With Australian airfares, bookings and passenger load factors at bursting point, flag carrier Qantas aims to capture more of the lucrative private travel market. Yesterday, the airline announced it was launching private and small group tour packages for premium, ready-made holidays worldwide.
For close to thirty years, Australians have been well served in this market space by the popular Captains Choice products, which uses business class private jets on tours to exotic locations, including in South America, India, Africa, Antarctica and the Middle East. Now Qantas wants to tap into these premium, often high net worth, travelers looking for something unique and pampered far beyond standard packaged holidays, be they to the Gold Coast, Fiji or Benidorm.
More strings on the Qantas bow
Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying
Launched as Qantas Tours, the tours will be curated by Qantas, with the packages organized and operated by Australian travel company TripADeal. Based in the tourist mecca of Byron Bay, TripADeal has been majority owned by Qantas Group since May 2022. Qantas says the new offering will allow travelers to book travel experiences “designed to showcase the best of each destination with planning and logistics managed by expert tour operators.”
One of the most profitable parts of Qantas is its loyalty program, and with three Qantas frequent flyer points for every dollar spent on a Qantas Tour booking, this offer is aimed squarely at the program members. Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said the launch of the package tours was designed for members looking for a ready-made premium travel experience.
“Qantas Tours will offer members unforgettable experiences in destinations they may not have visited before without having to plan or manage the logistics of travel. With this latest expansion of the Qantas Holidays portfolio, we’re giving frequent flyers more opportunity to make great holidays possible with their Qantas Points and growing ways they can boost their points balance.”
Qantas Tour packages include Qantas or partner flights, premium accommodation and detailed itineraries led by a local guide. The initial offering contains ten tours of 11-15 days, with bookings now open for travel commencing in May this year. The airline says it will progressively expand its tour offerings over the coming months, but for now, these are available for booking:
- Tuscany, Rome and The Amalfi Coast
- Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi Vietnam
- Essential Japan
- Ultimate Sri Lanka and Maldives
- Treasures of The Nile
- Discover The Balkans and Beyond
- South Africa Explorer
- Taste of Türkiye
- Best of The Greek Islands
- Alaska and Canada Discovery
The booking window varies by tour but runs between May this year and March 2024 in the case of the South Africa Explorer tour. The timing is exquisite for Qantas as the airline winds down from the peak summer season in Australia and catches its breath before the return of holiday traffic in December.
The widebody fleet is working hard
Photo: Ryan Fletcher/Shutterstock
Fleet utilization data from ch-aviation.com shows that Qantas has 112 of its 125 aircraft back on active duty, with just five Airbus A380s, five A330s and three Boeing 737-800s not in service. The widebody in-service fleet contains six A380s, 23 A330s and 11 Boeing 787-9s, while domestic services are catered for with the 72 737-800s.
Complementing the new Tour packages is Qantas Luxury Holidays, which gives members access to limited-time hotel deals that are exclusive to Qantas. These can be booked with or without a Qantas flight and include extras such as room upgrades, massages and champagne on arrival.
With travel options off the table for the last few years, 2022 saw Qantas’ frequent flyers come out in droves, redeeming more than 16 billion points on holiday bookings globally. Today, Qantas points can be used and earned at more than 460,000 destinations around the world.
Have you redeemed your frequent flyer points in 2022? Let us know in the comments.
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- Brisbane Airport, Melbourne Airport, Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport
- Year Founded:
- Alan Joyce