Qantas reward seat availability for Bronze vs Gold members
Qantas, along with many other premium airlines, reserves reward seat space for its most loyal top tier frequent flyers. This is an advertised benefit of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program for Silver members and above. The QFF website states Silver/Gold/Platinum members receive "preferential access to selected Qantas Classic Flight Reward seats". In theory, Platinum members get the most availability, followed by Gold and then Silver.
So how does this actually work in practice?
Quite well actually. And it's an advantage of Qantas Frequent Flyer over Velocity Frequent Flyer who doesn't offer any extra availability for reward space in premium cabins for top tier fliers.
Example: Sydney to Johannesburg
Let's assume we want to fly Business Class from Sydney to Johannesburg in June 2018. A search using a Qantas Gold Frequent Flyer account revealed the following direct flights were available to redeem:
As shown in the table, the search returned 7 flights during the month with one or more Business Class seats available.
Repeating the search using a Qantas Bronze Frequent Flyer account had the following results:
As you can see, Qantas is following through on its advertised benefit of withholding reward space for top tier frequent flyers. Some may argue that this is unfair for people who have worked hard to stockpile large points balances, but I would also say that Qantas should focus on rewarding its most loyal members, and that is Gold/Platinum fliers.
As always, your best chance with Qantas reward seats is to get in early and keep checking.