Qantas will unleash a flood of frequent flyer seats to its most popular overseas destinations when the airline resumes international flying in mid-December, and is considering revisiting its 'Points Plane' model for some routes such as Singapore.
The airline says it will boost the number of Classic Flight Reward seats on international flights by as much as 50%, "providing members with more opportunities to use their points to travel when borders are open."
The move will let long-grounded frequent flyers turn their growing stash of Qantas Points into business class, premium economy and economy seats across popular routes including Singapore, London, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Fiji and Honolulu.
Qantas adopted the same approach at the start of the trans-Tasman bubble in April 2021, and went so far as to make every seat on every flight between Australia and New Zealand available with frequent flyer points at Classic Flight Reward rates during the first three days of the quarantine-free bubble between the two countries.
"Our members have been stockpiling points during Covid for exactly these opportunities and we want to help make it easier to get on one of the first international flights," Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said at the time, and the same logic certainly applies as 2021 draws to a close.
Qantas Points Planes to Singapore and beyond?
Executive Traveller understands the airline is considering a similar Points Plane blitz for several destinations including Singapore, which sees first flights tentatively scheduled for Saturday December 18, 2021 from Sydney and Melbourne, with Brisbane-Singapore following in Sunday December 19 (Perth-Singapore remains further away, in February 2022).
Under the Qantas 'Points Plane' concept, every seat on a specified flight is made available at the lowest Classic Flight Reward rates, instead of setting aside only a limited number of Classic Flight Reward seats and selling the rest at the variable and much higher Any Seat Award rates, which are tied to and reflect actual cash price for each seat.
While Any Seat Award rates can easily be triple the number of points for a Classic Flight Reward, a 'Points Plane' makes every seat on the flight available for the same low rate.
For example, on a flight from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to Singapore, the Classic Flight Reward rates are just 25,200 points in economy class, 51,300 points in premium economy (currently only available on the Boeing 787-9) and 68,400 points in business class.
Ready for take-off...
As previously reported, Monday December 20, 2021 now marks the week when Qantas expects to return to a select group of international destinations, based on advice from the government over the reopening of Australia's international borders once the national vaccination rate passes the 80% milestone.
"It's obviously up to government exactly how and when our international borders re-open," Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce has cautioned, but says he has shared his plans with the government "and they agree with our broad assumptions, and agree that our plan is reasonable."
However, demand for travel to destinations such as Singapore will also hinge on the prospect of either quarantine-free travel bubbles or 'green lanes' between countries, or a short period of manageable home isolation on their return to Australia, instead of spending 14 days in hotel quarantine for upwards of $3,000.