Today I thought I’d dawn in on something I discovered whilst booking my latest excursion overseas, as well as many other tips on how I managed to obtain ~$30,000 worth of flights for $14,200.
The flights I am talking about included Business class long-hauls and First-Class on shorter flights where Business in not available.
How did I do this you may ask?
By utilising a Round the World Ticket offered by Oneworld Alliance.
Since my hometown is Australia, I’ve been chipping away for the past few months at boosting my point-balance with the one airline/alliance as opposed to have scattered points all over, and so I choose Qantas as my Frequent Flyer scheme. More on this in a bit.
There are two other alliances out there that I am aware of, Star-Alliance being the other major player, who offer RTW tickets, but for my travel needs, Oneworld was the best choice.
The reason I went with a RTW ticket is because I planned on attending Affiliate Summit West in January (Vegas), the STM Meetup in Whistler, the Conversion Summit in February in San Diego and the STM meetup in London. I’m also going to utilize my time in the US to meet with traffic sources and networks that I work with to see if there is any way we can make more money together.
Enough History, Give me the Goods
Business class tickets, especially for long-hauls, are notoriously expensive to purchase on a single ticket, however, from what I observed, you get immense value using a round-the-world ticket if you decide to go business-class. With OneWorld you get 16 segments. Date changes and flight changes in general are allowed once you take off from your original destination, so long as you return to you original port of entry within 12 months. Date changes are around $40 each time and anything such as flight cancellation or port change will cost most (I was quoted $125).
How does the math stack up here? Well, let’s take a look at the typical cost of the flights I am taking on my trip and compare it to the overall cost of my RTW ticket.
- Melbourne to LAX (Qantas, Business): ~$7,000
- LAX – Vegas (AA, First): ~$220
- SD – NYC (AA, First): ~$700
- NYC – Miami (Return) (AA, First): ~$765
- NYC – London (British Air, Business): ~$9,500
- London – Geneva (British Air, Business): $721
- Paris – Amsterdam, via London (British Air, Business): $1,112
- London – Bangkok, via Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific, Business): ~$11,000
- Bangkok – Melbourne, via Sydney (Qantas, Business): $2000
Total Estimated Cost: $33,018
Difference: $18, 818
Now, as you can see, if you can afford to do this sort of trip, the value is obvious. Business / First class is a great way to fly. You get access to airport lounges, much more comfortable seating, better flight rewards, express transit through security and customs (some airports), and better food on-board, more liberal luggage allowances and overall better service.
Yes, it’s a bit of a tough thing to book your trip in an optimal fashion, but its well worth it once you figure out your route.
How I maximized my points
Simple, I found a credit card that was giving an introductory offer for free points and I took advantage. In this case, it was Citibank’s Signature card, who were offering a 30,000 sign up bonus as well as another 20,000 bonus points if you were to spend $10,000 within the first 3 months. Given the ticket was $14,200, I got all the bonus points, as well as 1 point per dollar spent on the card, totalling ~64,200 points just from the purchase of the ticket. Not to mention, I will acquire status points for all my travel and points along the way. I estimate I will obtain another 45,000 points. In essence, I managed to get around 100,000 points booking and participating in the trip which, if you take a look, is about 20,000 points shy of a one-way business flight from Melbourne to LA ($6,5000 AUD value). Not bad hey?
Getting back to Australia from my previous trip, I was told to take advantage and become a points whore given I travel so damn much. So I did. I’ve since discovered several ways you can maximise your points as an Affiliate Marketer operating out of Australia, and in day-to-day living.
The first challenge was to find a credit-card that has no foreign transaction fees and also obtains Frequent Flyer miles. The only one that fit the bill was Bankwest’s Platinum Mastercard.
I maxed out their point system, cashed in 400k points (only got $1,700 cash back) and then switched products over the phone to their Qantas FF scheme. The downside is you only get 0.75 points per dollar and you’re limited to 200,000 points per year. I’m not sure if this per calendar year, or relative to when you opened your account, either way, it’s a sucky restriction as 200,000 points is quite easy to obtain as a high-volume affiliate given ad-spend alone.
Other things you can do to get more points in your day to day life.
Apply for a Woolworths Everyday rewards cards, go onto their site and change your settings to include your Qantas FF mile number as well as ensure that filling up at a Safeway/Woolworths Petrol pump will shift points directly to you Qantas account. Make sure you use your rewards card for all your purchases, do your grocery shopping at a Woolworths/Safeway and try your best to put everything on a credit-card that gets FF points.
Another thing I just discovered is within the Qantas portal, if you log in to your Frequent Flyer dashboard, you are able to do some online shopping getting points for purchases, sometimes as high as 5 points per dollar spent.
I stumbled on this a little too late and to be honest, I’m still quite forgetful about it, but if you remember, you may as well take advantage.
For example, you can buy from the Apple Store and earn 2 points per $1. The same can be done with eBay purchases. Check it out – there’s a decent amount of online stores you can get some bonus points from. Unfortunately for me, I bought a MacBook Pro, iPhone 6 and some stuff off eBay without utilising this and missed the boat.
If you have any more tips for getting Qantas Points as an Australian Resident, or even overseas, drop them in the comments section below!