Points Plane: Qantas invites frequent flyers to escape to Noumea

Wave goodbye to those winter wooly jumpers and say ‘Bonjour!’ to the tropical islands of New Caledonia.

By Chris Ashton, July 6 2022
Points Plane: Qantas invites frequent flyers to escape to Noumea

Qantas frequent flyers can now swap winter chills for a balmy South Pacific escape, with the airline turning more than 100 flights between Sydney, Brisbane and Noumea into ‘Points Planes’ where every seat is available at rock-bottom Classic Flight Reward rates.

From today until July 31, most flights between Australia and New Caledonia will see every seat in economy and business bookable as a Classic Flight Reward – for travel in August, September, October and November.

Qantas flies five times a week between Australia and New Caledonia aboard its workhorse Boeing 737, with four flights a week from Sydney (on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday) and one from Brisbane (every Saturday). 

Every seat on almost every flight is available at Classic Flight Rewards rates.
Every seat on almost every flight is available at Classic Flight Rewards rates.

Here are the Points Plane rates for a sunny New Caledonian escape: 

Sydney – Nouméa (one way)

  • Economy: 18,000 points plus $119 taxes, fees and carrier charges
  • Business: 41,500 points plus $119 taxes, fees and carrier charges

Brisbane – Nouméa (one way)

  • Economy: 12,000 points plus $116 taxes, fees and carrier charges
  • Business: 27,600 points plus $116 taxes, fees and carrier charges

In addition, Classic Rewards seats will also be available from Sydney and Brisbane on codeshare partner Aircalin, which flies up to seven return flights a week.

However, Qantas is applying the following ‘blackout dates’ to the Noumea Points Planes:

  • flights departing from Australia 17-21 August, 23 September to 4 October 2002 and 19-24 October
  • flights departing from New Caledonia 3-7 August and 2-12 October

If you’re a member of the Qantas Points Club or Points Club Plus loyalty programs, your Classic Flight Reward bookings on Qantas flights to and from Noumea will also earn status credits, at a rate of 11 status credits for one-way in economy and 24 status credits one-way in business.

Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth says the airline has witnessed an incredible appetite for New Caledonia in recent months, with frequent flyers eager to make use of all the Qantas Points stockpiled over the last two years.  

“Since flights recommenced in June, we’ve seen hundreds of Australians take off to New Caledonia for tropical holidays each week, and now frequent flyers can book any available seat across most flights using points,” Wirth says. 

“In addition to these latest Points Planes, there are still millions of Classic Flight Reward seats available across domestic and international routes for the remainder of the year on Qantas, Jetstar and partner airlines and we will continue to release more reward seats in all cabins.”

Executive Traveller understands Qantas will also unleash Points Plane promotions for flights to India and Sydney-Korea in the coming months. 

Just two hours from Brisbane or less than three from Sydney, New Caledonia is often described as a piece of France that broke off and drifted to the Pacific.

Yet it’s much more than that, with rich traditional Kanak culture, astonishing coral reefs, and a French-Melanesian culinary scene best described as magnifique.

And given the relatively short flying time involved, there’s little wrong with plupming for an economy seat (at 12,000-18,000 points one-way, depending on if you’re flying from Brisbane or Sydney), especially if you’ve got the Qantas Freqiuent Fkyer status to begin your journey with a hearty breakfast at the lounge.

How Qantas Points Planes work

Qantas’ usual practice is to set aside only a limited number of Classic Flight Reward seats on any flight and offer the rest at the variable and much higher Any Seat Award rates, which are tied to and reflect the actual cash price for each seat.

While Any Seat Award rates can be double or 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, once the handful of Classic Flight reward seats on a one-way Qantas flight from Sydney to Noumea has gone, the remaining seats can typically sell for upwards of 61,000 points in economy and 127,000 in business – so the respective Points Plane rates of 18,000 points and 41,500 points are a bargain.

Of course, you can also pay for those Points Plane seats with cash, but the Points Plane initiative unlocks phenomenal value for your Qantas Points.

For example, Sydney-Noumea economy fares in mid-August begin at around $400, with business class at upwards of $800.

The only downside is that for an economy Points Plane seat, you’re paying around a quarter of the equivalent entry-level Economy Saver fare in those unavoidable taxes, fees and carrier charges.

How to book a reward seat on a 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.