How to Earn Most QFF Points on a USA Trip

Discussion in 'Your Questions' started by Baysider, Jul 13, 2007.

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  1. Baysider

    Baysider Active Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    643
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    Brisbane
    I will be travelling cattle class with my family (4 pax in total) to San Francisco and New York in December. The best priced options we have at present are travelling with JAL (Class N) or AA (Classes Q/S). Changing to Qantas would cost us at least $900 more. Another option is Air Pacific via Fiji and LAX.

    We are all Qantas FF members, myself silver and nearing gold. Can anyone give me some tips on which options will give us most QFF points and which will give us least? I think we earn the same status credits with any of these carriers - is that right? Thanks.
     

  2. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
    6,419
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    Using AA and doing a Platinum Challenge would work nicely for best value methunks. All of you would be able to attain AA Platinum ( OW sapphire c.f. QF Gold )

    If you pay a bit extra such that you travel outbound in V class, then you could all get Platinum on the outbound trip, earn extra miles plus have lounge access et al for the flight home

    Dave
     
  3. Baysider

    Baysider Active Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    643
    174
    Brisbane
    Thanks Dave. Can you please tell me a bit more about how the platinum challenge works? Is there a web link where I can read up on it? Your advice is much appreciated.
     
  4. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
    6,419
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    http://www.frequentflyer.com.au/community/american-airlines-advantage/aa-platinum-challenge-mileage-8595.html

    has the details of the challenge

    If you were to fly using American Airlines outbound in V ( codeshared on Qantas ), assuming you went SYD-SFO-JFK, the distance should be 7417 + 2586 = 10003 miles. Rather than risk the posted mileage being out and not quite attaining it, I would suggest, perhaps SYD-LAX-SFO-JFK for 10575 miles

    In V class, you will complete the challenge on SFO-JFK. This will (a) give you the ability to use J checkin and the Admiral's Club lounge before departure on your way back ozbound, plus you could ( subject to availability ) upgrade on the flight back across the US for 5 Upgrade Credits which would cost you $150 .

    Your mileage earning, assuming a simple SYD-LAX-SFO-JFK-LAX-SYD would be

    SYD-LAX - 7488
    LAX-SFO - 500
    SFO-JFK - 2586 plus 2586 bonus for completing challenge
    JFK-LAX - 2475 plus 2475 Platinum bonus
    LAX-SYD - 7488 plus 7488 Platinum bonus

    Total Earning = 32,586
    Add on the 1000 miles for joining as an international member
    Plus 2000 which you can earn for converting earned upgrades to miles as a Platinum member

    then you will each have earned over 35k miles

    20k is enough for a r/t from anywhere in AU/NZ to anywhere else in AU/NZ in economy; 35k will provide for travel in business on the same route and no fuel surcharges to pay

    Dave
     
  5. Baysider

    Baysider Active Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    643
    174
    Brisbane
    Dave,


    At this stage we are probably travelling on the following itinerary:
    BNE-NRT (Qantas class Q)
    NRT-JFK (AA class Q)
    SFO-LAX-NRT-BNE (AA class S)

    From my reading of the AA website, the Qantas class Q flight will not earn any elite qualifying points, and possibly the AA class Q flight, and the AA class S flights only 0.5 elite qualifying points per mile earned, though all will earn AA Advantage miles.


    We do have an option with JAL, all in class N, but only SFO return:
    BNE-NRT-SFO-NRT-BNE

    However it seems we earn 50% mileage accrual and 0.5 elite qualifying points per mile earned (I take it that is per mile onthe 50% earn rate, i.e. 0.25 eqp per mile flown).



    Either way, the discount level probably kills off the platinum challenge option. Would you agree?
     
  6. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
    6,419
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    If you are going to stick to Q/S class then the Platinum Challenge would not work

    Q Class on AA between NRT-USA would not earn miles
    Q Class on QF would not earn miles
    S Class on AA earns full mileage and 50% qpoints
    S Class on QF earns 50% mileage and 25% qpoints

    If the increase in fare from Q to V is not too much then I would recommend upgrading the outbound journey and challenge your way there. Leave the return in S since it will make no odds since you will be nicely qualified and once Platinum it doesn't matter whether you are in V or S

    Dave
     
  7. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    I thought it was only O class between N.A and Asia that didn't earn Q-Points/miles. Q class not earning miles/Q-Points is only for Trans Atlantic isn't it?
     
  8. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
    6,419
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    Ahh, my bad; I was reading the footprint and misread the Q rule.

    Indeed Q is eligable for mileage and qpoint accruing, however with it being a 50% qpoint accrual rate, then it still would not enable the challenge to be completed. Another option which would work but be cheaper would be to change the S class to V class and leave the outbound in Q

    This would earn less miles since the BNE-NRT would not earn miles; I suspect that the fare difference to go from S-V would be small enough as to make it worthwhile

    What are the dates and price quoted for the trip?

    Dave
     
  9. Baysider

    Baysider Active Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    643
    174
    Brisbane
    Thanks for the ongoing thoughts.

    Present schedule is (confirmed, unpaid):
    6 Dec 07 BNE-NRT-JFK
    9 JAN 08 SFO-LAX-NRT
    13 JAN 08 NRT-BNE
    Cost $8548 for 3 adults and 1 child.

    Open jaw JFK-SFO. Some flexibility with dates:
    Depart BNE Dec 4-8, SFO at start or end for ~7 days, NRT stop just because we can, NRT is not an essential part of routing. Home between 10-13 Jan 08.

    Cheers.
     
  10. Baysider

    Baysider Active Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    643
    174
    Brisbane
    NB: I am currently QFF silver and need 180 status credits by end Feb 08 to attain gold, hence Qantas earning preference. Will do a couple of BNE-PER returns for work before end 07, and possibly a BNE-MNL in business class. Also a paid Qantas Club member.
     
  11. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
    6,419
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    The others are not though are they? AA PLatinum will give you just about everything that QF Gold Would give you anyway plus the points are worth more

    Dave
     
  12. Baysider

    Baysider Active Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    643
    174
    Brisbane
    Yes, you're right, the others are not. My wife would probably reach QFF silver, however the kids (one is 13 so ticketed as an adult) are only new QFF members. Presently only I am an AA member, but with no points to speak of. Most of our travel tends to be BNE-PER as our respective families are at both ends, so keeping the Qantas allegiance for max points earning on this run has some merit. I believe AA Advantage allegiance will half our points earn on this run in discount economy.

    I guess the issue comes down to how many $ we're prepared to spend to get into more appropriate classes for points earning. I'm told that to simply change the AA Q class leg to S class (though from the posts it sounds like we do earn points in Q) would have added $650 to the cost for the family. In terms of QFF points alone, the points would not carry as much value as the money spent. The travel agent couldn't immediately give me a cost to change to "V" as she had to email somebody else to get the figure. Will keep you posted.

    Cheers.
     
  13. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    The points earning on BNE-PER would reduce once your platinum status reduces 14 months later, however the value of the AA points is higher. A BNE-PER r/t using QF points is 36k/72k whilst it is 20k/35k using AA miles, plus of course the lack of fuel fines and these do add up to quite a bit

    Don't change the Q to S, that will make no improvement to your challenge; changing S to V to Q to V is what will make the difference

    Dave
     
  14. Baysider

    Baysider Active Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    643
    174
    Brisbane
    Thanks again Dave.

    Just to clarify, you would recommend (a) changing the AA Q class to V as a minimum, and (b) as many of the AA S class to V as possible within reasonable $. What do you think I should do with the Qanats Q class leg BNE-NRT ? Of course, we could always put our QFF numbers against that leg and AA numbers against the rest. Will NRT-JFK in V class and the rest "as is" get us over the line on the platinum challenge? (Is there a website where I can find the actual miles?).

    Another question, and this is probably wishful thinking, do credits gained with different OW airlines all count towards Oneworld status?
     
  15. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    To do the challenge ( which I think will provide good value on your trip unless it is v expensive to change ) , you need to attain 10,000 qpoints on AA services

    On G,Q,O,N or S fares, you would earn 0.5 qpoints per mile flown
    On H, K, M, L, W, V fares you earn 1 point per mile flown

    Typically, V is the lowest of the 1 point earning classes ( there are exceptions, such as some AA web specials , but in this case I believe V will be the lowest )

    Your AA travel consists of

    NRT-JFK on the outbound and
    JFK-SFO-LAX-NRT on the inbound

    The outbound mileage is 6475 miles and the inbound is 8375 miles. Total miles 15,120

    If both the outbound and inbound are done on G,Q,O,N,S , then the qpoint earning will be 7426 which would not complete the challenge

    If the outbound is upgraded to V and inbound left unchanged, the qpoint earning will be 6475 + (8375 / 2 ) = 10,663 and the challenge is completed successfully

    If the outbound is left unchanged and the inbound upgraded to V, the qpoint earning will be (6745 / 2 ) + 8375 = 11,613 and again the challenge is completed successfully

    Due to Q class being ineligable for mileage earning on QF , the earned miles for the trip will be notably different

    If the outbound is upgraded to V and inbound stays as S, the earning will be

    BNE-NRT - 4422 / 2 = 2211
    NRT-JFK - 6475
    JFK-SFO - 2586
    SFO-LAX - 500
    LAX-NRT - 5451 + 5451 bonus for completing challenge
    NRT-BNE - ( 4422 / 2 ) + ( 4422 / 2 ) Platinum bonus = 4422

    Total miles earned 27,096

    If the outbound stays as Q and the inbound is upgraded to V, then the BNE-NRT will not earn any miles so the mileage earning will be 2211 less so will give a total of 24,885. In this case, I would suggest not having the FF number in the booking and claiming QF miles/SCs for that leg for yourself afterwards. Do Not have your QF number in unless you really have to , since you are risking misposted miles

    As a QF Silver member, if you were to collect to QF and left booking as is, you would earn ( 4422 + zero + 2586/2 + 337 + 5451/2 + 4422 ) * 1.25 = 13200 * 1.25 = 16,500 miles. For the others who do not have status, the total earning would only be 13,200 miles

    Note: Flying in Q class on AA earns zero miles to the QF scheme

    Even 16,500 miles is not quite enough to get a one way ticket from BNE-PER and 13,200 is even further away, whereas 24,885 miles will be enough for a round trip ticket to Perth. I would suggest that the Platinum Status plus the r/t ticket is worth paying a bit extra per ticket for


    Depending on what value you place on miles, you may wish to consider booking BNE-SYD-JFK, JFK-SFO, SFO-LAX-BNE on AA . This would add $1200 total to your cost ( $300 each ) but would give an earning of 40,894 miles plus you would have the Platinum status when you start your JFK-SFO flight ( fare basis VLRTAU ) USD2118 per person with a 25% reduction for child plus $139 in taxes , total is AUD9782. The 40,894 would give enough miles for 2 r/ts to Perth from Brisbane. With the lowest purchaed fare being $670 per person on a r/t BNE-PER, the extra $1200 to get 8 r/t award tickets may be worth considering; even taking the award value as lower due to availability, say to $500, that is till $4000 worth of tickets

    Dave
     
  16. NM

    NM
    Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
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    note that last time I redeemed QF FF points for a BNE-PER return trip for three family members, the only award availability was on non-direct flights. So they had to route BNE-ADL-PER and PER-SYD-BNE. This increased the points required since PER-SYD-BNE put that leg into the next distance zone, and also mean 4 x fuel fines per passenger.

    AA awards cost 20K points in economy for any return trip within and between Australia and NZ. And with no fuel fines charged for AA award tickets, an indirect routing costs the same as a direct routing, so its never going to exceed 20K points and the taxes will be very low.

    now your points earning base rate may be lower with the AA fare, but add in the 100% bonus miles for being AA Platinum compared with 25% bonus for QF Silver or 50% bonus for QF Gold, plus the lower award cost and lack of fuel fines on AA awards and the AA program looks attractive for your travel patterns.
     
  17. Baysider

    Baysider Active Member

    Oct 3, 2002
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    On reading the AA Advantage website, it strikes me that if I reach AA Platinum I still have to pay to be an Admirals Lounge member - is that right? At least with QFF Gold I get free lounge access.

    Am I misreading something here?
     
  18. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    You are not misreading it per se, however

    As a Platinum member you do get lounge access when travelling on OW flights; so fly SYD-MEL ( for example ) and you will get J check in and Qantas Club Access etc

    There is one exception to this... If you are travelling purely domestically within the US and Canada , you do not get free lounge access. Since you are not (I suspect) likely to be doing a lot of pure domestic travel ( other than JFK-SFO ) , this should be of no consequence

    You will have lounge access rights ( as will all the rest of the family ) plus be able to take a guest in too

    Dave
     
  19. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    That is correct. You are not missing anything.

    Do note that an AA Plat or Exec Plat member can use Admirals Club lounges when they have a same-day international OneWorld connection. They also hold OneWorld Sapphire and Emeral status, so can use non-AA OneWorld lounges any time they are flying with OneWorld, including QF Lounges.

    It is less expensive to purchase Qantas Club membership than Admirals Club membership, so many USA-based AA members purchase QC membership and use that to access the Admirals Club lounges when travelling on AA domestic flights.

    This is where I am very glad to hold QF Lifetime Gold status and hence retain access to Admirals Club lounges when travelling on AA domestic flights. However, I would not bother paying for AC membership since it does not include food/drinks as is included with Qantas Club access, so I would suggest just using the many restaurants and bar that now exist inside the secure areas of USA air ports. Showers are really only needed when you have international connections and a then AC access is available to AA Plat and EXP members.
     
  20. Baysider

    Baysider Active Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    643
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    Brisbane
    We now have an alternative routing, all in V class, as follows:
    AA 7295 V 05DEC BNELAX HS4
    OPERATED BY QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED
    AA 1928 V 05DEC LAXSFO HS4
    AA 7366 V 08JAN JFKSYD HS4
    OPERATED BY QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED
    AA 7354 V 10JAN SYDBNE HS4
    OPERATED BY QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED

    It seems this would satisfy the platinum challenge, though we probably would not reach the milestone until the homeward leg. I don't think BNE-LAX-SFO will quite give us enough miles, so we won't make it until during the JFK-SYD leg on the return. Cost is $900 extra for the family.
     
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