Qantas frequent flyer: 'Points Plane' Airbus A380 reserved for points bookings to take off

"No seats."

It's a phrase familiar to anyone who has tried to book a flight using points on the Qantas site. Limited availability for points bookings means you often can't get the exact date or class you were hoping for.

That won't be the case with a flight taking off from Melbourne to Tokyo on October 21 this year, after Qantas announced an entire Airbus A380 superjumbo would be reserved solely for those wanting to book using their frequent flyer points.

The first "Points Plane" is available for bookings from Thursday, May 16 and is the first of what Qantas promises will be a series of similar flights across its network.

All 484 seats on the superjumbo would be available for points bookings, including 14 first class, 64 business class and 35 premium economy class seats. The airline said frequent flyer members would have an equal opportunity to book the seats regardless of their status.

"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," Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said.

"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."

The airline indicated the future flights involving the so-called Points Planes would come up when Qantas needed to move unscheduled aircraft around its network for operational and commercial reasons.

The number of points required to book a one-way seat on the first Points Plane will be 35,000 for economy class; 54,000 for premium economy; 72,000 for business class and 108,000 for first class. The points amounts do not include taxes and other fees and charges.


See also: Round-the-world in luxury: What 1 million Qantas points will get you

Frequent flyer schemes have become lucrative businesses for airlines, who sell points to third parties like banks, hotels and car-hire operators who then use the points to reward loyalty from their own customers. Qantas earned almost $400 million from its frequent flyer program last financial year.

The airline has introduced some unusual ways to earn points in recent times, including while you sleep via a wellbeing app.

See also: The best way to maximise your frequent flyer points may surprise you

See also: The worst ways to use your Qantas frequent flyer points