Points Plane bonanza: Qantas unlocks over 130,000 frequent flyer seats

Across August, every seat on more than 30 domestic routes will go for rock-bottom Classic Flight Reward rates.

By David Flynn, May 9 2022
Points Plane bonanza: Qantas unlocks over 130,000 frequent flyer seats

Qantas is unleashing a flood of frequent flyer seats on selected routes across Australia as the latest push in its ‘Points Plane’ initiative.

More than 1,700 flights across some 30 domestic routes throughout August will be declared as Points Planes, on which every seat is made available at the lowest Classic Flight Reward rates.

The airline’s 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 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.

“But wait, there’s more” as those spruikers on late-night TV ads are fond of saying.

The amount of points needed to book an economy Classic Flight Reward seat on those routes between June 1 and November 30 is being slashed by 30% – including the month of Points Planes in August.

So which routes will see those cut-price points?

They’re mostly regional routes spearing out from the major cities rather than between capital cities, with over 20 destinations including Uluru, Coffs Harbour, Broken Hill, Merimbula, Mildura, Newcastle, Orange, Tamworth, Mount Gambier, Sunshine Coast and Townsville.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in demand for regional travel since the start of the pandemic and these Points Planes will help tens of thousands of frequent flyers discover regional Australia this winter,” says Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth.

“These Points Planes will help boost tourism right across the country during August and make it easier for residents in these regional towns to get away for a city escape.”

By way of example, the popular getaway route from Sydney to Ballina/Byron normally offers just a handful of economy seats per flight at 8,000 Qantas Points one-way – with the 30% discount, that falls to 5,600 Qantas Points, and of course in every day throughout August that rate applies to every seat on every flight.

But if you want to book a Points Plane flight in August, or take advantage of the 30% cut in economy Classic Flight Reward seats on those routes between June 1 and November 30, you’ll need to move fast: those seats are on sale now through to 11.59pm (EST) on Sunday May 15. 

Here’s the full list of domestic Points Plane routes:

ACT Points Plane routes

Canberra to: Cairns, Sunshine Coast

New South Wales Points Plane routes

Sydney to: Broken Hill, Byron Bay, Griffith, Launceston, Merimbula, Mildura, Orange, Townsville, Uluru

Brisbane to: Albury, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Tamworth, Wagga, 

Melbourne to: Albury, Coffs Harbour, Merimbula, Wagga Wagga

Adelaide to: Albury

Queensland Points Plane routes

Brisbane to: Albury, Coffs Harbour, Hobart, Port Macquarie, Proserpine, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga

Adelaide to: Townsville

Sydney to: Townsville

Canberra to: Cairns, Sunshine Coast

Perth to: Gold Coast

Melbourne to: Townsville

South Australia Points Plane routes

Adelaide to: Albury, Hobart, Mount Gambier, Newcastle, Townsville

Melbourne to: Mount Gambier

Northern Territory Points Plane routes

Sydney to: Uluru

Western Australia  Points Plane routes

Perth to: Gold Coast, Hobart

Tasmania Points Plane routes

Adelaide to: Hobart

Melbourne to: Burnie

Sydney to: Launceston

Perth to: Hobart

Brisbane to: Hobart

These routes, which are part of the regional QantasLink network, are typically flown by the likes of the nimble Boeing 717 (soon to be replaced by the Airbus A220) and Bombardier Q-series turboprops, although some can also feature the popular Embraer E190 jets.

And given that many regional routes can prove rather expensive, even in economy, being able to snare yourself a seat at these cut-price points rates is a rare and welcome opportunity.

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 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.