The frequent flyer questions that keep me up at night

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by homan, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. homan

    homan Newbie

    Feb 18, 2012
    Hi everyone

    I’ve been reading this site for the last few hours trying to work out the best frequent flyer strategy. It’s been really helpful, but I’m still plagued with indecision about what to do. I’m hoping someone more experienced may be able to offer an opinion.

    Here’s my situation – I’ve currently got about 40,000 AA miles but want to switch to Qantas FF program so I can get a credit card and start earning points.
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    I’ve got a trip to Europe coming up in July. Should I just try to use the AA miles somehow for that trip and then start again with Qantas? If I bought some extra miles from AA I might be able to get a flight for at least one way.

    Then which Qantas credit card to get? I’ve narrowed it down to the NAB, ANZ or the HSBC Platinum cards. The ANZ and HSBC both have 20,000 bonus points which would get me started, but I already bank with NAB so that would be more convenient.

    Also I’m not a member of the Qantas program yet, so it would be better to sign up for one that includes free membership. Could I sign up to the ANZ standard card with 10k bonus in order to get free sign up and then get the HSBC as well for 20k points and a better visa earn?

    Lots of questions I realise. If anyone has an opinion on any of this I would be grateful to have some input from the pros on here!


  2. Princess Fiona


    May 22, 2009
    Flight Map:
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    Hi Hamish,
    Welcome to AFF :)
    I don't have the answers to all of your questions, but here goes:
    It is free to join QFF through the Woolworths Everday Rewards Card.
    Leaflets in store. Earn one QFF point per dollar over $30 spent.
    Can also tie this to a Woolworths Everyday Rewards Credit Card
    1 FF Point per $1.
    The sweet spot with Credit cards seems to be an Amex with a sign on bonus and earn 1.5 FF points per $1 and a back up Visa or MC with 1:1 conversion ( like Woolies).
    You may consider buying AA miles to top up your account as there's a bonus deal on up until the end of Feb with up to 15,000 bonus miles.
    I'm pretty clueless about AA Awards though.
  3. thewinchester

    thewinchester Established Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    Joondalup, WA
    Welcome to AFF homan.

    There are some questions that your answers to will help our members provide the best advice:

    On the program selection side:

    1. How often do you fly. (Average number of flights per year)
    2. What booking class do you usually fly (F = First,J = Business, Y+ = Premium Economy, Y = Full Economy, Y- = Discount Economy)
    3. What is your home airport.
    4. What destinations do you visit the most.

    As to the credit card question:
    1. What is your usual monthly (or annual) spend on the cards you currently hold.
    2. Is you spend only for personal purposes, or do you charge business expenses to the card as well? (for your own business)
    3. Do you already have a separate travel insurance policy to cover you, or is this something your are looking to be included in your card.

    On using points for your European trip:
    1. Are you flying on your own, or how many people are going with you.
    2. What is the exact routing you're planning to take
      NB: Routing means the departure, connecting and arrival airports you are taking. For example: PER-SIN-FRA-SIN-PER (Which is the airport codes for Perth, Singapore and Frankfurt).
    3. What cabin class are you wanting to fly for the trip. (F = First, J = Business, Y+ = Premium Economy, Y = Full Economy, Y- = Discount Economy)

    On selecting your bank & flipping credit cards for bonuses

    Credit card flipping techniques (or holding multiple credit cards) may be an option to explore - but you need to consider your personal financial circumstances and credit requirements.

    Assuming your credit ratings are in good standing, there are substantial bonus points to be made by applying for credit cards which have high bonus points offers available.

    HOWEVER: My standard advice with pursuing this as an option is to read what has been discussed in various frequent flyer forums to understand this option, consider your own financial circumstances, and don't pursue it unless you consider yourself the pinnacle of fiscal discipline. And yes, the last paragraph sounds like a disclaimer from a financial services ad - but I can't stress those points enough to anyone who might consider this a viable option.
  4. cove

    cove Enthusiast

    Apr 15, 2010
    The Qantas site has a summary of all it's card partners so working with Princess Fiona and thewinchester replies you can tailor a credit card solution to your needs.
    Personally I don't churn cards but many sign up for the initial points given despite the lousy earn rates per dollar spent because in 6 months that card is history.
    i would figure out how many AA points you need for a suitable flight and burn them up so they don't expire and if you need 5k or 10k extra then yes buy just that number.
  5. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
    BNE & SYD
    I think you are being blinded by the AA bank of miles you have, why not leave it there, wait for the miles purchase bonuses and top it up for a decent ROI on a future award flight or ten? Dont delay joining QFF, there are plenty of free ways including woolworths etc, and keep an eye out for some good point earning opportunities, like the life insurance offer!
  6. homan

    homan Newbie

    Feb 18, 2012
    Wow, thanks for all the replies. Great advice all round.

    Princess Fiona - that sounds like a great strategy with the Amex/Woolies combination. Subject to any other suggestions I think I’ll do that.

    thewinchester – in answer to your questions:

    Program selection:

    1. At the moment I would probably do two return international flights per year for holidays and two or three domestic for work.
    2. Almost always it would be Y or Y- (unfortunately!).
    3. Sydney.
    4. Internationally probably London (I lived there for 4 years up until a year ago), domestic Melbourne or Brisbane.

    Credit card:

    1. Monthly $2,500-$3000
    2. Only personal expenses.
    3. I have travel insurance on a Barclays card but I intend to cancel it so would probably need a replacement.

    European trip:

    1. I am going over with others but will probably fly by myself.
    2. I am looking at possible routes at the moment. I’m going in July and flights are really expensive at the moment. The option I am considering at the moment is going SYD-PVG-LON-ROM-SYD with China Eastern. I am not too keen on flying with them but the price is $1,800 vs about $2,700 for a more reputable airline. While I wouldn’t ordinarily put a price on my safety and comfort, at $900 less I am starting to consider it. Also I haven’t been to Shanghai before so wouldn’t mind stopping over for a day or two. That’s the current plan anyway, if I can use my AA points somehow to get on a better flight for one way, my odds of survival may increase considerably.
    3. Again, probably Y or Y-.

    Thanks again for all your replies.
  7. drron

    drron Enthusiast

    Jul 4, 2002
    Sunshine Coast
    Dont give up your AA membership.It's burn rate is much better than QF.
    For your trip SYD-PVG Aadvantage will be 25000 miles in Y or 35000 in J-this morning I was looking at QFF awards SYD-PVG for our sons family and I could get 5 Y awards virtually every day in march/April.So AA should be good.
    For PVG-LHR Aadvantage is 35000 in Y.So if you buy some AA miles with bonus miles now you have easily enough miles to get to LHR.
    But definitely join QFF through EDR-you can accumulate miles fast.
  8. AVC

    AVC Active Member

    Jan 28, 2012
    As far as the CCs goes, the other thing you need to consider is the annual fee.
    I also bank with NAB, and have the Qantas Platinum (dual card) account.
    I am about to apply for a EDR card as well for our non-AMEX spend, but the extra .23 points per dollar needs to outweigh the annual fee (which in our case it does).

    Plus 1 to what thewinchester said too. Two card accounts can get you into two times as much trouble if you keeps a large balance on them both.
  9. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    BNE, SYD and CNX
    Welcome to AFF homan!
  10. homan

    homan Newbie

    Feb 18, 2012
    Thanks drron, AVC and John K - really glad I found this forum!

    I was looking at the AA miles required to get to London. As I read the table it is 45,000 one way. Is that right?

    If so, what I could do for my Europe trip would be to buy 40k + 15k bonus miles from AA for $1,100 which would bring me to 95k. That would give me enough for a return for $1,100 plus taxes. That would be much better than $2,700!

    Does anyone see any holes in that plan? And how do I go about booking an award flight? Do I just ring the Australian AA office?
  11. drron

    drron Enthusiast

    Jul 4, 2002
    Sunshine Coast
    Plenty of availability to LHR in July but very little on the return on QF.
  12. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    BNE, SYD and CNX
    I believe the London Olympics may have a part to play in award availability.
  13. homan

    homan Newbie

    Feb 18, 2012
    This forum has saved my life! I’ve just booked one way SYD/NRT/LON using my AA points. It will cost me $147.50 US to buy the extra points I need (I have 40k) then $306 in taxes. My friend is going to be on the same flight which is a bonus.

    Then I’ve found a flight back with BA going FRA/SIN (where I’ll stop over for two nights to see my brother) then SIN/SYD for $1100.

    So as a result of finding this forum I’ve gone from a choice between $2,700 for QANTAS or $1,800 for China Eastern going routes that weren’t ideal to getting exactly what I want for $1580! Thanks again everyone for your advice.

    Oh and I joined QFF for free through Woolworths EDR and have applied for the AMEX Ultimate card. Wins all round really.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Princess Fiona


    May 22, 2009
    Flight Map:
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    You better tell your friends then :mrgreen:
    Enjoy your trip ;)
  15. grussellt

    grussellt Active Member

    Mar 18, 2008
    Muswellbrook, New South Wales, Australia
    Now that you've managed to book an AAdvantage award keep in mind that you can travel in J for 60000 miles (South Pacific to Europe) including the route you've booked. If you watch out for the bonus periods you can generally get to that figure fairly easily and sometimes the annual purchase limit is lifted above 40000 miles. Have a good trip.

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