Qantas Frequent Flyer has opened up all available seats on eligible direct flights with a QF flight number to the Northern Territory, departing between 1 February 2020 to 26 March 2020. But is this a good use of points?
What is a Points Plane?
A Points Plane is a plane operated by Qantas or Jetstar where every available seat is bookable with points. Here is how the program describes the initiative:
The Qantas Points Plane is a flight exclusively reserved for Qantas Frequent Flyers, where every single seat, from First Class to Economy, is a Classic Flight Reward and can only be booked with Qantas Points.
Since launching this initiative in May, Qantas Frequent Flyer has announced four Points Planes.
Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, with no preference given to those with elite status.
What is the twist?
Unlike some previous points plane offers, which filled one dedicated plane with points only redemptions rather than any purchased cash fares, this initiative makes any available seat on a direct QF flight to the NT available for a Classic Flight Reward redemption.
In effect, this means that an Any Seat Awards seat can be redeemed at the much lower Classic Flight Reward rates, and provides members with greater flexibility on destinations and flights.
Why has Qantas launched the Points Plane initiative?
Qantas Frequent Flyer has a reputation amongst some of being stingy with rewards seats. Given that, the aim of this initiative seems to be for Qantas to demonstrate goodwill to its frequent flyer members by showing that it is releasing more award availability.
Conveniently for them, they can fill planes that are being flown one-way to pick up charter passengers or be retired.
Where is the next Points Plane headed?
The next Points Plane is operated by Qantas on direct routes to the Northern Territory. Plus, it’s not just one plane:
For the first time, every available seat on eligible direct flights with a QF flight number to the Northern Territory, departing between 1 February 2020 to 26 March 2020, can be booked as a Classic Flight Reward using your Qantas Points.
That means you can book a seat on any direct Qantas service to the following NT destinations:
- Alice Springs
- Ayers Rock (Uluru)
Note that this does include QantasLink services and bookings must be made by 11:59pm (AEDT) 24 October 2019.
How much does a seat on the Points Plane cost?
Some example flights include the following:
Perth to Darwin:
- 83,000 points + ~$106 taxes, fees and carrier charges Business return
- 36,000 points + ~$106 taxes, fees and carrier charges Economy return
Sydney to Alice Springs
- 83,000 points + ~$104 taxes, fees and carrier charges Business return
- 36,000 points + ~$104 taxes, fees and carrier charges Economy return
Adelaide to Ayers Rock (Uluru)
- 55,200 points + ~$140 taxes, fees and carrier charges Business return
- 24,000 points + ~$140 taxes, fees and carrier charges Economy return
A complete list of pricing and other information on the current Points Plane offer can be found here.
Is this a good deal?
Redeeming points for flights to the Northern Territory can be a good use of your points, especially to less serviced destinations such as Ayers Rock (Uluru), that usually command a premium in pricing for both Economy and Business cabins.
As always, we encourage our readers to determine the value they are getting from redeeming their points by using our Simple Points Calculator and referring to our guide on the value of a frequent flyer point.
Remember to subtract the cost of taxes, fees and charges from the Ticket value/cost if you are paying for these with cash.
How do I book an award seat on a Points Plane?
- Log in to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account
- Perform a search for your desired dates
- Ensure that Use points is selected
- Choose your flights
- Complete payment
Where have previous Points Planes gone?
1. Airbus A380 from Melbourne to Tokyo in October 2019
The first Points Plane was an Airbus A380 flight with all four cabins (First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class). It will fly from Melbourne to Tokyo Narita on 21 October 2019.
First and Business Class seats sold out within 30 seconds and 9 minutes, respectively. Premium Economy seats were gone within a day. Economy seats are still available.
This plane was going to fly empty to pick up charter passengers from the Rugby World Cup, so it made sense for Qantas to fill it on the way there.
2. Airbus A330 from Tokyo to Melbourne in October 2019
The second Points Plane was released at the same time as the one above but is a smaller Airbus A330. This one actually has better Business Class seats but no Premium Economy.
Business Class sold out in 29 minutes, with Economy Class seats still available.
3. Boeing 747 from Sydney to Los Angeles in October 2019
Qantas is ‘celebrating’ the final flight of their Boeing 747 named Lord Howe Island, which is on its way to a plane graveyard in Arizona. Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class seats were released on this 13 October 2019 flight.
4. Jetstar flights from Australia to Japan in November and December 2019
This was the fourth Points Plane offer, but the first time that all available seats were made available on a number of different flights during a travel period.
For the first time, every available seat on Jetstar flights (return or one-way) departing from Cairns or the Gold Coast to Japan, and Jetstar Japan’s network, can be booked as a Classic Flight Reward with Qantas Points for travel from 12 November 2019 to 12 December 2019.
How to maximise your chances of booking an award seat on the next Points Plane
- Make sure you have the required Qantas Points in your account—if you don’t, a family transfer, buying some Qantas Wine or topping up your account are the quickest ways to boost your balance
- Be logged into your Qantas Frequent Flyer account on the Qantas website before 7am AEST on the day the seats are released
- Have the search details all ready to go
- Ensure you select the correct flight number
- Skip selecting seats and special meals—you can do that later in Manage Your Booking
- Complete your payment quickly
I love this initiative from Qantas. It’s beneficial for its members, who often find it hard to book good-value redemptions. And it also fills a plane with passengers which may have otherwise gone empty.
Given that Qantas is seeing ‘significant demand for these flights’, be on-time if you’re interested!