas confirms your upgrade. If you requested an upgrade with cash, you can change your bid anytime before your upgrade is confirmed. You can only submit new upgrade requests up to five hours before departure for domestic flights and 10 hours before departure for international flights.

Related: How to earn miles in the American Airlines AAdvantage program

Is using American miles to upgrade your Qantas flight a good deal?

The short answer is no. Using American miles to upgrade Qantas flights usually won’t be a good idea. Let’s look at a few real-life examples that will give you an idea of what value you can expect to get when redeeming American miles to upgrade your Qantas flight.


For my premium economy flight from Sydney to Santiago this summer, I could request an upgrade for 64,400 American miles per person. But I’d only find out within 24 hours of my flight whether my upgrade cleared, and the upgrade cost would be on top of the 70,000 American miles and $72 I already paid per person for my fare.

The upgrade rates are pretty unimpressive when you consider you could redeem 82,500 miles per person — just 12,500 miles per person more than I paid for my premium economy award ticket — to book into the Qantas business-class cabin on this flight. Of course, there wasn’t award availability when I booked (and there still isn’t), but the upgrade still comes at a hefty premium over the standard award pricing.

But perhaps the more damning aspect is that I could outright buy a one-way, business-class ticket through Qantas’ codeshare partner LATAM on the same flight for $2,309.50 per person. Not only would my business-class seat be guaranteed then, but I’d also save the miles I redeemed for my premium economy flight and earn rewards on my fare and credit card spending.


But let’s check another flight to get a second data point. Based on the American AAdvantage partner award chart, I can fly from the continental U.S. to the Asia Pacific region for 40,000 miles per person in economy, 65,000 miles in premium economy, 80,000 miles in business or 110,000 miles in first (assuming award availability permits).

For a one-way economy award flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Sydney, Plusgrade quoted me a rate of 66,900 miles or between $800 and $3,625 for an upgrade to premium economy. But, if I found premium economy award availability on this flight, I’d only need to redeem 25,000 more miles based on American Airlines’ partner award chart to book a confirmed premium economy award.

Meanwhile, I could request an upgrade from economy to business class on this flight for 95,500 miles or between $1,215 and $5,165. Remember that if I found business-class award availability on this flight, I’d only need to redeem 40,000 more miles than I’d redeemed for my economy fare to book a confirmed business-class award.

You can often find premium economy tickets for around $3,000 round-trip on the Qantas flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, so you may find better value by either buying a paid premium economy fare or setting up award availability alerts for your dates if you don’t want to fly in economy on this long-haul flight.

Especially considering the massive difference between the award rates you could book via the AAdvantage partner award chart (if you find award availability) and the upgrade rates, I can’t say it’s a good value to redeem American miles to upgrade your Qantas flight.

Related: Best uses of American Airlines miles

Bottom line

American AAdvantage now lets its members upgrade Qantas flights using American miles. The loyalty program has indicated it will also add the ability to redeem American miles for upgrades on other Oneworld partners in the future.

More options to upgrade flights using miles are always welcome. However, consider whether you’ll get good value before using cash or American miles to upgrade Qantas flights. In many cases, you may be better off redeeming for a premium-cabin award (if there’s availability) or booking a paid fare in the higher cabin — assuming you haven’t booked your flight yet or you’ve booked a fare you can freely cancel.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Total (0)