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Qantas Classic Rail Rewards - Ultimate Guide

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Immanuel Debeer | 11/12/2020

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As of December 9, 2020, Qantas Frequent Flyers can use their points to redeem a luxury rail journey with either The Ghan, Great Southern or Indian Pacific. In this guide, we will take a look at the Qantas Classic Rail Reward and see if there’s any value in using your points.

Qantas Classic Rail Rewards only apply to the Gold Service and points can not be used to book Platinum Service packages.

Earning Points With Journey Beyond Rail

If you’re paying cash for your rail journey, you will be able to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points for every dollar you spend. As a Qantas Frequent Flyer, you will earn 1 point per dollar on your rail journey. There’s no need to book direct, even package bookings or special deals booked with a travel agent are eligible to earn points.

Spending Points – Qantas Classic Rail Reward

This is the first time we’ve seen a Qantas Classic Reward on the ground (check out our ultimate guide to Qantas Classic Flight Rewards here) and luckily the pricing has been kept simple. There are no dynamic prices and options we see in the air, like “points + pay” are also not available.

Qantas Classic Rail Reward

Qantas Classic Rail Reward – The Ghan

The Ghan is the most luxurious option out of all the trains in Australia, so this understandably attracts a premium price. Luckily when using the Qantas Classic Rail Reward, you only pay the set points price. There are no taxes or fees.

That said, is there any value to be had? The answer isn’t straightforward, and it depends on when you plan to travel + what the current promotions are.

We crunched the numbers and looked at the cheapest deals we could find to work out a value per Qantas Point. As a guide, take these numbers as a baseline. You will get the best value for your points when cash prices are high.

The Ghan Value:

  • Value Per Point: 1.3 cents per point twin Gold cabin
  • Value Per Point: 1.3 cents per Point single Gold cabin

Qantas Classic Rail Reward – Indian Pacific

Second, in line we’ll take a look at the Indian Pacific, straight away you will notice that the value per Qantas Point drops and in the single Gold cabin, 1c per Point isn’t exactly good value.

Indian Pacific Value:

  • Value Per Point: 1.2 cents per point twin Gold cabin
  • Value Per Point: 1 cent per Point single Gold cabin

Qantas Classic Rail Reward – Great Southern

Last but not least, let’s take a look at the Great Southern train from Adelaide to Brisbane. On the cheapest dates we found, the value per Point drops under 1c. Generally speaking, this is poor value so we would recommend using your points on dates where cash prices are high and thus increase the value of each Qantas Point you spend.

Great Southern Value:

  • Value Per Point: 0.9 cents per point twin Gold cabin
  • Value Per Point: (TBC) cents per Point single Gold cabin

How To Book Qantas Classic Rail Rewards?

Booking a Classic Rail Reward is straightforward, simply select the train and dates to load the pricing for your journey. Once that shows up you will need to click the button (see screenshot) to load the Qantas Classic Rail Reward pricing. At this stage, you can compare and calculate the value per Point you will be getting. As a rule of thumb, aim for anything over 1c per Point.

The next step is to select the cabin after which you will proceed to the checkout screen to complete your details and enter your Qantas Frequent Flyer number.

Qantas Classic Rail Reward Cancellation Policy

Unlike Classic Flight Rewards, the Classic Rail Reward cancellation policy isn’t quite as flexible. Keep this in mind when booking as you could potentially lose your points if you were to change your mind.

  • Classic Rail Rewards are fully refundable if you change your mind within 14 days of the completion of your booking. However, if you book within 45 days of the departure date and cancel the booking, you will not be eligible for a refund.
  • There will be a cancellation fee of AU$200 or 25,000 Qantas Points per person if a booking is cancelled more than 14 days after booking and more than 45 days prior to departure. At the time of cancellation, you can choose how you wish to settle the cancellation fee.
  • When the fee of AU$200 per person is selected, this must be paid directly to Journey Beyond, prior to the full Qantas Points amount being credited to the QFF member’s account. It may take up to 30 days for the Qantas Points to be credited to the Qantas Frequent Flyer account.
  • There will be a 100% cancellation fee for any booking that is cancelled less than 45 days prior to departure (you will not receive a refund in points).
  • Changes to the travel date for Classic Rail Rewards bookings may be made by calling 1800 019 642 up to 14 days prior to departure. Changes are subject to the availability of the Classic Rail Rewards fare on the new travel date. An amendment fee of AU$35 per booking (including GST) will be applicable.

A few special rules apply thanks to Covid and apply to journeys starting before March 31 (inclusive).

  • Classic Rail Rewards are fully refundable if you cancel the booking more than 7 days prior to departure, you will not be charged a cancellation fee and you will receive a full refund of your Qantas Points. It may take up to 30 days for the Qantas Points to be credited to the Qantas Frequent Flyer account.
  • Changes cannot be made to the travel date for Classic Rail Rewards bookings within 7 days prior to departure.
  • There will be a 100% cancellation fee for any Classic Rail Rewards booking that is cancelled within 7 days prior to departure (you will not receive a refund in points). For changes and cancellations inside 7 days of travel, if you can’t travel as a direct result of border closures or Government-imposed travel restrictions that directly impact your booking, the cancellation fee will be waived.
  • Gold Service Inclusion

When you book a luxury rail journey, almost everything is included (hence the hefty price tag). While the ultimate experience is of course the Platinum Service, Gold still offers substantial value when you use your points. Here’s what you can expect on the Journey Beyond Gold Service packages across the 3 trains:

  • For Gold Twin, a comfortable sleeper cabin featuring a private en suite and upper and lower berths that convert to a three-seater lounge by day
  • For Gold Single, a compact sleeper cabin featuring a bed that converts to a seat by day and shared shower/toilet facilities located at the end of the carriage
  • Power outlets in cabin
  • In-cabin music channels and journey audio commentary available
  • All-inclusive dining in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant
  • All-inclusive Australian wines, beers, base spirits and non-alcoholic beverages
  • All-inclusive Off Train Excursions and Short Stops
  • Luggage allowance is 60kg per guest
  • Complimentary Shuttle bus transfers available in Darwin to selected hotels in the city centre

Summing Up – Are Qantas Classic Rail Rewards Worth It?

I love how Qantas has expanded into rail journeys, and by allowing points bookings I think a whole new audience of rail enthusiasts will be able to experience something special like this. In terms of value, it’s not that great with most of the trips only offering a return of around 1c to 1.3c per Qantas Frequent Flyer point.

The value of a Qantas Point depends on your personal circumstances. If you’re a business owner and spending hundreds of thousands each month on your Qantas Frequent Flyer credit card on business purchases, the value of a point might be spot on at 1.3 cents.

If however, you’re someone who signs up for a few bonus offers each year, there are better value propositions to be had when you redeem your points for flights in business or first class.

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Immanuel Debeer

Chief points nerd and travel hacker at Flight Hacks

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