Qantas has launched a new initiative dedicating entire flights to frequent flyer redemptions.
The first Points Plane service will be an A380 flight between Melbourne and Tokyo Narita on October 21, with redemption bookings opening on May 16.
Members of the carrier’s Frequent Flyer scheme will be able to redeem points across the superjumbo’s cabins, with economy tickets valued at 35,000 points, premium economy at 54,000, business class at 72,000, and first class at 108,000. Taxes, fees and carrier charges apply to all redemptions.
There will be a total of 371 economy seats up for grabs, as well as 35 premium economy redemptions, 64 business class tickets and 14 first class seats.
The airline said that all members will have an equal opportunity of securing a booking, regardless of tier status.
The service will also feature “special onboard experiences”, including a bespoke cocktail and meal service, signature pyjamas and and inflight giveaways.
Why is Qantas doing this? Well, the carrier says that it “occasionally moves unscheduled aircraft around the network for a range of operational and commercial reasons – creating opportunities for initiatives like Points Planes”.
And of course increasing the number of flight redemption opportunities will create goodwill among the airline’s loyalty scheme members, many of whom may struggle to find redemption availability under normal circumstances.
Qantas says that Japan is a popular destinations for its Frequent Flyer members, “and one of the top 5 most searched destinations on qantas.com making it the perfect first Points Plane port”.
A dedicated A330 frequent flyer service will also operate the return leg from Tokyo to Melbourne on October 26, or members can redeem points or pay for their return flight using the normal methods on a date of their choice.
Commenting on the news Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said:
“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.
“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.
“Member-exclusive flights mean more redemption opportunities for our members and less time searching for reward seats.
“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.”