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The Australian Frequent Flyer
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Qantas Classic Rewards vs Points Plus Pay
  
When redeeming your Qantas Frequent Flyer points for flights, there are two main options. The first is to book a “Classic Flight Reward”. This is generally regarded as the best value, although reward seat availability is limited. The second option is “Points Plus Pay”. This redemption simply takes any airfare, converting the cash price to points at a rate of around 0.8 cents per point. Points Plus Pay is generally considered poor value. But this is not always the case!
  
“Brisbane – Bundaberg one way: Classic Award booking costs 8,000 QFF points + $52 in fees & taxes etc. And I don’t earn any QFF points or SC However if I book a Red E-deal the cost is $85. Which I can convert to Points + Pay, and use 8,003 QFF points and $26.45 in fees & taxes etc. And I earn 800 QFF points and 10 SC for the booking. Really? Truly? Am I missing something here?”
  
In this example, the flight in question was on sale for $85. The relatively low airfare and …more
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Air New Zealand to the USA
  
Australians are spoilt for choice when flying to the United States! There are currently five airlines with direct trans-Pacific flights, and a plethora of other airlines offering one-stop connections. Air New Zealand, Fiji Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and countless Asian carriers all offer convenient one-stop flights to the USA through their respective hubs.
  
Air New Zealand offers a wide range of convenient connections. Flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston, as well as Vancouver and Buenos Aires, are available from most Australian cities with just one stop in Auckland.
  
One member recently flew to Los Angeles in Air New Zealand’s Business class. Overall, they were impressed with the Kiwi service.
  
The trip got off to a flying start with a short Boeing 767 flight across the Tasman to Auckland. After arriving in Auckland, a visit to the Air NZ lounge was in order. The Auckland lounge is the airline’s new flagship airport lounge. Although our member found the food options lacking, the bar was well-stocked and the lounge itself is a stylish and modern space. Facilities include day beds where weary travellers can catch up on some much-needed rest.
  
“As usual there was some food, however it did not seem well stocked at the time I was there with limited choices and nothing too appealing. The drinks side of things was much more interesting with another manned bar and coffee station, as well as self-service. There was also a TV room, kids room and a slightly odd indoor-outdoor area.”
  
Air New Zealand uses …more
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Earn Qantas Points on Vodafone Plans
 
Qantas and Vodafone have announced a new point-earning partnership. Qantas Frequent Flyer points can now be earned on any of Vodafone’s new “Qantas Red” mobile phone plans.
 
The tie-up fills a gap in the Qantas Frequent Flyer program that was created after the withdrawal of Optus last year. But the way in which points are earned will differ. Points were previously awarded for every dollar spent on any Optus product. Vodafone will instead offer points as a one-off bonus for taking out selected phone plans. These plans range in price from $45/month “sim only” plans to $130/month packages.
 
The minimum contract period for a Qantas Red plan appears to be two years. While Vodafone does offer contracts that don’t lock in customers for such a long time, these will not be eligible to earn points. Points won’t be earned on any of Vodafone’s other services.
 
Any new opportunity to earn frequent flyer points is a welcome news for many members! But not everyone is entirely convinced. Some members believe that being locked into a two year contract is not worth the relatively small amount of bonus points on offer.
 
"That’s not a very attractive serve of points in exchange for being locked in to a 24-month contract… Especially when Vodafone themselves offer several other plans that don’t require that long a commitment."
 
Some ...more
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Frequent Flyer Outbursts

This week our members share their amusing, shocking and downright ridiculous stories of self-entitled airline passengers not getting their way. It seems that some believe their elite frequent flyer status gives them a licence to demand a free upgrade, jump the queue or disrespect airline staff. But who knew that a fully-grown adult could have a tantrum after being upgraded to First class?

Our members have seen just about everything! One member witnessed a self-upgrade attempt by a woman who claimed their “elite status” entitled them to it. This person implored that she needed the upgrade because Economy was “cramped”. Another member bore witness to a passenger that was furious for being upgraded to a First class seat that didn’t have a window.

Sometimes causing a scene can backfire. One member observed a frequent flyer inadvertently declining an upgrade. When boarding, the gate agent advised the passenger that economy was full and asked if they’d be willing to change to a new seat. The passenger firmly stated they would refuse to move as they were a Gold member and had paid a lot of money. The new seat they had refused was actually in First class! The upgrade was instead offered to the next passenger.

Our members sometimes ...more
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Experiences with American’s Sydney Flights

American Airlines recently began daily flights between Sydney and Los Angeles. With four other airlines flying the route, including American’s partner Qantas, how does the new service stack up?

Numerous members have already tried out the new flight. The answer seems to depend on the class of travel you’re flying.

American Airlines uses new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft featuring First class, Business and Economy on the Sydney route. It’s AA’s flagship aircraft, and is one of the nicest in the American Airlines fleet. All passengers have access to in-seat entertainment, power points and on-board wifi. And all Business and First passengers have seats with direct aisle access that convert to lie-flat beds.

Passengers that have flown the route in Business class have given some glowing reviews. The hard product is said to be very good, and the lie-flat beds can be topped with a mattress to make for a comfortable sleep on board. The soft product is also impressive, with large meals and pyjamas available.

"Service – the crew aren’t the youngest out there, but they are experienced and they know what they are doing. I hear a lot of people complain about AA crew, but that hasn’t been my experience at all – I generally find them fast, efficient and friendly, and the crew on this flight were no exception. All up, it was a very good flight. I’d give it a 9 out of 10. Price being the same, I’d choose AA over QF."

But it seems ...more
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Airline Staff Travel: Perks & Pitfalls

It’s no secret that airline employees receive certain perks as part of their jobs. One such perk is discounted staff travel. Airline employees travelling for leisure can book tickets at a discount of up to 90%, and often they can also share this discount when travelling with friends and family. But are these benefits really all that they’re cracked up to be?

A number of pilots and other airline employees have offered their insights into a recent discussion on staff travel benefits. While their experiences vary, there is one thing that all can agree on: the risk of getting bumped from a flight is so high that the usefulness of this benefit is very limited.

Every airline has a different policy for staff travel, with different fare types and various rules attached. “ID90” tickets are one of the most common types of staff fares. “ID” stands for “industry” and “90” refers to the discount: 90%. However, this discount is only applied to the base price of full fare tickets. So that’s effectively 90% off the most expensive flexible fare, not the discounted sale fare most people ...more
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Have them in circles
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Qantas’ Broken (Price) Promise

Qantas’ Price Promise is virtually worthless, according to one member. This member’s recent claim was rejected on a minor technicality. But Qantas still refused to honour their guarantee, even after further supporting evidence was submitted.

Qantas customers are offered a refund of the fare difference and 1,000 Qantas points if a cheaper price is found on a competitor’s website. It sounds good, but in reality it seems that there is an extraordinary amount of red tape standing in the way of a successful Price Promise claim.

Our member’s claim was initially rejected because the number of passengers on the booking did not match the number on the screenshot of the competitor’s website. A second screenshot with the correct number of passengers was sent immediately. Yet Qantas refused to reverse their decision, spruiking a policy that only the original submission would be considered.

One member opines that the many terms & conditions are unfairly stacked in the airline’s favour. To make a claim, customers ...more
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Free Suite Upgrades for Hyatt Gold Passport Members

Hotel loyalty programs offer some worthwhile benefits to frequent travellers. Arguably the best of these benefits is the opportunity to upgrade to a better room – or even a suite – for free. Not all programs offer this benefit, but one that does is Hyatt Gold Passport. This is the loyalty program of all hotels in the Hyatt family including the Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt and Hyatt Regency.

Both Platinum and Diamond Gold Passport members receive upgrades to larger rooms, which are subject to availability, as a standard benefit. This is in addition to perks such as free wifi, priority check-in, late check-out and bonus points.

But the program also offers four complimentary, confirmed suite upgrades to its top-tier Diamond members every year. These upgrades can be confirmed at the time of booking, removing the element of “luck” often associated with upgrades. This is arguably one of the best benefits of any hotel loyalty program!

Suite upgrades can be used for up to four stays per year, and each stay can last up to seven days. If the benefit is maximised, that’s up to 28 days every year that could be spent in a luxurious hotel suite for the price of a standard, base-level room!

If you’re a Hyatt Diamond member, you’ll need to phone the Hyatt call centre to confirm your upgrades in advance. As a general rule, the upgrade will be confirmed as long as a base level suite is still available.

“4 stay, each stay can be up to 7 nights. I just used one at Grand Hyatt Melbourne, it seems some hotels will upgrade you further upon arrival ( GH Mel didn’t and they aren’t inclined or supposed to) Have to call centre to use one, and it can only be on the base suite. So if a base level is not available on your stay, i’ve been told the computer system won’t let phone agents book it (I tried to get them to let me us a suite voucher on a day the base wasn’t left in SIN this month) so I had to change my dates.”

It’s a ...more
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Maintaining a Healthy Credit Rating
 
Credit cards and their various sign-up bonuses are an easy way to accumulate large amounts of frequent flyer points quickly. But it’s important to consider the effect on your credit rating of applying for too many cards. A healthy credit rating is highly important if you want to apply for a credit card, or any other type of credit such as a loan.
 
Your credit rating will take a small hit after every credit card application, even if it wasn’t successful. So, how many credit card applications is too many?
 
"Hi just wondering how many credit card applications you can safely go through in a year without it doing you credit score much damage? I applied for 1 in July, 1 in September and 1 December last year. Can i safely apply for another now (or next month or so) or too soon?"
 
There is no ...more
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Cruising around Iceland & Greenland
 
Visiting Iceland and Greenland on the same trip is not something that many Australians can say they have done. But recently AFF member bigpetebrown did just that, cruising from Iceland to Eastern Canada with a stop in Greenland along the way.
 
The trip to Iceland began with a flight to New York on Qantas. From there, our member connected to an Icelandair flight for the final leg to Keflavik, Iceland. The friendly service on Icelandair seems to have impressed.
 
"Icelandair is cool. Really friendly crew, decent entertainment system and ok menu (you have to pay for food on basic economy fare but tea, coffee and soft drinks are free). I just don’t like 757s. They make lots of strange noises."
 
Iceland may not be a common destination for ...more
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New Aussie Airline Business Model

Short of purchasing a private jet, business travellers in Australia have two main choices: Qantas or Virgin Australia. Both airlines offer frequent services between the major Australian capitals, as well as frequent flyer perks like lounges. But regular delays and lengthy travel times to and from our major airports can be a problem.

An Australian start-up aims to provide a solution. “Airly” promises to offer unlimited travel between Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra on 8-seater aircraft for a fixed monthly fee.

“Pay $1K to join and about $30K p.a. for unlimited flights between SYD/MEL/CBR, with ADL and BNE later down the track, using an 8-seater Beechcraft turboprop. Target for 54 flights per week on start up, fly when you want in the schedule with no cancellations and will operate with only one person on the flight.”

Airly’s main selling point is the time ...more
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Round-the-World Travel Tips
Travel the world monument conceptFlying around the world is certainly an exciting way to travel, and round-the-world flights may cost much less than you think! This week our members explain how to book a cost-effective trip around the world using either money or frequent flyer points.
There are numerous ways to book round-the-world travel. The most flexible option using Qantas and other Oneworld alliance airlines is the “Oneworld Explorer” ticket. This specialised fare offers fantastic value when used to its full potential. Up to 15 stopovers are allowed, and you’ll be able to travel to anywhere in three, four, five or six continents! Oneworld Explorer prices vary depending on the country where you begin the trip, as well as the number of continents visited and variations in taxes. So, while beginning the journey in Australia may be convenient, our members suggest that significant savings can be had by starting the trip in certain overseas countries such as ...more
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People
Have them in circles
53 people
Chris Fletcher's profile photo
Matt McInnes's profile photo
VK TOUR's profile photo
Ken Smith's profile photo
Mamun Sarker's profile photo
Paul Barclay's profile photo
Steve “Tech” Meller's profile photo
Charlie Maiden's profile photo
Mark Buchanan's profile photo
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Australia’s Leading Frequent Flyer Community and Travel Website.
Introduction
Here you can read our member’s travel experiences, hotel reviews and trip reports. Get expert opinion on everything from the best frequent flyer credit card to securing a free airline upgrade.