How do retirees still earn FF Points, and optimise travel?

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lovetravellingoz

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Ok,

I am currently considering early retirement, or at least just taking a sabbatical for a while. I have not set a date, but sooner rather than later!!! I have long aspired to this, but with a slightly older brother in law recently being diagnosed with Leukemia it has re-affirmed my long held belief that you are "a long time dead" as an old bushie told many many years ago when I was on an outback 4WD trip.


However one downside of this is that my ability to acquire FF points of various types is likely to plummet. So what does one do if one is retired (or at least not working?

Knowing that my points earning ability will drop hugely, I have made sure I have a stockpile of several million points.

But with dropping down to living off investment income, I can see that ability to gain points by card-churning is going largely disappear (retirees can confirm???). Less overall incomes will also mean less credit card spend and hence less FF points.

So I am interested in what specific strategies that retirees use to 1/ acquire points or 2/ make the post of their points or 3/ when you have to pay, what you do to optimise your spend.



Some obvious ones are:
  • So far I have not needed to "buy" points for my travels on AA/ Lifemiles etc. So once my stockpile is gone, I suspect that I too will be taking this path.
  • Being more able to buy heavily discounted airfares (though seems less common for J, and the deep deals are mainly Y from what I have seen-though I have never really had to look. Currently these deals are either at dates I cannot go, or have to be taken too quickly (my current work requires pre-planning to allow for gaps to take holidays in).
  • Off peak travel (however I largely do this already to not just save cost, but to avoid crowds.

So what are your ideas for retirees to boost their travel opportunities? Hopefully this thread can be a good resource for those that are retired, or whom are considering it.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Buying miles is (or was) a cheap way to go. The falling AUD has made it less attractive, but that might change eventually.

Buying heavily discounted airfares is pretty easy in business class and is probably the way to go these days if you are wanting to go to Europe. An economy fare to Singapore and from there you can pick up business class to Europe for ~$2200-2500, sometimes even much less. (Sri Lanakan airlines regularly offers 25-30% off their fares, with business class ex SIN coming in around AUD1800). Those flights will offer you full points and status credits.
 

burmans

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Not so sure on the question regarding CC churning. Have been doing a bit of googling on this without clear answer but essentially lenders look at ability to pay and credit scores. There is nothing to indicate that credit scores are affected by retirement, in fact in general older payers with a long credit history are better payers (this may be more useful when we actually get comprehensive reporting). As long as you do have income (I'm assuming you will be a self funded retiree and hence you will have money to live off), are living within your means and are making payments on time banks will most likely lend to you (they might want to see proof you have closed other lending facilities down).
 

Rugby

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Mrs Rugby and I have lifetime Gold status in the plan as part of our retirement to assist us when we will no longer be chasing status. I think of it as the superannuation of frequent flying.
 

Fifa

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Mrs Rugby and I have lifetime Gold status in the plan as part of our retirement to assist us when we will no longer be chasing status. I think of it as the superannuation of frequent flying.

I just read out your post to my +1 and reminded him that it isn't just me who has the same thoughts!
But you put it into words very well :D.
 

van

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I am in the same boat. We are both LTS with Qantas but are not impressed with their enhanced FF changes. However we use our FF points store judisously to maintain Gold Status. We only fly business class after years of being spoilt. We aggregate heaps of FF points through our credit cards and use these for lots of no cost flights.
 

aupirate

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I'm also looking at traveling for awhile not sure I can call it early retirement yet, time will tell. At this stage I prefer to call it a year off, my wife tells me I'm retiring, usually she is correct about these things. I'm resigned to deep discount economy as long as we can travel and explore the world. VA WP will no doubt fall away but QF match to Gold is hopefully coming my way so all won't be lost in the short term. At the end of the day I feel privileged to be able to travel and experience people and places that a lot of others can't. Like the OP I'm eager to hear other retirees thoughts.
 

amaroo

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After burning the candle at both ends, at the age of 42 - I took 4 years off (to make breakfast, lunches and dinner for the family), back on the job now.

I managed to maintain QF Plat and crawl over the LTG line during this time - have only just dropped to LTG, but will be Plat by June.

Haven't purchased any miles/points yet ... the numbers makes sense, depending on the currency.

You need deep pockets for a decent retirement ... maintaining an interest in a few businesses is our plan.
 

drron

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I retired in December 2006 2 weeks before I turned 60.I was burnt out and not enjoying my work but loved to travel.
A week later I was back at work and spent Christmas,my birthday and New Years working in Mt.Isa.Loved it.Learnt so much.
So since I have been working around Australia for 4-5 months a year and travelled 4-5 months a year.
Most of the places I work have medical students.I Seem to be appreciated as often instead of the one posted to my team I usually have 2 or 3 tagging along at rounds.Probably because as I have little red tape to attend to I can spend a lot more time.Have even been a Clinical Examiner at one posting.

So my advice is find something to do that not only brings in a bit more money but that can bring you satisfaction and pleasure as well.
Life truly begins at 60.
 

kpc

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drron....I'm going to do exactly that...by your criteria, unfortunately, retirement is still a long way away:(...I currently have nearly 10 months long service leave which I would like to take at some point in the next 5-7 years, and base mysrlf OS and do stacks of travel:)
 

ozkid

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very encouraging words drron, I'm sure your med students appreciate the wisdom, there is much that cannot and should not be learnt from textbooks and the internet. Medicine is still very much an apprenticeship and good to see the investment in young people
 

hossein_au

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I am in the same boat. We are both LTS with Qantas but are not impressed with their enhanced FF changes. However we use our FF points store judisously to maintain Gold Status. We only fly business class after years of being spoilt. We aggregate heaps of FF points through our credit cards and use these for lots of no cost flights.

Even if you accrue points at absolutely zero cost, I am not sure if you can call them no cost flights especially if your airline of choice is Qantas.
 

cove

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Very encouraging words drron I must say. Working 2 days a week at one of our offices has been fun and I am now 65.
Most of our friends we go to dinner with in Perth are paying zero or close to zero to the ATO as they have their funds in superannuation which is their tax haven.
I have been happy with our sons doing AA and US Air miles purchasing so they don't have to hit us up too often.
Just getting a Qantas Credit Union card for all the non Amex bills is something you might want to have pre retirement as the income test can be more difficult for some to get new credit cards.
 

lovetravellingoz

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Just getting a Qantas Credit Union card for all the non Amex bills is something you might want to have pre retirement as the income test can be more difficult for some to get new credit cards.
my free for life citi signature is my current preferred option for non_amex spend. Will keep my amex edge as it is great value with the flight and its ability to earn at nany businesses at 3 points.

I have several other cards. But will let some go.

I will probably keep my free westpac black that comes with my suite of loans. I will use the loans to buy shares or index funds after market corrections. This catd will probably also provide my travel insurance needs for a while.
 

lovetravellingoz

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Most of our friends we go to dinner with in Perth are paying zero or close to zero to the ATO as they have their funds in superannuation which is their tax haven.
.
If that , and I am no accountant , but I assume that thay are actually paying 15% tax then?


I certainly am using super as well and am planning to not touch it till I am 60+. I am 54 now.

I intend to live off share divends till then with perhaps some sales of shares.

There will also be some work or investing . I might take a break for a bit and then some part time later.....or possibly a business of the right type.

Wife also has 6 months lsl which we are looking to take at half pay for a year before she retires.

I also have one occasional project that I can continue which is very flexible when I work on it.


Also one can consider maximising travel as a lucrative part time job in terms of what benefits it can realise.:) Some of the ability to do that will be lost with reduced cashflow though. ...
 

cove

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Once the superfund goes into pension phase the 15% fund rate seems to no longer apply. You may need to talk to a professional about that. I am not there so I have not studied that idea.
We run our own superfund and esuperfund has been a fantastic option but it only suits those who are used to investing and can use Commsec or ETrade without assistance. Probably only 25% of the community would be a good fit for self run super. The accounting and audit costs a total of $699 per year for the two of us and there are no trailing commissions on our funds.
The fee free Citi option is a very good one and suits folks who are near retiring.
 

cove

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Thanks for posting that CaptJCool as it explains the tax free super thingy.
Lowering your cost of living to retire is not that helpful in running up frequent flyer points.
Buying points is not always out of the question and there are threads on AA, US Air Dividend Miles (about to end), Avianca Life Miles, Alaskan and others that may suit.
 

lovetravellingoz

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cove

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About 2200 night time sleeps and you will be over that hurdle.
 
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