An extraordinary last-minute bidding war saw a Qantas customer pay 2 million frequent flyer points to secure two used A380 seats.
Australian Aviation watched in real-time as three bids in the last 60 seconds saw the price leap from 1,430,000 to 1,430,005 then 1,888,888 and finally 2,000,000.
In the last five minutes, bidders were even going just one point higher than each other to claim the reclining Skybeds, usually reserved for business-class travel.
The final bid is the equivalent to the points earned on 2,500 one-way economy flights between Sydney and Melbourne or 215 trips between Sydney and London.
The airline called the item a “priceless piece of Qantas memorabilia”, adding the “pre-loved” recliners are “identical” to those used in the retired Boeing 747s.
The seats come with a converter so they can be plugged into an electrical socket in your home, allowing them to perform just as they would in the aircraft (minus the in-flight entertainment screens).
The winner can have their prize delivered to most major cities and regions, though delivery “will not occur before October”, Qantas said.
Qantas warns that no replacement of the Skybeds will be offered or available should any part of the bed break or stop working, and recommended that the winner does not attempt to repair their chair themselves, and instead seek out professional assistance.
However, should the Skybeds be found as faulty or be significantly different from what was advertised within 12 months of delivery, Qantas will organise an inspection and subsequent refund, if applicable.
Qantas announced last week it would launch an online auction house so passengers could trade their balances for rewards claimed on the ground, in light of nationwide border closures and lockdowns.
Qantas Loyalty chief executive Olivia Wirth said, “This is a restless time for many Australians who can’t wait for both international and domestic borders to fully open so they can take off to some of their favourite destinations.
“Whilst travel remains the number one thing frequent flyers want to use their Qantas Points on once borders open up, we know that many are keen to use some points on unique, big-ticket items.
“Points Auction gives members the chance to bid on special experiences and we expect these items to create a points bidding frenzy.”
The auction started on Monday and will last until Friday, with a different item on offer every day. Bids must be placed between 8am and 9pm AEST and is open to Frequent Flyer residents aged 18 and over.
On Monday, a Qantas customer traded 1.2 million Frequent Flyer points for the chance to pilot a 787 in one of the airline’s professional simulators.
The 2.5-hour session on the Dreamliner simulator, which Qantas put a starting bid of 50,000 points on, includes personal instruction from either chief technical pilot Alex Passerini, or fleet operations manager Lisa Norman, who operated Qantas’ inaugural 787 flight from Perth to London non-stop.
Other prizes on offer include a three-night stay in a penthouse in Queenstown and a children’s coaching clinic with Socceroos’ manager Graham Arnold.
The auction is the latest innovative idea that Qantas has come up with since the start of the pandemic.
Also, back in May, the flag carrier flew a special 787 to watch the supermoon.