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JOURNALIST LOOKING FOR FF EXAMPLES

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Simon Hobbs

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I am looking for people who feel they get great value from their frequent flyer/credit card reward programs.

If you are one of those people or know someone can you please contact me asap.
 

cowombat

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Aug 17, 2005
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Simon

if anyone on Qantas FF informs you that they are getting good value, take it with a grain of salt. Of course "personal perception is reality" so maybe they really believe it. But if you troll through a few postings on this website, you'll soon see that the better informed jump directly to American Airlines to earn and redeem on all OneWorld airlines, including QF.

I think the value on Amerian Airlines AAdvantage is reasonable. My employer pays my business travel, but it's my bum that gets the long hours in a seat, so deserves the vacation rewards. I typically earn 2-300,000 miles per year. 90,000 in economy or 120,000 gets me a return business class trip to Europe, so my family certainly gets benefit.... my 18 yo daughter is seemingly on annual trips to London :) If I redeem my annual points on a couple of business class tix Melbourne to Europe, these have street value of about $20,000.... which I think is a good return from AA.

QF earning and redemptions are far far worse than AA, so comparitively offer not much.... certainly not 'value'. Why? QF sees itself as having negligible competition, so gives correspondingly negligible rewards, knowing that most Aussies don't realize they can go to other programs such as AAdvantage. Good for Qantas profitability, bad for customers...........

I don't even bother having Coles Myer points etc.... one would have to spend about $200,000 (!!!!) to get a return business class trip to Europe. I won't even waste my time at the checkout to go through the paperwork of one of these cards.



David
 

Kiwi Flyer

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Welcome to AFF Simon Hobbs :)

Any FFP or specifically an Australian one (Qantas/Velocity)?
 

Kiwi Flyer

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Welcome to AFF Simon Hobbs :)

Any FFP or specifically an Australian one (Qantas/Velocity)?
 

Mal

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Simon.

I believe that the value of the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme has been diminishing greatly over the last couple of years.

Points deflation (ie, more points required for an award) is only one of the issues. Some others I can quickly come up with are the increase of the monetary contribution to an award and the excess number of frequent flyer points in the market.

If I was to book a Frequent Flyer award from Sydney to Melbourne in Economy, I would pay the following: 8000 FF points + around $45. The same fare could be bought from Qantas directly for approx $112. (BTW, 8000 miles is earnt travelling SYD-MEL return in discount economy 4 times!)

This values the FF points at around 8/10's of a cent in this scenario. Great value :roll: . This is an example of a poor value reward, but there are many others (but also some fairly ok rewards).

Additionally I see another problem with the scheme being the flood of Credit Card reward points. Many people put their business expenses through their personal credit cards and can earn upwards of hundreds of thousands of frequent flyer points per year. They then can convert these into Qantas Frequent Flyer points. Those points make it harder for true "frequent flyers" to redeem their rewards (although Qantas does have some mechanisms in place to give value back to frequent flyers and increase their ability to convert points into flights).

Also there is the Qantas Fuel Surcharge. This "fee" applies to all reward flights as a "tax". This fee has been going up due to world oil prices, and is set to rise once again in about a week. The distance from Sydney to Auckland is less than the distance from Sydney to Perth. Yet the fuel surcharge is higher on this sector than the Sydney to Perth one...
(as an aside, I think ACA should do an article on hidden airline "taxes" such as the fuel surcharge. Many people don't realise how much they pay Qantas et.al in addition to the base price of the ticket as a seperate surcharge for fuel. Does milk or bread have this type of hidden "tax"?).

Overall I am content with the Frequent Flyer scheme. Not happy, but happy enough. I do find that it is constantly being devalued though. As others indicate here, I am looking into defecting to other schemes that I perceive to have more value to me.
 

one9

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Simon Hobbs said:
I am looking for people who feel they get great value from their frequent flyer/credit card reward programs.

If you are one of those people or know someone can you please contact me asap.

It looks like people don't want to answer your question - instead they are telling you their bad experiences.

I believe I get great value out of my credit card reward program. I earn around 2 million points a year through business expenditure.

But no, I would not want to provide any real comment to a show that is as inaccurate or that has such poor true representation of real events as ACA or Today Tonight.
 

NM

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Simon Hobbs said:
I am looking for people who feel they get great value from their frequent flyer/credit card reward programs.

If you are one of those people or know someone can you please contact me asap.
I am not willing to be interviewed on camera for ACA, but will provide my thoughts here anyway. Feel free to use this any way you like.

I believe I have received great value over the years, but the value in terms of points rewards has declined in recent years as the Qantas Frequent Flyer program has undergone some "enhancements".

To set some perspective, I earn around 80% of my Qantas FF points from flying, with the remaining 20% being from partner programs including credit cards, hotels stays and car rentals. I have been a member of the Qantas FF program since 1991 and I have been a top tier status frequent flyer with Qantas since they initiated the tier rankings, and now hold Lifetime Gold status with the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.

Over the years, I have used my Qantas FF points to redeem reward flights including:

International flights:
7 x Around The World tickets (economy class)
2 x Brisbane-London-Kiev return (business class)
2 x Melbourne Auckland return (business class)
2 x Brisbane-Singapore return (business class)

Domestic flights:
2 x Brisbane-Melbourne return (economy class)
2 x Brisbane-Perth (business class)
3 x Perth-Brisbane (economy class)
1 x Perth-Brisbane-Perth (economy class)

Upgrades:
2 x Brisbane-Los Angeles (economy to business class)
2 x Sydney-Los Angeles (business to first class)
1 x London-Melbourne (business to first class)
2 x Melbourne-Brisbane (economy to business class)
1 x Brisbane-Launceston (economy to business class)
1 x Brisbane-Perth (economy to business class)
1 x Melbourne-Sydney (business to first class)
2 x Los Angeles-New York (business to first class)

This represents redemption of around 3 million FF points over 12 years.

So this has been good value for me. I also note that as a Platinum status FF member I get priority for waitlisted international upgrades (ahead of members with no or lesser status), and have access to a larger pool of reward seating availability. This is Qantas' way of rewarding those who actually fly regularly since status within the FF program can only be earned through flying, and is earned a lot faster when flying on premium fares such as business or first class.

I regularly hear of people who have large FF points balances (often earned from business credit card spend) who complain they cannot use their points due to no flight availability. I have not had any problems using my points for reward flights or upgrades when desired. A little flexibility on dates, times and routings, and ample forward planning, has always resulting in redemptions being available. Obviously busy travel times such as school holidays and major events (football grand finals etc) are always going to be hard to find reward flights, so avoid those times.

However, the most recent round of program enhancements devalued my most cherished rewards through significant increases in the number of points required for premium cabin long-haul flights. And the inclusion of the fuel surcharges on FF reward tickets has also significantly eroded the value of flight rewards. This declining value has prompted me to re-evaluate my FF programs, and I will be moving my airline flight FF points earning away from the Qantas program to another program that provides similar points earning rates, but has significantly reduced points requirements for the same redemptions as well as not charging fuel surcharged on reward tickets. This has not been an easy decision due to the great value I have received from the Qantas program in the past. But their recent changes (25th May 2005 revamp of points requirements) and insistence on separating the fuel fines from the base fare and hence adding them onto FF reward tickets has prompted my decision.

I also have found reasonable value from my Amex Membership Rewards points earning. This card is only used for personal family and household expenses (not business expenses), and I have earned around 250,000 points in 3 years. To me those points are worth more than the annual fee I pay on the card.

I have also gained great value from the Hilton Honors frequent stayer program. I have been at their top status tier (Diamond) for about 5 years now and have used the earned points for free stays in London and Helsinki, and plan to use more this year for stays in Melbourne and Brisbane.
 

Rick93

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A bit 'off topic', but can "one9" (or others) respond to this question:

How do you actually get around the bank's alleged 'monitoring' of your credit card account, in order to keep getting points on 'business expenditure' ??

All my T&Cs for the cards I have, all quote, that no points will be allocated for "business expenditure", only on "personal" costs.

To get away with "2 million" points a year from "business" costs is great, but is there any risk?

regards,
 

arun

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Sep 5, 2002
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Simon,
Most of us have seen and reaped great benefits of frequent flyer and credit card reward programs - else, we would have given up on collecting the points.

At the same time, we have also seen the decline in the benefits offered by these reward programs - airline programs making it hard to earn and redeem points (mainly in Australia due to lack of alternatives post-Ansett and pre-velocity), banks increasing the card fees and reward program fees to make it a new revenue line and reduce the conversion ratio, etc.

There are many members including me have aquired large amount of points and redeemed successfully to free flights, hotel stays, etc.

Arun
 

straitman

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Simon,
Like others here I’m not prepared to go “public” due to the plethora of one sided reporting that occurs. Compared to some others here I’m not a big time frequent flyer yet have managed to attain the highest tier that Qantas have to offer. I’ve looked at what other programs offer (as mentioned by cowombat) yet stick with Qantas primarily as it suits my travel patterns. If I stray from Qantas I’ll look at the American Airlines program specifically because it offers the best options at the moment.

In recent years most of the frequent flyer programs have gone through a series of enhancements and this is an ongoing process. The trouble is that most of the enhancements only improve the program for the airline and not the customer. Like Credit Cards, individuals need to look at what is offered and make an informed choice.

There is still some good value in the programs for those who are organised and those with status. eg I recently flew from Hong Kong back to Australia with my wife and grown daughter (who has never travelled internationally before) and we all got upgraded to business class. Without my frequent flyer status we wouldn't have been given this opportunity.

With status there are still reasonable award booking available for those who plan well ahead and who are a little flexible with their plans. RTW tickets whilst not as good value as before May 25th 2005 are still good in my book. At the same time I’d never use my point for a short haul domestic reward due to the low worth of point for this type of travel.
 

Yada Yada

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Simon Hobbs said:
I am looking for people who feel they get great value from their frequent flyer/credit card reward programs.

If you are one of those people or know someone can you please contact me asap.
Simon,

I've been generally happy with the American Express Rewards program. I've had a Gold charge card for 20 years and can't remember ever having been unhappy with the service. In fact my attitude towards Amex is good. Although I hate the spruikers in the airports! The ability to transfer Amex award points to Qantas Frequent Flyer (point for point) works well and has been useful for me.

I used to be in the Westpac/Ansett Global Rewards program and lost all of my points when AN collapsed in 2001. Westpac issued me with the new Altitude card and program in 2002 but out of disgust with the way in which customers were treated back then I do not use it.

The QFF program is OK. The best benefit is Qantas Club access when you reach Gold status. Aside from that, in my opinion it is more "smoke and mirrors" than actual benefit - i.e. the program is intended to make you feel that you are getting special benefits that others do not receive, but in my experience you don't. As per one of my recent posts here, QF have practices such as putting staff in the business class cabin and the front rows of economy, leaving little possibility of upgrades for frequent flyers or even of getting a forward cabin preference in Y. :( That said, I've used my points to purchase tickets so have received some additional value.
 
S

shillard

Simon Hobbs said:
I am looking for people who feel they get great value from their frequent flyer/credit card reward programs.

If you are one of those people or know someone can you please contact me asap.

I'm curious - will this be a rare (unique?) example of unbiased reporting (ie: something approximating actual journalism), or a typical ACA/ TT/ etc:


Tongiht! Our expose on FF programmes, featuring Mavis Barnes from Beaconsfield who, despite being a Qantas 'Frequent Flyer' member for 10 years and accumilating 8,000 points by buying Christmas presents on her ANZ visa, was screwed by Qantas when she couldn't book an award Easter weekend flight Sydney-Melbourne with 48 hours notice......followed up by the story of the former bikie who discovered a miracle diet to get fat kids into award seats without exposing them to kitchen germs.
 

Alan in CBR

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Apr 2, 2004
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Simon,

Something which may be of interest to your viewers is that even for an Australian based flyer, the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme is not the only choice. In fact for those predominently flying in Economy it may well not be the best scheme available.

Using the Qantas scheme, my flying (all Economy) would yield merely Silver status (oneworld Ruby), which has very few significant benefits. The same flying easily retains Platinum (equivalent to Qantas Gold - oneworld Sapphire) in the American Airlines AAdvantage scheme. This level includes access to Qantas Clubs, amongst other benefits. In fact this year with only a little extra flying I am actually top tier with AA (equivalent to Qantas Platinum - oneworld Emerald).

In summary, I get very good value from my frequent flyer membership, but I had to join a foreign one to do so. The downside is that this only works for people who actually fly, because there are no credit cards in Australia which allow direct transfer of miles/points to AAdvantage.

Alan.
 

Yada Yada

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Alan in CBR said:
Using the Qantas scheme, my flying (all Economy) would yield merely Silver status (oneworld Ruby), which has very few significant benefits. The same flying easily retains Platinum (equivalent to Qantas Gold - oneworld Sapphire) in the American Airlines AAdvantage scheme. This level includes access to Qantas Clubs, amongst other benefits. In fact this year with only a little extra flying I am actually top tier with AA (equivalent to Qantas Platinum - oneworld Emerald).
Alan,

So under this scheme, do you get any of the alleged QF Platinum benefits, such as being higher up on waitlists, a better chance of forward cabin seating in Y, etc? I'd assume not?

I know that I probably should be reading the infamous AA candy thief thread for this info but I'm lazy. :eek: (Apologies to Simon for the thread drift).
 

Yada Yada

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straitman said:
I understand that this story is on ACA tomorrow night.

8) :? :wink:
Great! I'm hoping to see Shillard holding his machine gun. :mrgreen:
 

Alan in CBR

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Yada Yada said:
Alan,

So under this scheme, do you get any of the alleged QF Platinum benefits, such as being higher up on waitlists, a better chance of forward cabin seating in Y, etc? I'd assume not?

I know that I probably should be reading the infamous AA candy thief thread for this info but I'm lazy. :eek: (Apologies to Simon for the thread drift).
Not sure to be honest. My understanding (although I haven't really had a chance to test it scientifically) is that QF's hierarchy goes:

Special high levels (CL, BA Premier, VIP, etc.)
QF Plat
other oneworld Emerald
QF Gold
other oneworld Sapphire
QC Silver
QF Silver
other oneworld Ruby
QC

I have to think that if the alliance has any meaning, a non-QF oneworld Sapphire would "out-rank" a QF Silver (oneworld Ruby).

Having said all that, personally the ranking system means very little to me. It's the other stuff that makes the decision to use AAdvantage rather than QFF an easy one in my individual circumstances.
 

QFTravel

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straitman said:
I understand that this story is on ACA tomorrow night.

8) :? :wink:
Yes, I saw it advertised last night for tonights ACA.

Seemed like another one-sided, no-value-what-so-ever from reward programs from the sneak peak.

Then again - it's how you put value on what they offer and use it to maxmise your benefits. ie: what everyone here hopes and trys to acomplish :)

Will still be at work tonight when it airs, so if someone wants to give a quick post on the content would be interesting to see what is said.

Thanks,
 

one9

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I saw the article. It was a short article with no dramatics.

It listed the best credit cards depending on what you wanted to achieve. eg.
Lifestyle rewards - Eating out
Product rewards - Toasters etc.
Cash back rewards - Cash back

The Westpac Amex card scored very well. The National Ant Amex card scored the best for cash back.

Surprisingly, they did not take into account annual fees.

No real comparison was done for those wishing to get the most frequent flyer points.

They did however (and correctly) mention how extremely pathetic the Fly Buys reward scheme is.

The guy who runs this site was interviewed, and one thing he said was about the lack of value for redeeming East Coast domestic rewards.

The article concluded saying for many/most people, they are best to chose a low interest credit card rather than to try to earn reward points.
 

straitman

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The only real value for me was that I have now seen clifford, so I'm able to put a mental picture to the name.

......and I completely agree with clifford about how worthless east coast rewards redemption are. 8) :wink:
 
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