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Maximising frequent flyer points

Discussion in 'Living Room' started by Fitzy1903, 21st Oct, 2015.

  1. Fitzy1903

    Fitzy1903 Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys,

    I've got a few frequent flyer points now and was talking to someone the other day, and they mentioned that it's a waste if you use them on international flights as you get charged so much with tax etc.
    I've also heard it's good to sometimes buy your domestic or international fares and try to upgrade using your frequent flyer points.

    So what are your thoughts on maximising frequent flyer points?

    Fitz
     
  2. euro73

    euro73 Well-Known Member Business Member

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    Purchase economy tickets and upgrading to premium economy or business using the points , is by far the most efficient way to use points.

    Here's an example. Flying NOV 25,2015 returning NOV 30, 2015

    Sydney - LA economy with Qantas costs $1317 return ( sale price)
    Sydney - LA premium economy costs $4413 return ( sale price ) $3096 dearer then economy
    Sydney - LA business costs $7682 return ( sale price) $6365 dearer than economy


    Sydney - LA economy with Qantas points costs 96,000 points. Each point is providing 13 Cents worth of value ( based on $1317 ticket price)
    Sydney - LA premium economy costs 144,000 points Each point is providing 21.5 Cents worth of value ( based on $3096 ticket price)
    Sydney - LA business costs 192,000 points. Each point is providing 33.2 Cents worth of value ( based on $6365 ticket price)

    You have to spend a lot of money on credit cards and flights and whatever else to get 96,000 or 144,000 or 192,000 points - so you definitely should NOT waste them by paying for whole flights with them, for such little value.

    But as an upgrade tool you will receive much better value... for example- using Syd-LA return - it costs 50,000 points each way ( 100,000 total ) to upgrade from economy to premium economy . So you pay $1317 and spend 100,000 points and get a $4413 ticket , which means your 100,000 points is buying you $3096 worth of extra ticket value. That equates to 30.96 cents of value per point spent. Consider this - If you spent 96,000 to buy an economy ticket its buying you only $1317 value. 100,000 points spent on an upgrade buys you $3096 value.

    Upgrading from economy to business costs 72,000 each way SYD-LA so you are spending $1317 and 144,000 points , which gets you a $7682 ticket, or $6365 extra value. If 144,000 points buys you $6365 extra value, that equates to 44.2 cents of value per point spent.

    Macquarie's "flyer " product can be used well to accumulate points - as can NAB's "velocity" offer at the moment .... point accumulation via loans :)
     
  3. Fitzy1903

    Fitzy1903 Well-Known Member

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    Very comprehensive - thanks mate!
     
  4. Steven Ryan

    Steven Ryan Mortgage Broker Business Plus Member

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    I'm with CBA and use their AMEX card for multiplied points everywhere I can.

    Then I cash them out for MONEY.

    Works well.
     
  5. Truly Exotic

    Truly Exotic Well-Known Member

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    ^^^ re: euro73

    im a serial points hoarder too

    anyway, in regards to his analysis, it seems all correct or just about

    as he said the best way is business class or first class,

    first class has the best ratio of of dollar value to points, however, not all flights have first class plus its a metric load of points,

    as euro said the ultimate best way is to buy economy class with cash and then do a upgrade with points to business class, since biz is 3-4 times the cost of economy while points wise is only double

    however, ive been told by frequent flyers is that the chances of getting an upgrade are like winning lotto and you only find out on the day, so if you are travelling not alone, its going to be a pain, plus the knowledge of not knowing,

    also be aware that you still have to pay tax,

    I did a return flight to europe using points and had to pay $1100 in tax on top of the points used recently!!!!

    another tip, never buy gift cards or cash back using points, they are designed to get the worst value possible as its the easiest

    ive been told flight centre gift cards work out well because they price match other deals so you get a good flight for a decent price even though the flight centre ratio is average

    never buy electronics as they are all retail priced and you can get them cheaper online,
    never buy small things using points eg movie tickets, they are designed for people with little points and thus have the worst ratio,

    other tips, pay everything on credit,

    get one of those amex cards, or bank issued amex cards where you get 1.5 points per $ or more equivalent to Qantas program. some programs will say 3 points per $1 but when you covnert to qantas they halve it to 1.5 per $1

    for non amex purchases, use a visa or master that has 1:1 or as close to it

    also, if your credit file is good and you arent too conscious of it, heaps of those sign up promotions have ridiculously good points offers,

    just beware of annual fees on cards on all of them
     
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  6. jodes

    jodes Well-Known Member

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    Definitely don't disagree with Euro73 analysis and can't argue with the stats but in terms of number of "free" flights, I look at it a little differently. Spending 144,000 points on an upgrade, although providing you with an amazing 14 hours of flying time each way, I'd much rather spend those points on, for instance 9 return trips to Melbourne or 4 return trips to Perth (8,000 and 18,000 points each per way). I have family in both those locations so maybe that's why I prefer it but basically for almost the same amount of money (plus some taxes), you can go to LA once (albeit on economy) and Melbourne 9 times! :D
     
  7. Handyandy

    Handyandy Well-Known Member

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    The problem with going for upgrades from discounted tickets is that a lot of these type of tickets do not allow any upgrades.

    I have tried on many occasions and it's always the same negative answer.

    So the question is what is the lowest grade fare from which you can upgrade?

    Cheers
     
  8. Truly Exotic

    Truly Exotic Well-Known Member

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    i havent investigated other programs eg krisflyer,
    so if someone knows of better $ to points/rewards programs or methods for other programs for economy/business flights international, then im all ears!!!:)

    ill change in a heart beat:):):)
     
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  9. Truly Exotic

    Truly Exotic Well-Known Member

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    thats very true,
    however, for local flights eg syd to bris, I just buy them on specail via jetstar or tiger, then its like $50, and to spend 8000 points to me is a bit of waste, but I see your point

    hence why I would never pay for an actual business class flight,

    I always say "get 2 people to my destination with a soreback" vs "get 1 person to my destination treated like a king"

    its a no brainer for me!
     
  10. Handyandy

    Handyandy Well-Known Member

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  11. DanW

    DanW Well-Known Member

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  12. Truly Exotic

    Truly Exotic Well-Known Member

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    wow I just read that,

    pretty desperate measures by AA

    also, I doubt a few people doing heaps of first class tickets is going to cost the airline too much in profits unless its always booked out and you are taking the seat of a paying customer
     
  13. jodes

    jodes Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree- I would have to be UBER rich to ever think about flying business class!!

    I'm lucky enough to fly business when I go overseas for work but always joke to my boss they should send me economy and split the difference eg a business class fare costs say $7k, economy $2k, put me on economy and give me $2,500 and that money will be more than enough to help me fight through any jet lag !!:) (and they save $2,500)
     
  14. Truly Exotic

    Truly Exotic Well-Known Member

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    damn, business class for work would be a dream come true for me regardless!
     
  15. Be Developer

    Be Developer Property Developer Business Member

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    As euro said, upgrading to business class flights are best way to burn some points. Just make sure you use right class of fair that allows you to upgrade to business class.
     
  16. kamchatsky

    kamchatsky Well-Known Member

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    It is pretty easy to fly Business Class using points. It is not as hard as you think. You just need some discipline on your spending, correct credit card structure and time to collect enough points for Business Class.

    You need to find the right credit card to earn maximum points, put all your spending on it, and make sure you pay it off every month to avoid incurring interest. You can set up direct debit of your credit card against your offset account of your PPOR Loan.

    Overtime you will earn a lot of points and you can use it for Business or First Class.

    Personally I always fly Business or First Class using my points for travel for the last 6 years, and my points are earned via credit cards spending and sign-on bonuses, hotel stays, car hire etc.

    Currently I am using Citibank Rewards Signature Visa (No annual fee offer) + American Express Platinum Edge card to earn points. It pretty much maximise my points earning potential for now.

    From time to time I sign up other credit card to get sign-on bonus if I think it won't damage my credit score significantly.

    Then there is an art of redeeming all those points. There are many programs that all have different sets of rules which if you know your rules well, you can take significant advantage of it.

    You would need to understand between all the alliances such as Oneworld, Star Alliance, Skyteam, as well as other airline partners of each of the programs.

    Personally I use the following programs to redeem flights as it offers me the best value for specific flights:

    - American Airlines AAdvantage
    - Singapore Krisflyer
    - Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
    - British Airways Executive Club Avios

    Those programs offers the best bang for the buck for me on points depending on how you use them.

    My "supplementary" programs are as follows:

    - Virgin Australia Velocity
    - Qantas Frequent Flyer
    - Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints (hotel program)

    One thing Virgin Velocity program is much better than Qantas is the lack of fuel surcharges paid on award flights. Qantas on the hand, charges a lot so even on an award ticket, the cash component can be quite high.

    Other program that is worth considering are:
    - Avianca Life Miles (via mile purchasing route)
    - United Airlines Mileage Plus (via mile purchasing route)
    - Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan (via mile purchasing route)

    If you want to know more, the best source of information for earning/spending points for Australian residents is the following:

    http://www.australianfrequentflyer.com.au/community/

    If you want to check out all the airlines/hotels loyalty program worldwide, then check the following:

    http://www.flyertalk.com

    I am active on both of these forums.
     
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  17. kamchatsky

    kamchatsky Well-Known Member

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    I disagree with this. The chance of upgrading using points are very remote, especially on popular flights such as AU-USA, or AU-Dubai flights, unless you are on top status of the airline program (e.g. Qantas Platinum One or Qantas Platinum). Also if there are Premium Economy on those flights, then you can only upgrade to PE which is not a significant jump from Economy. It is important to jump to Business Class if possible as the difference between Business and Economy or PE is huge.

    Therefore I ALWAYS use my points to book Business or First/Suites Class for international flights, unless it is very short (such as Hong Kong - Taiwan flights which is like an hour). If you plan well you can always enjoy Business or First class on your travels.
     
  18. Chrispy

    Chrispy Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I accumulate a lot of QFF. I purchase Premium Economy flights to the USA and immediately request an upgrade to Business Class. Most times I get the upgrade. The net cost in points is not that high as you get decent FF on a Premium Economy flights. If I don't get the Upgrade then PE is fine anyway.
     
  19. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Do you mean as part of the same booking?
     
  20. Ed Barton

    Ed Barton Well-Known Member

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    I give my QF points to my parents so they can upgrade. To my knowledge they've never had trouble upgrading at the time of booking. Might have something to do with them using an agent and being retired they can be a little flexible with dates.