Should you be cashing in your points?

Once bitten twice shy? Many of us have been bitten before when a program devalues its points or closes. The fear of being the victim once again often makes us constantly review our balances, looking at ways to ensure optimum value is achieved. Recent news that our local airlines have been struggling has had many taking an extra look at what’s to lose.

Locally both Qantas Loyalty and Velocity Rewards are companies that are separate to the airlines that own them. While their owners have struggled to turn a profit, Qantas Loyalty with its 10 Million members and Velocity Rewards with its 4 million members have stood out on the balance sheet for their revenue contributions to their parent companies. They are not going anywhere soon! That means your points are safe for the time being.

Getting value from those points now is another matter altogether. It really comes down to what plans you have for them. Lets look at award flights and their value in the context of Qantas and its changes. The first rule to remember is that things can change.

As Qantas restructures its operations, your options may differ. As of last week, there will no longer be Premium Economy seats available soon on any Qantas flight to Singapore. While members wishing to fly to Singapore from Perth will soon have to look at options other than a direct Qantas service, often at an additional points cost. There are more changes to come.

Prior to the announcements some felt the need to take out insurance in the form of pre-booking flights

I’ve burnt around 350,000 in the last week + another 200,000 in the past 8

That strategy can work, however be aware that award bookings are not treated the same as paid bookings. When things change, award bookings are often more restrictive in terms of what can be done to address schedule or cancellation charges. Often award availability is required for the new flights, making it hard to rebook for instance.

Another option is to book flights on a partner airline, one you may feel is more likely not to make changes. Qantas has many partners, many of whom have recently increased their flights to Australia. While partner flights might cost more, they might be a better bet in the long run when it comes to getting what you paid for when you expect it.

Are you looking at cashing in your points and using them earlier than planned, or changing what you spend them on, join the conversation HERE.


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