Here’s How I Flew First Class Without Breaking the Bank

Let me spill the beans on a little secret of mine—I’ve been hoarding Qantas points like a squirrel with nuts, but never really splurged them.

I knew they had the potential to unlock a world of luxurious travel experiences through flights, but the full extent wasn’t evident until I took the plunge. In 2023, the chance to experience it firsthand emerged. After two years of Covid restrictions and with a trip to Europe looming, I felt it was the ideal moment to indulge myself.

Alright, buckle up folks, because here’s the juicy part. Imagine gallivanting around the globe, sipping champagne at 30,000 feet, reclining in a seat that costs more than a month’s rent—all for less than $2,000.

That’s right, I managed to score six whole legs of business and first-class flights for less than two grand.

How? By playing the Qantas points game like a pro. I did my homework, waited for the perfect moment, and pounced like a cat on a cornered mouse. I’m going to show you how I did it.

Here are my exact flights


Route Class Cash Cost Points Value if Paid in Cash
SYD to SGP Business $100.5 80,000 $4,093
SGP to DBX Business $350.5 75,000 $2,105
DBX to Belgium Business $286 61,200 $4,800
DBX to MLS to SGP Business $374 80,000 $3,192
Paris to Dubai First Class $420 89,800 $7,346
SGP to SYD Business $200 68,400 $2,850
Total   $1,731 454,400 $24,386


To summarise, my meticulously planned venture involved a spectacular series of flights: from Sydney to Singapore in business, then to Dubai, followed by a trip to Belgium—all in business class.

Post-stunning Europe adventures, I flew business from Dubai with a layover in Malta back to Singapore, and then indulged in the luxury of first class from Paris to Dubai. The final leg was a comfortable return to Sydney in business class. The total cash expenditure for these opulent experiences was a mere $1,731 while the points spend amounted to a whopping 454,400. If I had paid outright for these flights, it would have cost a small fortune of $21,386!


The Journey to Accumulate Points

Let me give you the lowdown real quick—turns out plastic can be pretty magic if you play your cards right. I’m not talking about racking up debt, I’m talking about using those flashy sign-up bonuses like a backstage pass to high-flying experiences. It’s like getting VIP festival tickets when everyone else is jamming in the nosebleeds.

You get the right card, hit the spend like you’re on a mission, and bam!—you’re miles ahead of the pack. No extravagant spending, just your regular old bills and being that go-to buddy who fronts the cash at group dinners. I’ll hit you with the nitty-gritty details on this strategy next time, so stay tuned!

And once you’ve hit those sign-up bonuses, you can cancel the card, and repeat the process with a new one again and again. (*This is not financial advice.)

This is how I personally accumulated over 500,000 Qantas points, across 5 cards, in just under two years.

Planning and Booking Strategy

Early Booking

Booking well in advance, particularly 6-8 months out, is a game-changer in the world of reward travel. It opens up a treasure trove of possibilities, ensuring a wider selection of primo seats and coveted flight times.

Airlines typically release their reward seats far ahead of the departure date, and these can be snatched up quickly by eagle-eyed travellers.

By planning early, you can sidestep the stress of last-minute scrambles and lock in those luxurious experiences you’re daydreaming about, and all while the point cost remains relatively low. Imagine staking a claim on a first-class suite while others are left to wish for an upgrade at the gate—it’s the savvy traveller’s move.

Meticulous Planning

Meticulous planning is the cornerstone of capitalising on your points efficiently. When mapping out your journey, consider each leg: where are you going, how long you’ll stay, and what kind of cultural or logistical challenges you might face.

The goal is to use points for long-haul flights since that’s where the bang for your buck is loudest. Look for flights over 6 hours, where the extra space, superior meals, and enhanced service really make a difference.

By doing so, you not only ensure a more comfortable trip but also extract the highest value from your points. This strategy requires patience and attention to detail—tracking flight routes, peak travel periods, and blackout dates is crucial.

I aimed to make the most of our time by booking mostly overnight flights from Australia to Asia and Asia to Europe to save on hotels. With Qantas Business and First Class Suites providing excellent rest, we’ll arrive energised and ready to seize each day abroad.

Utilising Tools and Resources

To elevate my booking experience, I turned to the Qantas multi-city booker, an ingenious tool that allows you to plot a complex itinerary with ease. The best feature is being able to see the classic reward options from a monthly view.

How to Fly First Class with Qantas Points | The Champagne Mile

(Qantas recently updated their standard bookings page to make this clearer too).

Regrettably, I stumbled upon only after meticulously constructing my flights leg-by-leg through the Qantas multi-city booker. Looking back, I realise that could have been a game-changer in simplifying the process. This tool is like having a personal assistant dedicated to sniffing out available award seats.

Seats Aero

It offers a user-friendly platform that aggregates reward flight availability across numerous airlines and alliances, displaying options in a simple, clear format. By setting up alerts, I could have been notified the instant ideal flights became available, saving hours that I spent manually searching.

Essentially, could have served as my high-tech radar in the high-flying points game, ensuring that I maximized my point-to-luxury ratio with minimal effort. If you plan to play the points game, adding to your arsenal might just be your masterstroke for just $9.99 per month.


Execution of Booking

Once I had all the reward flights planned, I booked them using the multi-city booking option. It was a bit challenging because I had to book the same flights for my partner, doubling the effort. Eventually, we managed to secure our bookings through two separate transactions, but had to sit in different cabins for some flights – one in business class and the other in first class. Limited seats were available for each class, but we made it work. It was all good though; we spent our time in the lounges during the flights.

If better flight options arise along the way, like if I initially chose an economy classic reward but then a business reward becomes available, I would contact the airline to modify that part of the flight.

It’s a bit of a gamble with the customer service representatives. At times, you may encounter knowledgeable staff who can help you make the change with just a small 5,000 points adjustment fee. Other times, you might come across individuals who insist that you need to cancel and rebook. I’ve found it most effective to request a transfer or call back for a better operator.

Ideally, you’ll just get it right at the time of booking and not have to deal with the hassle of modifying your itinerary. Ensuring that your initial booking aligns closely with your ideal travel plan can save you from the unpredictability of relying on customer service post-booking. Such foresight diminishes the need for later adjustments, sparing you the risk of facing additional fees or the frustration of dealing with uninformed airline representatives.


The journey to harness the full potential of frequent flyer points was nothing short of an odyssey, marked by lessons in patience, timing, and strategy. Reflecting on the seamless serenity of first-class lounges and the indulgent privacy of a business class suite, the effort expended seems a minuscule price to pay.

My meticulous planning, complemented by valuable tools like the Qantas multi-city booker and, was instrumental in transforming a labyrinth of travel logistics into a rewarding flight itinerary.

In retrospect, the experience wasn’t just about the destinations reached but also about the insights gained in navigating the complex skies of reward travel. It’s a game of chess where each moved flight is a step towards checkmating a suite in the sky.

Be forewarned that this strategy does take a LOT of time, so prepare to dedicate ample hours for planning and monitoring. However, the rewards of flying in luxury at a fraction of the cost make it all worthwhile.

So next time you’re planning your trip, consider elevating your flight experience by utilising frequent flyer points and making a game out of it – because sometimes, the journey can be just as rewarding as the destination itself!



The strategies and experiences shared within this document, pertaining to signing up to credit cards are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. The effectiveness of these strategies may vary based on individual circumstances and market conditions. Readers are encouraged to conduct their own research or consult with a qualified financial advisor before implementing any travel or credit card points strategies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *