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Having doubts about usefulness of FF program

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May 26, 2007

My first post. Have just purchased a FF ticket Perth to Singapore for two. The taxes and fees came in at over $500.00. We generate most of our points from the use of our ANZ visa card and the occasional flight. The cost of the card and FF program is somewhere between $100 to $200 per year. Now that Tiger Air and possibly Asia Air are entering the domestic and international market in Australia, I'm really wondering if I should ditch the FF programme and fly when I want, with the new competitors.There seems to be litte finiancial gain in being loyal to QF. I know the seat pitch is tighter, with Tiger and Asia Air, and there is no food or entertainment, but I can suffer that for the occasional recreation flight. Very interested what you think - am I missing something in my logic?


Established Member
Mar 20, 2006
Hello GreyGrump, and welcome to AFF.

Value of the QFF prgram will vary between everyone. In my situation I only credit points from my flights, which are many, hotel stays, and hire car rentals. Since the demise of Ansett I have never transfered any points to a FF program. All my points earned on CC's (Citibank and CommBank) are used for vouchers and products. I have redeemd for cashback, Harvey Norman, Myer, Bunnings vouchers and a toaster, kettle, cordless vac.

The points I earn in QFF, I generally use for domestic J flights where the taxes are comparatively low to actual seat value or recently where points can be used to cover the taxes, or for upgrades on Domestic or Int flights.

If you dont fly often, and don't earn a heap of points you may be better off having a credit card program with cashback, or travel vouchers.


Active Member
May 1, 2007
Welcome to AFF GreyGrump.

As Reggie mentioned, the usefullness of the FF program is very subjective. The overall usefullness really depends on what you want out of the program.

If you are after free flights, then the best value for travel is to use these on expensive routes. Eg. BNE-SYD is 8000 points and $50 taxes, representing a $50 saving. On the contrary, I recently used my points for a flight Montreal - New York with AA (8000 points) with $USD32 taxes with a value of $USD255, a saving of well over $AUD250. Generally speaking, the further you travel, the more value you get as well.

Then there is the prospect of upgrades. As you travel "on the occasional flight", maybe these are of no value to you either.

At the end of the day, you need to weigh up the $100-$200 and work out if you have saved that much or are going backwards? Alternatively, if you want QF points, look at a different credit card program.

All the best,


Aug 27, 2004
LT Gold
My Map
I have never seen value in the Qantas FF program as an end-point for credit card points. After all, it is a Frequent Flyer program and to me half the benefits from the program are those related to FF status. So with Qantas' insistence in supplementing their revenue by charging fuel fines on award tickets, I have come to the conclusion that QF FF award flights are poor value. I now only use my QF FF points for flight upgrades (which are achievable due to FF status), and purchase flights with other means.


Established Member
Aug 15, 2006
As stated, the value is very subjective.

While upgrades certainly seem to be one of the best ways to get value out of your points (as there are no additional taxes/fines involved), as littl_flier said you can get good value out of them with other airlines such as AA.

I recently wanted to take a flight from Kansas City (MCI) to DFW, then onto MEX and back. The MCI-DFW flight was ~$200AUD (return), while the DFW-MEX flight was ~$700 (return).

In the end, the most effective plan (for me) was to purchase the MCI-DFW flight ($200), and use points (24,000 + $75 return) for DFW-MEX. I wasn't willing to pay $900 in airfares for the weekend, but was more than happy to pay $275 + 24,000pts. :)

- Febs.


Established Member
Dec 26, 2006
Ok so maybe your $100-200 ($140 gold, $190 plat ?) yearly cost for the credit card can't be justified but if you need a big limit the same card with the no FF points is still $95

But the actual points you now accumulate cost nothing (if your already a QFF member) even if you do ditch the credit card.

But the card may have other perks for the cost like travel insurance.

I use my points for upgrades rather than outright purchase of flights, for me thats better value but every situation is different.
And if you don't mind flying Y to SIN then thats great :) I have to fly Y as its under 8hrs (company policy, actually i generally end up flying Y all the way to Europe as well) but there is no way i would ever choose any less seat pitch than QF/BA/CX/SQ etc. J if i can get it but next week there is just no flights on the day i want to travel with award upgrade seats (actually i know atleast 2 of the airlines i mentioned don't have any J seats at all, not even for $$)

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Jun 15, 2006
Evan said:
there is no way i would ever choose any less seat pitch than QF/BA/CX/SQ etc.
Good point. Tiger and Air Asia are really not directly comparable with the above mentioned airlines; less space, little or no free entertainment & refreshments and very limited luggage allowance, beyond which you will pay up nicely. A couple more points is that the LCC's often tend to fly many routes at odd hours (eg Tiger leaves Darwin at 3am) and can (in the case of Air Asia at least) be regularly delayed; 2 - 4 hours behind is not uncommon.

So you need to compare apples with apples to start with..... but I agree that with QF the taxes and fines really take the bulk of the reward out of the award flight using points. An award flight has now become just a discounted flight with limited availability and little flexibility.


Veteran Member
Mar 22, 2005
The value of FF points is different to everyone. I agree with most here that the best redemption appears to be on relatively expensive flights with other Oneworld carriers or even on some routes that QF services.

For me the best redemption of FF points is on a 16 sector, 5 stopover RTW award. My upcoming RTW cost 140,000 QFF points and $935 in taxes and surcharges. What is the value of the RTW trip? I would guess around $3500-$4000. So in effect, subtracting taxes and surcharges, I have gotten somewhere between $2600-$3100 value for my FF points.


Well, you wouldn't be the first to question the value of FREQUENT FLYER programme......as the name suggests, the best value is to be had by Frequent Flyers.

Echoing some of the sentiments above...

I mainly use my QFF points for upgrades and gift flights - eg: providing a relative with a holiday flight. My CC points are almost exclusively redeemed for Coles/Myer or DJs vouchers - much to the delight of Mrs Shillard.

Miles? Pffffft - it's all about the status. Once you go Plat, you never go back.


Senior Member
Jul 13, 2006
Hi GreyGrump...

The post above about Plat status are irrelevant to you as you do not fly enough.

BUT there are still benefits to be had:

You can also most likely reduce your yearly credit cards costs. READ the Citibank and AMEX.

Your current VISA probably has a low earn rate..switching to Citibank VISA will probably double it...and at AMEX you can possibly triple it.

At AMEX you can also get your card free for the first year....plus there are regular specials where you can earn FREE up to 17500 point...35000 for the two of you

You can accumulate point...how many you gain per year may influence if you redeem them on flights or goods.

If you decide to burn your points on flights...then overseas long distance flights are generally better value than domestic.

The Round The World ticket being about the best on economy burn rates.

Upgrades are great burn rates...but low stus FF will be unlikely to geta an upgrade.

You can also book business seats...at an attractive earn rate.

One queston to ask yourself is how many $$ will you put through.

As a couple it should bea reasonable amount.

Boost your CC spend with occassional flight and earn from hotels and hire cars etc...and you may earn an overseas flight per year.

In my case I have earnt over 120,000 points in the last year...two tickets to Asia return...or almost enough for a Round The wold ticket (Plus in both cases fuel fines and taxes)

Good Hunting


Mar 9, 2006
I will also chime in about FF being b=very subjective.

I almost cirtainly go to HKG each year with the wife. Prefering CX to QF, I use my points for this. Giving up 5k FFM and SC's and saving close to $2k is a valid swap for me.


Senior Member
Jul 13, 2006
lovetravellingoz said:
Hi GreyGrump...

In my case I have earnt over 120,000 points in the last year...two tickets to Asia return...or almost enough for a Round The World ticket (Plus in both cases fuel fines and taxes)

Good Hunting
I just had my Bali Starclass Promo flights post....so doing an accurate tally my wife and I have earned 170,000 frequent flyer points since July 13 2006.....with only 25,000 points coming from flying.

A Round The World Economy ticket on One World alliance is say 142500 points...so that is say $2500-3500 post tax (so if I had to BUY the ticket I would have to earn an extr $6000 odd!!)....for a few minutes worth of work here and there in applying for things anda bit of thought in arranging things..

Not too bad a return:)

Plus have saved on paying credit card fees (I have not paid one dollar for years..)

Plus through the Wizard Card (also free) have saved $5 a pop ATM fees when overseas.
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