How to book a seat on Qantas' exclusive Airbus A380 frequent flyer jet

By David Flynn, May 16 2019
How to book a seat on Qantas' exclusive Airbus A380 frequent flyer jet

UPDATE 15/5/19 | Qantas has now opened bookings for all seats on its special Airbus A380 frequent flyer charter from Melbourne to Tokyo.

It's a one-off service with every seat on the superjumbo – from the entire first class cabin of 14 suites, through to 371 economy seats down the back of the (Air)bus – available for booking with Qantas Points, at the following Classic Flight Reward rates:

  • first class; 108,000 Qantas Points plus $272 in taxes, fees and carrier changes
  • business class: 72,000 Qantas Points plus $272
  • premium economy: 54,000 Qantas Points plus $257
  • economy: 35,000 Qantas Points plus $182

Qantas says passengers on its inaugural 'Points Plane' will enjoy "a distinctive inflight service with special on-board experiences including a bespoke cocktail and meal service, signature pyjamas and inflight giveaways."

Here's how to snare a seat on the Qantas Airbus A380 Points Plane.

Visit the Qantas website and log to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account, as usual. Search for Flights (one way) and select Use Points for your booking.

Set your route as Melbourne to Tokyo (Narita) departing Monday 21 October 2019, and make sure you choose flight QF79.

As at 7am today, when bookings opened, it was a rare sight: frequent flyer award seats available in business, premium economy and economy (for some reason, first class wasn't showing at the time of writing).

[Update: first and business class on this flight sold out within the first ten minutes, although as at 9.45am we're told there are plenty of seats left in premium economy and economy.]

Of course, you've also got to get back from Tokyo.

The Airbus A380 won't be covering the return leg, so Qantas is putting on an Airbus A330 as a dedicated Points Plane for Tokyo-Melbourne departing as QF80 at 8.05pm on 26 October.

Every seat on that A330 will available at the standard Classic Flight Reward rate of 72,000 Qantas Points in business class or 35,000 Qantas Points for economy.

Other return flights and dates are of course available as per usual, with a choice of Classic Reward seats or 'Points Plus Pay' bookings on either Qantas or Oneworld partner Japan Airlines.

Also read: How to book Japan Airlines flights online using Qantas Points

As to why these Airbus A380 and A330 jets are just doing one leg, the others are "being used as a charter flight for another purpose," a Qantas spokeswoman told Australian Business Traveller, but declined to offer more details on those flights.

PREVIOUS | Do you sometimes have trouble finding a seat to spend your Qantas Points on? We know the feeling. So, it would seem, does Qantas – with the airline making an entire Airbus A380 available for frequent flyer bookings.

Scheduled to fly from Melbourne to Tokyo on 21 October 2019, this 'Points Plane' is the first in what Qantas promises will be "a series of dedicated Frequent Flyer redemption flights across its network with seats only available to members redeeming Qantas Points."

In the case of the Airbus A380, that means all 484 seats from tip to tail: the entire first class cabin of 14 suites, through to 371 economy seats.

And in the case of this particular flight, it's not as if anybody needs a reason to fly to Tokyo.

The Points Plane superjumbo departs Melbourne as flight QF79 at 10.30am on October 21, and will arrive into Tokyo's Narita airport at 6.30pm.

All seats go on sale at 7am on Thursday 16 May at qantas.com/pointsplane at the following one-way rates:

  • first class; 108,000 Qantas Points plus $272 in taxes, fees and carrier changes
  • business class: 72,000 Qantas Points plus $272
  • premium economy: 54,000 Qantas Points plus $257
  • economy: 35,000 Qantas Points plus $182

There's no status-based ranking of availability: every seat is available to every frequent flyer, on a first-come first-served basis.

As to getting back from Tokyo: the Airbus A380 won't be covering the return leg, as it's being used as a charter flight, so Qantas is putting on an Airbus A330 as a dedicated Points Plane for Tokyo-Melbourne departing as QF80 at 8.05pm on 26 October.

Every seat on this special charter flight will available at the standard Classic Flight Reward rate of 72,000 Qantas Points in business class or 35,000 Qantas Points for economy.

Other return flights and dates are of course available as per usual, with a choice of Classic Reward seats or 'Points Plus Pay' bookings.

Qantas says passengers on its inaugural Points Plane will enjoy "a distinctive inflight service with special on-board experiences including a bespoke cocktail and meal service, signature pyjamas and inflight giveaways.'

“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,” says Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth.

"If this concept is a success, which we think it will be, Qantas hopes to operate more regular Frequent Flyer only flights to other international and domestic destinations in the near future."

Points Plane flights will become available when Qantas moves aircraft around the network for a range of operational and commercial reasons.

Likely candidates would be some of the Airbus A380s making their way back from being upgraded through to the end of 2020.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 228

What a great idea, I particularly like the fact of no status preference, give some a chance of getting a seat that normally wouldn’t.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jan 2017

Total posts 2

Does it always work that way? I think it's always no status reference when booking a reward ticket. Only applies to upgrade requests.

British Airways - Executive Club

02 Dec 2014

Total posts 14

Gold and platinum FFs usually see more award availability than bronze and silver

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jan 2017

Total posts 73

And also higher status members always get first dibs on seats weeks before bronze etc. That's why "plebs" can't see business seats on popular routes - or at least they are all gone, because they are taken before being released generally.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2017

Total posts 41

Will this flight be on their refurbished A380 or still on the 12 years old product with masking taped cabin panels? Unfortunately, since it’s a points upgrade flight I would dare say it’s the latter.

07 May 2015

Total posts 4

What a smart idea, instead of sending a plane out empty or hoping there is enough commercial demand for the seats on an extra flight. I really hope this Points Plane idea takes off!

12 Feb 2013

Total posts 25

Does anyone know what this charter flight afterwards is? Rugby World Cup related?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1385

MotoGP related.

Qantas presumably has a charter flight from Tokyo to Melbourne (or possibly Avalon) for teams.

Japanese GP is on Sun 20 Oct, with Australian a week later

TJS
TJS

14 Jun 2018

Total posts 10

correct. This has been picked up in a previous thread - MotoGP

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

02 Jul 2018

Total posts 39

Probably it is for sending people home after Rugby World Cup quarter finals...that's why redemption is for one way only.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1243

MotoGP related. World Cups would be difficult for airlines as you can easily predict when teams exit... Plus Melbourne isn't exactly rugby heartland.

12 Feb 2013

Total posts 25

The number of seats on the A380 going there vs the A330 coming back......guess people also have to be flexible or first in best dressed.

05 May 2016

Total posts 529

Nice idea. Can't see them doing it on the regular A380 routes. Would love to see this for e.g. flights to LHR, but would be very surprised if that happened.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 492

That's gonna be one very, very heavy flight to Tokyo (presumably NRT?). Firstly, a full complement of 484 passengers, then their normal luggage allowance, then the extra piece of luggage (or more) that QFF's are entitled to, add in the 'special' catering and last of all - a trove of promotional goodies!

And if the return flight back to Melbourne is 'Rugby World Cup' charter-related, imagine all those beefy footballers and their often equally beefy supporters! (Just joking, of course)

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2352

Yes, it’s Tokyo/Narita - and I reckon there’s also going to be a big crowd in the Melbourne first class lounge, given how many of these fervent frequent flyers will also hold Platinum status!

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 144

Probably the best Qantas marketing idea I have seen lately.

Was just thinking 5 mins ago, regarding availability for award flights.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 139

Great idea

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 May 2018

Total posts 6

Well done Qantas, great idea.

10 Jul 2017

Total posts 33

oh great, a plane full of point chasers

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 68

These are people using their points, not chasing them. A lot of people earn a lot of points but have trouble finding seats, especially for more than one person. I can see some people using this as a chance to take their partner on a trip. and if the plane is full of people who are enthusiastic about Qantas and points, I reckon that would be a fun flight to be on, it'd have a great fun vibe!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jul 2013

Total posts 35

I assume 7am AEST?

24 Dec 2013

Total posts 84

Smart idea. Good way to convince a few people to go to Tokyo on a random day in October, get them to pay the carrier surcharges and no doubt they'll get a few people to pay for an overpriced one way ticket back home too. So much extra revenue on what would otherwise have been an empty plane.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 406

Interesting idea, however, the exposure on the return leg would be a problem for a lot of people, particularly those without status to help with getting award flights. Perhaps QF should offer reasonably priced one-ways as part of the deal.

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 144

Return leg for Bronze peeps like me make it hard. Cheaper todo a return with JAL business than a one way lol..

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jun 2013

Total posts 12

I think it's a great idea & hopefully becomes more common
PK
PK

03 May 2012

Total posts 114

This is a wonderful idea, but you have to give low ranked frequent flyers a realistic way of getting home as well.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Nov 2017

Total posts 7

Maybe they should make the return A330 leg a Bronze status redemption flight only?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 469

I suspect that if this works they will use it on charters more generally to fill them up on the non charter direction. The catch will always be that it is one-way. The A330 may be a charter the other way as well.

24 Dec 2013

Total posts 84

Whoever wrote the news.com.au article needs to get their facts right. The phrases "won't cost you a cent" and "without handing over any money" are very misleading because you still have to pay surcharges of between $182 and $272.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Dec 2016

Total posts 51

@Anonymous:

You're not actually expecting News Limited to write something containing actual facts are you?

11 May 2018

Total posts 14

I guess it will be of interest to people with a big qantas points balance. But I wonder how well it work. I find it hard enough to get dates to work with award bookings.

Also from a purely points value viewpoint 72k plus high fees to get up to Japan seems extremely expensive compared to going CX via AS for 30k points in J.

To me it seems like an attempt to remove some of the huge points liability sitting on the Qantas balance sheet.

Now if they offered such a promotion from AU-US I would be interested or something from Asia to EUR...

24 Feb 2015

Total posts 22

I would take this flight just to see how they are going to manage the "priority" boarding situation! haha

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Nov 2017

Total posts 104

Very, very smart from Qantas. Great positive marketing spin, with no coverage of the catches. Eg: the points flight incurs the usual QF massive redemption surcharges, fuel levies, taxes etc, pax will mostly have to pay full fare for their return flight. And, as noted above, the priority boarding process will be a hoot on this flight!

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 188

after an experience flying first class on this 380 I will say never again!Suckers go for it for 416K points plus nearly 500 in tax!

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Sep 2016

Total posts 4

Its only 216K points plus 514 in tax.

432k would be for two pax and 1028 tax.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Mar 2016

Total posts 35

Would be an interesting flight if they made the final one-way 747 flights to the graveyard or wherever they are being stored like Australia to LAX dropping pax there and then onto the final destination.

22 Feb 2018

Total posts 8

Flight was loaded for sale at 0658 - First sold out in 3 minutes - business in 7 minutes. All sold out by 0715 AEST.

12 Nov 2018

Total posts 5

It's now 0911 AEST and I can still see Economy and Premium Economy seats, so I don't think it is 'All sold out by 0715 AEST'...

30 May 2017

Total posts 6

0914 AEST and still see plenty of Y/PE seats up for grabs.

04 May 2015

Total posts 248

Realistically though, there's never really a shortage of economy class reward seats on Qantas, so making them available on this flight isn't particularly groundbreaking. Premium economy, on the other hand, will be the next to sell out, no doubt... but whether economy will actually get filled up, who knows!

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2352

First and business all gone within ten minutes, but still plenty of premium economy and economy left. But premium economy will be next to vanish, I'm sure!

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 301

I can still see economy and premium economy available.

For the return flight, still business and economy available.

S
S

13 Sep 2013

Total posts 106

CX have been doing this type of thing for Asia Miles customers too. Funnily enough their last flight was to Japan also.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Aug 2014

Total posts 21

Wouldn’t burn my hard-earned points on the A380 hard product until skybed replaced with business suites.

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