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Qantas releases loyalty point seats in counter to price criticisms

written by Adam Thorn | November 29, 2022

Victor Pody shot this Qantas 737, VH-VXE, flying past ATC at Melbourne

Qantas has attempted to counter criticism that it’s raising prices by making 225,000 seats available to be booked via loyalty points.

The airline said that while airfares had increased due to “strong demand and higher fuel prices”, the points required to purchase seats hadn’t similarly increased in “years”.

It comes after Australian Aviation reported industry-wide data that showed cheap domestic tickets look set to return to being at their most expensive in nearly 15 years.

Major airlines are now facing criticism that despite receiving millions of dollars in COVID-19 payments, they are increasing prices to take advantage of surging post-pandemic demand.

On Tuesday, Qantas said that six weeks of flights across 21 routes would be turned into ‘Points Planes’ this summer, where every seat could be booked via accumulated points.


The airline’s loyalty CEO, Olivia Wirth, said, “This is a record release of Points Planes that will help thousands of our frequent flyers use their points to book a coastal holiday this summer.

“Whenever we release Points Planes, we see huge demand from our frequent flyers, and they often sell out. These flights are to some of Australia’s best summer destinations during peak travel months, so our advice is to book as soon as possible.

“While strong demand and higher fuel prices have seen the price of airfares for all airlines increase off historic lows over the past 18 months, the points required to book these seats haven’t increased in years.

“Reward seats on most of these routes can be booked from 8,000 points one-way, with a family of four being able to travel from Sydney to the Gold Coast and back for under 65,000 points.

“In addition to these Points Planes, there are more than five million reward seats available for frequent flyers over the next year across Qantas and Jetstar domestic and international flights, as well as our network of 45 partner airlines.”

Qantas also revealed that more than two-thirds of points had been earned on the ground via shopping, likely a result of reduced capacity in the last 18 months.

Last week, analysis of new BITRE data released by the Department of Transport by Australian Aviation revealed the ‘best discount’ airfare index is at 98.3 for November despite being at just 48 in April.

While an improvement on the 106 recorded in September, the numbers appear to be rapidly trending upwards.

Regular airfares are also at 83, its highest since March 2021, and significantly up on the 70 recorded in just May this year.

Jet fuel prices in the APAC region, however, were down by 6.5 per cent week on week, with prices globally stabilising following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This month, both Rex and Qantas surprisingly increased profit forecasts, with the latter claiming limits on international capacity were driving consumers to holiday in Australia.

Qantas is now targeting a remarkable underlying profit of up to $1.45 billion for the first half of the financial year — up by an extra $150 million on earlier estimates.

Points Plan release

For 72 hours from 11am on Tuesday, 29 November, frequent flyers will be able to book reward seats on all flights between 9–22 January and all of February 2023 on the following routes:

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Comments (3)

  • John G


    Yeah the number of points haven’t increased! For three of those years QF hardly had service to anywhere due to the pandemic and ran like chickens away from their own country when other airlines continued to fly. Spirit of Australia my XXX!

  • Nick


    Well played Qantas – Genius.
    Keep airfare prices unreasonably high, then open up airplanes for frequent flyers to use points to pay for seats, Qantas reduces their liabilities related to all those frequent flyer points waiting to be cashed in.
    It’d be a great win for the consumer if it wasn’t being forced upon them so much!
    Looking at those routes you might hear Rex complaining in a couple of days too.

  • Nivsy


    Hardly that generous and quite limited in the destination choice. What a surprise, one route from Perth… And of course it’s Broome…(where Qantas gad left passengers to fend for themselves overnight in the terminal a few months back). Yes not very inspiring PR exercise QF.

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