Hi everyone, thanks in advance for any help/advice you are willing to share.
I live in Perth, and I’m planning out a big challenge for myself - to get my family (2 x adults, 4 x children will be ages 4,6,8,10 at time of travel) to Europe area in 2024. I am happy to redeem points for economy flights, and am wanting to start collecting the right frequent flyer points over the next two years. I’m thinking I’ll need at least 700,000 - 800,000 for return flights to a city in Europe and we are travelling for 3-6 months.
Would Qantas points be my best option here? Work towards some simple Perth - London return reward flights? Or would RTW be better? I can then purchase individual flights to get us around Europe.
The countries and draft order we are planning are:
- Faroe Islands
I’m hoping to slowly build up the points needed, but would hate to build up the wrong type of points! I was then going to pay for assistance from the Points Hacks service when it’s time to book.
Really can’t go wrong with earning either Qantas or Virgin points here if that’s your main concern. And even if you aren’t sure what type of points you want to earn, you can always decide later what program you’ll transfer your points to if you are earning points with credit cards like AMEX or Westpac.
As for the general approach to visiting Europe, I generally find that it’s best to start from a large ‘hub’/‘base’ typically a large city like London or Paris or something similar and redeem your points for long-haul flights between Australia and your chosen European hub. From then on, you can book various different travel options to your intended destinations. The reason I advocate for this approach is because Europe is quite well connected by train, ferry and even coaches, so that flying isn’t necessarily (if at all) the most convenient, cost-effective or quickest option. It’s quite common for tourists to arrive in London (that’s where the bulk of the flight traffic from Australia to Europe goes to). There are plenty of options and quite affordable ones to get to London. Then, some people decide to spend a few days there to check out the usual Big Ben, London Eye etc, before catching the Eurostar to Paris. From Paris you could take it a variety of directions to Italy, Germany, Switzerland, etc and then fly up to your Nordic countries like Denmark and Finland (those are less connected by rail). As for the Faroe Islands, that’d tag on nicely to your Nordic countries section of your trip with many of the flights to the Faroe islands departing either from Denmark or Norway. So I’ve just given you some inspiration for the structure of your trip and feel free to modify it as you see fit. Now at the end of the trip, you can either take a flight and return back to London or redeem points from your last destination in Europe back home.
Now with the point of flights between Australia and Europe…
This is one of the most popular ways we redeem points so often it can be tricky to redeem that coveted Perth-London direct route. There are still a lot of options though for you to consider, mostly involving a connection. On the Qantas side, you could consider their Kangaroo route as always which is SLIGHTLY easier to score economy seats than the non-stop flight. Alternatively Emirates is another popular option. The thing with redeeming economy tickets with points is that the taxes and fees really sting and take a lot of value out of it. A cash ticket during sales could reach under $1000 for an adult and the fees when redeeming with points is already $200. That could be a big deterrent to using points. On the Virgin side, Etihad is similar to Emirates and you can consider that option. If you are using credit cards to earn points, those flexible points can typically transfer to Singapore Krisflyer which gives you another option with Singapore airlines.
One final side note: when redeeming award tickets, consider flying INTO London but not OUT of it. London has a pesky departure tax for environmental reasons. In fact, a lot of European cities have this but its VERY steep in London adding $332 to your award ticket fees in addition to whatever the airlines decide to tack on. This isn’t that big of a problem with paid return tickets but definitely something to consider when redeeming points back home.
I think I covered a ton of stuff but if you want to get more specific on any particular area, do ask!
Thank you so much for your reply @djtech! So much valuable information and insight in there.
I can see what you mean about finding a big hub in Europe and using points for a long-haul flight, and then we can make our way around via train etc once there. One thing we know for sure is that Finland will be our last stop as we are having Christmas there before heading back, so I will possibly look into flying out from there instead of London (thanks for the tip about the departure tax out of London). My only tricky area with an itinerary is the Schengen visa - we only have 3 months to travel within those countries, so we may need to start with countries outside that visa area before we step foot in a Schengen zone and our 3 months start counting down. London as a first stop will work well there I guess.
Yes, the economy rewards flights are a little painful when it comes to taxes… I wonder if I should maybe focus on using an airline known for having less taxes? The idea of trying to find 6 business class seats on any flight pretty much limits me to only redeeming in economy (from my beginner understanding of redemptions anyway).
My main concern was regarding which points to focus on building, and you have answered my question here thank you - it seems I can go either way which is great to hear.
Thank you again for all of your time and help!
Taxes are pretty similar across the board to be honest. It helps to have a poke around doing reward seat searches on either Qantas or Virgin’s website and have a look at what they charge right now and get a sense of award availability in all the different classes of travel.
Great idea, I will do that. Thanks!
I don’t see how you can feasibly generate enough points in that time period unless you go qantas, there simply aren’t enough cc offers to exploit.
I’m all set to earn 400k qantas this year.
90k nab (I’m an employee so no fee)
50-100k cc spending and smaller offers.
Unless anyone wants to prove me wrong I don’t think you can get those numbers with other programs.
Obviously depends on individual spending and the quality of the sign up bonuses you get. For example, 200,000 points was offered on sign up for AMEX Plat and I remember Explorer not too long ago. So that translates to 100K velocity off the bat. Then, there are also Citi and ANZ and i believe some people here on the forum have talked about how to churn these cards but I don’t personally advocate for that.
If you factor in that both spouses contribute to earning points, it won’t be too hard.
Yes, you’re 100% right. I somehow forgot that classic member rewards programs transfer to Velocity… that’s a learn for me.