Setting your 2020 frequent flyer goals
And how my goals got shifted by a points rule change and an unexpected break-in.
The Christmas/New Year break means just one thing for a frequent flyer addict like me: taking stock and doing some planning for how I'll earn and spend points in the year ahead.
Both goals actually shifted during the year, for reasons I couldn't have predicted at the time.
With Virgin, my account getting hacked on Anzac Day meant that there was a solid two-month period in the middle of the year when I couldn't make any bookings at all. By the time that issue was resolved, I'd already locked in most of my travel for the first half of 2020.
On the upside, my Velocity total continued to grow nicely, largely thanks to some carefully-planned flybuys shopping. I only took a single Virgin flight during the year (a February wedding trip where Virgin was the cheapest seat option). But I still managed to add 40,000 Velocity Points into my account, and I expect that I'll use some of them shortly for a business-class New Zealand jaunt.
On the Qantas front, the big change during the year was the change in how many points you needed to redeem for flights. That certainly influenced a decision I made: to redeem myself a round-the-world trip that was in Economy, not Business.
The main reason for that change though wasn't the points needed, but availability. I'd identified a couple of key events I really wanted to go to, but there was just not any business seat availability. However, economy was plentiful, and when I crunched the numbers, I was still getting close to $40 in value for every 1,000 points I spent. I'll take that. So I've got a trip to the US, Europe and Asia set for mid-2020, and a healthy balance of points I can keep growing, or dip into for one-off trips.
Outside those major goals, I had plenty of good flight experiences in 2019. I took a QantasLink flight to Port Moresby for just 8,000 points, and splurged on a business-class Finnair trip from Bangkok to Helsinki. I even survived a return flight from Avalon to Kuala Lumpur.
I'm assuming 2020 will bring more of the same. Because of Qantas' recent partnership with KLM and Air France, I can see myself taking more flights with those airlines. Indeed, that means that I'll be able to book flights via Qantas to Wroclaw in Poland, where Finder has an office, for the first time. In the same vein, I'll be more tempted to book flights with American Airlines now that its expanded partnership with Qantas is finally live.
Everyone's frequent flyer goals are different. But having goals ensures that you make the most of your points, so it's worth spending time on them. Happy holidays, and here's to travel planning!
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.