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SYD to Europe July 2016

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gabeb1920

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Hi All,
First timer here at AFF and really green flyer :)

My girlfriend and I are planning a trip to the UK in 2016. I'm hoping to be able to study on exchange at a uni in England between Sept 2016 and Feb 2017 with some touring around Europe between July 2016 and the start of session in Sept. We're hoping to fly business class as frugly as possible using points and whatever means available.

I've currently got around 56K points with QFF and a rewards credit card paying 0.5 visa and 1 amex to the QFF.
I'm planning to get another card with 1 pay for visa and an amex with higher pay rates. I had one in mind but can't remember that exact one.

My questions are:
1. Is it best to fly direct to London or perhaps elsewhere in Europe would be cheaper? The return leg would be from London but going there we could land anywhere and tour our way to England.

2. What would be the best way to accumulate points for a trip like this? Given we won't be flying much between now and then, is it worth churning cards to build points? Perhaps booking one way and using points earnt for the return trip?

3. Is QFF the best carrier/points program for this trip?

4. Any tips for the trip or tours would be great :)

Thanks in advance.

Gabriel
 

RooFlyer

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Welcome to AFF :)


You might not have the flexibility to move away from Qantas, if you are using points, but irrespective these things might be useful to know:

* LHR is an expensive airport to use. You'll be hit with government passenger movement charges at all UK airports, but Heathrow has high airport charges. Use another entry/exit point if you can.

* Qantas has high cash fees and charges on top of the points you pay. You may find that the fees and charges are almost as much as an economy fare, especially a 'sale' type fare. :shock:

* There are other oneWorld carriers you can use Qantas points on to Europe (eg Malaysian); they may have lower fees and charges; others will know better about that.

* If you find that you'll pay a lot in fees and charges, and conclude as many do that points may not be the best way to go, then it opens up all other carriers, including Star Alliance. Thai, Lufthansa have attractive fares from time to time, including a 'free' intra-Europe leg at the end of the entry journey and at the start of the departure journey (eg FRA-MAN-FRA for Lufthansa.). Finnair does the same, and is OneWorld, so you would earn QFF points and SCs and get to the UK for the cost of flying to Helsinki.

I suggest you check out the cash cost of using Qantas points for the trip (make a dummy booking on line) and see if you are OK with the cash and points cost. If not, as I said, it opens up lots of other possibilities which might cost a bit more, (but it may not!) but you will earn more points and SCs which you can use on better uses for points, such as upgrading your next Y trip.

Hope that helps.
 

browski

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2016..........Certainly by then there will be no Qantas International flight to London, but the flights on Jetstar should still be redeemable - only Starclass though, not Business (except in name)
 

gabeb1920

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Thanks for the quick reply! :)
Business class tickets seem to be very costly and that's why I was thinking points. I hadn't considered the fees and taxes though. I'll check that out.
About the alternative entry/exit point, do you have any specific recommendations?
Cheers
 

RooFlyer

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Oops .. missed completely that you were planning on flying business; sorry :oops: In that case the fees and charges are a little more 'palatable' compared to the cost of a bought ticket; but it'll be a cost you can't ignore.

If you do fly QF on points you won't have any option than to enter/exit via LHR. If you perhaps use the points to redeem on Emirates, Manchester is a good entry/exit point.

BA is a possibility using QF points, but I've never done that, so don't know how many, routes etc.

If you are thinking about business 'reward' seats, be aware that they are rare, especially two on the same flight. You would probably have to pounce on the day they become available, which I think is 330 days prior to the flying day (some-one here will correct me). Much after that they become harder to get the longer you leave it.

Buying an economy ticket and trying to upgrade will also be difficult. Again, the number of upgradable seats is limited, upgrades are not confirmed until shortly before the flight and you will be up against those with status on Qantas (ie Gold, Platinum & Plat 1) who will get priority for the upgrade seats.

Sorry, its not uncommon to have to break this sort of news to those new at the game. keep asking Qs and reading the various threads here though and you'll have a much better chance of success compared to the average punter.
 

gabeb1920

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Thanks again for replying so quickly :)

Hmm I didn't realize it was that tough to get seats.
Something I just read is about using AAdvantage points which may be able to be purchased at a discount. Any thoughts about that option? Also I think I can transfer points from QFF to AA but are rthere any fees involved? Am I likely to have the same issue with seat availability do you think?

Also found a website "The Travel Hacking Cartel" which proports to alert its members to deals for earning points. Has anyone had any experience with them?

And just had another thought, do travel agents help booking flights with points?

Cheers
 
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