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How to spend 1,311,814 QFF points and get a Toaster

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deejo77

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Well back on 28 June 2014 I decided we needed a new Toaster and as everyone raves about how good a use of points it is I decided to go shopping at the Qantas store. It was very hard to decide on a Toaster, in the end I took the special they had going on the Sunbeam Café Series 4 slice toaster for 7,500 points. The order arrived promptly and it was correctly described. My old toaster however did not keep to my timeline and is still working, so will have to wait before I can test this new one.

Now if you are new to AFF – PLEASE don’t buy a toaster – it is not the best use of points (actually a large part of my burning of the 1,311,814 QFF points is probably not the best use but it worked for me).

So let’s go back to the beginning before I decided to buy this toaster, in October 2013 Qantas had a deal to celebrate the launch of the combined cash and Award fares in the same booking. To celebrate they offered status credits on eligible Classic Award fares. So I made a booking to Singapore (30K points and approx $240 in taxes and fees) – one way – and I was going to use other methods to come home, it was just going to be a quick trip away to build some SC.

Anyway by December/January there was a large amount of talk about Qantas and its financial issues (still ongoing today), and I had a fairly large sum of points and I had a feeling that I didn’t want to be one of these people crying IF something happened to devalue my points. So as I had not burnt many points and the risk to me of continuing to accumulate points was unacceptable I decided to bring the balance down to something I am personally comfortable with.


Flights

So I had being playing on the website for ages and thought I would do a big trip in 2015 with my family (My parents and 4 year old son), however on 20 January 2014 I made the decision to take my family on a “oneworld” Qantas 140K round the world ticket – yes 4 people in “Y” which ended up becoming 6 people in “Y” when a friend and her daughter decided to join us. I made the decision that I wanted to get two trips out of the points so decided to use my already booked ticket to Singapore as the starting point for this trip. So my original ticket for 4 people cost 560K of points and $5,650.82 in fees and taxes.


Singapore to Helsinki (AY)
Helsinki to Venice (via berlin on AY and AB)
Venice to Zurich (via Dusseldorf on AB)

Paris to Brisbane (via Kuala lumpur on MH)
Brisbane to Los Angeles (QF)
Los Angeles to Singapore (via Tokyo on JL)


With the 35,000 miles we were just under and I was very happy with the redemption as it allowed a trip to Europe this year and another to the USA in 2015 (yes dummy dates with knowing I would have a change fee).


Once this was all booked in I had to get my parents and my 4 year old to Singapore, however at this stage I had looked at accommodation in Singapore and it was extremely high priced – I then googled what’s on in Singapore on 19 September 2014 and came across a car race – I like Singapore but not enough to pay the prices I was getting. So I booked my family on the same plane to Singapore but kept them going with the final stop as Kuala Lumpur – still just 30K per person and adult taxes and fees $258.32 and child was 30K and child taxes and fees $203.32. This ticket is QF to Singapore and 3K to Kuala Lumpur. This flight has had one adjustment of time for the 3K flight since booking. Just a longer transit in Singapore which is ok as I can get my mum and son into the lounge – I have a guest pass for my Dad which I hope to be able to use. I purchased a Singapore to Kuala Lumpur ticket on 3k for $74.50SGD which included checked bags. With Kuala Lumpur to Singapore flight costing RM584.00MYR for the 4 of us with bags. This was still cheaper (including the accommodation) then staying in Singapore for the 2 nights we needed.
 

deejo77

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Classics within Europe – total 136,000 points

My spreedsheet only has the total amount of points – so if you want to know exactly just do a quick search on the Qantas website for classic awards.

From Zurich we are going to Berlin – the adult and child tickets have the same fees/taxes of 36.40CHF per person



From Berlin we are going to Budapest – taxes/fees of 111.12 EUR Total


From Budapest we are going to London – this was a little bit of a bouncing day – Budapest to Berlin to Dusseldorf to London Stansted. This came to a total of 170GBP and was cheaper than the BA flights. This ticketed on 10 February however on 11 May I was advised that our flights had changed and to give Qantas a call – so I did – and we have ended up doing Budapest to Berlin to London Heathrow (AB then BA) at no extra cost. This is the flight that my friend and daughter changed – they are going direct from Budapest to Dublin and catching us in London 3 days later.
 

deejo77

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Accommodation

In Kuala Lumpur we are staying at the Parkroyal Serviced Suites – 1 Bedroom Suite x 2 (rm 1: 38246 points, rm 2: 38224 points yes different points)

In Helsinki we are staying at Radisson Blu Seaside Hotel in a family room (81574)

In Tallinn we are staying at Savoy Boutique Hotel – 2 x superior King bed (rm1: 32778 rm 2: 32778)

In Helsinki we are staying at the Hilton Helsinki airport – 2 rooms – 1 king room 126.63Eur (2A) 1 king room 113.23 Eur (1A 1C), I am gold so hope for an upgrade but have also done an e-standby upgrade request as it was an extra 0EUR per night.

In Venice – I had made a booking via www.homeaway.com for an apartment but homeaway got in touch and said as we had emailed the owner recently they wanted to bring it to our attention that there had been a few complaints recently and the apartment may not exist………..no money had exchanged hands so I ended up cancelling the booking and made another with www.airbnb.com will review when we get there.

In Florence – we have another www.airbnb.com booking

Zurich – this is a special treat as it is my mother’s 60[SUP]th[/SUP] birthday during this trip – we are staying at Alphaven - Home can’t wait to see it.

Berlin we are doing another www.airbnb.com booking – this time we found a house converted into 3 apartments – so we are taking 2 of them.

Budapest is a booking via the www.homeaway.com site

Now we are picking up a rental car at Heathrow and doing some of the country.

Windsor – The Crown and Cushion – 2 room double en-suite – rm 1 15930 points and a voucher of $20 that Qantas sent to me, rm 2: 18321 points and a voucher of $10 that Qantas sent to me)

Salisbury – Holiday Inn Salisbury –Stonehenge – 2 x double – rm 1 22429 points , rm 2 19304 and cash $20)

Swindon – Hilton Swindon Hotel – family room – 18124 points

London – www.airbnb.com house

Paris – www.homeaway.com house

London – Fraser Suites Queens Gate – 1 bedroom executive – 83599 points



Now if you are still reading and you remember the ticket booked you should be thinking what in the world is London doing back on the list. Well this is when we come to the changes to the ticket.
 

deejo77

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Changes to the RTW ticket

Now when I booked this ticket Malaysian Airlines had the A380 from Paris it KL and then on to Brisbane - got great seats upper deck and it was lovely while it lasted. MH370 was a tragic event but I was able to convince my parents that MH would be the most secure airline for the months ahead as they would want to try and regain the trust of flyers. I received a text early in the morning in regards to MH17 - I was sitting down watching the news when my dad came in - I knew as soon as he saw it was a Malaysian plane there would be nothing I could say - I would be on the phone to try an alternative to make it work.

Well other then doing some zigs and zags and some horrible connections I really had no choice - we backtrack to London to catch the Redroo home - QF10 to Melbourne and then overnight at the airport (parkroyal melbourne airport family room 54207 points) - didn't get upper deck but did score 80A 80C and 80K and 80J. The only bad part of this is I could no longer squeeze the trip in for the USA for next year - pushed for time to make a decision we took QF to Hong Kong in June and then a few weeks later Cathay to Singapore to complete the loop. My friend and her daughter were really pushing for the USA so I have organised them to go back to Zurich to "reattach" to the ticket then fly Royal Jordanian to Amman and then on to Bangkok and to sydney - this means that next march they are able to do Sydney to LAX and then back to Singapore via Tokyo as per the original plans. At this stage I have used my velocity points to book 3 economy and 1 prem economy from LAX in July - so I plan to get to hong kong and then drop the rest of the RTW ticket, will either use AA or Qantas points to get to the USA.

So that is my planning so far for this trip - my mother has just been to the Dr with a throat infection and I so hope she does not share with anyone - she is already going to struggle a little as she is overweight and dislikes walking long distances - I think the heat in KL is going to be a problem that is why I have booked a nice hotel with a pool for her to relax at.

So most importantly we only have two more sleeps - I have finished work for the week and I will try and keep the trip report up to date however I am not doing a Erkpod *hope your mum is doing well*. I will try to keep it up to date as possible but as the organiser and most experienced traveller of the group I am going to be a little busy.
 

deejo77

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I am going to attempt it - even going to try and do the lounges and flights
 

deejo77

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17 September 2014 - 5.18 even though the alarm is set for 5.30am I am up early - very rough night as both my 4yr and I have this throat thing - got some antibiotics yesterday but at 3am this morning I was considering calling the travel insurance to give us another 2 days at home and just catch a flight to Singapore on 19th to commence the RTW ticket. but due to the fact I organised everything and I don't think everyone else's policy's would cover them.

Drove to Brisbane International airport - the car is having a long stay (40 days) at $359 - worth it for me when I live nearly at ipswich. Parking was annoying today with us having to go up to level 4.

Priority (qantas SG) checkin worked well however the economy lines went faster, all of us packed too much - 2x17kg, 1x14 and 1x13. They interlined the bags to Kuala Lumpur which I was happy with but they could not do our boarding passes, met my friend and her daughter who had used the economy lane who both had boarding passes for the Jetstar flight - interesting we checked in at the same time. It was quick though to airside - straight up to the Qantas club for breakfast - I guested my mum and son in and used a free pass for my dad from a credit card sign on - this was a little bit of a waste of time a 3 out of 4 of us can't swallow properly and didn't feel like eating much. Club was crowded and people packed in.

QF51 - priority boarding worked well - except for the mid 50's grey hair male who could not tell there was a line and pushed in front - I so dislike rude people. Flight was good uneventful - I have the menu which I will post tomorrow but nothing on there was anything other then airline food - caramel mouse and icecream the standout.

Went to the transfer desk in terminal C and picked up our J* passes - headed straight up to the Qantas lounge - lovely lady on the front door allowed me to guest both my parents in - had to physically have my qantas ff card - nice place - food ok (was hopeful of pork belly - didn't happen), kids corner is a joke so had to leave early to take the young one for a walk.

Hightlight of Singapore - the free leg massage by the machines in the walkways

J* to Kuala lumpur - rough ride -landing was enough that i thought we might have some vomit in our group but we all held together well. Prepurchased ticket for taxi at the airport just before the arrivals hall - family of 4 with 4 suitcases to the parkroyal serviced suits was $102.60MYR. Have booked same driver back and have it at $90MYR.

sorry eyes hanging out of my head - going to bed will post some pics tomorrow
 

casanovawa

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The joys of travelling with others eh....

But hope it goes well...
 
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deejo77

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The Parkroyal suites are lovely - great comfortable beds and the rooms are serviced everyday. We took the free shuttle to the Twin Towers and did some shopping the humidity was too much for my mum so we returned by taxi 14MYR. Had a swim in the hotels pools (one on level 1 and one on level 31). The rooms are 1 bedroom - good kitchen though we did not cook for our 2 nights - we ordered room service and had fish and chips - good value but 1 fish got sent back as not cooked all the way through. Breakfasts were fantastic - egg station cooked to order. Would upload pics but having trouble...will sort it out at next stop I hope

Currently in Qantas Club in Singapore - again no problem with all my family in - even when and guested 1 of my other guests into the BA lounge which is better then sitting outside.

Showers here are nice but no water pressure - ALI is amazing - remembered us from Wednesday and took my 4 yr old to pick up a qantas colouring in kit.
 

deejo77

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Ok good news is we are all safe and well in Budapest - bad new is I still can't seem to upload pictures - I think the files are too big and I don't have time to resize.

I left you all in Singapore I am afraid - my parents wish I had left them there also. Absolutely hated the Finnair flight - my dad is calling it the flight to HELL - not in an affectionate way or slang for Helsinki either. It was the oldest plane I have been on - they still had ashtrays in the arm rests - they are in so much need of a makeover it was not funny. They did not have aircon switched on and we all roasted during boarding and taking off - it was that hot I stripped my kid to his underware - a number of complaints were made to the crew and they did advise that it would switch on soon and cool us all down. As it was a midnight departure my 4 yr old was tired and once I made a tent over the seats to keep the light out of his eyes he went straight to sleep. But the lovely (sarcasm here) crew then tried to feed us all a meal, then cleaned up and then did a duty free run - 3hrs after departure the lights finally went out (did notice business was all tucked up in under an hour). The people who do this flight regularly had their own eye masks - and 30% of the plane was asleep within the first 30mins with most of the rest of us wanting to be.

You do not get bottles of water on this flight but little cups - very dehydrated due to this - but you wouldn't have wanted to go to the bathroom anyway as one toilet was disgustingly dirty (come on sitting down how can you miss it?) and the second toliet ran out of water.

Arrived into Helsinki at 6.30am - dad said he would rather do the Sydney to Dallas trip again anytime rather then get back on the flight we had. Helsinki was a little cold at 4 degrees but we layered up and caught the Finnair bus into town - nice easy drop off near the train station and we transferred onto a tram to go to the Radisson Blu Helsinki shorefront - even with status I couldn't get in at 8.30am however they did take all the luggage from us (even the two who were staying elsewhere).

Not much to do in Helsinki but we did find a coffee shop that made everyone happy - then we walked and walked - we seen the cathedral and markets and this funny statue thing.

Got back to the hotel at 1.30pm and was able to access the room - my parents beds were fantastic but the "extra" beds for the 3 and 4th person is just an Ottoman type thing with a mattress topper on it - when the cleaner realised there was an adult and 1 child she came and added another one to add more padding. Honestly the first night I didn't care as I was so tired but something to be aware of. Now the Buffet breakfast was fantastic - huge variety and plenty of it - wish our ferry wasn't as early as it was as we loved the breakfast.

Now on checkout we requested bag storage - they were happy to take them for the one night we were in Tallinn - the ferry terminal we used was within walking distance and it was nice not to have to take the larger bags.

The ferry was great - nice and easy trip to Tallinn and very good value (book early you get it cheaper) - arrived in Tallinn to the rain - took a taxi to the Savoy Boutique Hotel - checked in straight away - lovely hotel. Very good location and service. TPC as I need to sleep............


 
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