Loyalty remains a key part of any airlines’ corporate arsenal and frequent flyer programmes have evolved in order to meet the needs of regular travellers. While points can now be bought and rewards can now be used across a multitude of products from cases of wine and hotel bookings to car hire discounts and destination experiences, flight redemptions remain the most popular way to spend.
Qantas is now taking the flight redemption offer to a new level with the first of what it describes as a series of dedicated frequent flyer redemption flights across its network with seats only available to members redeeming Qantas Points. The inaugural ‘Points Plane’ will be an Airbus A380 operating from Melbourne to Tokyo Narita on 21-October-2019 and Qantas frequent flyers were able to book seats on the special service with immediate effect.
The airline says that it occasionally has the need to move unscheduled aircraft around the network for a range of operational and commercial reasons – creating opportunities for initiatives like this. The concept is understood to be among many Qantas Loyalty is exploring to reward frequent flyer members and provide even more redemption opportunities.
Loyalty members are able to book any seat on board at the standard Qantas Points redemption rate for the route. The A380 is configured with 484 seats and the 371 economy seats are available for 35,000 points, the 35 premium economy seats for 54,000 points, the 64 business class seats for 72,000 points and the 14 first class seats for 108,000 points. Normal taxes, fees and carrier charges also apply to all redemptions.
Qantas says Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum members all have equal opportunity to secure a booking on dedicated ‘Points Plane’ flights subject to having accumulated the points balance to meet the booking criteria.
With the A380 required for other needs, travellers can either book on the official return ‘Points Plane’ service back to Melbourne on an A330 on 26-Oct-2019 or can 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 says 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. “This is the first time we have dedicated an entire aircraft – let alone an A380 – to our frequent flyers, and we are expecting to see significant demand for these flights,” says Olivia Wirth, CEO of Qantas Loyalty.
“Four flight redemptions are made every minute and sixty upgrades are confirmed every hour. We know our members love to redeem their points on travel, so we’re excited to be able to give them new ways to access these rewards,” she adds.
Japan is a popular destination for Qantas frequent flyers and reported to be among the top five most searched destinations on the Qantas website and therefore a suitable launch destination for the first ‘Points Plane’ offer. The airline says that if the concept proves a success it then hopes to operate more regular frequent flyer only flights to other international and domestic destinations.