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Qantas launches freebie points only flights

Qantas launches freebie points only flights

What a nightmare – an entire plane of Qantas Frequent Flyers redeeming points. How demanding would they be? Can you imagine all those Bronze status members treating their points like they were parting with gold?

Absurd or genius?

I am so not sure. What I can see is the PR exercise of saying to points players that ‘we are putting on a special flight for you – so don’t complain that there are never redeemable points seats available on flights in business and first!’

The inaugural ‘points plane’ flight and booking details

From this Thursday 16th May 2019, you will be able to book a points seat on an A380 between Melbourne and Tokyo (Narita) scheduled to fly from Melbourne to Tokyo (Narita) on 21 October 2019.

Suck it and see

Qantas Loyalty has come up with this (hair-brained?) scheme as a way of rewarding Qantas Frequent Flyer members with a new form of redemption opportunity.

You can choose any of the 484 seats in First (14), Business (64), Premium Economy (35) and Economy (371) at the ‘standard’ Qantas Points redemption rate for the Melbourne – Tokyo (one way) route:

  • 108,000 Qantas Points for first class
  • 72,000 Qantas Points for business class
  • 54,000 Qantas Points for premium economy
  • 35,000 Qantas Points for economy

“If this concept is a success, which we think it will be, Qantas hopes to operate more regular Frequent Flyer only flights to other international and domestic destinations in the near future.”

Olivia Wirth, Qantas Loyalty CEO

Your status will not count apparently.

‘Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum members will all have equal opportunity to secure a booking on dedicated Points Plane flights.’

Qantas Press Release

Here’s the catch (there had to be one)

‘To maximise flexibility on return travel, members have the choice of booking on an A330 return Points Plane on October 26th or depart on an alternative date of their choice by booking a Classic Reward seat with Qantas or a partner airline, or using Points Plus Pay on any commercially available seat.’

Qantas Press Release

Let me interpret that for you:

‘So where going to get rid of a bunch of members Frequent Flyer points, and then make them search, or better pay for their return flights.’


So why are they doing this?

Well, it turns out they have a one-way charter flight out of Tokyo which requires an A380 – so this is the answer to ‘How to fill the plane, that would otherwise be empty, and how to sell a bunch of other seats on the route?’

I think its called ‘killing two birds with one stone.’

It’s going to be a party bus

According to the release:

The inaugural Points Plane will also have a distinctive inflight service with special on-board experiences including a bespoke cocktail and meal service, signature pyjamas and inflight giveaways.

Qantas Press Release

Making use of otherwise empty capacity

This could be a smart move, that may be, with the accent on ‘may’ be a triumph. There are a bunch of opportunities, where Qantas moves off-schedule aircraft around its network for practical reasons – repositioning aircraft – positioning or returning aircraft from maintenance or refurbishment for example.

Currently, they just cost the airline. This way for the price of catering, and maybe extra staffing and marketing, they can get a whole load of frequent flyer inventory off their books, as well as generating bums on seats, and therefore income on the return leg.

Visit (opens in new window) for the full Qantas lowdown on these ‘Points Plane‘ flights.

Oh, and of course there may be taxes, fees and charges that also apply!

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