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Why do people like flexible rewards programs?

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I've read a lot of articles about how good flexible points systems are, but since you lose ~50% of your points when transferring to an airline rewards program, are they actually any good? They seem like a terrible use of points to me but maybe I'm missing something..
 

oz_mark

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I've read a lot of articles about how good flexible points systems are, but since you lose ~50% of your points when transferring to an airline rewards program, are they actually any good? They seem like a terrible use of points to me but maybe I'm missing something..
You need to look at the overall end to end earn and burn rates. So, while numerically the transfer may be 2:1, not all points are the same value.

As an example, you may find more value in 1 Velocity point than you find in 2 Citibank Points.
 
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That's true, but I'm thinking with flexible vs straight up Qantas. There are some more fees to pay with Qantas flights, but it still seems like a better deal to me. Guess depends a bit on what you are doing with them.
 

blueythecat

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Amex membership rewards would be considered a flexible points program. One I find exceptional value. Points transfer to most airline partners at a 1:1 ratio and the flexible nature of the program means I’m not locked in to a particular airline or hotel redemption partner until I actually want to redeem my points.

Flexible points programs have a lot going for them in my opinion!
 

drron

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I remember thedays of Diners transferring to SPG at 1:1.Then from SPG to AA in 20000 blocks so getting 25000 AA points.Got LRP on AA because of this.Sadly no more.
 

DaveB

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All depends on whether you are trying to maximise FF points or maximise J/F/R reward seat flexibility.
Keeping abreast of all the partner programs through at least one airline member enables you to fly on FF points when you want rather than when one scheme's seats are available.
In my experience and having zero status, QF has a reasonable FF scheme for domestic travel with international reward seat availability poor only saved by Emirates seat availability. Unless flying Emirates, I use Asiamiles for bookings even when flying QF metal as besides being cheaper, like SQ are brilliant for late cancellations or no shows unlike most other schemes where you will do your FF points. When flying CX, Asiamiles seat availability trumps using QF FF as their Priority Tier 1 & 2 Awards provides more reward seat availability than the Standard Rewards made available to other Oneworld FF Programs.
Best decision I made a few years ago was sending a bucketload of points DL's way before losing the ability to transfer points. Funnily, I have never flown DL long haul myself but gives me a solid fallback for Skyteam airline seats, many of which can be booked online. DL points never expire and their rewards demand management system provides the ability to book any available seat using Skymiles at reasonable rates. No other FF scheme would enable you to get colleagues 4 of the last 5 J/F seats available on SYD-LAX-LAS a few weeks out from the July school holidays.
 

JohnK

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You need to look at the overall end to end earn and burn rates.
This is the most important part.

No point saying AA has the best burn if you can't earn them that quickly.

In my opinion nothing comes close to BMI Diamond Club. Got in quite late but got some decent redemptions out of them.

United MileagePlus was also quite good until recent devaluation.

Waiting to find out what happens with SPG/Marriott but that's where I'd want my Amex points to go based on last transfer.
 
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Thanks for all the replies!

I think the problem is that I am essentially only looking at round world redemptions (I've been convinced they're the best use of points! If you have other favourites let me know :) ), which in Australia pretty much limits you to Qantas and Velocity->KrisFlyer miles? And in that case I feel am much better off getting Qantas points vs any bank reward program as 100,000 bank points become 50,000 Velocity points becomes 37,000 KrisFlyer points. These are huge losses which I don't think are made up by the difference in fuel surcharges between the two.

@JohnK and oz_mark when the earn rate is 1 Qantas point or 1 bank point, the earn rate is the same, but your effective use out of the points is much higher for Qantas since you don't lose any to conversion making their "earn" rate higher than the flexible program.

Point taken about AMEX points, unless you want exactly Qantas they seem like a good option. It will just take a very long time to accrue enough points since can only get one sign up bonus/18 months? If want to build up a balance using, e.g. ANZ and AMEX sign up bonus it will cost you 2/3rds of your ANZ points to get Asia Miles or Kris Flyer miles when you could just have that amount of Qantas points instead.
 

twiningb

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Thanks for all the replies!

I think the problem is that I am essentially only looking at round world redemptions (I've been convinced they're the best use of points! If you have other favourites let me know :) ), which in Australia pretty much limits you to Qantas and Velocity->KrisFlyer miles? And in that case I feel am much better off getting Qantas points vs any bank reward program as 100,000 bank points become 50,000 Velocity points becomes 37,000 KrisFlyer points. These are huge losses which I don't think are made up by the difference in fuel surcharges between the two.

@JohnK and oz_mark when the earn rate is 1 Qantas point or 1 bank point, the earn rate is the same, but your effective use out of the points is much higher for Qantas since you don't lose any to conversion making their "earn" rate higher than the flexible program.

Point taken about AMEX points, unless you want exactly Qantas they seem like a good option. It will just take a very long time to accrue enough points since can only get one sign up bonus/18 months? If want to build up a balance using, e.g. ANZ and AMEX sign up bonus it will cost you 2/3rds of your ANZ points to get Asia Miles or Kris Flyer miles when you could just have that amount of Qantas points instead.
Initial bonuses might have similar numbers of "points" and thus favour Qantas, but typically ongoing earn rates where there's a "Qantas" and "bank-specific currency" flavour of the product, earn points per dollar such that the net outcome in VA points is similar/comparable to QF (and usually not much worse on SQ/CX if they're available, which would generally be considered more valuable per-point).
 

Mattg

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Thanks for all the replies!

I think the problem is that I am essentially only looking at round world redemptions (I've been convinced they're the best use of points! If you have other favourites let me know :) ), which in Australia pretty much limits you to Qantas and Velocity->KrisFlyer miles? And in that case I feel am much better off getting Qantas points vs any bank reward program as 100,000 bank points become 50,000 Velocity points becomes 37,000 KrisFlyer points. These are huge losses which I don't think are made up by the difference in fuel surcharges between the two.

@JohnK and oz_mark when the earn rate is 1 Qantas point or 1 bank point, the earn rate is the same, but your effective use out of the points is much higher for Qantas since you don't lose any to conversion making their "earn" rate higher than the flexible program.

Point taken about AMEX points, unless you want exactly Qantas they seem like a good option. It will just take a very long time to accrue enough points since can only get one sign up bonus/18 months? If want to build up a balance using, e.g. ANZ and AMEX sign up bonus it will cost you 2/3rds of your ANZ points to get Asia Miles or Kris Flyer miles when you could just have that amount of Qantas points instead.
It's not quite as simple as saying that 1 Qantas point is worth 1 bank rewards point, as it's usually not. Most banks award ~2 of their own points per dollar spent, then let you transfer at a rate of around 2:1, so the earn rates do work out roughly the same. Of course this varies though. If you're looking at lower-end cards and/or CommBank Awards then the value of bank rewards programs probably doesn't stack up.

For round-the-world awards, don't forget about CX Asia Miles. They have an award similar to Qantas' Oneworld Award but at much lower rates (albeit with fewer sectors available).
 

Renato1

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May 1, 2015
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I go for the flexible rewards system at Amex with my Edge card for two reasons.
1. I have a choice between sending the points to Qantas or to the flexibe Ascent scheme. I pay $149 a year for my card, and if I opt for Ascent I get a $200 Travel credit, if I join Qantas I don't - which pretty much settles the matter for me.

2. The Member Rewards points in Amex can be used to pay for hotel rooms at a cent a point. Using Qantas or Virgin points to buy hotel rooms is much poorer value than that.
Regards,
Renato
 

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