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Help me chose the most relevant FF program for my needs

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Hi all,

I have been lurking the forum for a while, I have also spent a lot of time reading about different FF programs and all the credit cards on offer. It's been 3 months and it's doing my head in!!

My problem is simple (or so I thought). I needed to get my husband a credit card that he could use for his business. We are both French so we travel back to Europe every year to visit our families. Hence I need to choose a program with good travel options back to France.

Personally we love flying with Qatar. They have the best options in terms of service and timetable so to speak. However I couldn't find any CC that would allow us to win points for Qatar. :(

So next I had a look at the airlines offering the cheapest award tickets for Europe. It seemed to be Emirates. So I got hubby a Citibank Emirates CC. He already accrued 50k points in a month (thanks to the joining bonus). The annual fee is paid by the company so not a big deal.
At that point we were happy. Since then though I have read many threads saying how rubbish Skywards is, how difficult it is to redeem award tickets and how much we'll have to pay in fuel levy etc.

So if anyone has any good pointers for me, I'm completely lost and wondering if I made a bad choice.

Thanks for your help! :D
 

RooFlyer

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Love the handle :)

Given that you can get Emirates award flights using Qantas FF points, QFF might be an option to join. Lots more points earning opportunities though credit cards, hotels, shopping, domestic flights, wine etc. Of course Qantas has high fees and charges on Award flights (I can't remember if you pay Emirates level fees on EK flights, or Qantas ones).
 

dajop

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I've found Emirates increasingly difficult to use, and the fuel surcharges have skyrocketed in the last 2 years from nothing to Qantas levels - but it may depend on route, time of year, cabin class etc.

One option that is worth considering is to "hold" credit card points in a bank program and transfer when you need to use them - to the program that has the best availability at that specific time. There are several banks with these type of CC's - Amex Membership Rewards seems to have the biggest/best range of partners, but has less acceptance than Visa/Mastercard. In terms of availability and least points required - Malaysian Enrich seems to be one of the best out there, and with A380 services to Paris from Kuala Lumpur, it is pretty good deal to get business class from Australia for 51,000 points in each direction.

For Qatar - of course Qantas is a partner, not likely to be very lucrative, also consider MH or CX programs via credit cards. The only way of getting points to QR I can think of is Amex MR points -> SPG points -> QR points, the ratio is 1000 MR points = 625 QR points.
 

yohy?!

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a good rule of thumb is to choose programs of carriers in your home country to maximise points earn and benefits.

ie either qantas or Va will allow you to earn credit card points as well as points directly with many merchants in australia on top

either program will probably have the widest range of redemption options also with qantas being redeemable for oneworld partner flights and virgin points bein transferable to singapore airlines for star alliance partner flights
 

Supersonic Swinger

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One option that is worth considering is to "hold" credit card points in a bank program and transfer when you need to use them - to the program that has the best availability at that specific time. There are several banks with these type of CC's - Amex Membership Rewards seems to have the biggest/best range of partners, but has less acceptance than Visa/Mastercard.
I think this is very good advice. Store whatever you can in Membership Rewards and they can be transferred to 9 different airline partners when you need to travel and can find availability on one of them.

You can also look into the American Airlines program. Earning on Qatar is better there than if you were crediting to Qantas, and AU-EU return in business class is 120,000 AA miles.

Although beware, a devaluation of the AA program next year wouldn't be too surprising, given the devaluations other programs have been undertaking (Qantas being the granddaddy of devaluers).
 
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bismarck

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I will cast another vote for warehousing.

The combo that works for me is Amex Plat Edge for most domestic spend, supplemented with a Fee Free for Life Citibank Signature card useful for where Amex is not accepted and for overseas spend. For best use to Europe you would probably look to transfer to Singapore, though Virgin may also be an option.

Amex is obviously the best program to warehouse in and you could look to transfer to Malaysian to take advantage of their good availability and A380 to Paris.

I don't have any experience with EK so can't really comment on how that goes.
 

Nizar

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I will cast another vote for warehousing.

The combo that works for me is Amex Plat Edge for most domestic spend, supplemented with a Fee Free for Life Citibank Signature card useful for where Amex is not accepted and for overseas spend. For best use to Europe you would probably look to transfer to Singapore, though Virgin may also be an option.

Amex is obviously the best program to warehouse in and you could look to transfer to Malaysian to take advantage of their good availability and A380 to Paris.

I don't have any experience with EK so can't really comment on how that goes.
Totally agree and that's the direction I'm looking at heading in.
Amex Plat Edge for domestic everyday spend and Citibank signature for online/overseas merchant spend (booking hotels, revenue fares, buying miles, etc).
 
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Thanks all for your precious advises. Warehousing makes a lot of sense and it's too bad I didn't come acros it earlier in my research.

Now I have to crunch the numbers together and see whether it's better to move to warehousing now despite having just paid for the citibank emirates card a few month ago or wait it out a little. I guess it depends what we'd be able to do with our ~60k skywards points too.

Thanks!
 

Supersonic Swinger

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Thanks all for your precious advises. Warehousing makes a lot of sense and it's too bad I didn't come acros it earlier in my research.

Now I have to crunch the numbers together and see whether it's better to move to warehousing now despite having just paid for the citibank emirates card a few month ago or wait it out a little. I guess it depends what we'd be able to do with our ~60k skywards points too.

Thanks!
I would suggest wait it out a little while. Continue using the Emirates MC as it will be accepted at more places than Amex. But consider getting either the Amex Platinum Rewards (https://www.americanexpress.com/au/content/platinum-rewards-credit-card/) or Platinum Edge (https://www.americanexpress.com/au/content/platinum-edge-credit-card/) to use at places which accept Amex to warehouse, and you can always transfer to Emirates from Amex at some later point.

Both of the cards appear to have an offer of $0 annual fee for the first year, and depending on which one you pick you'd get up to 3 points per $ on supermarket purchases.
 

dajop

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Hint: I don't use my Emirates MasterCard any more and have rung up with full intention to cancel it - twice now. They just won't let me though!
 

andye

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The other Australian Credit Card that can transfer to Qatar is Diners Club (via SPG). Diners cards are not particularly popular as they have less acceptance than Amex but they do now offer a Mastercard as part of a 2-card package. The earn rate on the Mastercard is not particuarly high on face value but as you can transfer to so many airline programs via SPG it can be appealing to some. In my view, if you get it, probably better to have it in addition to an Amex card
 

andye

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Of couse, as Qatar are part of One World, you could get available redemption seats on them with points in any of the One World Partner schemes. The number of points and taxes would vary between programmes.
QFF: multiple credit cards
Cathay Asia Miles : Amex (Plat, Gold, Plat Edge, Plat Reserve, Business Accelerator), Westpac Altitude, Citi Prestige, ANZ, Diners
Malaysian Enrich: Amex (as above) Westpac Altitude, St George
American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, JAL (all via SPG): Amex and Diners

However, one of the difficulties is that unless you have very high spending as part of a business it is difficult to garner huge amounts of points from spending alone.
Flying is the obvious way to get lots of points and your card should ideally complement the paid flights you take most often.
Credit card sign-up bonuses is the other. It's relatively easy to get multiple Qantas and Velocity sign-up bonuses but a bit harder with the other programmes
 
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