Quick question: Best SYD-MAD flights?

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Dave Noble

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Febs said:
It's probably something I should do one day, but right now (and up until Sept '07) I'm hell-bent on getting enough QFF points for SYD-LAX return for myself and my girlfriend. Have more than enough for one trip, and by my calculations I should have enough for two flights in 11 months. The SYD-LHR 30,000pts will be a welcome boost. :)
.

SYD-LHR-MAD collecting to AA would earn you the same number of points of approx 11,346 base plus 11,346 platinum bonus for economy class = 22,692 .

For a SYD-LAX return using QF points will cost 96,000 points for economy and 192,00 points for business plus about $230 in fuel fines whilst using AA points it would cost 75,000 points for economy , 125,000 for business and 145,000 for 1st class and no fuel fine

Even against an economy ticket it is 21k points and $230 using AA. Given that the earning rate would be the same on high economy fares ( and attaining / maintaining status is also would say easier ) I would consider whether you might not be better off

Dave
 

Febs

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Dave Noble said:
Even against an economy ticket it is 21k points and $230 using AA. Given that the earning rate would be the same on high economy fares ( and attaining / maintaining status is also would say easier ) I would consider whether you might not be better off
Thanks Dave.
It certainly gives me something to think about, but to reach my desired level of 192,000 (2 x economy award SYD-LAX return tickets) by next year, I'll not only need QFF points earnt from flying, but also from my AMEX.

As I understand it, you can't transfer AMEX award points from Ascent to AA without going through a convoluted process involving Starwood, which dilutes your points 3:1...(I may have this wrong though).

Definitely something to think about once I get those award tickets though.

Cheers,
- Febs.
 

duffshot

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Having done the SYD or BNE to MAD trip a few times I find it better to go via LHR to avoid using Iberia. Both ways are so similar in every other way that the use of BA or IB became the big differential for me. I also avoided FRA when Skybeds were not guaranteed on FRA flights about a year ago now.
 
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Dave Noble

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Febs said:
As I understand it, you can't transfer AMEX award points from Ascent to AA without going through a convoluted process involving Starwood, which dilutes your points 3:1...(I may have this wrong though).

It isnt v convoluted

You can get an effective transfer rate of 41.25% rather than 33%. Given the difference in redemption levels , it still tends to work out pretty well for those using AMEX debt cards

Dave
 

JohnK

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Dave Noble said:
It isnt v convoluted

You can get an effective transfer rate of 41.25% rather than 33%. Given the difference in redemption levels , it still tends to work out pretty well for those using AMEX debt cards
I am sorry if I have not understood this clearly but surely the QF FFP is the much better option if the majority of points are earned through Amex credit card!

Dave Noble said:
For a SYD-LAX return using QF points will cost 96,000 points for economy and 192,00 points for business plus about $230 in fuel fines whilst using AA points it would cost 75,000 points for economy , 125,000 for business and 145,000 for 1st class and no fuel fine
An economy SYD-LAX return flight on QF's FFP will cost 96,000 Amex points. The same SYD-LAX flight on AA's FFP will cost ~181,819 Amex points. I think ~85,819 Amex points are worth a lot more than the $230 saved in fuel fines!

I can understand that the AA FFP may be better for earning points through flying but there is no value in it if the points are derived from credit card.
 

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As always YMMV - it really depends on the blend of CC/FFP - it gets really tough when people just say - AAdv is better for flights - ah but QFF is better for CC points. Also - you need to consider the earn rate - being a AAdv PLat vs. QF gold. I would guess if you are QF WP with a high CC spend then you might be better off sticking with QFF. I am just doing some calculations based on comparable awards and relative spend on CC - I will try and upload a spreadsheet later today (if I can get it to work).

S
 

Dave Noble

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JohnK said:
I am sorry if I have not understood this clearly but surely the QF FFP is the much better option if the majority of points are earned through Amex credit card!
.

Typically, I find that only when trying to redeem with a predominantly credit card earning does the QF scheme tend to come out ahead, though when flying some of it it doesnt. The person in question isnt earning all miles from credit cards and with the same points earning rate the number of points needed to attain awards from CC is lessened

e.g. If wanting to get a r/t to UK in J requires 248,000 QF points vs 130,000 AA points

At a rate of 0.4125 for AA points, this would need 315151 AA miles which is definately worse than 248,000

Consider however, the person earning 30,000 miles from flying...

This leaves 218,000 vs 100,000 ...

To get 100,000 AA miles from AMEX costs 242,000

24,000 extra points but a saving in fuel fines of at least AUD370. I would say at that point the extra 24k is better than $370

If the person earns 60,000 miles from flying, then this leaves 188,000 vs 70,000 .

To get 70,000 points costs 170,000 points and is now saving 18,000 points and $370

Dave
 

JohnK

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simongr said:
As always YMMV - it really depends on the blend of CC/FFP - it gets really tough when people just say - AAdv is better for flights - ah but QFF is better for CC points.
I was just doing some very simple calculations, not knocking the AA FFP. I also did mention if the majority of your points is derived from credit card and not flying. I acknowledged that AA's FFP earns better points while flying.

Doing an even quicker calculation QF's FFP is still more advantageous than AA's FFP even if your earning points via flying to earning points via credit card ratio is 50/50.

It would be interesting to find out at what ratio of flying vs credit card points QF's FFP stops being advantageous!
 

simongr

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I have the calculator/spreadsheet - and have uploaded the zip file and also put a few calculations here. Man I am such a geek :)

Ok - here are the comparisons - what I have done is a couple of options - two flights SYD-LAX in Y and SYD-LHR and J. Compared people who are SG and WP with relative FFp/CC spend ratios of FFP-90 CC-10 FFP-50 CC-50 and FFP-10 CC-90.

This should give a range that shows what the potential best benefit/cost is for someone. The calculation is base miles flown and base CC$ spend. I have only compared Amex QFF1point=$1 as there is only so much time at work I can waste :)

Format will be:
Flight:
Class:
QF Status:
Ratio: xx:xx
Base miles: QF:AA
CC$: QF:AA

Hope this works :)

Flight:SYD-LAX
Class:Y
QF Status: SG
Ratio: 90:10
Base miles: 57,600 : 33,750
CC$: 9,600 : 18,293


Flight: SYD:LAX
Class: Y
QF status: SG
Ratio: 50:50
Base miles: 32,000 : 18,750
CC$: 48,000 : 91,463


Flight: SYD:LAX
Class:Y
QF Status: WP
Ratio: 90:10
Base miles: 43,200 : 33,750
CC$: 9,600 : 18,293

Flight: SYD:HR
Class: J
QF Status: SG
Ratio: 90:10
Base miles: 115,200 : 54,000
CC$: 25,600 : 29,268


Flight: SYD:HR
Class: J
QF Status: WP
Ratio: 50:50
Base miles: 64,000 : 30,000
CC$: 128,000 : 146,341

Flight: SYD:HR
Class: J
QF Status: SG
Ratio: 50:50
Base miles: 85,333 : 30,000
CC$: 128,000 : 146,341

Blimey - it does show that if you are either high CC$ spend or WP with reasonable CC$ spoend that AA migt not be quite as brilliant as it seems. If however you fly alot and charge your flight costs to your bosses CC then AA is a definite winner. (I havent factored in class of travel flown to get the miles as that would favour AA slightly)

S
 

Febs

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JohnK said:
QF's FFP is still more advantageous than AA's FFP even if your earning points via flying to earning points via credit card ratio is 50/50.

That's about what it is for me (50:50). Paying for flights and weeks of accommodation on my work AMEX (charge, not credit) is where most of the AMEX points come from. For the time-being I'll stick with QFF. If my flying increases though, I'll look into AA more (especially after next Sept).

Cheers,
- Febs.
 

simongr

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Hate to keep bleating on about this - but its not just the ratio - its also what reward you want and what level you are on QFF - the higher the class and the longer the flight the more the bias to AA, For longer flights the smaller level of base miles required from AA makes a more significant distance.

However as you have a highish proportion of CC points - and you wnat economy/short flight (sad that I now think of SYD-LAX as a short flight :shock: ) then QFF is somewhat in your favour.
 

Dave Noble

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I didnt really understand what was posted

Looking at the earning from 2 r/ts to UK per year, should be able to maintain AA Platinum status , so comparing vs QF Gold

Base miles is 21,000 miles
Bonus miles to AA = 21,000
Bonus miles to QF = 10,500

Total miles earned = 42,000 AA or 31,500 QF

Doing 2 trips will earn 84,000 AA vs 63,000 QF

To compare additional CC spend needed to get an award to LHR in Y or J

For Y

Using AA, the number of points needed from AMEX debt cards = 6,000 => $14,454
Using QF, the number of points needed from AMEX debt cards = 61,000 => $61,000

For J

Using AA, the number of points needed from AMEX debt cards = 46,000 => $111,515
Using QF, the number of points needed from AMEX debt cards = 185,000 => $185,000

If comparing against QF Platinum, the reduction will be $21,000 less for both cases but the AA scheme is still wins easily


Comparing against a trip SYD-LAX

Base miles is 14976
COS bonus AA PLT/EXP = 14976
COS bonus QF Gold = 7288
COS bonus QF Platinum = 14976

On 2 trips, mileage earned AA = 59,904 : QF Gold = 44,528 ; QF Platinum = 59,904

To compare additional CC spend needed to get an award to LAX in Y or J

For Y

Using AA, the number of points needed from AMEX debt cards = 15,096 => $36597
Using QF Gold, the number of points needed from AMEX debt cards = 51,472=> $51,472
Using QF Platinum, the number of points needed from AMEX debt cards = 36,096 => $36,096

For J

Using AA, the number of points needed from AMEX debt cards = 65,096 => $157,808
Using QF Gold, the number of points needed from AMEX debt cards = 147,472 => $147,472
Using QF Platinum, the number of points needed from AMEX debt cards = 132,096 => $132,096

Being zonal based, LAX is not one of the locations that comes out particularly well for AA since it is a close destination. If travellling further into the US on the award flight, AA comes out better since the same number of points will get to JFK whilst using QF points it would need as many as to get to London

Dave
 

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Another thing to consider is the way in which the different programs calculate the points/miles needed for an award. For QF, its the sum of the miles flown on each sector that determines the zone and hence the points cost. So if you have to take a non-optimal routing in order to find availability, it can cost a lot more points.

For example, for my recent award redemption using QF flights between BNE and AKL, the only available routing was via MEL. So QF would calculate the trip distance as BNE-MEL-AKL as 857+1643=2500 miles each way. And in business class, that was going to cost 50,000 QF FF points each way or 100,000 points per person return.

By way of comparison, AA uses the direct distance between origin and destination to calculate the distance of award flights. And in Australia and NZ, its the same cost for any return award flight in or between Australia and NZ. So that was 35,000 AA miles per person.

Also consider the need to route to the USA via somewhere like NRT. QF will charge the SYD-NRT-LAX as 4846+5451=10297 miles each way, or 128,000/256,000/384,000 QF FF points. AA will charge the flat 75,000/125,000/145,000 AA miles.

And this difference in distance calculation method really comes into play with the OneWorld Awards which are distance based.

So I have found that the AA burn rates are consistent and as defined. However, my last few redemptions have not had availability on the direct/non-stop flights so have been forced to route via an intermediate location which has pushed the QF FF points requirement up significantly higher than expected based on the direct distances.
 

serfty

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A big YMMV, but for this QF WP who is nearly 60% of the way to QF LTG, Qantas is the way for now. Once I achieve LTG, AA will get a good looking at.

Next year I and mrs serfty are embarking on a DONE4/5; while I am crediting to QF, she will be crediting to AA as that's the better value for a NB.

Here's my take on our Hong Kong trip next week:
Code:
MEL-HKG return V class on QF: 

serfty     (QF WP) 18,384 - 
Mrs serfty (QF PG) 13,788 - 
Other      (QF NB)  9,912 - 
AA Plt              9,912 - 
AA nufin            4,596 -
AA Plat Challenge*  6,896  
   
(*Achieve Challenge on return flight, having a minimum 808 AA points earned in challenge beforehand)
At the moment she is QF PG, so earning is going to QF. It was tight between that and AA as with a Plat Challenge, she would come close to similar value. However, there's no need at the moment as she has PG and a challenge will be undertaken by her next year anyway.
 

JohnK

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Dave Noble said:
Comparing against a trip SYD-LAX

Base miles is 14976
COS bonus AA PLT/EXP = 14976
COS bonus QF Gold = 7288
COS bonus QF Platinum = 14976

On 2 trips, mileage earned AA = 59,904 : QF Gold = 44,528 ; QF Platinum = 59,904

To compare additional CC spend needed to get an award to LAX in Y or J

For Y

Using AA, the number of points needed from AMEX debt cards = 15,096 => $36597
Using QF Gold, the number of points needed from AMEX debt cards = 51,472=> $51,472
Using QF Platinum, the number of points needed from AMEX debt cards = 36,096 => $36,096

For J

Using AA, the number of points needed from AMEX debt cards = 65,096 => $157,808
Using QF Gold, the number of points needed from AMEX debt cards = 147,472 => $147,472
Using QF Platinum, the number of points needed from AMEX debt cards = 132,096 => $132,096

Being zonal based, LAX is not one of the locations that comes out particularly well for AA since it is a close destination. If travellling further into the US on the award flight, AA comes out better since the same number of points will get to JFK whilst using QF points it would need as many as to get to London

Dave
Comparing against trip SYD-SIN

Base miles is 7816
COS bonus AA PLT/EXP = 7816
COS bonus QF Gold = 3908
COS bonus QF Platinum = 7816

On 2 trips, mileage earned AA = 31,264 ; QF Gold = 23,448 ; QF Platinum = 31,264

To compare additional CC spend needed to get an award to SIN in Y or J

In Y using AA, the number of points needed from AMEX MR points = 18,736 => $45,421
In Y using QF Gold, the number of points needed from AMEX MR points = 36,552 => $36,552
In Y using QF Platinum, the number of points needed from AMEX MR points = 28,736 => $28,736

In J using AA, the number of points needed from AMEX MR points = 38,736 => $93,906
In J using QF Gold, the number of points needed from AMEX MR points = 96,552 => $96,552
In J using QF Platinum, the number of points needed from AMEX MR points = 88,736 => $88,736

You decide whether AA looks adventageous in this example!

Comparing against trip PER-SIN

Base miles is 4858
COS bonus AA PLT/EXP = 4858
COS bonus QF Gold = 2429
COS bonus QF Platinum = 4858

On 2 trips, mileage earned AA = 19,432 ; QF Gold = 14,574 ; QF Platinum = 19,432

To compare additional CC spend needed to get an award to SIN in Y or J

In Y using AA, the number of points needed from AMEX MR points = 30,568 => $74,105
In Y using QF Gold, the number of points needed from AMEX MR points = 35,426 => $35,426
In Y using QF Platinum, the number of points needed from AMEX MR points = 30,568 => $30,568

In J using AA, the number of points needed from AMEX MR points = 50,568 => $122,590
In J using QF Gold, the number of points needed from AMEX MR points = 85,426 => $85,426
In J using QF Platinum, the number of points needed from AMEX MR points = 80,568 => $80,568

Clearly AA is no longer an option!

As usual YMMV!
 

Febs

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:oops::oops::oops:

Ermm, I probably confused a few of you earlier with my question about Paris. I have to admit, up until about 5 minutes ago I thought "FRA" was Paris, and not Frankfurt. :oops:

Whoops, sorry. Noob right here. ;)

Considering Frankfurt airport is an airport I wanted to travel to anyway (to visit the Nurburgring), I might look into this option a bit more closely.

Cheers,
- Febs.
 

Febs

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Done and done. A big thanks to everyone who replied or PM'd. :)

I did end up taking the SYD-FRA option, as I'm able to get into Frankfurt at 5:40am, hire a car (Audi A4 1.9 TDi is the best I could get, being 23 :(), drive to the Nurburgring (it's open to the public on the day I'll be there), spend a few hours there and drive back with plenty of time to make my ~7:30pm flight to MAD. :)

Flights are:
SYD-FRA (via SIN) on QF5 (747/400)
FRA-MAD on IB3503 (M88)
MAD-PRG on IB7888 (737)
PRG-BRQ on OK32 (AT4)
BRQ-PRG on OK39 (AT4)
PRG-LHR on BA853 (319)
LHR-SYD (via SIN) on QF32 (747/400)

Would anyone have a rough idea of SC earn for full economy (Y or equivalent) on the IB and BA flights (FRA-MAD, MAD-PRG and PRG-LHR)?

Cheers,
- Febs.
 

JohnK

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Febs said:
Would anyone have a rough idea of SC earn for full economy (Y or equivalent) on the IB and BA flights (FRA-MAD, MAD-PRG and PRG-LHR)?
FRA-MAD is 882 miles, MAD-PRG is 1088 miles and PRG-LHR is 651 miles. Therefore all are Zone 2 so each sector is 15 SC's discount economy, 30 SC's full economy, 60 SC's business class and 90 SC's first class!
 

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Sort of similar part of the world I'm going to - can anyone tell me the best way to get to Lisbon from MEL? I'd like to avoid LHR if possible, but if not, can anyone help with:

A. The quickest way
B. The best SC/Mileage earning way (not via the US)

I'll be travelling Biz class there and back. I like the idea of getting on BA at HKG to avoid T4-T1 transfer as someone suggested to the original poster on this thread, but prob not a good connection from MEL?

This, coupled with a xmas trip to Europe shoudl hopefully get me to QF Plat status :D . Very pleased as never been more than Silver in any FF programme!

Thanks.
 
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