Last-minute upgrades for Qantas frequent flyers

Qantas frequent flyers can now use their points to receive an upgrade at the last minute in a revamp of the airline's upgrades system.

Previously, the airline closed upgrade requests for international flights several hours before check-in.

After a trial in May that processed requests at check-in, flyers will now have an increased chance of securing their upgrade if their preferred seat becomes available at the last minute.

This means the seats of "no show" passengers or those who miss their connections can now be re-allocated for upgrades right up until the final boarding call.

Partial flight upgrades will also allow passengers to receive an upgrade on one leg of their journey rather than none at all if a request for their entire flight is unavailable.

Qantas loyalty program chief executive Lesley Grant said the change to the airline's upgrades prevents passengers from missing out on available seats.

"We made the decision to invest in the technology following feedback from our members who told us it is a source of frustration when their upgrade request is denied only to find there are empty seats on the aircraft when they boarded," she said.

Passengers on domestic flights will also be able to register for automatic seat allocation and SMS notification if their upgrade request becomes available.

In other Qantas news, the airline this week launched Hooroo, an accommodation booking site that blends social features with e-commerce.

Hooroo uses imagery and stories sourced from its community of travellers to encourage users to book a holiday.

Qantas chief exectutive Alan Joyce said in a statement the website will capitalise on the domestic accommodation sector in Australia.

"Hooroo will open up new opportunities for our customers when booking their travel online and will offer accommodation across the full spectrum of the market, from budget to premium and from boutique to the big hotels," he said.