Are bonus points worth less now?  How to get the most out of your points

Are bonus points worth less now? How to get the most out of your points

Are bonus points worth less now?  How to get the most out of your points

Tried using bonus points to book flights lately? In a recent Finder survey of flyers who were able to book a flight in the past 6 months using reward points, 60 percent said it was more expensive or more difficult than expected.

There is a perception that frequent flyer points are not what they once were. In accordance Travelers reads Alan Thomas from Hawthorn, Victoria, “You may have noticed that Qantas reward points are easier to get these days and you only need to look at credit card applications, health insurance and much more. Why? Because they are less rewarding than they used to be to be.”

Delta, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic have all increased the points required to book some of their seats. From mid-2022, Singapore Airlines devalued its KrisFlyer points by between 8-15 percent, depending on the flight.

Equally pressing is the challenge of using these points for air travel because the availability of reward seats is being strangled right now. Airlines are plagued by restrictions that prevent them from getting all their planes back into the air, but demand for seats is high, especially on international routes. If the airline can fill a seat with a fare-paying passenger, why would they offer it to someone for points?

That doesn’t mean reward slots don’t exist. You can fly from Melbourne to Darwin with Qantas points in two weeks. You can even fly Qantas to Europe on points – provided you book far in advance. Flying Sydney to London in late August 2023, returning in early September, would cost 325,800 points in economy. You can even fly business on these dates, with just 1.6 million points.

It’s survival of the fittest. There are many flyers sitting on a pyramid of points that have grown over the past couple of years, and now they are eager to use them to travel, their appetites whetted by the high dollar price of airline tickets. If you expect to compete for the reward seats available, you need to be on your game.

Booking well in advance is key. Qantas reward seats are in demand, and when they’re gone, the number of points you need for a seat skyrockets. If you want to fly Melbourne to Adelaide return with Qantas in a week’s time, the cheapest points fare will cost 60,800 points, as there are no Classic Reward seats left. Book the same route for six months and you can slot into a Classic Reward seat on the same journey for just 16,000 points.

You have a much better chance of scoring award seats on domestic rather than international flights. For trips abroad, it is important to book as far in advance as possible. Qantas Frequent Flyer members can access reward seats 350 days before the date of travel. This also applies to Qantas’ Oneworld partner airlines.

Look out for offers

Points bonuses, two-for-one deals and points incentives from merchants add wings to your points balance. Keeping track of all the latest offers is tedious, but the Point Hacks website is manning the watchtower for avid point harvesters. Click on “Offers” or make it easy on yourself and sign up for Point Hack’s email feed.

From time to time, Qantas offers so-called “Points Planes”, flights where all available seats can be booked as a Classic Flight Reward. Vanuatu was one such recent destination after the country reopened to international travelers on July 1, 2022, but you’ll need to be on your toes to get on board.

Other uses for bonus points

Movie tickets, wine and outdoor dining are just some of the ways you can redeem bonus points, and gift cards allow you to exchange points for virtual money that you can spend just about anywhere. A $100 Apple gift card costs 19,330 points, a value of 193 points per dollar, and that’s pretty typical of the value retailers offer for Qantas points. It includes accommodation providers such as Accor Hotels and Airbnb. Staying within the realm of travel, hotel stays, and rental cars are some of the best ways to squeeze value out of your points.

Hotels

Hyatt Regency Sydney.

Hyatt Regency Sydney.

Fancy using Qantas points for a long weekend in Sydney in October? A king room at the smart Hyatt Regency on Darling Harbor starts at 128,989 points. The cash price for the same room on the Qantas website starts at $1,155, which values ​​those points at about 112 points per dollar.

At the ultra-cool Little National Hotel midway between downtown and the Barangaroo waterfront, a double room starts at 93,000 points, slightly less value for about 92 points to the dollar.

In Port Douglas next May, five nights at Mantra PortSea start at 185,006 points, but the bargains are even better overseas.

A hotel stay in Bangkok next May? Three nights at the Millennium Bangkok can cost as little as 68,759 points, or the same three nights at the elegant, statuesque Shangri-La Bangkok, right on the Chao Phraya River from 95,406 points.

May is also prime time in Bali, where five nights at The Westin Resort in Nusa Dua costs just 141,437 points. Or maybe the same nights with friends or family at Villa Santi, a five-bedroom luxury villa in Ubud with a private pool for 455,519 points.

You can also use these Qantas Points to pay for hotel and resort stays from Luxury Escapes, a curated collection of some of the most luxurious and sought-after properties in the Asia-Pacific region.

Car rental

The cost of car hire is still high in many domestic locations, but using points to pay represents decent value. A week’s rental of a Toyota Corolla combi from Avis in November, pick-up and return at Hobart Airport, costs 92,050 points. That puts the value of those points at 118 per dollar. Far north Queensland has also seen a big increase in rental car prices, and the same Corolla hatch for a week in November will cost you 106,100 points, equivalent to 105 points per dollar.

See also: The worst feeling: Why airlines downgrade some passengers

See also: Travel costs rise as Australians look set to fly to London for Queen’s funeral

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