Frequent Flyer Fanatics: Steve Hui
The owner of iFLYflat reveals his favourite way to spend his frequent flyer points (hint: it's not flights!).
Steve Hui is a "points whisperer", member of more than 10 airline loyalty programs and owner of a frequent flyer concierge website called iFLYflat.
Which frequent flyer program(s) do you belong to?
I belong to a lot of frequent flyer programs. I guess I’m a bit special, because we are experts in maximising the use of frequent flyer points. Depending on where I’m travelling to, I use the one which best suits the origin and destination and which has the award seats for my preferred dates. Airlines charge different points and taxes to even the same destination and some airlines have more seats over peak seasons than others, so I choose the best fit.
But to name a few, I have points in Qantas, Virgin, Singapore, Cathay, American Airlines, United Airlines, British Airways, Emirates, Malaysian, Thai, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Alaskan Airlines and Avianca.
When did you first become a frequent flyer?
About 9 years ago (2008), I began to fly a lot for work to India in business class, so I started to collect a lot of points. It was also at this time when I realised the value and freedom of using frequent flyer points to fly and the very beginnings in the foundations of how I came to found my business iFLYflat.com.au.
What's your current points goal?
Currently I am very focussed on collecting a lot of AMEX Membership Rewards points, but I don’t just collect them to reach a high numerical points balance. I like to use 1 million points per year to book travel, so that ensures I will be exploring the world frequently.
What’s the best points hack you’ve ever used?
My favourite has been to use my AMEX points to convert into SPG (Starwood Hotel Program) points and using the SPG points to bid for "SPG moments", which are unique sporting and concert events.
Twice I have used SPG points to bid for and win unique behind the scene experiences with the Mercedes-Petronas F1 teams at the Melbourne GP and have gone to concerts with Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake and others.
I think this is the best value, because these are experiences that money can’t buy. And I get a special thrill because only people with points could unlock them.
What’s points mistake that amateur frequent flyers make drives you crazy?
The most common mistake is people not bothering to collect the points because they don’t have any travel plans now. Because the whole idea is to save up the points, so that you can use them in the future.
finder's Frequent Flyer Fanatics series features frequent flyer and rewards experts from Australia and around the world. Check back every Wednesday for our freshest Frequent Flyer Fanatic and the latest points tips.