Flying cheap / in higher classes - sounds like too much work.

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For me flying in a premium cabin for long haul flights is a way to maximise whatever precious time on the ground I have away from the office and my family. My wife has little personal interest in overseas travel, and we have two small children, so she will occasionally give me a leave pass to head to the UK, for example - but only for a week. Because time is precious, I don't want to waste time on the ground recovering from jetlag, so maximising sleep and comfort on the trip is essential. This is my motivation for flying J on long haul - and what keeps bringing me back to AFF.

But for my mum, she'd much rather fly Y to Europe, and stay at the Ritz or shell out on expensive leather goods in Italy. She's an infrequent flyer and has never been anything but NB with QF and VA. She's almost 70 and doesn't work outside the home, so recovery times for jetlag are much cheaper, than the extra coin (or effort) for securing a seat in a premium cabin.

I don't play the credit card game as I don't want it to hurt my/our credit card rating - we're looking to buy a new house here in Sydney and here on the lower north shore, they don't come cheap - so looking good for the bank is important. So points collation and spend is less important to me than the other tips available here.

The AFF revelation about getting a J flight from the UK to either BKK, SIN or HKG, and then Y from there, while simple, was for me a game changer. Simple, but big for me! :)
 

bfm

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@ Lawrage

I'm the opposite to you.

I gain points from various sources not because I'm loyal. Rather, I find the best value 'deal' for me and buy that.

On an O/S flight both QANTAS and VIRGIN are so expensive. So, to upgrade means I'd have to spend up big just to get the opportunity. For example, from Brisbane to London, currently both Cathay and MAS (recently also Thai) are offering flights some $3 - 400 LESS than QANTAS and VIRGIN.

So, I tend to use my points on domestic flights.

Cheers
 

shbap

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What a great thread! It makes me feel inspired, inadequate and envious (aka jealous) all at the same time!
 

bobw

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I decided to burn some points by taking my wife on a shopping trip to Singapore. I tried to get business class bookings at least 3-4 days every month for the next 12. No joy at all. Now I use my points for accommodation.
 

Dr Ralph

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I decided to burn some points by taking my wife on a shopping trip to Singapore. I tried to get business class bookings at least 3-4 days every month for the next 12. No joy at all. Now I use my points for accommodation.

Which airlines did you try?

Where were you flying from?

I can see Qantas J class fares in Oct, Nov, Dec 2017 and Jan 2018 from SYD.
 

harvyk

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I decided to burn some points by taking my wife on a shopping trip to Singapore. I tried to get business class bookings at least 3-4 days every month for the next 12. No joy at all. Now I use my points for accommodation.

Need more information, yes to get a good points bookings often take a little bit more work that slapping in CC numbers, but I've never had issues finding J redemption.
Were you trying for peak times or specific flights only? Where you looking at only direct flights, or would a connecting flight have worked? This is sort of what I was talking about in my first post, these things are there if you are willing to go seeking them and are willing to go a little out of the ordinary.
 
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A few years ago Mme Pug and I got shoved down the back of the plane after having been advised of a points upgrade in the morning of an overnight QF flight from NRT to SYD. I lost all faith in points upgrades and started flying long-haul in J either by buying cash upgrades on the day (last time Bangkok to Oslo and back again), or by going through one of those US operations that gets you a ticket with miles and sells it to you for $US.

I then read some AFF forum posts and joined AA rewards with the view to buying some miles (when bonus mile deals came up) to then convert to J class tickets. When the latest bonus miles deal came up and I checked on flight availability (very flexibly) there were plenty of Y seats available but none in J - and the ones that were available were dearer than other options.

So now I'm ignoring the AA rewards program and have got onto the points accumulation scheme (recommended on AFF). I got the Amex card with lots of sign-up points. I buy my wines from EpiQure. I converted my Acquire points to FF points. Hopefully, I will have enough points to flexibly get Mme Pug and me to Europe in J in 2018. All hints and tips are appreciated.
 

coco50

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A work colleague of mine commented the other week that I obviously earn way too much money since I am always traveling and have done it in the higher classes (not much by AFF standards but a bit by normal person standards). I offered to explain to him how I do it and after about 2 minutes his response was "that sounds too much like work".

Has anyone successfully taught non FFers tips and tricks of flying on the cheap / getting into the higher classes? Or is it a journey which must be discovered by ones self?

"that sounds too much like work". This is a real cop out. It reminds me of the time that my wife and I flew into SBA to meet our daughter and son-in-law on the way to a wedding. They decided to rent a car and so they went to the Hertz franchise. It took them nearly an hour to complete the transaction. Once we got going I suggested that my daughter join Hertz No. 1 gold. I explained you could do it online in a few minutes. After that, car rentals would simply involve making the booking online and picking up the keys at the franchise. She told me that she didn't have time to do all that, to which I replied that she had a hour of time to fritter negotiating a booking at the franchise.

What people need to realise is that often, spending a little bit of time will yield a result way out of proportion to the time and effort spent. There are people in FF centres and TAs willing to help you out. Imagine buying a J ticket and using points to be upgraded to F? Too much like work? enjoy your seat in economy in that case.
 

MEL_Traveller

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A few years ago Mme Pug and I got shoved down the back of the plane after having been advised of a points upgrade in the morning of an overnight QF flight from NRT to SYD. I lost all faith in points upgrades and started flying long-haul in J either by buying cash upgrades on the day (last time Bangkok to Oslo and back again), or by going through one of those US operations that gets you a ticket with miles and sells it to you for $US.

I then read some AFF forum posts and joined AA rewards with the view to buying some miles (when bonus mile deals came up) to then convert to J class tickets. When the latest bonus miles deal came up and I checked on flight availability (very flexibly) there were plenty of Y seats available but none in J - and the ones that were available were dearer than other options.

So now I'm ignoring the AA rewards program and have got onto the points accumulation scheme (recommended on AFF). I got the Amex card with lots of sign-up points. I buy my wines from EpiQure. I converted my Acquire points to FF points. Hopefully, I will have enough points to flexibly get Mme Pug and me to Europe in J in 2018. All hints and tips are appreciated.

'those operations' that get you a ticket with miles and sell them to you have access to exactly the same seats you do. If they can get them, you can too, but cut out the intermediary costs. (on a side note I was amazed to see one of those point assistant services charging 20% of the cash value of the ticket as a fee!)

AA has it's sweet spots and can be excellent value. AA brings Japan airlines, qantas, and etihad first class into easy reach.

But having a mix of account with say United, lifemiles, American (and qantas), means you always have the option to buy miles during sales and choose the alliance that suits you.
 

JessicaTam

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I have had one convert to chasing the better seats. Most of the time I am met with the standard glazed look when I try to explain.l

Can I please be directed to the face to face course?? I feel like I could do with some direction and discussion.
Dare I suggest that you come along to an AFF do. Lots of info gets exchanged that never makes it onto the forum.
 

petunia

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I stumbled across this forum several years ago and applied myself with the same dedication as to my day job, to gleaning as much knowledge as possible. The result has been two wonderful world trips with my husband (2 x 280K J trips to Canada/USA/Alaska in 2015 and in 2016 UK/Spain/NYC using our QFF points. Yes, it took months and months of research and hours spent poring over threads on this forum, but our friends are so envious that we flew business class. Trust me, not our usual style, but oh what a feeling! On explanation, our friends eyes glaze over and not one of them has investigated any further - too complicated! We are looking forward to our next 280K J trip, the hardest part is deciding to go next. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the members of AFF forum for their generosity in sharing their knowledge. The information is all there, if you can be bothered to apply yourself to seek it out. I still have a lot to learn, and look forward to my homework on this forum.
 

cove

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I don't have a problem with folks thinking it is too hard as it leaves us to get the best seats for the least number of points/miles.
 

VPS

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I too get - but you're always on holidays and tell people about sign up bonuses on credit cards and buying points and they say they can't be bothered but they want to have all the perks of flying up the front. I just signed up for the Amex Qantas with a 112,500 bonus points and sent the referral to four people who are the biggest complainers and I bet none of them even bother

I would never have got where I am without all the help from the wonderful people on this forum and their patience when I was a newbie - I try and repay it to others
 
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Completely agree!

I couldn't agree more - congrats to all the members who look after us newbies. Having "studied" the FF game for many years I feel I know a little, however after our last J
travel to Europe in Sept/Oct 2016, my beloved can't understand why we can't travel J to Morocco just 6 months later. I try to explain that to get to 200k+ pts again it's means spending more - she's happy with that - but J on the long legs will have to do. The KVS solution is worth every cent!
 
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anat0l

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I couldn't agree more - congrats to all the members who look after us newbies. Having "studied" the FF game for many years I feel I know a little, however after our last J travel to Europe in Sept/Oct 2016, my beloved can't understand why we can't travel J to Morocco just 6 months later. I try to explain that to get to 200k+ pts again it's means spending more - she's happy with that - but J on the long legs will have to do. The KVS solution is worth every cent!

There's a good point here - there's quite a few of us who just don't fly or spend enough to generate enough points to fly every year (let alone more than once per year) all around the world (we're not talking about shorter trips, where even flying in J for those may be debatable).

A lot of us generate our targets through credit card signups and rare promotions. Yes, you can buy miles, but generally these are getting less lucrative. There's only so many times in a set period that you can sign up for new credit cards (and sometimes you just won't be able to).

If you have to travel as more than one person, this can be even more difficult (once again, families with kids can have a harder time in this regard).

Being savvy by directing your spend carefully rather than a random "splatter" strategy helps to meet your goal earlier, but not necessarily as fast as you (or your better half) would like it to be.

All of this is just part and parcel of the game. There's a feeling when you get back from holiday - great memories, and all of your FF account balances are drained.......
 

serfty

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There's a good point here - there's quite a few of us who just don't fly or spend enough to generate enough points to fly every year ...

All of this is just part and parcel of the game. There's a feeling when you get back from holiday - great memories, and all of your FF account balances are drained.......
Very true ... generally we can generate 300k across all programs every year without buying points directly.

About 100k comes from actual travel, the rest through spend on CC/shopping.

Being WP does help with points generation
 

JohnK

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Businessman friend has 3M QFF points. He has never redeemed any

Same reasons as above
I now have ~1.2 QFF points.

Can't plan too far ahead. Taxes and surcharges are way too high.

I have redeemed some points for domestic travel for wife and daughter. I now have dates for Jun/Jul 2017 trip to Thailand for myself and wife and daughter. Cannot come back around 14-15 Jul from BKK/HKG/SIN. No award seats. Yes I know it's school holidays but the game is getting too difficult.

The next trip is likely to be Sep/Oct but again school holidays so will more than likely push that out to Oct/Nov which is not really suitable.

Hoping I can use those points for Oneworld awards in 2-3 years time. The game was easy in 2007 and 2009 when I booked last minute Oneworld for myself and another for dad and myself.
 
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