Won over a million VA points - how should I spend them?

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synch

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So I may/may not be the guy who won Richard Branson's Velocity FF points a couple of months ago... 1,035,843 to be exact :p I've been planning on doing a round the world trip for a long time and now it looks like that's going to happen sooner rather than later!

I'm pretty spontaneous by nature though so I've decided to spend them a little bit differently to how someone normally would; I'm going to get the public to lock in my itinerary for me rather than pick the destinations myself (to a degree...). I've currently got a website under development which will put up three possible destinations a week for the public to vote on. At the end of each week the destination with the highest number of votes will be the one that's locked in and the next three destinations will then be put up for vote until my itinerary is fully locked in, which is when I'll jump on my first flight out of Australia!

What I need help with is which destinations should I put up for vote in order to maximise the value of my point spend? VA's network isn't that extensive so I've been trying to plan it out but it's difficult because even though points can be redeemed for "any" airline the actual rates aren't publicly available and I'll need to call VA up to confirm them. Even so, the value of those redemptions for non-partner flights will likely be incredibly poor so I don't want to waste them on those types of flights, even if I get desperate. I'll likely just buy the tickets with cash instead. I've also got about 70,000 QFF points so there's a possibility those can be used on routes VA don't have any partners.

I'm sure you guys can have as much fun with this as I'm going to so if you could give me some advice/any other ideas that would be awesome!
 

bass_ke

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I can't help too much planning your run, but I will say congrats and please make a trip report!
 

Cynicor

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Few basics- where are you located and where, continent- (or country-) wise, do you want to go?

Remember you aren't restricted in that way a RTW will be so directions don't matter. Premium classes are a must, optional or undesirable?

When do you want to go? Availability can get limited at times so it may be important to lock a lot of it in early.
 

synch

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I can't help too much planning your run, but I will say congrats and please make a trip report!

Thanks bass_ke! The main point of the site is actually as a travel blog so I will definitely keep you all updated :)

Few basics- where are you located and where, continent- (or country-) wise, do you want to go?

Remember you aren't restricted in that way a RTW will be so directions don't matter. Premium classes are a must, optional or undesirable?

When do you want to go? Availability can get limited at times so it may be important to lock a lot of it in early.

I'm in Melbourne so I'll be leaving from here. As for continent/country-wise when I say I want to go everywhere I really mean it ha. Premium classes are pretty undesirable if it means I'll run out of points faster - I'd rather get as much mileage out of my points and go to as many places on them as possible. However if I can afford to fly business/premium economy on points once I've figured it all out I will so I'm not completely cancelling the idea out. I'm planning on leaving with about $35k/$40k in my pocket for about 12 months of travel so I'm not so fussed about buying tickets if I need to either.

My plan is to leave in exactly 12 months (June 6 to be exact). Was thinking of doing the trip in the following order: Asia -> Middle East -> Europe -> Africa -> South America -> North America -> Canada -> South Pacific/New Zealand -> Home (well, for now... probably going to move somewhere at the end of it!)

What do you guys think? There are obviously places I'd love to go that are definitely on my list but as for when I actually go to those places I'm really not fussed.

How would you guys go about doing a round the world trip like the one I'm thinking about going on using points?
 

Cynicor

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I don't know much about VA points so I'll leave the specifics to others, I was just trying to get you started on here as often "where should I go" is a bit too vague to give any help.

I would imagine that you will have some difficulties flying Africa to South America and possibly EU to Africa so some serious planning will need to be had. Hostels will be the primary source of accommodation I assume?
 

mardy

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Just had a look at some Any Seat Business points flights and you can buy yourself a one way ticket to Los Angeles next week for a cool 970,000 points!
You'll have to find your own way home though as a million is just not going to cut it i'm afriad...

It's a somewhat more reasonable 90,000 if you book 6 months in advance for a reward seat, but it makes you think why they even bother quoting those points at all
if Richard Branson himself could not afford a return trip!
 

Denali

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OP, are you a gold or platinum Velocity member? I ask because I'm curious how is he going redeem long haul if he's not. I'm curious if they also gave you status with the win. Congrats Btw.
 

synch

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I would imagine that you will have some difficulties flying Africa to South America and possibly EU to Africa so some serious planning will need to be had. Hostels will be the primary source of accommodation I assume?

You're right about that actually. Still haven't fully locked in the order so destinations can be swapped around! Hostels will definitely be the primary source of accommodation, maybe with a few nights booked at decent hotels here and there :)

It's a somewhat more reasonable 90,000 if you book 6 months in advance for a reward seat, but it makes you think why they even bother quoting those points at all
if Richard Branson himself could not afford a return trip!

Yeah that's crazy! It's all about supply/demand though so it doesn't surprise me.

Donations will make you feel whole and worthy, increase self esteem etc etc

Haha are you hinting at something? Unfortunately points can only be transferred to family members at the same address ;)

OP, are you a gold or platinum Velocity member? I ask because I'm curious how is he going redeem long haul if he's not. I'm curious if they also gave you status with the win. Congrats Btw.

I'm currently Silver. They didn't give me a status upgrade when I won :( curious why you think I won't be able to redeem long haul due to not being Gold/Platinum? Are there other fares available for higher-tiered members?
 

Denali

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Sorry my bad. You can redeem reward flights with points but only gold or platinum can upgrade long haul with points. I'm still new to this myself.

I would be asking them for a status upgrade as well so you can use the lounge on your travels. They can only say no.
 

ozbeachbabe

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The best value for points is usually for premium cabins eg J/F but if you are contemplating travelling in why definitely compare the cost of a paid commercial ticket for that sector.

The only intl VA award ticket I've done is on HA HNL/BNE in why which was 32,500 points (now 37,500) plus taxes of USD37.74 pp but it's a day flight so do-able in whY but byo food or you'll starve.

Don't feel compelled to book every single ticket on your journey with points - mix it up.
 

synch

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I would be asking them for a status upgrade as well so you can use the lounge on your travels. They can only say no.

That's true. My site's going to be doubling as a travel blog so I'll be promoting Virgin pretty heavily once it's up and running. Might wait until I've got that going and use it as my bargaining chip ;)

The best value for points is usually for premium cabins eg J/F but if you are contemplating travelling in why definitely compare the cost of a paid commercial ticket for that sector.

The only intl VA award ticket I've done is on HA HNL/BNE in why which was 32,500 points (now 37,500) plus taxes of USD37.74 pp but it's a day flight so do-able in whY but byo food or you'll starve.

Don't feel compelled to book every single ticket on your journey with points - mix it up.

Yeah I've pretty much accepted that I'm not going to be able to purchase all of my flights using just points. Depending on how my itinerary turns out I might just buy J/F tickets if points allow.... we'll see :)

Still need to figure out roughly the best route around the world is to go though! The whole Africa/South America thing is definitely something I'm going to have to look into, but I'm sure there are plenty of others that I don't know about yet.
 

synch

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If VA don't grant me a status upgrade how do you guys think I should go about getting up to at least Gold as quickly/cheaply as possible? I've heard the US is one of the better places to do a status run but I'm still pretty new to it all.
 
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PLANT

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Um I think your best option is to have MELB-LAX in Y class. and ABU DHABI to Mel in Y class on VA metal....the rest you will loose to many points using alliance airlines......but as said start booking your flights now and decide itinerary now, using ITA matrix to work out "connecting" flights...but really 100K one way in points to LAX....well there goes 200k and you on left and got back home!

Look at the status runs on here and spend everything on credit card.....
Personally I'd save the points and do LAX and ABU DHABI a few times on VA metal......good luck
 
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