Jetstar Points Planes to Japan a Poor Deal

Jetstar Points Planes to Japan a Poor DealQantas Frequent Flyer is expanding its Points Plane concept to Jetstar. Until 17 September 2019, Qantas says you’ll be able to book any available seat on Jetstar flights between Australia and Japan, as well as across the Jetstar Japan network, for travel between 12 November and 12 December 2019.

If you’ve been saving up your Qantas points for a trip to Japan, this probably sounds like good news. But don’t get too excited just yet…

Qantas Points Planes

The Qantas Points Plane concept was launched earlier this year. The idea is that every seat on selected “Points Plane” flights are available for booking as a Classic Flight Reward using Qantas Frequent Flyer points. So far, Qantas has made three flights available as Points Planes:

  • Sydney to Los Angeles on 13 October 2019
  • Melbourne to Tokyo on 21 October 2019
  • Tokyo to Melbourne on 26 October 2019

In most cases, the flights in question are actually just positioning flights that the airline would have otherwise needed to operate empty. For example, the Sydney-Los Angeles Points Plane is a retirement flight for a Boeing 747 which won’t be returning to Australia.

The Jetstar Points Planes to Japan are regularly-scheduled commercial flights. However, given the off-peak travel period, it is likely Jetstar was struggling to fill these planes with paying customers anyway. You won’t see these Jetstar Points Planes running during school holidays!

Is every seat really available?

Jetstar operates three direct routes between Australia and Japan:

  • Gold Coast (OOL) to Tokyo (NRT)
  • Cairns (CNS) to Tokyo (NRT)
  • Cairns (CNS) to Osaka (KIX)

Qantas claims that every available seat is available for booking on these Jetstar Points Plane routes for travel between 12 November and 12 December 2019. However, this is not actually true.

Certainly, there is plenty of Economy award availability. But there are many Jetstar flights to Japan within the promotional period that currently have Business seats available for sale – yet these Business seats are not available for booking using Qantas points. Qantas is advertising that “every available seat” can be booked using points, so this is rather misleading.

The fine print does not specifically say that both Economy and Business seats are available; just that “all flights” are available to Qantas Frequent Flyers to book during points during the promotional period. Bizarrely, the T&Cs also state that “seats are subject to capacity controls, and availability is limited”. Um… isn’t the whole point of the Points Plane promotion that availability is not limited?!

Economy Classic Flight Rewards a poor deal

Here is the number of Qantas points, plus taxes & carrier charges, that you’ll need to pay for a return Jetstar Economy flight from Australia to Japan:

Origin Destination Qantas Points Taxes & charges
Gold Coast Tokyo 43,000 $237.23
Cairns Tokyo 43,000 $261.96
Cairns Osaka 43,000 $282.76

Using Cairns-Osaka for example, commercial round-trip fares on Jetstar with 20kg of baggage included are currently available from $685.54 return. So, you’re effectively getting around 1 cent per point worth of value by using your points. That said, Jetstar often has sale fares to Japan which are considerably less expensive, making the value even more marginal (although no sales are currently running).

If you have Qantas points to spend, and want to travel to or within Japan during the promotional period, the Jetstar Points Planes may be a worthwhile offer for you. But, given the high carrier charges, the value of using points on Jetstar Economy tickets is questionable. And, despite Qantas’ claims, every seat is not available for booking using points on every flight.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Jetstar Points Plane Now on Sale


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]