Need a new chair for your home or office? Maybe Qantas has the answer. The Australian airline is auctioning off two Airbus A380 Skybed II business class seats. But the seats are not being sold for cash. Qantas is running an auction using frequent flyer points.
Qantas works to keep its frequent flyers engaged
While Qantas has been criticized for suspending nearly all its international flights, the airline has done an exceptional job keeping its frequent flyers engaged. Whether it involves buying crates of booze with bonus points from the Qantas wine store, taking cool scenic flights, or running auctions, the airline is working hard to retain its best customers.
There are two iterations of the Skybed. The Marc Newson designed SkyBed I was introduced to much fanfare in 2003. At the time, the seat was considered a design icon. The SkyBed II introduction coincided with the Airbus A380’s arrival at Qantas. A super-swish Business Suite has since superseded the Skybed II.
“Land yourself a priceless piece of Qantas memorabilia,” the airline’s PR machine spruiks. “Two pre-loved A380 business class Skybeds… they’ll make you feel like you’re permanently in the sky. They’ll be the hottest seats in the house.”
In addition to being the hottest seats in the house, they’ll also be the heaviest. The seats weigh 175 kilograms, and the timber rig comes in at an extra 60 kilograms. Qantas will deliver to selected locations around Australia but says please don’t bid unless you have room in your house, wide entry points, and the delivery muscle doesn’t do stairs. Qantas also notes the IFE screens won’t work.
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Five auctions over five days at Qantas
Closed international and internal borders have kept most Australians grounded for over a year. But many of the airline’s 12 million-plus frequent flyers keep on accruing points. Qantas is carrying a lot of unredeemed frequent flyer points. In addition to keeping its frequent flyers engaged, auctions like this help whittle away the accrued points pool.
“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,” says Qantas’ Olivia Worth.
“Points Auction gives members the chance to bid on special experiences, and we expect these items to create a points bidding frenzy.”
Qantas isn’t just flogging off a pair of business class seats. Five auctions are running over five days between August 2 and 6.
One-hour flight simulator session sells for 1.2 million frequent flyer points
First on the block was a one-hour Boeing 787 simulator session with one of Qantas’ top Captains. The starting bid was 50,000 Qantas Points. The session sold for over 1.2 million points (valued at approximately US$16,800). While this is not a charity auction, it suggests there are many frustrated frequent flyers out there with a lot of points to burn.
Up for auction on Tuesday is a three-day trip to the lush Eichardt’s Private Hotel in Queenstown. Business class tickets for four people from Australia are thrown in, and a few other nice touches. Qantas values this at around US$37,000. At the time of writing, the online auction is live. Bidding has reached 1,900,001 points with 12 hours to go.
Also going up for auction over the next few days is a day trip for you and 30 of your nearest and dearest on a QantasLink Dash 8. Destinations on offer include Hamilton Island, Byron Bay, or Devonport. Points rich parents of soccer-mad kids might also like to bid for a one-hour coaching session for up to 20 children with Socceroos’ Head Coach Graham Arnold.
Bidding for the Skybeds starts at 08:00 (Sydney time) on August 5 and runs for 13 hours. Bidding starts at 350,000 points. Qantas advises their auctions are open to Australian residents who are Qantas Frequent Flyers aged 18 and over.