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Buy Qantas gift vouchers to pay for your flights and earn loads of extra points

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Qantas is again running a Christmas promotion offering 5 Qantas Points per $1 for gift vouchers purchased in December. You can buy these for yourself and redeem them for flights over the next 12 months – substantially boosting the number of points you earn in the process.

Using this trick, you’ll still earn points and status credit for the flights themselves. It’s a great deal!

Here’s what you need to know.

  • vouchers are available in $50 increments from $50 to $500, as well as $1000 or $2000
  • vouchers are valid for 12 months
  • you can change the name on the voucher when you redeem it (i.e. anyone can use it to fly – no one person is locked in)
  • you need to nominate the number of people the voucher is for when you buy it and you can’t change the number of people when you redeem it
  • there are no credit card fees for buying the voucher, and when you redeem it you won’t be charged a fee on paying any cost difference with your credit card – this means you actually save money, as Qantas normally charges a fee for credit card bookings
  • gift vouchers are redeemable for one-way or return domestic or international Qantas flights, but not Jetstar flights
  • only one voucher can be redeemed per booking
  • the promotion ends on 31 December 2016.

This offer has only come around once a year in recent years (every December). I’ve used it to buy vouchers to cover my known flights for the year ahead.

Click here to go to the Qantas website to buy a voucher or find out more.

How to get cheap oneworld business class seats with purchased American Airlines miles

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Last week I flew Qantas business class from Melbourne to Perth and it only cost me $500: a quarter of the usual price of $2000 one-way.

I love the business class product Qantas flies on this route, so for me this was a great deal.

The hack I used to score the cheap seat was using purchased American Airlines frequent flyer miles to book. Many airlines don’t let you purchase miles, but American does, and you can use them to book award seats with Qantas and other partners, such as the popular Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines. Here’s the list of American’s partners.

While it’s fairly simple to buy the miles, you need to know a few tricks of the trade to get the best deal. If you’re interested, here are a few tips to help:

  • You are essentially ‘buying’ an award seat and, as any frequent flyer knows, sometimes they are hard to find. Before buying miles, make sure there is (or is likely to be) an available award seat that you want.
  • I never spend more than 2 US cents per point. American Airlines regularly has special offers for miles at this price or as low as US1.7 cents per point.
  • The sweet spot is redeeming miles for business class on longer domestic Qantas routes and regional flights. For example you need:
    • 20,000 miles for a Qantas domestic business class seat – no matter the length of the flight
    • 25,000 miles to fly business class between Australia and New Zealand
    • 40,000 miles to fly from Australia to Asia in business class – no matter if it’s nearby Singapore or more distant Japan or China.
  • To check out all the options, have a look at this table. But note that this hack isn’t as useful for flying to Europe, Africa, North America or South America: there are fewer award seats, and American’s routing rules don’t allow you to transit through a third region (for example, to fly to Europe you’d have to pay for Australia to Asia/Middle East and then separately from Asia/Middle East to Europe – which isn’t economical).
  • You can search and book Qantas seats online using the American Airlines website, but for most other airlines you’ll have to call American to enquire (the Australian number is (02) 9101 1948).
  • Usually, special offers to buy miles are only available to people who have been members of American’s frequently flyer program, AAdvantage, for at least 30 days. It’s free to join here.
  • Don’t forget to factor in the taxes and charges on award bookings. These will show up online when you search for a seat (or ask if you’re calling American to enquire). They are usually quite modest with American.
  • Also don’t forget about the AUD/USD exchange rate, as the miles will always be priced in US dollars.

So that’s how I ended up flying from Melbourne to Perth in Qantas’ superb A330 Business Suite for a fraction of the usual price.

While I appreciate this hack might sound a bit complicated – and the cost might still be too high for many people – I find it useful, and I hope you do too.

To purchase Aadvantage miles, click here.

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The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a “game changer” for Qantas

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The new Boeing 787 Dreamliners Qantas will receive next year could transform how many Aussies travel. With the plane’s fuel efficiency, ultra-long range reach and modest capacity of 236 passengers, it’s no wonder Qantas’ CEO, Alan Joyce, called it a “game changer” this week.

Qantas has been teasing us all year about its flashy, new Dreamliner fleet. The first planes are due to arrive in late 2017 and the big news everyone has been waiting for is which routes the new planes will fly on.

As well as taking over some existing routes, it’s always seemed likely that Qantas would launch new direct flights between Brisbane or Melbourne to Dallas, and maybe Sydney to Chicago. That’s still on the cards.

But this week’s surprise is that even Perth to London is being seriously talked about.

Many people doubted this rumour when it surfaced earlier this year, given Perth airport’s limitations and so many other flight options for east-coast Aussies to get to Europe (which don’t involve flying non-stop for 18 hours).

But it would be great news for Western Australians, who’ve been neglected by Qantas for years. And other travellers may also like the ability to fly between Australia and London with a connection in Perth, where they can enjoy its wonderful beaches, wine and landscape.

For all of Qantas’ new long distance Dreamliner flights, seat comfort will obviously be a big deal. This week Qantas revealed details about the economy and business class seats the Dreamliners will feature.

Economy passengers are set to enjoy extra legroom, with a new seat design and a 3-3-3 cabin layout.

Qantas dreamliner economy seats

Business class passengers will enjoy the comfort of Qantas’ much-liked Business Suite (currently featured on the A330s), which is getting a small ‘next gen’ upgrade. There will be 42 seats in a 1-2-1 layout.

Qantas dreamliner business class

The Dreamliners will also have 28 premium economy seats in a 2-3-2 layout, but Qantas hasn’t yet revealed details about the seat.

The cabin will be quiet with a modern aesthetic, large windows and an improved dining and in-flight bar experience.

Anyone can fly business class with frequent flyer points – here’s how

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Do you want to start your next overseas holiday drinking champagne in a stylish airport lounge, before settling into a comfortable business class suite?

Anyone can do so without breaking the bank. The trick is to use frequent flyer points to book, which requires a little planning and know how, but is oh so worth it.

Without even flying, it’s possible to earn enough frequent flyer points ‘on the ground’ to take off on a business class holiday every year. That’s because you can earn a huge amount points each year through your everyday spending and a few other tricks.

You should be earning points every time you shop at the supermarket, buy fuel, book a hotel, eat at a restaurant, shop online for personal and household items, and even pay rent.

To significantly ramp up your points earning:

  • pay for everything by credit card – unless the merchant doesn’t except credit cards of course, otherwise always choose plastic over cash
  • make sure your wallet holds high earning credit cards – including an Amex card that earns at least 1 point per $1 and a great Visa or MasterCard as a backup for merchants that don’t take Amex (your Visa/MC should earn at least 0.5 points per $1)
  • shop online for all your personal and households needs – buy your clothes, shoes, household products, cosmetics, electronics, music and more through the big online retailers Qantas Frequent Flyer and Virgin Velocity connect to. I’ve covered in a separate post how easy and lucrative this is.
  • find other points-earning options that suit you  on the Qantas Frequent Flyer and Virgin Velocity websites and sign up for their newsletters to find out about regular promotions where you can earn up to 10 points per dollar.

Here’s an example of how easy it is to earn enough points for a taste of luxury.

I recently flew from Melbourne to Singapore in the excellent Emirates A380 business class for 60,000 Qantas points. I earned those 60,000 points with just one credit card sign-up bonus (or by purchasing six cases of wine through Qantas’ wine club, Epiqure).

Thanks to this small amount of effort, I was able to enjoy a chauffeur pickup from my apartment, Veuve Cliquot and canapes in the beautiful Emirates lounge, a very comfortable seat, and cocktails at the A380 onboard bar. Read my review here. This is how holidays should begin!

As well as Qantas and Virgin Australia, Aussies can also use points with some of the world’s best airlines, such as Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Qatar Airways.

Reward seats can be a bit hard to find, so you’ll need to plan ahead or be ready to book quickly when new seats become available. For now, start earning those points and planning your next holiday. And make sure you follow us on Facebook to hear about the latest points tips and promotions!