A Qantas customer has traded 1.2 million Frequent Flyer points for the chance to pilot a 787 in one of the airline’s professional simulators.
The mystery passenger’s bid was the equivalent of the points earned from 1,500 Sydney to Melbourne one-way economy flights.
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.
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.
The final bid was 1,200,001 points.
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.
Other prizes on offer include a three-night stay in a penthouse in Queenstown, a children’s coaching clinic with Socceroos’ manager Graham Arnold and two A380 Business class Skybeds.
The auction is the latest innovative idea that Qantas has come up with since the start of the pandemic.
And in May, the flag carrier flew a special 787 to watch the supermoon.
Qantas’ initial ‘flight to nowhere’ toured Australia on 12 October 2020 with Captain Passerini dipping as low as 4,000 feet as he flew past landmarks such as the Great Barrier Reef, over the Whitsundays and Uluru.
The ‘Great Southern Land’ scenic flight initially flew up the NSW coast before crossing the Queensland border for a fly-by of the Gold Coast and then up the Queensland coast to the Great Barrier Reef.
The 787-9 then tracked across Australia to conduct low-level fly-bys of Uluru and Kata Tjuta before turning back to Sydney for a flyover of Sydney Harbour and Bondi Beach.