Awesome: Qantas 747 Retirement “Points Plane”

Filed Under: Qantas

In May Qantas announced an interesting concept, which they referred to as “Points Plane.” The idea is that they plan to offer a series of dedicated frequent flyer redemption flights across their network, with seats only bookable using Qantas points.

They’re offering these in very specific situations where it makes sense, like when they have a charter that requires repositioning a plane, and other scenarios along those lines.

The first such flight will be from Melbourne to Tokyo Narita on October 21, 2019, using an Airbus A380.

All 484 seats on the plane were bookable with points. Not surprisingly, the premium cabin seats sold out quickly, while the economy class seats didn’t.

Qantas has now announced their next Points Plane flight, and it’ll be a fun one for aviation geeks.

Qantas’ next Points Plane flight will be from Sydney to Los Angeles on Sunday, October 13, 2019. The coolest part (or saddest part, depending on how you look at it)? This will be the last flight with passengers for this particular 747-400.

The whole reason the plane is flying to Los Angeles is because it’s being retired, so they’ll fly it from there to the desert. As Qantas describes it:

After 20 years of flying, this flight will be the final journey for our Boeing 747 – ‘Lord Howe Island’ (VH-OJU) and for a limited time, every single seat can be booked using Qantas Points.^

Qantas Frequent Flyers have exclusive access until midnight 2 September 2019 to book a Classic Flight Reward for:

  • All 58 seats in Business
  • All 36 seats in Premium Economy
  • Over 200 seats in Economy

As of now there are still award seats in every cabin. If you’d like to book this flight, it will cost you:

  • 96,000 plus 480AUD points in business class
  • 72,000 plus 405AUD points in premium economy
  • 41,900 plus 205AUD points in economy

This is only bookable directly through Qantas’ program, and not through partner airline programs. Do keep in mind that Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, and Citi ThankYou are transfer partners with Qantas.

It goes without saying that this is an awesome flight for aviation geeks, and I hope some of you are able to book this. Beyond that, Qantas is incredibly stingy with transpacific business class award seats, so this is also quite convenient for anyone who just happens to be headed east across the Pacific that day.

Anyone plan on booking the Qantas Points Plane to LAX?

(Tip of the hat to Nick)

  1. I just booked it! SO excited for this! First time on a 747-400 long haul. Have done a 747-SP to Honolulu once about 15-20 years ago… otherwise that’s it.

  2. QF releases very few award seats on its scheduled flights. Why would they not try to sell these seats for cash rather than points, even if they are repositioning flights?

    In fact, why would they not fly them empty, given that they regularly fly their scheduled flights with empty seats rather than offer them in exchange for points?

  3. Hey lucky:
    I think @Matt is making reference to your spelling error for “desert” instead of “dessert”:

    “The whole reason the plane is flying to Los Angeles is because it’s being retired, so they’ll fly it from there to the dessert.” (Should be DESERT).

    ****HONG KONG – ADD OIL!!!!!!”****

  4. @ chuck


    (a) it’s a nice thing todo AND they get some publicity for it from blogs like this one

    (b) they get a load of miles off their books

    (c) there are airlines who will fly a cabin with empty seats rather than offer them for cheap cash or miles because they want to get the message out that you want X cabin then pay for it and don’t rely on a free / cheap upgrade being available. Not every airlines follows the USA model

  5. I have to say, the “dessert” puns — while a little mean — are priceless. We need more witty comments about poor proofreading on Live and Let’s Fly. In good humor, of course!

  6. Lord Howe Island is being retired… I hadn’t yet been able to take it although I had seen it multiple times in the SYD and HKG. Farewell and rest in peace.

  7. The dessert flight is piloted by Captain Willy Wonka and a team of Oompa Loompas will be you flight attendants during the flight.

    For the special occasion, VH-OJU, will be renamed Lard Heavy Icing. Qantas will operate this as flight QF 2. The callsign will also change to Whipped Cream.

    Unfortunately due to weather, the flight needs to divert to Fresno, captain Willy Wonka then request : LA center, this is Whipped Cream TWO heavy requesting vectors for FAT due to sprinkles in LAX.

    Even I’m not a big flakes of Qantas this is a good move by Qantas. Their award availability bakes people crazy. I guess this is to reward members for pudding up with this piece of chips.

    These obese puns are making my arteries clog.

  8. Wondering why a 20 year old would be send to the graveyard rather then selling it. Can’t they find a customer for it? Perhaps Air Belgium can use one, maybe even Hi-Fly? Heck, the US government may need one too, to serve as an additional Air Force One….

  9. I believe this Is what we used to call the step son on the 747 family – the one tht was never refurbished.
    I took it to Tokyo Haneda last year and whole nothing matches upper deck seats, everything else about that flight was very very disappointing.
    I vividly remember being hungry on the flight, which never happened before or since.

  10. @Mike

    I vividly remember being hungry on the flight, which never happened before or since.

    Well yeah, that wasn’t the dessert flight.

  11. They were flying it there anyway and they get to purge the points bank by doing so. Crew will just deadhead home.

    Clever business.

  12. Thanks for the news, and after October 13, all the remaining Qantas 747s will be the Boeing 747-400ER variants. I can finally book Qantas 747 flights safely knowing that it will definitely be a -400ER variant. I am sure that they will have more retiring flights soon when the rest of the 747 fleet will be retired!


  13. @Eskimo — “These obese puns are making my arteries clog.”

    LOL! “Fat” chance of that happening! 😛

  14. Wanna let you guys know that Alaska Airlines release award space for this flight but only in coach. Beware, Alaska does show business availability but actually book you in coach. Double check before you confirm the ticket. Have fun avgeeks!

  15. Flew 747-400 YVR-SYD last December with seating in the upper deck. 55,000 points with Alaska. Lucky me.

    Not really!

    The seats were comfortable and nothing beats the upper deck row 16. But the soft product is horrible. Lousy wine selection, minuscule meal size for a 16 hour flight and horrible tasteless food both on this flight and the 5 other legs we flew on QA.

    When a flight that actually goes where you want to go is priced at 55,000 points why would anyone pay 96,000 points just for an expensive ride? Just AV geeks I suppose.

    This flight will probably be a much better experience all round as it is a special occasion so perhaps my comments should be reserved for QA regular flights only.

    Would much rather have flown CX for 70,000 points.

  16. Oh – and I forgot to mention the ancient 1970’s style crt 9″ low definition screen on the entertainment system.

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