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Best bang for buck? QF Gold + family trip to US Sept?

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Maxineh

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Long time lurker, First time posting, would love to get some suggestions on how to get the most out of my QFF gold status while not spending a fortune.

trip: return trip from Australia (prefer brisbane departure point) to New York City (stopping over in LA would be good), USA for a family of 3 (2 adults one child aged 9yo). flexible with dates, departing around the 7-10 Sept, returning before the 3rd Oct. we are thinking of visiting Disneyland in LA, NYC, Baltimore (for work) and New Orleans. not worried about USA domestic flights, just Australia to US for this post.

Goals in order of priority:
  1. lowest cost, the lower the better!
  2. Lounge access for the family at airports
  3. obtain status credits with Qantas
  4. direct flights or stopovers to suit child traveller. would prefer to limit flights to 8-12 hours per segment, and follow with a few days stop over to break up the trip
  5. ability to select a seat, booked a QF Flight (Emirates metal) and was able to select priority seats on Emirates web site.
  6. Earn points

I currently have around 195000 points.

so far, i am looking at my options to fly with Qantas which obviously meets all my goals -except for #1 :p - or with Cathay Pacific, but there might be issues using the lounge with an adult guest + child guest (policy wont allow it but seams a little flexible in the real world).havent really looked at any of the US one world carriers.

i am also unsure about how to best use my points.
  • I have looked at the classic awards to meet goal #1, but not sure this option still has the same value it used to and doesn't meet goals #3 and #5.
  • i have also considered the points+pay option - while i know that most don't see this as a valuable use for points, should be able to shave at least $1300 off my total costs, which helps meets goal #1, and all the other goals at the same time
  • i would LOVE to upgrade to business class, but booking a fare that allows upgrades blows any chance of #1. i have had luck with both Finair and Emirates (QF flight number) to be upgraded at check in (both times was an automatic upgrade - without asking :D) so I do know what i am missing out on in economy. if i could get a business segment, that would be great - but not my highest priority.

i will need a domestic flight to connect to my international departure point (Brisbane) so i can use the classic awards for that, but the value of points is shocking!
  • classic awards: 48000 points +$299 in taxes! = 0.714c per point
  • or $642 outright (or 81,900 points+pay) = 0.783 per point.

anyone have any suggestions on when might be the best time to book these flights? Qantas had a small sale on pre-xmas but Sept was sill higher fares.
 
The Qantas Premier Platinum Card delivers up to 100k Qantas Points, 75 bonus Status Credits, complimentary lounge invitations and travel insurance. All this with a reduced first-year annual fee of $199.

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