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Availability seems pretty tough, but has anyone used points to go to Lord Howe Island? I certainly wouldn't want to pay the fares but it may be a different sort long weekend out of Syd - what is it like?
I tried this years ago (1999) but couldn't get two seats on a plane over a period of months! Things have improved since then. A colleague recently went there on points from BNE. Mind you he had to fly via CBR on the way over!
Seeing as all the accommodation deals are tied to airfares I'm not sure you save much. Although I think it worked out for him.
Don't miss LHI. Fantastic place for couples. If you are seeking night life then look elsewhere. Beautiful place, fantastic water and fish, great walks, mountains and the best stars I have ever seen.
I've also been to Norfolk but I wouldn't go back. It has its fans but not me. I've travelled to over 40 countries but I reckon Lord Howe is as close to perfection for me as I can get. Can't wait to go back one day.
are there alternatives that are more efficient? eg (made up example) madrid to moscow may be better award in terms of points:$ saved than london to madrid, but australia to london as paid or award is better than australia to madrid - more than offsetting the "better" award value
is it a trip you'd want to take? eg (another made up example) london to lagos in first may have low number of points per $ for fare, but if you would never take the trip then what value does it have?
do you count awards that require you to fork out $$ (upgrades or awards originating somewhere other than where you are)? Eg (yet another made up example) there may be a fantastic redemption for say Madrid to Marrakech which would otherwise cost many $thousands, but if you need to pay a lot to get to Madrid in the first place ...
if you'd never pay the fare in cash do you count it for valuing award/upgrade? (I'd argue no)
if the best value award costs far more points than you'll reasonably expect to collect then it has no value (to you)
what is the opportunity cost of using cash? sometimes may be better doing a "bad deal" on points so can use the cash more usefully on something else
I'm sure we can all think of other relevant factors.
Thanks for your tips. LHI is not an easy place to get standard accomadation quotes and they proudly quote that "only 400 visitors are allowed on the island at any one time". I do not think the ACCC has had a good look there yet. It would appear that anyone is better off taking a package deal and using the points gained elsewhere.