we are Family of 4, 2 adults and 2 kids. Kids are 15 and 11 (12 in Aug). I have about 392,000 points and keen to redeem and book a family trip from Melbourne and pay as little as possible for airfares (prefer Zero)
Preferred destination is Japan
Can someone please help me with tips and tricks on redeeming the points for flights
You’re in the right place! The Point Hacks website has plenty of guides about how to book reward flights using Velocity points, including a couple of Japan-specific articles. Do a search, read the articles that are relevant, and feel free to come back here with any specific questions you may have.
In terms of using Velocity points to get to Japan, you have three options: you can fly on Virgin, via Cairns, on Singapore Airlines, via Singapore, or directly on ANA.
If you’re looking for Economy class flights, reward tickets for 4 people should be (relatively) easy to come by, especially if you’re willing to be flexible and particularly if you’re ok with taking your kids out of school and not flying during school holiday periods (which I don’t always think is a good idea, particularly for a Year 10 student, but you know your kids’ situation).
Please note that you will be paying considerably more than “zero” even if you use points to book reward flights. Departure taxes out of Australia are on the steep side (expect to pay more than $100 per person), though they’ll be much cheaper on your return trip. And you might also need to factor in airline “carrier charges”. As I tell everyone who’ll listen: reward flights using points are cheap flights, not free flights!
The top “tips and tricks”: educate yourself, be flexible, and be persistent! Let us know how you go!
To add one small point. You could technically spend $0 on the flights as you can pay for the taxes and surcharges using points but it is not recommended as it is very poor (value) use of points. Unless, you are swimming in points and are cash poor, I would just pay cash for the taxes and surcharge.