Qantas unlocks 3,000 ‘Points Plane’ flights for summer

The fresh wave of points-based flights across January and February will focus on popular Australian coastal destinations.

By David Flynn, November 29 2022
Qantas unlocks 3,000 ‘Points Plane’ flights for summer

Get ready to turn your frequent flyer points into a coastal getaway this summer as Qantas unleashes almost 3,000 Points Planes onto popular domestic routes from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

A staggering 225,000 seats across 21 routes will be up for grabs at 11am today, Tuesday November 29 – and under the Qantas Points Plane initiative, they’ll all hit the market as Classic Flight Reward seats offered at low Classic Flight Reward rates across business class and economy.

The airline has selected a dozen coastal destinations for its ‘Summer of Points Planes’, with Hamilton Island, Townsville and the Gold Coast all featuring highly, although there are also some shorter hops out of Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

Here are the routes to watch for:

  • Sydney to Byron Bay, Hamilton Island, Merimbula, Townsville and the Gold Coast 
  • Melbourne to Hamilton Island, Merimbula, Townsville, Devonport, Burnie and the Gold Coast
  • Brisbane to the Whitsunday Coast, Hamilton Island and Townsville 
  • Adelaide to Townsville, Kangaroo Island, Mount Gambier, Whyalla, Port Lincoln and the Gold Coast
  • Perth to Broome

Qantas Points Plane bookings across those routes open at 11am Tuesday November 29, with the promotion running through to 11am Friday December 2 – although if previous Points Plane sales are anything to go by, these will be snapped up fast.

For example, the Points Planes between Sydney and Hamilton Island will cost only 27,600 Qantas Points in business class and 12,000 Qantas Points economy (along with $55 in taxes, fees and carrier charges).

The same number of Qantas Points plus $37 in charges will get you between Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

The travel period for these Summer Points Planes will be split across January and February as follows:

  • January 9 to January 22, 2023
  • February 1 to February 28, 2023

We’re especially pleased to see all of February opened up, as this off-peak period is very well suited to travellers who can avoid the school holidays.

Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth says this promotion marks “a record release of Points Planes” and notes “while strong demand and higher fuel prices have seen the price of airfares for all airlines increase off historic lows over the past 18 months, the points required to book these seats haven’t increased in years.” 

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.) 

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.

Finally, Points Planes have become a signature element when launching new routes such as New YorkRomeBengalaru and Seoul.

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.

Additional reporting by Chris Ashton