Two 'priceless' Qantas seats sell for $40,000 in frequent flyer auction
Australians desperate for a holiday have snapped up two Qantas (QAN.AX) A380 skybeds for 2 million frequent flyer points, or around $40,000.
The auction described the two skybeds, which had been used for crew training since 2008, as a “priceless piece of Qantas memorabilia”.
The 175kg beds are nearly fully functional, with an electrical converter allowing the user to recline the chair, turn on the massage function and use the reading light.
However, the in-built video screen does not work outside of a plane.
The sale was part of Qantas’ “points auction”, which it developed to reward land-bound frequent flyers who were still scoring points on their grocery shopping and credit card usage.
The chairs were one of five items to have already gone under the hammer, including a Boeing 787 simulator experience, a soccer clinic for 20 children with Socceroos coach Graham Arnold, and a holiday for four to Queenstown.
Qantas also auctioned off a private charter flight to Byron Bay, Devonport or Hamilton.
Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said many frequent flyer members had amassed significant frequent flyer balances over the last 18 months, and described the auction as a way to provide them “more exciting” opportunities to spend them.
“This is a restless time for many Australians who can’t wait for both international and domestic borders to fully open so they can take off to some of their favourite destinations,” Wirth said.
“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.”
The auctions come as the Sydney lockdown poses a major new challenge for the airline.
Qantas will stand down 2,500 staff due to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns in Australia’s most populous city and associated state border closures.
“This is clearly the last thing we want to do, but we’re now faced with an extended period of reduced flying and that means no work for a number of our people,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.
“We’ve absorbed a significant amount of cost since these recent lockdowns started and continued paying our people their full rosters despite thousands of cancelled flights.”
Qantas said it expects to stand all affected workers back up once the lockdowns have ended, or within two months.
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