What should be my points strategy for a Spain trip in Sep 2025?

Seeking for some guidance on how I might go about maximising my chance to getting mix of Business and First reward seats for five for a SYD-BCN-SYD trip in Sep 2025. Specifically, which rewards programmes (airline/bank rewards) would help increase my chances of securing the five reward seats (worst case - may have to pay cash for one or two seats as I understand five reward seats in business cabin on the same flight are rare).

I understand there are a couple of airlines that offer flights with only one stop between Sydney and Barcelona (Qantas, Emirates, Singapore, Emirates, Eithad). Prefer to stick to one airline for each leg to avoid having to recheck luggage (unless there is a way around it using multiple airlines booked separately).

This means I need to accumulate sufficient points that can be redeemed for reward seats on one or more of these airlines when they are released some 330 days before Sep 2025 (I am aware that reward seats in First cabin in Etihad is only released 2 weeks in advance, please correct me if I am wrong).

PS - I am not starting from scratch in accumulating points, I have QFF (300k plus) and Citi rewards (300k plus) but understand I have a long way to go.

Hi @optionholder

As you’ve said yourself, finding five Business/First reward seats on the same flight will be a real struggle. However, you have a year to plan and prepare, so your chances are definitely greater than zero. Here are some random thoughts:

  • It’s impossible to know what the frequent flyer scene will look like in September/October 2024, when it will be time to book your flights. This time last year I was telling anyone who’d listen that Qantas points were useless and that in terms of Australian FF currencies if they wanted to get to Europe their only chance was with Velocity. That was the correct advice last year, but as I write this a year later, things are nowhere near as clear-cut. But who knows what the situation will be next year? So…

  • Keep your options open. Accumulate whatever Qantas points and Velocity points you can, but an even better strategy would be to accumulate flexible rewards points such as Citi and AmEx points which can be transferred to whatever FF programme that has availability. In the meantime…

  • Practise! Get to know airline websites, airline routes, the various FF programmes etc so when the seats are available you’ll be ready to pounce. You might also like to check out a website such as seats.aero but, again, airlines are beginning to push back against websites that scan multiple FF programmes so who knows whether it will be as good a resource this time next year as it is currently?

Hope this helps, but feel free to post again closer to the time of booking and hopefully we’ll be able to give you more specific advice — even better, by this time next year you’ll be such a pro yourself that you won’t need it!

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Thanks @sixtyeight - appreciate your thoughts. Its indeed hard to predict which programme would be the best in a year’s time. I can see some business seats for Syd to Paris (via Shanghai) for next year in early Sep for example - who would have thought that would be possible? Good suggestion on accumulating flexi rewards (Citi and Amex) and have already signed up as pro subscriber to Seats.aero (but yeah - its a shame the likes of Air Canada are not welcoming it).

Hi there,

I’m looking at a similar trip for 4 x people on J Class to Europe in 2025.

My plan is to use a mix of Krisflyer and Velocity and book with SQ.

I just did a quick look and currently there are 4 x award flights on SQ to Barcelona in Sep/Oct 2024 on some weekdays. Some go via Milan. Obviously if you booked as soon as flights come up you’d have better options.

Some thoughts:

  • Do research on alternative european cities with your preferred airlines as some cities have more flights per week but then may be more popular (e.g. France v Milan v Zurich on SQ).
  • Week days are better and non-school holiday
  • Try breaking up flight with stop over and/or pay cash to get you to SQ or elsewhere in asia and book points from there
  • Short stop overs are normally more popular so be prepared for long lay over in SQ or be flexible with dates.
  • Coming back to Australia in Sep/Oct seems less availability.
  • Also consider open jaws ticket to give you more options (e.g. fly in barcelona, out of Madrid or Paris).

Good luck!

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Appreciate your thoughts and insights @rurounimaikeru - good tip on open jaws. I am also planning to use krisflyer/velocity on a SQ flight - given their product is so much better. Also, do you think getting Star alliance gold (through HSBC card) for Krisflyer increase the chance of getting/seeing more reward seats - not sure if they treat status earned by flying vs spending differently.

Star Alliance Gold probably won’t result in you seeing more reward seats, but it may well help if you waitlist any flights. In theory at least, people with status are given priority if/when waitlisted seats become available.

Another option to consider when redeeming for 5 is if you would be prepared to split up for some/all flights to/from Europe. I got business class return to Europe for a family of 4 but on one of the flights on the way back we are split up. It’s not ideal but it’s easier finding 2 or maybe 3 on a flight than 4-5 in business.

Also keep an open mind to connections via Asia, eg Aus into Taipei or Shanghai and then into Europe. China Airlines (Taiwanese airline) is a fairly well regarded business class product and recently has had amazing availability and very low carrier charges. They have good connections into a range of European destinations.

Thanks - good suggestions, will keep that in mind.