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Frequent Flyer or Frequent Have?

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Contributor:
Rebekah Joy
Rebekah Joy

Flying has never been so difficult, too much choice and too many options. I thought I was being smart and joined a frequent flyer programme that was affiliated to a credit card. In other words I got a credit card and got myself into a lot of debt. I now have a lot of miles but no money to spend when I get there. In fact I can’t even pay the taxes on the damn things. Upon research (better late than never?) I have determined that airline miles are a useful tool that can save you a ton of money if used properly....its just using them properly that I struggle with.

The classic example is the trans-Tasman route. Log on to the Qantas website and try to book with your frequent flyer points. There is usually one or two seats a month available and one of these will be for business class so you are forced to use double points. Carry on with the booking and see how much the taxes come to...more than an entire Jetstar flight (how come all the airlines have different taxes?). The moral of that little story is to not use frequent flyers to Aussie but use them for long haul missions. I have used frequent flyers for round the world tickets and paid about the same amount of tax as I have for a Christchurch Brisbane return. Talking about Qantas, its common knowledge that Jetstar is their property, but if you think you can use all Jetstar points on your Qantas frequent flyers, think again. Many of the Jetstar flights are not open to the Qantas frequent flyer programme.

Another point to remember is to make sure that your frequent flyer number is in the system before you fly. Those airlines can be little buggers for getting points redeemed after the flight. I’m not saying they won’t do it but you have to fax your boarding pass in a certain amount of time, and then chase it up...much simpler to inform check in staff of your number. Apparently there are enough unused frequent flyer points out there to bankrupt three quarters of the world airlines, so it’s no wonder they aren’t so accommodating.

The last point for using points is that most programmes allow you to use your points on others. That means you can gift or nominate somebody else to use them. It is also possible to change dates and routes but at a cost of course.

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