When points won’t stretch the distance

While many of our members like to accumulate points rather than spend them, some have been burned by hard lessons from the past. As the events of 2001 showed with the demise of Ansett, sometimes it can be a case of easy come easy go. Spending those points rather than saving them can be a good strategy; especially when it’s not all smooth flying in the airline industry. With this possibly in mind, one of our members was keen to seek advice on using points to partially fund a journey.

Does anyone have advice on how we can use our points for part of a return trip to Europe in August 2015? I phoned the Qantas Club service line and the “advice” was that I should not do what I wanted to book because it would be more expensive!

Since Qantas moved to the Middle East as a stopover, it is probably fair to say it could be more expensive. Qantas like many airlines prices one way trips at a rate that rarely gets close to being half of a return fare. And flying to Dubai as a return trip ex Australia is normally more expensive than continuing on to Europe. Welcome to airline pricing, where things don’t always make perfect sense, with markets being the driver of fares. Those same markets can also be your friend however, if you don’t follow the crowds.

Perhaps consider using your points for part of the journey to say Singapore (return), and then buying a cheap business class fare from there to Europe. Prices for business class (with flat beds) from Singapore range in the $2000-3000 range (not on Qantas though). That will get you to a major European port such as Paris or Rome and you could buy a cheapie from there to Oslo).

Thanks to the changes by Qantas to their European route, and increased competition from Asian low cost carriers, award seats are a lot easier to get from Australia to Asia. From there often a number of options will present themselves. Business class fares are surprisingly affordable to Europe from Asia. Another option is to use points for the whole trip, buying some in another program to fund the flights you cannot do with your current points balance.

It may be cheaper to purchase a ticket Australia/Bangkok/Australia then use points Bangkok/Oslo vice versa. I realise you don’t have Thai points however why not join Avianca Life Miles (Star Alliance) & buy some miles which can then be used for Thai award travel (or any other *A airline depending on the route you want). How many points do you have available for your flights? Whatever you do will depend on this.

Buying miles is increasing in popularity as an option for travel with our members, and September is a good month to do so. With Avianca, you can take advantage of the 100% bonus offer for point’s purchases valid until the end of the month. United and US Air also seem to have bonus miles for purchases this month. Are you looking at buying miles to help with some flights, or perhaps you have a clever idea to use some points to reduce the cost of a long trip? There are certainly some good savings to be had, join the discussion HERE.


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