Qantas is primed to unleash a fresh bout of Points Plane flights, in which every seat from tip to tail will be made available for the lowest number of frequent flyer points.
Developed under Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth, the Points Plane initiative has proven incredibly popular with travellers – tickets are snapped up within hours of going on sale – while also being a guaranteed seat-filler for the airline.
So it’s no surprise that more Qantas Points Planes are on the way.
“More than five million reward seats are available for frequent flyers over the next year and more Points Planes will be released soon,” Qantas confirmed in a market update this morning.
There’s no indication of what routes might see these Points Planes, but scores of domestic and overseas routes have seen Points Plane flights in the post-Covid recovery wave.
What is a Qantas Points Plane?
On a Qantas Points Plane, every seat is designated as a Classic Flight Reward seat and offered at low Classic Flight Reward rates – yes, even business class, and if the flight’s on an Airbus A380, first class.
In turn, Classic Flight Reward seats require the very lowest number of Qantas Points, making them a bargain worth snapping up.
The usual practice of all airlines, including Qantas, is to set aside only a limited number of Classic Flight Reward seats on any given flight, with the rest sold at the variable and much higher Any Seat Award rates, which are tied to and reflect the actual cash price for each seat.
That’s why it can be so hard to find a ‘reward seat’ lately: limited capacity and high demand is seeing Classic Flight Reward seats snapped up well in advance, while the Any Seat Award rates are marketed as eye-wateringly high numbers of Qantas Points.
But even in normal times, Any Seat Award rates can easily be triple the number of points for a Classic Flight Reward – so when a Points Plane makes every seat on the flight available for the same low rate, you can appreciate why they’re a hit with frequent flyers.
When Qantas announces a Points Plane flight is going on sale, every seat is usually sold out without hours, beginning with the premium cabins of course.
Qantas Points Plane routes
Qantas chooses its Points Plane routes based on a number of factors.
One is to simply create a massive spike in bookings, which was the case with an extensive domestic Points Plane promotion in August 2022 for more than 1,700 Points Planes across more than 30 domestic routes.
The airline also uses Points Planes to promote a return to specific destinations which have ranged from New Zealand and Noumea to Japan and Hong Kong.
In the case of the Sydney-New York service, for example, two flights in the first week of the route were set aside as Points Planes, with one-way business class seats up for grabs at just 144,600 Qantas Points.
Points Planes to New Zealand started from only 18,000 Qantas Points in economy and 41,500 Qantas Points in business class.
How to book a reward seat on a Qantas Points Plane
1. Log in to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account
2. Select your route and search for your desired travel dates, making sure they’re within the limited period for the Points Plane promotion (and outside of the blackout dates), and ensure the checkbox option to ‘Use points’ is selected
3. When your flight options appear on the next screen, look for Classic Reward seat availability
4. Once you see the flight you want, these Classic Reward seats can go fast, so don’t delay. Forget about choosing your specific seat or even nominating a special meal – that can be done later through the Manage Your Booking screen – just dive straight into making your payment to reserve those seats.
Every airline has its own rules regarding how far in advance reward flights can be booked – Qantas included. In regular times, knowing the finer details of how and when to book with cash and points can help you get the best deal.
Additional reporting by Chris Ashton