Booking a free flight is one of the most popular ways to redeem Qantas points. Unfortunately, limited availability has made this unduly difficult. In a bid to expand free flights to more customers, Qantas has launched a new 'Points Plane' service that will offer dedicated Frequent Flyer redemption flights to select destinations. Here are the details.
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The Qantas Points Plane does exactly what it says on the tin - they're flights reserved exclusively for Qantas Frequent Flyers. All seats on these flights can only be booked with Qantas Points, whether you're flying First Class, Business or Economy. This will make it significantly easier to score a free flight with your Qantas points, albeit for specific dates and destinations.
If you're keen, the first Points Plane - an A380 - will take off on 21 October 2019 from Melbourne to Tokyo (Narita). Bookings will be made available from 7am (AEST) 16 May.
There will be 484 seats available - 14 in First, 64 in Business, 35 in Premium Economy and 371 in Economy. In other words, you shouldn't have much of a problem redeeming your points provided you get in early.
Here are the amount of Qantas Points you'll need to hop on the maiden Points Plane flight:
- Economy: 35,000 Qantas Points
- Premium Economy: 54,000 Qantas Points
- Business: 72,000 Qantas Points
- First: 108,000 Qantas Points
Return travel is where things get a bit more complicated - the Points Plane leaves Tokyo on October 26. If you want to stay longer or leave earlier, you'll need to book an alternative flight via the traditional avenues.
According to Qantas, the first Points Plane flight will feature a bespoke cocktail and meal service along with a signature pair of pyjamas for the handful of people who obsessively collect these things.
“This is the first time we have dedicated an entire aircraft – let alone an A380 – to our frequent flyers, and we are expecting to see significant demand for these flights,” Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said.
“Four flight redemptions are made every minute and sixty upgrades are confirmed every hour. We know our members love to redeem their points on travel, so we’re excited to be able to give them new ways to access these rewards."
There's no word on when the next Points Plane service will be or where it will fly to - but Qantas is promising to operate regularly in this space if the inaugural flight is successful. The programme will rely mainly on the availability of unscheduled aircraft.
Comparison website Finder has updated its Qantas Frequent Flyer analysis to find out how much 1000 Qantas points are actually worth. As expected, it depends on what you use them for, with the 'value sweet spot' working out to $20. Here's how far they can go depending on what you decide to purchase.