Qantas sells old seats, holidays to travellers awash with miles

Qantas sells old seats, holidays to travellers awash with miles
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(July 30): Qantas Airways Ltd. will auction off items including a pair of old A380 business-class seats in a points-for-prizes sale to use up air miles amassed by frustrated travelers during the pandemic.

Daily auctions kicking off next week include 2-1/2 hours in a Boeing Co. 787 simulator for at least 50,000 loyalty points, Qantas said Friday. Bids for a private charter flight in Australia for 30 people will start at 1.2 million points.

The items being auctioned tell the story of the travel industry’s devastation from the health crisis. The A380 seats (entertainment screens disabled) are relics from the fleet of Airbus SE superjumbos that Qantas grounded in 2020 for three years. Worldwide, frequent fliers are awash with points -- mostly racked up on credit cards -- that they’ve been unable to redeem for flights.

Another prize is a luxury holiday for four people to Queenstown, New Zealand, though the immediate prospects for such a trip are bleak. Quarantine-free travel from Australia to New Zealand was suspended this month for at least eight weeks as Sydney fights its biggest-ever coronavirus outbreak.

Qantas said more auctions may follow. The airline’s sales last year of memorabilia such as fully loaded bar carts and thousands of sets of business-class pajamas were wildly successful.