Picking the right Frequent Flyer Program

One of the more popular questions we see on the forum, particularly from newish members, is the question of what Frequent Flyer program to join. While some may have points that are easy to earn, the redemption or “burn” rates can be very high. Others – in particular those from non-Australian airlines – may offer great value redemptions, but have few options to earn points in Australia. When it comes to what frequent flyer program, it’s often a case at looking what you want to do.

I have been lurking the forum for a while, I have also spent a lot of time reading about different FF programs and all the credit cards on offer. It’s been 3 months and it’s doing my head in!! I needed to get my husband a credit card that he could use for his business. We are both French so we travel back to Europe every year to visit our families. Hence I need to choose a program with good travel options back to France.

So next I had a look at the airlines offering the cheapest award tickets for Europe. It seemed to be Emirates. So I got hubby a Citibank Emirates CC. He already accrued 50k points in a month (thanks to the joining bonus). The annual fee is paid by the company so not a big deal. At that point we were happy. Since then though I have read many threads saying how rubbish Skywards is, how difficult it is to redeem award tickets and how much we’ll have to pay in fuel levy etc. I’m completely lost and wondering if I made a bad choice.

There is nothing worse than going to great effort to build up a good bank of points, only to find awards are as rare as hen’s teeth. In fact if we were to rank common posts, how to spend my massive haul of points would come second to what program to join! Fortunately our members have often been there done that, and are happy to pass on their pearls of wisdom.

One option that is worth considering is to “hold” credit card points in a bank program and transfer when you need to use them – to the program that has the best availability at that specific time. There are several banks with these type of CC’s – Amex Membership Rewards seems to have the biggest/best range of partners, but has less acceptance than Visa/Mastercard.

It seems perhaps our member may have not chosen the best path forward when it comes to earning points. Leaving them the choice to cut their losses and run or stay and stick it out. Fortunately, it appears all is not lost.

I would suggest wait it out a little while. Continue using the Emirates MC as it will be accepted at more places than Amex. But consider getting either the Amex Platinum Rewards  or Platinum Edge to use at places which accept Amex to warehouse, and you can always transfer to Emirates from Amex at some later point.

Both of the cards appear to have an offer of $0 annual fee for the first year, and depending on which one you pick you’d get up to 3 points per $ on supermarket purchases.

Are you having problems working out the best frequent flyer program, or perhaps you have a winning strategy, why not share your insights HERE.


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