Fancy a top-shelf tipple before take-off?
Qantas is now selling premium wines by the glass at its Sydney domestic business lounge – but travellers pay with frequent flyer points rather than cash!
The innovative trial was launched this week to promote the airline’s epiQure wine club, and uses a self-serve wine dispenser to pour a 25ml taste or 75ml glass of one of eight wines with the swipe of your Qantas Frequent Flyer card.
Qantas tells Australian Business Traveller that the trial will run for six weeks, through to the end of December, and may also be introduced in other Qantas Business Lounges.
Australian Business Traveller contributor and vino aficionado Fiona Downes was in Qantas’ Sydney Business Lounge when the machine made its debut, and notes that Qantas is using an Enomatic wine dispenser, the same model as found in David Jones’ Elizabeth Street store in Sydney.
“You insert your Qantas Frequent Flyer card in a slot at the top of machine, which reads the card’s chip and displays your points balance” Downes says, adding that the machine’s large display of your points will afford a “bragging opportunity for those with big QFF balances”.
Two whites wines and six reds are currently available – including a 2011 Yabby Lake Single Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2009 Wolf Blass Platinum Label Shiraz, Henschke Hill of Grace Shiraz and Penfolds Grange – although Australian Business Traveller understands that the selection will change according to popularity and availability.
Prices range from 800 points for a taste of 2010 Penfolds Reserve Bin Chardonnay up to 6,500 points for a half glass of '07 Grange or '96 Hill of Grace.
The wines are complimented by Reidel stemware, and passengers can pay for multiple pours to serve themselves an indulgently full glass.
Downes reports that on the first evening of the wine dispenser’s debut, 11 glasses were sold “and seven of those were Grange. One enthusiastic gentleman poured himself a large Grange on points!”
“For research purposes I had a half glass of the '07 Tyrells Vat 1 Semillon” the selfless Downes reports, “and it was perfection.”
The epiQure wine trial comes as Qantas experiments with other ways to boost the 'lounge experience' such as pop-up dining, downloading digital editions of newspapers and magazines and even ordering your coffee in advance via a smartphone app.
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