I do a lot of travelling so would be good to get some points, so I’m looking forward to getting my first credit card.
The First question is, does Qantas or Virgin FF’s have better redemption rates on partners? That would determine I suppose which option to go with best. Otherwise I understand my option is with American Express, as they have more redemption partners.
I know there’s a lot of guide’s on here, and I’ve gone through a lot - but I just need a helping hand in understanding which is the best route to start with (for eventual redemptions on flights overseas in business class or more).
You mentioned you do lots of travel. Is this domestic or international? Economy or business? Who do you currently fly with? These sorts of questions will help figure out which airline to collect points with. Another consideration if you fly a lot is earning status, which would should keep in mind.
It’s hard to say whether Qantas or Virgin has better redemption rates as it often depends on where you want to fly. I would say that Virgin generally requires fewer points domestically, whereas Qantas has a great range of international partners which makes it easier to find international flights to use your points. As you mentioned, keeping points in a flexible program such as Amex Membership Rewards can be a good idea; however, unless you have a Platinum Charge (versus the Platinum Edge), you won’t be able to transfer to Qantas so keep that in mind.
At this point, it’s ALL mixed. Generally I’ve stuck with One World since I was using AA points before while travelling mostly overseas (90% overseas), but now back in Australia it’s harder to accrue (AA). Mostly Economy, occasional business class ticket. (Frequent flyer accounts are - American Airlines, Aviaca Lifemiles, Alaska Miles, and Qantas, but all are quite low right now on points)
Say minimum of 3 trips, maximum depends on years (overseas) - domestic consider very few for now.
I think a 2 biggest factors would be - Starter points (how many points you get at the start of the card, with spending or without aka 50k bonus on getting) AND how many points you can earn within Australia (aka 3 x for restaurants etc). In that sense Amex has the best of both, though less acceptance and I believe higher transaction fees?
If I understand correctly, the only way to earn AA right now is through AMEX by transferring to SPG then transferring. The alternative is Qantas for Oneworld redemptions - the overall goal is Business redemptions.
Some of my personal opinion as i also started this hobby around 3 months ago , base in sydney and have a relative and friends in Melbourne so a few domestic flight per year in general ,
I enjoy more when i fly with Qantas so that is my program of choice even thought i know that Velocity requires less point and less tax for ex : 6900 point $20 tax Velo vs 8000 QFF points and $32 tax for Sydney - Melbourne .
Internationally I need to Travel back to Asia once a year for family visit both Virgin and Qantas in my case can get what i need , With Qantas i can redeem via Cathay with a Hong Kong Transit directly via Qantas Points . Virgin will also give me some option as far as my research go with Singapore Airlines with a transit via Changi Airport . I have travel with both Cathay and SQ before and they are both great airlines but in term of Virgin you will need to convert Velocity - SQ Point before you can redeem at a rate of 1.35 : 1 so that will make things more complicated .
As a beginner i also looking at Amex Flexible program points as Keith point out here in Pointhacks , but i think it depend of your spending on credit card and other way to earn points , right now it is not for me . As the Platinum Edge Card i can get for a low annual fee on earn 3 points / $ via Supermarket earn and 2 points for petrol . unless you can put alot of spend into Supermarket and Petrol , i generally think Velo and Qantas program are easier to earn point via Amex cards for beginner with low monthly spend . ANZ AMex with 1.5 points / $ for almost everything .
My strategy as i earn points for last few month have been focus on 1 program and get a stack of points ( my bal is around 200,000 QFF Points now ) instead of 2 program and half half amount of points as my travel goals is business class trip redemption for 3 of us in 2017 - 2018 .