Optimal Strategy for 14 Annual Europe Trips

One member faces the unenvious prospect of taking up to 14 trips between Brisbane and Dublin over the next year. As this member will be paying for the flights themselves, they are looking for strategies to optimise their travel experience and hopefully score a few upgrades along the way.

I’m looking at doing either 13 or 14 return trips from BNE to LHR (actually to Dublin but if options work best to LHR happy with that and can get separate flight to Dublin) in the next 12 months. These trips are self funded so looking at best strategy to get status asap and best mileage scheme to upgrade as many as possible from economy fares to business, don’t mind the occasional business purchase or purchase of a mixed class ticket.

Our members were quick to point out that it will be much cheaper to purchase a series of return tickets from Europe, rather than Australia.

Definitely if there are that many trips locked in, buy a return ex-AUS which books the first and last outbound/inbound legs, then do a series of returns ex-DUB and it should be substantially cheaper. You dont have to transit LHR (in fact it may well be cheaper NOT to….) eg. EK direct to DUB via DXB. Finnair often have good pricing via HEL (again avoids LHR).

As our member will be staying in Ireland for just a week during each trip, they are keen to minimise the amount of time spent travelling. As only Emirates and Etihad Airways offer one-stop connections between Brisbane and Dublin (with short transits in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, respectively), these are the main airlines in contention.

With the choice of airline narrowed down to Emirates and Etihad, our member then compared the value in each of their respective frequent flyer programs. They calculated that, purchasing Saver fares, it will take them 6 trips to earn Platinum status with the Etihad Guest program but 9 trips to earn Platinum with Emirates Skywards. They should also earn enough points to upgrade around 2 return trips to Business class on either airline. The cost of the trips would be roughly the same, though Emirates is slightly cheaper. In all, there’s not much difference – but our member has chosen Emirates as they already had a large stockpile of Emirates Skywards miles.

Looks like you are quite advanced with EK – which is not bad. And seems like it is the best way for you to get status. And use points to upgrade from Y to J – you have an advantage here because they don’t run PeY). And it is a one stop for you in DXB. And you can potentially use the EK status on QF flights in future. And the price is reasonable. May not be a bad choice for you if you run it all on EK codes.

Once our member earns status with Emirates they will have access to airport lounges, free seat selection and a better chance of getting upgraded. In order to speed up this process, and enjoy one extra trip in comfort, one member suggests booking one of the first trips in Business class.

I would take one of the earlier flights in business class, yes it will cost more but it will help you in getting status that much earlier. Once you have status and flying in economy you will already have lounge and the pick of which seats to select and of course be first inline for any upgrades that might occur.

What would you do in this situation? Share your experience HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]