October 2021 could go down in history as The Great Frequent Flyer Frenzy, with Qantas loyalists spending a staggering four billion points to snap up over 175,000 seats in the 13 days since the airline unlocked a flood of Classic Flight Reward seats on domestic and international routes across the coming 12 months.
Just to put that in perspective, that's enough points to travel to London and back in business class almost 15,000 times.
As it happens, London was one of the top destinations for savvy frequent flyers looking to lock away plenty of trips in advance at the lowest possible number of Qantas Points, alongside Fiji, Honolulu and Los Angeles.
And with Sydney-Los Angeles seeing the return of the Airbus A380 from March 2022, this has also seen the superjumbo's first class suites up for grabs on selected dates for a mere 162,800 Qantas Points.
Closer to home, the most popular domestic routes booked with points were predictably along the east coast 'triangle' of Brisbane-Melbourne-Sydney, although seats to the Gold Coast proved prize pickings for a local holiday.
"With frequent flyers continuing to earn points on the ground throughout the pandemic we know that many have been saving those points up for travel," says Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth. "After we released the additional seats, we've seen frequent flyers booking in record numbers."
And while there are still plenty of seats open at Classic Flight Reward rates, Wirth has something even better up her sleeve: additional 'Points Planes' flights where every seat in every cabin on a specific flight is available to book at the same low Classic Flight Reward rates.
Executive Traveller understands there'll be a series of Points Plane flights announced as more states and territories ease their domestic and international travel restrictions.
The airline is waiving all fees to change or cancel international Classic Flight Reward seat bookings for travel until 31 December 2022, provided the booking is made by 28 February 2022.
The best time to book with points
One reason that now is when you should swoop on booking flights with Qantas Points is that while Classic Flight Reward seats are made available for the lowest number of frequent flyer points, there’s typically only a small number of such seats allocated on any given flight.
Once they're gone, you can still buy any other seat with points, but the number of points reflects the actual cash price for each seat, so you’ll end up spending a lot more points – easily three times as many as a Classic Flight Reward booking.
More Classic Flight Reward seats being opened up means your 'point budget' can stretch a lot further.
Also in your favour: in pre-pandemic times, when everyone was flying everywhere, savvy travellers would snap up those limited Classic Flight Reward seats almost a year in advance.
But the game's now changed, and the halting restart of overseas travel combined with the availability of extra Classic Flight Reward seats means there's also a better chance of snaring two, three or even four seats on the same flight, if you're travelling with your partner or your family.