virgin vs qantas - newbie question | Australian Frequent Flyer
Australian Frequent Flyer

Welcome to Australia's leading independent Frequent Flyer and Travel Resource since 1998!
Our site contains tons of information that will improve your travel experience.

Joining AFF is fast, simple & absolutely free - register now and take immediate advantage of these great BENEFITS.

Once registered, this box will disappear. And you will see fewer advertisements :)

Login Now to remove this and all advertisements (GOLD and SILVER members)
Not a member? Register Now for free

virgin vs qantas - newbie question

Status
Not open for further replies.

SMM

Newbie
Joined
Aug 27, 2006
Messages
2
Hi All

I tried to search the site to find an simple answer to this question but got just as confused as trying to sort it out myself from info on the Q and VB websites, plus issues seem to be fairly specific to what one needs to do...so please direct me to the appropriate thread/article if this has already been addressed somewhere.

My questions: I am just about to start a job where I will need to fly from Adelaide to each of the mainland capitals, plus Townsville, and over to Canterbury and Auckland at least once in the next 12 months. I will probably be doing a couple of extra commutes Adelaide to Sydn and Melbourne. Obviously I want to joint up for some sort of frequently flyer membership - the choice of airline to fly is up to me. The two choices from Adelaide are Virign or Qantas. I had difficulty working out from their websites the best option regarding frequent flyer points, given the different ways they calculate and claim them. I will be paying for all costs out of my pocket and then submitting claims so anything accumulated from air fares, credit cards and accomodation goes to me

So my questions are

1. What would be the best option in terms of 'value for points'?
2. What else should I consider regarding gaining points through accommodation and credit card use?

Any suggestions, tips or direction to info that provides clarity would be most appreciated!!

TIA

S
 

Standby

Active Member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
633
The FF thing is important but more importantly for you is lounge access.Given you are going to all most major aussie cities,I would say thats a no brainer and join the qantas club. Also you cud well be very lucky and the QF/NZ tasman alliance gets up which will allow codesharing on the tasman so you'll get qantas points even on NZ flts.
For total FF point build given DJs limited tasman services I'd go with QF.
Interesting note on which is the best CC in todays Sydney Sunherald as well
(if you have access to it) as a points multiplyer
 

Mwenenzi

Established Member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
1,816
Questions with many answers.

What do you want out of the freq flyer programme:- reward flights in Aust, reward flights around the world, lounge access, upgrades to business class?

What class of travel business or economy ?
Do you want (or are required to buy) el cheapo tickets (no date changes) or will it be flexible tickets (can change date free or for a fee)?

If going by Qantas considering joining the American Airline freq flyer programme. The earn – burn rate is much better than QF. You get AA miles on most QF fares classes (be careful on red e-deals)

With Virgin a limited number of reward opportunities, but there partner list is growing. Virgin fly trans Tasman as Pacifc Blue Airline. Similar in style to Jetstar (to be avoided on trans tasman routes in my view)

Credit card purchase can push the airline freq flyer programme points up. Some CC point transfers to AA can be done at (search this site)

For hotels tend to get better value collecting hotel points in a hotel loyalty programme and then using these for hotel stays. But the can be transferred to a airline freq flyer programme if that is want you want.

If it was me, I would be flying Qantas and putting the miles to AAdvantage freq flyer programe & the cc points to QF (as a 2nd ff programme as no value if you do nothing) or keeping cc points within Amex
 
Last edited:

jakeseven7

Established Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2005
Messages
3,255
No brainer - QFF.
Virgin really struggle on Trans tasman, their schedule is filled with gaping holes and services are often cancelled.
 

SMM

Newbie
Joined
Aug 27, 2006
Messages
2
[Mwenez wrote
What do you want out of the freq flyer programme:- reward flights in Aust, reward flights around the world, lounge access, upgrades to business class?

and
What class of travel business or economy ?
Do you want (or are required to buy) el cheapo tickets (no date changes) or will it be flexible tickets (can change date free or for a fee)?

S
Ah, good point - looks like it's a question with many questions :oops: ...

Basically my needs are simple. I am thinking of earning enough for reward flights in Australia to take my family on a holiday (a bribe for all the time I will now be away!), with reward flights internationally being second on the list. I will have to purchase lounge access myself I think? I am not paid well enough to justify that from the family budget at this stage...I will be travelling economy, and need to get the fares as el cheapo as possible (am travelling on research grant money i.e. a wing and a prayer) and will sometimes have firm dates that I can do el cheapos on, although overall flexible would work better to manage unforseen circumstances. I am not fussed about upgrades to business class. Nice if it happens but not the be all or end all.

[Mwenez wrote
If going by Qantas considering joining the American Airline freq flyer programme. The earn – burn rate is much better than QF. You get AA miles on most QF fares classes (be careful on red e-deals)

S
Okay, do you guys have a translation page for your acronyms...?

And thanks for the rest of your info - will look into it!

Regards

S
 

serfty

Veteran Member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
43,088
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Platinum
Flights
My Map
... need to get the fares as el cheapo as possible (am travelling on research grant money i.e. a wing and a prayer) and will sometimes have firm dates that I can do el cheapos on, although overall flexible would work better to manage unforseen circumstances. ...
Be aware of one issue if you intend to join AAdvantage and credit QF flights to that program. If you use "el cheapo's", the most common QF domestic 'Standard' red e-deal's book into 'N' class which does NOT earn anything with the AA program. You would be OK with any 'flexi' fare; but of course, they cost more.

(Strangley enough, the "Sale" red e-deal fares (which generally cost less) book into "O" class, which does earn on AA)
 

Mwenenzi

Established Member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
1,816
Translation page for your acronyms& jargon. You will soon get used it.

Earn rate: how many points-miles earn on trip
Burn rate: how many points-miles you need for reward a trip.
With AA reward burn miles/points are less. eg With AA 20,000 miles will get you anywhere in Aus - NZ. On QF (Qantas) you need 36,000 points and need to pay a bundle of $$ as fuel surcharges as well (The numbers may not be 100% accurate but you get the general idea). A simple way to check the earn – burn rate is how may trips A to B you need to get a reward trip A to B or A to C. AA wins almost every time over Qantas.

Qantas (QF) have 4 main economy fare types Red e-Deal, Super Saver, Flexi Saver & Fully Flexible. Within these 4 fare types are classes designated by letters (O,N, S, V, L, R, M, K, W, H. Y) (slang term :- fares buckets). These can have different mileage earn rates and QF Status Credit earn rates (and the equivalent on AA)

If the cost of trip is the major consideration, you may end up taking Virgin or waiting in airports for the cheaper QF flight.

You can join the American Airlines frequent flyer program (FFP) www.aa.com and get AA frequent flyer points/miles when flying on most Qantas flights (see Serfty's post above). (Some airlines give frequent flyer (ff) points – most give ff miles). Joining the American Airlines FFP is free. QF charge $80?
 
Last edited:

Yada Yada

Established Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Messages
1,877
SMM said:
So my questions are

1. What would be the best option in terms of 'value for points'?
2. What else should I consider regarding gaining points through accommodation and credit card use?

Any suggestions, tips or direction to info that provides clarity would be most appreciated!!
In terms of 'value for points' and your comment that you'd like to take the family on a holiday using them, I'd suggest that you will get better value with Virgin Blue's velocity. Earning rates are quite good, redeeming is much easier, and they have plenty of flights to Qld which is where many family holidays are spent. ;)

For credit card earning, the only cards that earn Velocity points are from NAB and you will find that more hotel chains can earn QFF points for you too. However Velocity is less than a year old though so it will continue to enlist more card and hotel partners over time.

As others have said, there are Qantas lounges almost everywhere so if your flights are spread out to all locations, this might be a factor in your decision. Virgin Blue now have lounges in SYD, MEL, BNE and ADL so if most of your flights are to these locations, you'll be well served.
 

Flatbed

Newbie
Joined
Oct 5, 2006
Messages
7
No acronyms

EDITED VERSION

Sounds like you are a family man, so here are some family-oriented thoughts:

1) Virgin's Velocity programme does not allow you to pool miles with other family members. My wife and I used Virgin to fly Perth-Melbourne-Launceston-Sydney-Perth in the past month to visit scattered offspring. If we wanted to join Velocity, we'd have to do so separately. We'd each be credited with the miles we'd flown. However, we could gift Velocity points to other family members.

This contrasts markedly with what British Airways offered when I was working in New York a few years ago. Up to four family members could pool their miles, in a fashion analogous to the American Express Ascent programme. For example, I was able to fly my daughter from Los Angeles to New York using miles I'd accumulated on Perth-New York-Perth trips. Like Velocity, there was no cost to join the British Airways programme.

2) Qantas charges $82.50 for membership of its frequent flyer programme, and that's each - you and your better half are both up for the tariff (don't know about children). Qantas, like Velocity, allows limited mileage transfer between family members.

In theory, because Qantas is a member of the OneWorld alliance, I should have been able to use the miles I'd accumulated with Cathay Pacific to get Qantas flights when I was working in New York. In fact, it was never possible to get any Qantas flight Perth-New York-Perth using frequent flyer miles. Since I prefer Cathay to Qantas that didn't bother me, but it's worth keeping in mind that airlines are businesses, not charities, and run their frequent flyer programmes accordingly.

3) If my wife and I have to fly domestically, we care about earning points to save money, and we want those points to be usable, where "usable" means we can actually get a flight, and membership is cost-effective. We don't care about lounges, movies and meals. For these reasons, we've just joined Velocity rather than Qantas. If we were still flying trans-Pacific several times a year, I would care about upgrades to business class - but that's beyond the scope of this reply.
 
Last edited:

NM

Enthusiast
Moderator
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
16,260
Qantas
LT Gold
Virgin
Red
Flights
My Map
Be aware that if tyhe goal is to take the family on free domestic flights for a holiday, then that will mean obtaining multiple award tickets. With QF, you are charged a fuel fine (they call it a surcharge) on award tickets for each sector. So if you want 4 people to travel so ADL-BNE-CNS and return, that would be a total of 16 domestic sector fuel fines, or about $600 for your "free" tickets. And it would need a total of 144,000 QF FF points.

If using the AAdvantage program, you would need 80,000 AA miles and save the $600 in fuel fines since AA does not charge them for award tickets. In fact, for 140,000 AA miles you could so the trip in business class.

I don't know how many points are required for DJ's program for a similar award trip.
 

simongr

Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
14,426
Re: No acronyms

Flatbed said:
Sounds like you are a family man, so here are some family-oriented thoughts:

1) Virgin's Velocity programme <...snip...> Like Velocity, there was no cost to join the British Airways programme.

2) Qantas charges $82.50 for membership
AAdvantage is Free :)
 

Flatbed

Newbie
Joined
Oct 5, 2006
Messages
7
AA

Yes, it is. I have a real soft spot for American. My father flew with them often back in the 1950s, my sister-in-law worked for the airline for many years, and my mother actually hosted three gals from California who needed to do their AA stewardess training in New York. I've flown with them a fair bit, too. They ran Sydney-New York for a short while, but that was decades ago.

The problem is applying miles earned using OneWorld carriers like AA on Qantas. In over three-and-a-half years of trying (1999-2003), I was never able to do so. On the other hand, I had no problems using points gained on other OneWorld carriers (e.g., Cathay) to fly with AA.
 

NM

Enthusiast
Moderator
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
16,260
Qantas
LT Gold
Virgin
Red
Flights
My Map
Re: AA

Flatbed said:
The problem is applying miles earned using OneWorld carriers like AA on Qantas. In over three-and-a-half years of trying (1999-2003), I was never able to do so. On the other hand, I had no problems using points gained on other OneWorld carriers (e.g., Cathay) to fly with AA.
Not sure what are saying here???? Are you saying that you could not redeem AA miles for flights on Qantas? I had no problems at all finding flight availability for travel in business class from BNE to AKL during the January school holiday period. Availability for AA awards on QF flights is exactly the same as for Qantas Bronze or Silver level FF members for economy flights, and the same as all QF FF members for business and first class (i.e. from X, U and Z inventory).
 

Flatbed

Newbie
Joined
Oct 5, 2006
Messages
7
Interesting

My wife and I made more Perth-NYC-Perth flights between 1999 and 2003 than we care to remember. Most of those were on Cathay, though I'm sure we used Qantas at least once.

The BA FF club in the US really beats the drum about OneWorld, and we were under the impression that the points we accrued could be used with any OneWorld carrier. However, we were never able to secure a flight with Qantas, in any class, on the NYC-Perth route, in the entire time I worked in NYC. I tried hard (my wife prefers Qantas), but never had a win.

The BA program's cost was zero, and we derived a lot of benefit from it. We successfully redeemed points with AA (LAX-JFK economy) and JAL (JFK-SYD bizclass), and secured a complimentary bizclass upgrade once with Cathay on the New York-Hong Kong leg. I'm not complaining.

My sister-in-law, who worked for BA when it was BOAC and has been a FF with them for decades, was the one who originally told me about the BA FF club. She was as surprised and disappointed as I was at the unavailability of Qantas flights. However, as the New York route is very profitable for them, I can see the Qantas point of view. Why give away something you can sell?

It may be easier to get FF flights on other Qantas routes. I don't know, because I've never tried. If you need to use Qantas (or QF/AA - sometimes the QF 747 goes through, sometimes you have to pick it up on the west coast) to get to New York from Oz using FF miles, I wish you the best of luck.
 

NM

Enthusiast
Moderator
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
16,260
Qantas
LT Gold
Virgin
Red
Flights
My Map
Re: Interesting

Flatbed said:
The BA FF club in the US really beats the drum about OneWorld, and we were under the impression that the points we accrued could be used with any OneWorld carrier. However, we were never able to secure a flight with Qantas, in any class, on the NYC-Perth route, in the entire time I worked in NYC. I tried hard (my wife prefers Qantas), but never had a win.
Your problem with availability of award flights on QF is not related to the OneWorld FF program being used. Its the same for QF FF members.

FF award flights on QF flights come from certain fare buckets. The only difference in availability is in economy class where QF Gold and Platinum (and CL of course) members get access to the T fare bucket as well as X. Other OneWorld airline FF programs only use X for economy awards. Business class awards come out of U bucket no matter if using QF, AA, BA or any other OneWorld FF program for payment. And First Class awards on QF come out of Z fare bucket for all OneWorld programs.

So the only benefit for getting better access to QF award flights by using the QF FF program is for economy class awards if you can reach and maintain Gold or Platinum FF status.

Note that as an anomaly, AA FF members get better access to economy award seats on BA flights than QF members get on the same BA fights.
 
Trying to access your favourite Australian websites when overseas only to discover they have been geo-blocked? Concerned about your internet privacy especially when using unsecured wifi? NordVPN will solve both these common problems.

Recommended by the Australian Frequent Flyer

Flatbed

Newbie
Joined
Oct 5, 2006
Messages
7
TY

Thanks for that - very interesting!

When coming home the last time from NYC (May 03), neither Qantas nor Cathay were available, so I did a lot of checking on unusual ways to get from NYC to Perth. LAN via Santiago/Sydney and Finnair via Helsinki/Bangkok both fell over, and I didn't have sufficient miles for BA via London/Singapore. I did get JAL via Tokyo/Sydney and picked up a Qantas red e-deal to Perth.

Bizclass facilities on the JAL aircraft used NYC-Tokyo and Tokyo-Sydney were two different things. The New York leg got a new 747, with beds, great meals and power for the laptop (no batteries). The Sydney sector got a very old 747, and the bizclass didn't stack up against economy class standards on more modern aircraft. That said, it was free!

Hopefully, JAL has upgraded its equipment on the Australian run by now. We used them once before on PER-JFK (they used to code share with QF), but that was nearly 20 years ago. JAL had the best price we could find for kids age 12 and under - 2 adults and four children for 3.5 adult fares. Unfortunately, they stopped flying into Perth years ago.
 

N860CR

Established Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Messages
3,627
Flights
My Map
When you're chosing an airline you shouldn't just consider the rewards program. While you may end up with slightly better rewards with QF, remember you'll not only pay the $82.50 each joining fee for the FF program, you'll also (generally) pay a higher fare each time you fly. Also, chances are services out of Adelaide will gradually be moved from mainline QF to Jetstar which will not only earn you nothing in terms of points, you'll have to suffer through the JQ experience.

All in all while mayb the QF (or AA) FF program seem slightly more appealing, as an overall choice airline Virgin is probably a better option.
 

jakeseven7

Established Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2005
Messages
3,255
danielribo said:
When you're chosing an airline you shouldn't just consider the rewards program. While you may end up with slightly better rewards with QF, remember you'll not only pay the $82.50 each joining fee for the FF program, you'll also (generally) pay a higher fare each time you fly. Also, chances are services out of Adelaide will gradually be moved from mainline QF to Jetstar which will not only earn you nothing in terms of points, you'll have to suffer through the JQ experience.

All in all while mayb the QF (or AA) FF program seem slightly more appealing, as an overall choice airline Virgin is probably a better option.

Hmm where did you work out that JQ are expanding their ADL services replacing QF?

Its a common myth that you will save heaps of money with Virgin, as our procurement team discoverd that the savings are minimal over a 1 year period of booking over 1500 flights (excluding our QF rebate before you ask)

QF Group is far better for the business traveller that desires flexibility, DJ just don't have the scale - yet. And yes he should make the most of a much better rewards program that allows upgrades (DJ are all cattle class) and redemptions to many more places than DJ.
 
Last edited:

Yada Yada

Established Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Messages
1,877
jakeseven7 said:
Its a common myth that you will save heaps of money with Virgin, as our procurement team discoverd that the savings are minimal over a 1 year period of booking over 1500 flights (excluding our QF rebate before you ask)
Well, not necessarily. Perhaps large companies that have a direct arrangement with Qantas can get consistently cheap fares. Smaller companies such as the one I work for have to book online with the rest of the general public and in my experience rarely get the lowest fares. For example, last week on Tuesday I booked a SYD-MEL/return trip for the Thursday. QF only had full Y fares available for approx $394 each way. The lowest fare (sold out) was $145. Virgin Blue had fares as low as $169 each way and seats were available. I travelled for half the cost I would have paid for QF.

Maybe the lowest fares at peak times are all sold out months in advance to large corporates? That doesn't leave much for the rest of us! I can usually book a cheap fare on Virgin Blue the night before I fly. This is simply impossible with QF.

jakeseven7 said:
QF Group is far better for the business traveller that desires flexibility, DJ just don't have the scale - yet. And yes he should make the most of a much better rewards program that allows upgrades (DJ are all cattle class) and redemptions to many more places than DJ.
I have to disagree with this too. For the routes I travel (e.g. SYD-MEL and SYD-BNE) the frequency at peak times is the equal of QF (e.g. every 30 mins). In fact for SYD-MEL, DJ has flights every 15 mins between 6:45 and 7:15am. No doubt QF has better frequency on some routes (e.g. SYD-CBR) but give it time.

As for the chance of getting an upgrade on QF, it is very low. I scored one the other day from PER-SYD and was genuinely shocked. It was only the second time I have been able to upgrade from Y to J in my entire life. The majority of QF pax travel around in cattle class so the lure of an upgrade for FF's is mostly smoke and mirrors. And given that most QF pax are travelling cattle class, they might as well try out Virgin Blue and get better legroom and vastly better service.

Redemptions - I honestly have not tried to redeem on Virgin Blue now but am guessing that with MH on board as a partner, I could fly almost anywhere in the world. And more partners will be added soon.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Community Statistics

Threads
86,287
Messages
2,078,636
Members
53,686
Latest member
Mark and Narelle
Top