How to book a seat on Qantas' exclusive Airbus A380 frequent flyer jet

How to book a seat on Qantas' exclusive Airbus A380 frequent flyer jet

UPDATE 15/5/19 | Qantas has now opened bookings for all seats on its special Airbus A380 frequent flyer charter from Melbourne to Tokyo.

It's a one-off service with every seat on the superjumbo – from the entire first class cabin of 14 suites, through to 371 economy seats down the back of the (Air)bus – available for booking with Qantas Points, at the following Classic Flight Reward rates:

  • first class; 108,000 Qantas Points plus $272 in taxes, fees and carrier changes
  • business class: 72,000 Qantas Points plus $272
  • premium economy: 54,000 Qantas Points plus $257
  • economy: 35,000 Qantas Points plus $182

Qantas says passengers on its inaugural 'Points Plane' will enjoy "a distinctive inflight service with special on-board experiences including a bespoke cocktail and meal service, signature pyjamas and inflight giveaways."

Here's how to snare a seat on the Qantas Airbus A380 Points Plane.

Visit the Qantas website and log to your Qantas Frequent Flyer account, as usual. Search for Flights (one way) and select Use Points for your booking.

Set your route as Melbourne to Tokyo (Narita) departing Monday 21 October 2019, and make sure you choose flight QF79.

As at 7am today, when bookings opened, it was a rare sight: frequent flyer award seats available in business, premium economy and economy (for some reason, first class wasn't showing at the time of writing).

[Update: first and business class on this flight sold out within the first ten minutes, although as at 9.45am we're told there are plenty of seats left in premium economy and economy.]

Of course, you've also got to get back from Tokyo.

The Airbus A380 won't be covering the return leg, so Qantas is putting on an Airbus A330 as a dedicated Points Plane for Tokyo-Melbourne departing as QF80 at 8.05pm on 26 October.

Every seat on that A330 will available at the standard Classic Flight Reward rate of 72,000 Qantas Points in business class or 35,000 Qantas Points for economy.

Other return flights and dates are of course available as per usual, with a choice of Classic Reward seats or 'Points Plus Pay' bookings on either Qantas or Oneworld partner Japan Airlines.

Also read: How to book Japan Airlines flights online using Qantas Points

As to why these Airbus A380 and A330 jets are just doing one leg, the others are "being used as a charter flight for another purpose," a Qantas spokeswoman told Australian Business Traveller, but declined to offer more details on those flights.

PREVIOUS | Do you sometimes have trouble finding a seat to spend your Qantas Points on? We know the feeling. So, it would seem, does Qantas – with the airline making an entire Airbus A380 available for frequent flyer bookings.

Scheduled to fly from Melbourne to Tokyo on 21 October 2019, this 'Points Plane' is the first in what Qantas promises will be "a series of dedicated Frequent Flyer redemption flights across its network with seats only available to members redeeming Qantas Points."

In the case of the Airbus A380, that means all 484 seats from tip to tail: the entire first class cabin of 14 suites, through to 371 economy seats.

And in the case of this particular flight, it's not as if anybody needs a reason to fly to Tokyo.

The Points Plane superjumbo departs Melbourne as flight QF79 at 10.30am on October 21, and will arrive into Tokyo's Narita airport at 6.30pm.

All seats go on sale at 7am on Thursday 16 May at qantas.com/pointsplane at the following one-way rates:

  • first class; 108,000 Qantas Points plus $272 in taxes, fees and carrier changes
  • business class: 72,000 Qantas Points plus $272
  • premium economy: 54,000 Qantas Points plus $257
  • economy: 35,000 Qantas Points plus $182

There's no status-based ranking of availability: every seat is available to every frequent flyer, on a first-come first-served basis.

As to getting back from Tokyo: the Airbus A380 won't be covering the return leg, as it's being used as a charter flight, so Qantas is putting on an Airbus A330 as a dedicated Points Plane for Tokyo-Melbourne departing as QF80 at 8.05pm on 26 October.

Every seat on this special charter flight will available at the standard Classic Flight Reward rate of 72,000 Qantas Points in business class or 35,000 Qantas Points for economy.

Other return flights and dates are of course available as per usual, with a choice of Classic Reward seats or 'Points Plus Pay' bookings.

Qantas says passengers on its inaugural Points Plane will enjoy "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 Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth.

"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."

Points Plane flights will become available when Qantas moves aircraft around the network for a range of operational and commercial reasons.

Likely candidates would be some of the Airbus A380s making their way back from being upgraded through to the end of 2020.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

48 comments

  • GBRGB

    GBRGB

    13 May, 2019 11:31 am

    What a great idea, I particularly like the fact of no status preference, give some a chance of getting a seat that normally wouldn’t.
    No member give thanks

  • K H

    khiemha

    13 May, 2019 06:56 pm

    Does it always work that way? I think it's always no status reference when booking a reward ticket. Only applies to upgrade requests.
    No member give thanks

  • Michael Abson

    flying_nomad

    13 May, 2019 07:31 pm

    Gold and platinum FFs usually see more award availability than bronze and silver
    Member who gave thanks

    benn

  • worldwanderer

    worldwanderer

    15 May, 2019 02:51 pm

    And also higher status members always get first dibs on seats weeks before bronze etc. That's why "plebs" can't see business seats on popular routes - or at least they are all gone, because they are taken before being released generally.
    No member give thanks

  • Alex Moris

    Alex Moris

    13 May, 2019 11:50 am

    Will this flight be on their refurbished A380 or still on the 12 years old product with masking taped cabin panels? Unfortunately, since it’s a points upgrade flight I would dare say it’s the latter.
    No member give thanks

  • Tony Boyd

    Tony Boyd

    13 May, 2019 11:57 am

    What a smart idea, instead of sending a plane out empty or hoping there is enough commercial demand for the seats on an extra flight. I really hope this Points Plane idea takes off!
    No member give thanks

  • cxflyer

    cxflyer

    13 May, 2019 12:10 pm

    Does anyone know what this charter flight afterwards is? Rugby World Cup related?
    No member give thanks

  • moa999

    moa999

    13 May, 2019 01:01 pm

    MotoGP related.
    Qantas presumably has a charter flight from Tokyo to Melbourne (or possibly Avalon) for teams.

    Japanese GP is on Sun 20 Oct, with Australian a week later
    No member give thanks

  • Thomas Stephenson

    TJS

    13 May, 2019 08:34 pm

    correct. This has been picked up in a previous thread - MotoGP
    No member give thanks

  • Chun Wah Dou

    Pallydou

    13 May, 2019 12:11 pm

    Probably it is for sending people home after Rugby World Cup quarter finals...that's why redemption is for one way only.
    No member give thanks

  • hutch

    hutch

    13 May, 2019 08:41 pm

    MotoGP related. World Cups would be difficult for airlines as you can easily predict when teams exit... Plus Melbourne isn't exactly rugby heartland.
    No member give thanks

  • cxflyer

    cxflyer

    13 May, 2019 12:16 pm

    The number of seats on the A380 going there vs the A330 coming back......guess people also have to be flexible or first in best dressed.
    No member give thanks

  • mviy

    mviy

    13 May, 2019 12:18 pm

    Nice idea. Can't see them doing it on the regular A380 routes. Would love to see this for e.g. flights to LHR, but would be very surprised if that happened.
    No member give thanks

  • kimshep

    kimshep

    13 May, 2019 12:33 pm

    That's gonna be one very, very heavy flight to Tokyo (presumably NRT?). Firstly, a full complement of 484 passengers, then their normal luggage allowance, then the extra piece of luggage (or more) that QFF's are entitled to, add in the 'special' catering and last of all - a trove of promotional goodies!

    And if the return flight back to Melbourne is 'Rugby World Cup' charter-related, imagine all those beefy footballers and their often equally beefy supporters! (Just joking, of course)
    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    13 May, 2019 12:47 pm

    Yes, it’s Tokyo/Narita - and I reckon there’s also going to be a big crowd in the Melbourne first class lounge, given how many of these fervent frequent flyers will also hold Platinum status!
    No member give thanks

  • Tim Canning

    resolute

    13 May, 2019 12:52 pm

    How does points needed on this flight compare with usual points needed on same sector ?

    No member give thanks

  • QFP1

    QFP1

    13 May, 2019 01:10 pm

    It's the same number of points as usual, just that instead there being only a handful of award seats available there's a whole plane full of them!
    No member give thanks

  • QFP1

    QFP1

    13 May, 2019 01:11 pm

    A really great idea, smart move by Qantas and Ms Wirth. If they can get a decent uptake on the A380 to Tokyo this should bode well for other flights. How about a Boeing 787 delivery flight?
    Member who gave thanks

    HAHLangy

  • eddies

    eddies

    13 May, 2019 08:50 pm

    Same as normal points
    No member give thanks

  • Aidan

    Aidan

    13 May, 2019 01:15 pm

    Probably the best Qantas marketing idea I have seen lately.
    Was just thinking 5 mins ago, regarding availability for award flights.

    No member give thanks

  • Dean

    deany83

    13 May, 2019 01:19 pm

    Great idea
    No member give thanks

  • Thomas Ross

    tross888

    13 May, 2019 01:30 pm

    Well done Qantas, great idea.
    No member give thanks

  • brettepi

    brettepi

    13 May, 2019 01:58 pm

    oh great, a plane full of point chasers
    No member give thanks

  • QFP1

    QFP1

    13 May, 2019 02:03 pm

    These are people using their points, not chasing them. A lot of people earn a lot of points but have trouble finding seats, especially for more than one person. I can see some people using this as a chance to take their partner on a trip. and if the plane is full of people who are enthusiastic about Qantas and points, I reckon that would be a fun flight to be on, it'd have a great fun vibe!
    No member give thanks

  • Simon Frost

    SimonFrost

    13 May, 2019 02:02 pm

    I assume 7am AEST?
    No member give thanks

  • anonymous

    anonymous

    13 May, 2019 02:44 pm

    Smart idea. Good way to convince a few people to go to Tokyo on a random day in October, get them to pay the carrier surcharges and no doubt they'll get a few people to pay for an overpriced one way ticket back home too. So much extra revenue on what would otherwise have been an empty plane.
    No member give thanks

  • GregXL

    GregXL

    13 May, 2019 02:50 pm

    Interesting idea, however, the exposure on the return leg would be a problem for a lot of people, particularly those without status to help with getting award flights. Perhaps QF should offer reasonably priced one-ways as part of the deal.
    No member give thanks

  • Aidan

    Aidan

    13 May, 2019 03:36 pm

    Return leg for Bronze peeps like me make it hard. Cheaper todo a return with JAL business than a one way lol..
    No member give thanks

  • Donald Noble

    dnoble

    13 May, 2019 03:39 pm

    I think it's a great idea & hopefully becomes more common
    No member give thanks

  • PK

    PK

    13 May, 2019 03:49 pm

    This is a wonderful idea, but you have to give low ranked frequent flyers a realistic way of getting home as well.
    No member give thanks

  • Leigh Bentley

    mutley

    13 May, 2019 04:25 pm

    Maybe they should make the return A330 leg a Bronze status redemption flight only?
    Members who gave thanks

    Frank, MitchW

  • patrickk

    patrickk

    13 May, 2019 05:12 pm

    I suspect that if this works they will use it on charters more generally to fill them up on the non charter direction. The catch will always be that it is one-way. The A330 may be a charter the other way as well.
    No member give thanks

  • anonymous

    anonymous

    13 May, 2019 06:49 pm

    Whoever wrote the news.com.au article needs to get their facts right. The phrases "won't cost you a cent" and "without handing over any money" are very misleading because you still have to pay surcharges of between $182 and $272.
    No member give thanks

  • Matt Stevenson

    Madhatter49

    14 May, 2019 12:26 am

    @Anonymous:
    You're not actually expecting News Limited to write something containing actual facts are you?
    No member give thanks

  • Ecco

    Ecco

    14 May, 2019 07:15 am

    I guess it will be of interest to people with a big qantas points balance. But I wonder how well it work. I find it hard enough to get dates to work with award bookings.

    Also from a purely points value viewpoint 72k plus high fees to get up to Japan seems extremely expensive compared to going CX via AS for 30k points in J.

    To me it seems like an attempt to remove some of the huge points liability sitting on the Qantas balance sheet.

    Now if they offered such a promotion from AU-US I would be interested or something from Asia to EUR...
    No member give thanks

  • fatty

    fatty

    14 May, 2019 08:12 am

    I would take this flight just to see how they are going to manage the "priority" boarding situation! haha
    No member give thanks

  • Stm Aus

    stmaus

    14 May, 2019 11:46 am

    Very, very smart from Qantas. Great positive marketing spin, with no coverage of the catches. Eg: the points flight incurs the usual QF massive redemption surcharges, fuel levies, taxes etc, pax will mostly have to pay full fare for their return flight. And, as noted above, the priority boarding process will be a hoot on this flight!
    No member give thanks

  • bl812

    bl812

    15 May, 2019 02:43 pm

    after an experience flying first class on this 380 I will say never again!Suckers go for it for 416K points plus nearly 500 in tax!
    No member give thanks

  • Steve

    drivatruk

    15 May, 2019 06:33 pm

    Its only 216K points plus 514 in tax.
    432k would be for two pax and 1028 tax.
    No member give thanks

  • JOHN

    jgb59

    15 May, 2019 06:51 pm

    Would be an interesting flight if they made the final one-way 747 flights to the graveyard or wherever they are being stored like Australia to LAX dropping pax there and then onto the final destination.
    No member give thanks

  • JonnoPER

    JonnoPER

    16 May, 2019 07:50 am

    Flight was loaded for sale at 0658 - First sold out in 3 minutes - business in 7 minutes. All sold out by 0715 AEST.
    No member give thanks

  • Brett McGeorge

    brettmcg89

    16 May, 2019 09:12 am

    It's now 0911 AEST and I can still see Economy and Premium Economy seats, so I don't think it is 'All sold out by 0715 AEST'...
    No member give thanks

  • nclfrk799

    nclfrk799

    16 May, 2019 09:13 am

    0914 AEST and still see plenty of Y/PE seats up for grabs.
    No member give thanks

  • Dean

    deanr

    16 May, 2019 09:40 am

    Realistically though, there's never really a shortage of economy class reward seats on Qantas, so making them available on this flight isn't particularly groundbreaking. Premium economy, on the other hand, will be the next to sell out, no doubt... but whether economy will actually get filled up, who knows!

    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    16 May, 2019 09:53 am

    First and business all gone within ten minutes, but still plenty of premium economy and economy left. But premium economy will be next to vanish, I'm sure!
    No member give thanks

  • Dave

    Grannular

    16 May, 2019 09:59 am

    I can still see economy and premium economy available.
    For the return flight, still business and economy available.
    No member give thanks

  • S

    S

    16 May, 2019 12:01 pm

    CX have been doing this type of thing for Asia Miles customers too. Funnily enough their last flight was to Japan also.
    No member give thanks

  • eddies

    eddies

    16 May, 2019 11:19 pm

    Wouldn’t burn my hard-earned points on the A380 hard product until skybed replaced with business suites.
    No member give thanks

Guest

20 May, 2019 08:53 pm

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