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AFF Gathering #14 in CBR on 4 - 6 December 2020

Added to Calendar: 04-12-20, 05-12-20, 06-12-20

**This event is now fully booked! For those who've already registered, this thread contains important information & updates about the weekend. We look forward to seeing you soon.**

Canberra has been chosen as the AFF Annual Gathering destination for 2020, occurring over the weekend of the 4th to 6th December; this will be the second time the event has been held in the final month of the year. The average temperature range for December is 11.9ºC to 26.3ºC. The average rainfall is 53.2mm with 7 rainy days. It is Australia's eighth most populous city (as of June 2018) representing 1.83% of Australia.

Canberra has previously played host to an Annual Gathering, as the fifth city chosen in the fourth year (2011). On that occasion, 13 attendees made the journey. Canberra is not the first city to play host twice, with Melbourne previously taking that honour as the first (2008) and eighth (2014); Adelaide as the second (2008) and twelfth (2018); and more recently Sydney as the third (2009) and thirteenth (2019).

Helping to organise this year will be @support & @Mattg.

If you're attending, we recommend downloading the Check in CBR App. Due to COVID-19, please be mindful to practice good hygiene and social distancing where possible. If you are unwell, please do not attend.




Schedule

Here is the itinerary for the weekend:

Friday 4th December
To start the weekend, we'll be holding a dinner at Southern Cross Yacht Club, Yarralumla. You are welcome to arrive between 6.30pm-7.30pm for drinks at the bar, and dinner will be served from 7.30pm-9.30pm. There will be a fixed 3-course menu (we can account for dietary requirements), and the cost is $59 per person. Drinks will be available for purchase from the bar on the night.

Saturday 5th December - morning activities

Saturday Activity Option 1 - Parliament House tour

We'll meet at Parliament House and join a 30-minute public tour of the building. There is no cost for this activity - you'll just need to make your own transport arrangements to/from Parliament House. You must be at Parliament House by 10.15am, in preparation for the tour which will take place from 10.30-11am. We'll meet outside the main entrance, before the security checkpoint.

Saturday Activity Option 2 - visit to Australian War Memorial
Join other AFF members for a visit to Australian War Memorial. Please note that tours are not currently available, so you'll be visiting as a guest. There is no cost for this activity - you'll just need to make your own transport arrangements to/from Australian War Memorial. Meet outside the main entrance at 11.30am.

Saturday Activity Option 3 - Full-day winery tour
This will be a full-day winery tour with a maximum of 10 people, running from around 9.30am until approximately 3.30pm. You'll be picked up from Pepper's Gallery Hotel in Civic in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle and visit 3 wineries in the Canberra region. The cost is $190/person and includes lunch at Olleyville as well as a professional guide for the day. Note: This tour includes visits to wineries in NSW and it is recommended that you eat breakfast before joining the tour.

Saturday 5th December - evening
On Saturday evening, we'll be holding a dinner at Kingston Hotel. Before the dinner, there will be an optional one-hour Frequent Flyer Points Masterclass + Q&A session hosted by AFF editor Matt Graham from 6-7pm. This event is sponsored by Frequent Flyer Solutions and attendance is free, but you'll need to register.

After this, the main dinner will commence at 7.15pm. There will be a guest speaker at this dinner. Members will be able to order and pay for food & drinks on the night - no pre-payment is required.

Sunday 6th December
On Sunday we're offering a sightseeing tour to some of Canberra's best outdoor spots.

Sunday Tour - Mt Ainslie, Lanyon Homestead & Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Departing from Pepper's Hotel at 9.45am on Sunday morning, we'll visit Mt Ainslie for panoramic views over Canberra before heading to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in the south of Canberra, where you'll see some of the local wildlife including koalas and we'll stop for a short walk. Along the way, we'll visit Lanyon Homestead for a homestead heritage tour and lunch at the Barracks Café. We'll return to the airport by 4.45pm & the city at around 5pm. The cost is $80/person excluding lunch. This tour will remain entirely within the ACT and we recommend bringing a bottle of water with you.
 
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Bundy Bear

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From the Australian reports of the virus thread.

Well NSW Premier said this morning once remaining intra-state movement restrictions are lifted, so covid-normal, NSW will wait 2 weeks and if no spike in mystery cases open the border to all of Vic. So that could be as soon as mid November. NSW were last state to close to Vic and I'm sure will be the first to reopen to Vic.

December is looking good for Victorians to visit ACT.

And with that news I have booked the Crowne Plaza.
 
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Mattg

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Thank you to everyone that's completed their Expression of Interest form so far! If you are planning to come and haven't already, please fill this out here.

To give you an update, it looks like the Saturday night dinner & masterclass is almost at capacity. The Friday dinner is also filling up quickly, but we still have a few places available.

Unfortunately it looks like there isn't enough demand for a winery tour on Sunday, so this will probably just run on Saturday. But we still need 3 more people to sign up for the Saturday winery tour in order for this to run.

At this stage, it looks like the Sunday tour to Mt Ainslie, Lanyon Homestead & Tidbinbilla will be able to go ahead. However, we need at least 4 more people to register for this tour in order for it to be viable.

Once again, please fill out the EOI form if you haven't already. If you've already filled out the form but would like to join either the Saturday winery tour and/or the Sunday tour, please let me know so I can lock in the tour bookings.

When all of the activities are finalised, I will open up final bookings & payments.
 
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I selected the Saturday tour of Parliament House and Sunday Wine Tour, so could you please cancel me off the Saturday morning tour of Parliament House and add me to the Saturday Wine Tour. Please also add me to the Sunday tour to Mt Ainslie, Lanyon Homestead & Tidbinbilla. This of course assumes that people from Metro Victoria are allowed into the ACT.
 

Mattg

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I selected the Saturday tour of Parliament House and Sunday Wine Tour, so could you please cancel me off the Saturday morning tour of Parliament House and add me to the Saturday Wine Tour. Please also add me to the Sunday tour to Mt Ainslie, Lanyon Homestead & Tidbinbilla. This of course assumes that people from Metro Victoria are allowed into the ACT.

Done!

Hope you are able to come :)🤞
 

AIRwin

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I prefer B717...
And it just so happened I've managed to book the last reward seat today and it's scheduled to be operated by a B717...
 

Bundy Bear

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And it just so happened I've managed to book the last reward seat today and it's scheduled to be operated by a B717...

I didn't like the Qantas schedule so found an award on Virgin business class for Friday afternoon, do you think I should take my own noodles.

And thanks to Matt on the reminder of filling out the form.
 

AIRwin

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I didn't like the Qantas schedule so found an award on Virgin business class for Friday afternoon, do you think I should take my own noodles.
Why not Economy class + BYO food?
 

JessicaTam

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Just confirming that us hicks from country Vic plan to come to Canberra if we are allowed. That's 2 of us plus JessicaTam. Also my sister and BIL (khyberpilot) are also planning to attend from Albury.
I take it by 'hicks' you are speaking for yourselves?
And if us suburban MEL people are allowed out I'll be travelling on JT001.
WE might need to discuss that. o_O :eek::D
@Hvr has a confirmed boarding pass for 1A. Discuss all you like. :)
 

Glider_

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Well in light of all of the other States relaxing restrictions and NZ'ers distributing like cockroaches when the kitchen light is switched on, it seems our brave WA leader won't even consider the hard border for at least another two months.

I'm beginning to get mildly irked about it.
 

knagelli

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Anyone booked flights from Mel for this event ? Is Qantas the only option or can I still book the limited velocity options ? Thanks
 

Mattg

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Anyone booked flights from Mel for this event ? Is Qantas the only option or can I still book the limited velocity options ? Thanks

You can use Velcoity points to book on VA, if you want to. There are only limited flights though, so you'd have to fly up on Friday morning. There is currently a CBR-MEL flight on VA scheduled for Sunday evening, but this has a chance of getting cancelled (bumping you to the Monday evening flight). Velocity rewards are currently 30% off, so it's 5,400 Velocity points one-way in Y or 10,800 points in J (plus taxes).

Any chance the QP at CBR might reopen in time for this meet-up?

Not sure, but the J lounge is already open and QP members can use it :)
 

Mattg

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Another update...

The Saturday night dinner & masterclass is now officially FULL. I unfortunately cannot take any more reservations for this (unless the ACT government changes the 4-square-metre rule) as we've reached the capacity for the venue. There are still limited places available for Friday's dinner.

I've had to cancel the Sunday winery tour as there isn't enough demand. However, the Saturday winery tour will now almost certainly go ahead. The Sunday tour is also very likely to go ahead - I just need 2 more people to sign up for this for it to be viable.

If you haven't yet filled in the EOI form, you can still do so however we cannot take any more reservations for the Saturday dinner. This is now waitlist-only.
 

knagelli

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You can use Velcoity points to book on VA, if you want to. There are only limited flights though, so you'd have to fly up on Friday morning. There is currently a CBR-MEL flight on VA scheduled for Sunday evening, but this has a chance of getting cancelled (bumping you to the Monday evening flight). Velocity rewards are currently 30% off, so it's 5,400 Velocity points one-way in Y or 10,800 points in J (plus taxes).

Thanks @Mattg

However the only option I see currently on VA reward seats are as below , not sure if I am not doing the right search. Do not see anything for 5400 velocity points.

I think I will book Qantas revenue ticket if this does not workout. 1603235637098.png
 

Mattg

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Thanks @Mattg

However the only option I see currently on VA reward seats are as below , not sure if I am not doing the right search. Do not see anything for 5400 velocity points.

I think I will book Qantas revenue ticket if this does not workout. View attachment 230960

The 30% off Economy reward seats was a special promo that ended at midnight. (See here - 30% of Velocity reward seats in Economy [Book by 20/10/20, travel by 8/9/21])

The VA J reward seats should still be 30% off for a couple more days.
 
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AIRwin

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The VA J reward seats should still be 30% off for a couple more days.
Extended to 22 November for travel until 31 December (originally 24 October)...
 

serfty

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However the only option I see currently on VA reward seats are as below , not sure if I am not doing the right search. Do not see anything for 5400 velocity points.

Another consideration is that are velocity waiving cancellation fees? 4500 points is not really that much though.
 

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