Getting To Colombia With Airline Miles

Most frequent flier programs divide the continent of South America into northern and southern regions.  Colombia, which has an amazing bird list with over 1900 species recorded, falls into the northern region.  I already have a blog with my recommendations for which programs to join if you are new to the world of miles and points.

The major gateway cities for Colombia include Bogota (BOG), Medellin (MDE) and Cartagena (CTG).   It will be the same number of miles no matter which you choose.   Once you have been in the miles and points game for awhile, you will get a feel for which airline to use where but if you are just starting out Wikipedia will show you all the airlines that fly into Bogota, Medellin, Cartegena and any of Colombia’s airports.  To present examples below, I will be using Bogota as the example gateway airport.

ONE WORLD OPTIONS

From North America you can use American Airlines,  LATAM.

From South America you can use LATAM.

From Australia and New Zealand you can use Qantas or LATAM via Santiago.

From UK and Europe you can travel via the USA using BA or IB to get to the USA, then AA, LATAM to South America.

From Asia or Africa there are no direct flights so you will need to travel via the USA or Europe.

STAR ALLIANCE OPTIONS

From North America you can use United, Air Canada, Avianca-Taca or Copa.

From South America you can use Avianca-Taca or Copa.

From Europe you can use Avianca, Lufthansa or Turkish Airlines.

From Australia and New Zealand, Asia and Africa there are no direct flights, you can use NZ to Buenos Aires (EZE) or travel via the USA.  Depending on which program’s miles you have, this may require one or two awards.

SKYTEAM OPTIONS

From North America you can use AeroMexico or Delta.

From Argentina & Southern South America you can use Aerolinas Argentinas.

From Europe you can use Air Europa, Air France or KLM, or you can connect in the USA on Delta.

From Australia, Asia and Africa there are no direct flights, you will need to travel via the USA or Europe.

HOW MANY MILES WILL IT COST?

Every airline member of the 3 main alliances has it’s own frequent flier program.  They often have alliances with other airlines outside the program.  I have made some reference charts for the airline alliances and I strongly recommend that you check out the program of the airline in your country and the USA based partners of each program as the USA airlines tend to have the most lucrative bonuses.  Americans can get very generous credit card bonuses.  Details of credit card partners (and other partners) will be on each airline’s website, however often there are more lucrative sign up bonuses.  Details are usually posted in the Flyer Talk thread so I strongly suggest you read this thread and the Miles Buzz forum before you apply for any cards just in case a better bonus has been offered.  I don’t have any affiliate links and I recommend you do extensive research on your own when applying for airline credit cards.

USING ONE WORLD

AMERICAN AIRLINES

No matter where you live, frequent flyer programs based in the USA usually offer the best deals but it’s still a good idea to look at other members of the alliance.  Try to avoid carriers that charge a fuel surcharge.  Looking at AA’s award chart, we can see that Colombia is in South America Zone 1.

So let’s look at the chart.  AA no longer has all zones on one convenient chart so you need to look at the website for the region you are departing from.  You will notice there are taxes and fees with certain routes and that the awards are prices as one way trips.

We can see that a South Pacific to Central/South America award will cost 45,000 miles each way (90,000 round trip) in economy, 82,500 (160,000 round trip) in business class and 112,500 each way (225,000 round trip in first class.  AA doesn’t allow you to transit the USA on this award so you must fly on the only carriers that operate between Australia and South America-Qantas and LATAM.

If you are based in North America, economy will cost 30,000  each way (60,000 round trip), business class  is 57,500 each way (115,000 round trip) and first is 85,000 each way or 170,000 round trip.  You would be flying on AA or LATAM.

AVIOS (BA OR IB)

Avios can be a great bargain for shorter flights.  The awards are priced by distance flown per segment rather than zone to zone.

Avios

Avios chart

Using the Great Circle Mapper, we can see that a direct flight from Miami to Bogota would cost 10,000 Avios each way, a direct flight from LAX to Bogota would cost 20,000 Avios and a direct flight from NYC to Bogota would cost 12,500 Avios.  If you are using credit card miles, transferring them to Avios rather than UA or AA could save you some points.  If you need a connection from elsewhere in the USA to the gateway city, you need to pay for that segment separately with the Avios cost for the distance flown.  Example OKC-MIA is 1222 miles so you need to add 10,000 Avios to the total price of the ticket.

Avios BOG

QANTAS FREQUENT FLYER

For Qantas, it is easiest to use their points calculator to see how many points you need, then look for availability.  Not all itineraries can be booked online, sometimes you have to call them.  Using the example of Sydney to Bogota we can see that they route through the USA (probably because the Santiago route is very hard to get) and economy is 60,000 points one way.  If I were making this trip for real, I would be putting a lot more effort into finding a routing on QF through Santiago.  Although business class shows availability on the random date I chose, if you hover over the seat icon you will see that the DFW-BOG segment is in economy.  I am actually amazed that SYD-DFW has premium seats!  On the next screen you see the points plus taxes & fees that must be paid by credit card.

QF BOG1 QF BOG2 QF BOG3 QF BOG4

If you are based somewhere else, leave a comment if you don’t understand this part and I will help you out.  Meanwhile, here is a reference list for other One World carriers.

USING STAR ALLIANCE

United, Avianca and Singapore are probably the most common Star Alliance programs in use because of good credit card deals and buy miles promos.

UNITED AIRLINES

United Airlines is a USA based carrier that offers one way awards on its own flights and other Star Alliance carriers.  Due to the size of their award chart, I can’t paste it here so will link to it and give examples.  For example Orlando to Bogota has availability on several dates which I picked at random.  They are colour coded for economy, business/first or all three classes.  Make sure you scroll all the way down to see all the options.  Some routes are only 20k and others are a whopping 45k!  And beware of routes where it is cheaper to fly business class than economy!

UA BOG1 UA BOG2

AVIANCA TACA LIFEMILES

Lifemiles has some very attractive promos to buy and share miles.  While this doesn’t give you a free trip, it can greatly reduce the cost of a trip especially if you are after business or first class awards.  You need to be an existing member of Lifemiles when they announce  a promo so join now if you haven’t already.  Use their calculator to get an idea of award costs.  This will be a range which depends on class and any promos.

 

They have a Star Alliance Award chart and you can see that they divide the continent of South America into northern and southern regions.  Colombia is in the Northern South America region.  Australia and New Zealand are in the “Others” category.  The chart shows one-way awards.   I prefer to keep my Lifemiles for intra-South/Central America awards which can get pricy but are bargains using awards.

Avianca1 Avianca2

SINGAPORE AIRLINES

SQ miles have become much easier to get in recent years.  Americans can use Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi Thank You, Amex Membership Rewards.  Aussies can use the Australian Amex Membership Rewards.  Everyone can use SPG.  Just beware of the high fuel (carrier) surcharges when you use Krisflyer.  Personally, I would be happy to use SQ miles for intra-South America awards where surcharges are low or even non-exixtant but would use other programs to get from Australia to South America.  SQ has only one region for all of South America so their awards can be a bargain if you are traveling around the continent!

SQ South America

I don’t use all the programs that are out there but these are the most commonly used programs by travel hackers in the USA and Australia so do some research to see which one works for you!  Bear in mind that the tickets are not completely free, there is usually a booking fee of $25-50 and various taxes, but you would have to pay the taxes whether you pay cash or miles for the ticket in any case.

WHAT ABOUT JUST PAYING CASH (WELL, CREDIT CARD)?

No, it’s not blasphemy but sometimes it is a good idea to save your miles and simply pay for the ticket.  The 3 main Central/South American carriers – Avianca, Copa & LATAM have been very competitive lately ex-USA and releasing some very good deals.  These are a few examples but they expire soon so always check the airlines’ website for current specials.

Avianca Colombia Avianca Colombia2 Copa Bog Latam Bog

 

 

 

Getting To Ecuador With Airline Miles

Most frequent flier programs divide the continent of South America into northern and southern regions.  Ecuador, which is one of the best destinations for eco-tourism falls into the northern region.  I already have a blog with my recommendations for which programs to join if you are new to the world of miles and points.

The gateway cities for Ecuador include Quito (UIO) and Guayaquil (GYE).  I have a separate post for using Guayaquil as a gateway city so in this post I will be using Quito as the example.  In any case, it will be the same number of miles.     Once you have been in the miles and points game for awhile, you will get a feel for which airline to use where but if you are just starting out, Wikipedia will show you a list of all airlines that fly into Quito.

 

ONE WORLD OPTIONS

From North America you can use American Airlines or LATAM.

From South America you can use LATAM.

From Australia and New Zealand you can use Qantas or LATAM via Santiago.

From UK and Europe you can travel via the USA using BA or IB to get to the USA, then AA, LAN or TAM to South America.

From Asia or Africa there are no direct flights so you will need to travel via the USA or Europe.

STAR ALLIANCE OPTIONS

From North America you can use United, Avianca-Taca or Copa

From South America you can use Avianca-Taca

From Australia and New Zealand, Europe, Asia and Africa there are no direct flights, you can use NZ to Buenos Aires (EZE) or travel via the USA.  Depending on which program’s miles you have, this may require one or two awards.

SKYTEAM OPTIONS

From North America you can use AeroMexico or Delta.

From Europe you can use Air Europa, Air France or KLM, or you can connect in the USA on Delta.

From Australia, Asia and Africa there are no direct flights, you will need to travel via the USA or Europe.

 

HOW MANY MILES WILL IT COST?

Every airline member of the 3 main alliances has it’s own frequent flier program.  They often have alliances with other airlines outside the program.  I have made some reference charts for the airline alliances and I strongly recommend that you check out the program of the airline in your country and the USA based partners of each program as the USA airlines tend to have the most lucrative bonuses.  Americans can get very generous credit card bonuses.  Details of credit card partners (and other partners) will be on each airline’s website, however often there are more lucrative sign up bonuses.  Details are usually posted in the Flyer Talk thread so I strongly suggest you read this thread and the Miles Buzz forum before you apply for any cards just in case a better bonus has been offered.  I don’t have any affiliate links and I recommend you do extensive research on your own when applying for airline credit cards.

USING ONE WORLD

AMERICAN AIRLINES

No matter where you live, frequent flyer programs based in the USA usually offer the best deals but it’s still a good idea to look at other members of the alliance.  Try to avoid carriers that charge a fuel surcharge.  Looking at AA’s award chart, we can see that Ecuador is in South America Zone 1.

So let’s look at the chart.  AA no longer has all zones on one convenient chart so you need to look at the website for the region you are departing from.  You will notice there are taxes and fees with certain routes and that the awards are prices as one way trips.

We can see that a South Pacific to Central/South America award will cost 45,000 miles each way (90,000 round trip) in economy, 82,500 (160,000 round trip) in business class and 112,500 each way (225,000 round trip in first class.  AA doesn’t allow you to transit the USA on this award so you must fly on the only carriers that operate between Australia and South America-Qantas and LAN.

If you are based in North America, economy will cost 30,000  each way (60,000 round trip), business class  is 57,500 each way (115,000 round trip) and first is 85,000 each way or 170,000 round trip.  You would be flying on AA or LAN.

AVIOS (BA OR IB)

Avios can be a great bargain for shorter flights.  The awards are priced by distance flown per segment rather than zone to zone.

Avios

Using the Great Circle Mapper, we can see that a direct flight from Miami to Quito would cost 10,000 Avios each way, a direct flight from LAX to Quito would cost 20,000 Avios and a direct flight from NYC to Quito would cost 12,500 Avios.  If you are using credit card miles, transferring them to Avios rather than UA or AA could save you some points.  If you need a connection from elsewhere in the USA to the gateway city, you need to pay for that segment separately with the Avios cost for the distance flown.  Example OKC-MIA is 1222 miles so you need to add 10,000 Avios to the total price of the ticket.

gcm uio

QANTAS FREQUENT FLYER

For Qantas, it is easiest to use their points calculator to see how many points you need, then look for availability.  Not all itineraries can be booked online, sometimes you have to call them.  Using the example of Sydney to Quito we can see that they route through the USA (probably because the Santiago route is very hard to get) and economy is 60,000 points one way.  On the next screen you see the points plus taxes & fees that must be paid by credit card.

qf uio1 qf uio2

 

If you are based somewhere else, leave a comment if you don’t understand this part and I will help you out.  Meanwhile, here is a reference list for other One World carriers.

USING STAR ALLIANCE

United, Avianca and Singapore are probably the most common Star Alliance programs in use because of good credit card deals and buy miles promos.

UNITED AIRLINES

United Airlines is a USA based carrier that offers one way awards on its own flights and other Star Alliance carriers.  Due to the size of their award chart, I can’t paste it here so will link to it and give examples.  For example Seattle to Quito has availability on several dates which I picked at random.  They are colour coded for economy, business/first or all three classes.  Make sure you scroll all the way down to get the best price.  Some routes are only 20k and others are a whopping 45k!

ua uio1 ua uio2

 

AVIANCA TACA LIFEMILES

Lifemiles has some very attractive promos to buy and share miles.  While this doesn’t give you a free trip, it can greatly reduce the cost of a trip especially if you are after business or first class awards.  You need to be an existing member of Lifemiles when they announce  a promo so join now if you haven’t already.  Use their calculator to get an idea of award costs.  This will be a range which depends on class and any promos.

 

They have a Star Alliance Award chart and you can see that they divide the continent of South America into northern and southern regions.  Ecuador is in the Northern South America region.   Australia and New Zealand are in the “Others” category.  The chart shows one way awards.  Personally,  I prefer to keep my Lifemiles for intra-South/Central America awards which can get pricy but are bargains using awards.

Avianca1 Avianca2

SINGAPORE AIRLINES

SQ miles have become much easier to get in recent years.  Americans can use Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi Thank You, Amex Membership Rewards.  Aussies can use the Australian Amex Membership Rewards.  Everyone can use SPG.  Just beware of the high fuel (carrier) surcharges when you use Krisflyer.  Personally, I would be happy to use SQ miles for intra-South America awards where surcharges are low or even non-exixtant but would use other programs to get from Australia to South America.  SQ has only one region for all of South America so their awards can be a bargain if you are traveling around the continent!

SQ South America

I don’t use all the programs that are out there but these are the most commonly used programs by travel hackers in the USA and Australia so do some research to see which one works for you!  Bear in mind that the tickets are not completely free, there is usually a booking fee of $25-50 and various taxes, but you would have to pay the taxes whether you pay cash or miles for the ticket in any case.

WHAT ABOUT JUST PAYING CASH (WELL, CREDIT CARD)?

No, it’s not blasphemy but sometimes it is a good idea to save your miles and simply pay for the ticket.  The 3 main Central/South American carriers – Avianca, Copa & LATAM have been very competitive lately ex-USA and releasing some very good deals.

Woolworth’s Relents & Brings Back Qantas Points

As we all know, nothing beats free airline miles for doing what you have to do anyways and everyone has to buy groceries!  After a huge devaluation that got rid of Qantas points for the unexciting Woolworth’s dollars it seems that the furor on social media has got Woolies to bring back Qantas points as an option.  We have to wait until January so I’ll still be shopping mostly at Coles until the new program is in place but I’ll be happy to have 2 supermarkets now that give me free miles!

QFWW1

Convert your Woolworths Rewards to Qantas Points

In the coming months, we’ll be contacting you about how to ‘opt-in’ to automatically convert your Woolworths Dollars into Qantas Points. You’ll get 870 Qantas Points for every 10 Woolworths Dollars.

Get bonus Qantas Points in the meantime

In the meantime, Woolworths will be in touch with great offers and the choice to earn bonus Qantas Points. Just keep an eye out for the offers in your inbox from January 2016 and choose Qantas Points.

Don’t forget to look out for the orange ticket products when you shop at Woolworths and BWS – and scan your Woolworths Rewards card at the checkout.

The more you shop, the faster you’ll fly..

 

Top 8 Airline Miles Programs – 2016 Edition

I last made my recommendations of which airline miles programs to join back in 2012 so with all the changes I think it’s time for an update!  Which programs are still good?  Which ones no longer exist?  Which ones are less valuable than before?  How can Australians and Americans get free miles from credit cards?  Read on!

WHAT MAKES A PROGRAM “GOOD”?

  • I attribute greater value to programs which require minimal outlay of cash (no fuel surcharges) and better opportunities to get miles from everyday credit card spend and sign up bonuses.
  • “Buy miles 100% bonus” deals may have value to people who have cash to outlay but since this is a guide for cash poor people who want to travel I am not including them here.
  • These recommendations are for eco-tourists so I haven’t considered luxury travel to Europe and Asia redemptions.
  • Free miles from E-Rewards is a plus.
  • I have not taken elite programs into account in any of the below programs.
  • I am not a credit blogger so please use other resources to find the best deals on sign up bonuses.

1.  American Airlines AAdvantageOne World member

Has more options between USA and Australia on Qantas, Air Pacific or Air Tahiti Nui, also great for LAN or AA to South America and Africa via Qatar or direct QF flights.  Can book several of their partners online with AA planning to add more as they go along.  One way awards at half round trip rates.  Save AA miles for long hauls if possible, use BA for short haul.  No fuel surcharges except BA and IB awards.  E-Rewards participant.

Americans get miles from Citibank co-branded cards and the grandfathered Barclays Aviator cards (not available to new applicants).  You can also transfer points from SPG best done in blocks of 20k to get 5k bonus.

Australians get miles by transferring preferably blocks of 40k Amex MR points to get 20k SPG, then blocks of 20k SPG to get 5k bonus.

2.  United Airlines Mileage PlusStar Alliance member

Good for awards to South-east Asia on UA, SQ & TG; Central & South America on Copa & Avianca and Africa on South African, Ethiopian and Egypt Air.  Also very good for intra-Latin America and intra-Africa.  E-Rewards participant.

Americans get miles easily via Chase’s Ultimate Rewards cards and co-branded United Explorer card.

Australians have a much harder time getting miles as the SPG route is a poor value at 20k SPG gets 10k United plus bonus of 2500.  Most Aussies will find Singapore a better Star Alliance partner.

3.  Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerStar Alliance member

Don’t keep miles in here if you can’t use them within 3 years because they expire whether you have activity or not.  Be careful of fuel surcharges on Asian routes.  Good for redemptions on NZ between Australia and Pacific islands & redemptions on Avianca & Copa for Central/South America trips as no fuel surcharges.

Americans get miles from Chase’s Ultimate Rewards cards, Citibank Thank You cards, American Express Membership Rewards & SPG.

Australians get miles from American Express Membership Rewards 1000:1000 and transferable rewards programs from Westpac and ANZ.

4.  British Airways Avios and Iberia AviosOne World members

Same Avios currency but you need to join both BA and IB’s versions to maximize it.  Pretty easy to earn Avios via E-Rewards and can also credit stays at Accor hotels to Iberia’s program and transfer easily between BA and IB.    Not a great program for long haul or itineraries needing connections but excellent for short haul within South America on partner LAN, the BA-Comair flights within Southern Africa or within Australia on partner Qantas.  Some nice 5th freedom flights in the Caribbean – Trinidad to St Lucia gets you between 2 islands with good birding.

Americans get miles from Chase’s Ultimate Rewards cards and co-branded British Airways card. You can also transfer points from SPG best done in blocks of 20k to get 5k bonus.

Australians get miles by transferring preferably blocks of 40k Amex MR points to get 20k SPG, then blocks of 20k SPG to get 5k bonus.  Aussies need to use a European or American address as they don’t accept memberships with Australian addresses.

5. Flying BlueSky Team member

Be careful as most redemptions here attract fuel surcharges.  Flying Blue can get you some places that are otherwise very difficult to get to such as Kenya Airways flights to Madagascar and Garuda domestic Indonesia flights (no surcharges).  Also use on short haul flights on Gol, Aerolinas Argentinas (no surcharges) and some other interesting partners.  Participates in E-Rewards.  Miles expire after 20 months of when they were earned unless you credit a Sky Team flight to Flying Blue.  Non-flying activities such as credit card spend and E-Rewards don’t renew your expiration date.

Americans get miles from Citibank Thank You cards & Amex Membership Rewards.  You can also transfer points from SPG best done in blocks of 20k to get 5k bonus.

Australians get miles by transferring preferably blocks of 40k Amex MR points to get 20k SPG, then blocks of 20k SPG to get 5k bonus.

6.  Virgin Velocity – Not in an alliance. 

Good for short-haul to New Zealand and Pacific islands, domestic Australia flights and sometimes long haul to USA and Asia.  Participates in E-Rewards.

Americans get miles from transfering SPG points best done in blocks of 20k to get 5k bonus.  You need an Aussie address to join.

Australians have numerous credit cards (basically every bank in Australia) that earn Velocity points directly or transfer there.  Keep an eye out for huge sign on bonuses which have greatly improved in the last year or so.  There is a new partnership with BP to get 2 points per litre with occasional targeted bonuses.

7. Etihad Guest – Not in an alliance

I never looked twice at this program until they partnered up with Flybuys.  I did a recent review with Aussies in mind (sorry Americans) and found some interesting options with partners and decent value to Africa.  Probably not a good program for Americans to join, better to use AA redemptions on Etihad awards.  Beware of miles expiring after 2 years, don’t transfer them until you are within booking range.  Activity does not renew the expiration.

Americans get miles from Citibank Thank You cards.  You can also transfer points from SPG best done in blocks of 20k to get 5k bonus.

Australians get miles from American Express Membership Rewards 1000:1000 and the new Flybuys partnership FB 10,000: EY 4000.

8.  Qantas Frequent FlyerOne World member

Use for domestic Australia or short-haul to NZ, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.  Has fuel surcharges on most routes with the possible exception of LAN intra-South America.

Americans get points from Citibank Thank You cards.

Australians get points from co-branded Qantas cards, just about every bank in Australia has them.  Unfortunately the Woolies and Optus partnerships are gone so much harder to get points now outside of credit cards.

Dream TravelObviously not everyone needs to use ALL these programs.  It depends on where you want to go.  Situations change so you need to be constantly evaluating.  A month ago I wouldn’t have considered Etihad Guest but now I can see getting at least 16,000 free miles each year just by grocery shopping at Coles and using bonuses.  From the previous list US Airways Dividend Miles is gone and the Avianca Lifemiles program is no longer as valuable as it once was due to devaluations.  It is no longer so easy to get Qantas miles as they eliminated their best “every day spending” partners.  American may lose it’s #1 position if they devalue their awards.  I say as long as it’s free to join a program, then do so as you never know what deals may come in the future!

 

Woolworths Guts Everyday Rewards – No More Qantas Points

For the non-frequent flyer who can’t accrue miles and points from employer paid business travel, partner programs that allow you to accrue miles and points from everyday spending are very important.  For the last few years I have earned a lot of Qantas points simply from doing my normal shopping and using products that attract bonus miles.  On 31 Dec, this all comes to an end.  Woolworths has announced that they will be starting a new program that is “supposedly” what customers want.  (No one asked me what I want.)

The complete FAQ is here but I will highlight the 2 main reasons why I think the new program sucks.

YOU DON’T EARN WOOLWORTHS DOLLARS ON EVERYTHING IN THE STORE, ONLY ON ORANGE TICKET ITEMS

Previously you earned one Qantas point for every dollar over $30.  No one knows how many orange ticket items will be available, if these items will be ones you actually want or if they will be priced well.  They may email you targeted offers that you have to keep track of and you may randomly win $10 when you scan your card.

Woolworthsrewards1YOU CAN’T CHOOSE TO LET THE WOOLWORTHS DOLLARS ACCUMULATE, THEY WILL BE APPLIED AUTOMATICALLY WHEN YOU REACH A $10 THRESHOLD.

Before Flybuys hooked up with Etihad (very recently and I will be posting more later), at least Coles lets you accumulate Flybuys as long as you want, the points don’t expire and you can spend them at a time you want.  I’ve cashed them in for free Photobooks that are worth at least $80 each and sometimes I wait until I have about a week’s worth of free groceries and use them at a time when my budget is tight.  Apparently Woolies thinks we are not capable of determining the best time and method of spending our “Woolworths Dollars” and will just deduct $10 off the next shop once you reach a $10 threshold.

When your Woolworths Dollars balance reaches $10, you’ll automatically get $10 off your next eligible shop at participating Woolworths Supermarkets and BWS stores (excluding Tasmania). All you need to do is scan your Rewards card at the checkout and we’ll take care of the rest.

Remember: Woolworths Dollars can only be redeemed in multiples of $10. For example, if your Woolworths Dollars balance is $20 and you spend $28, you’ll get $20 off your shopping.

There’s no limit to the amount of Woolworths Dollars you can redeem in one transaction. However, given that when you reach $10 Woolworths Dollars you automatically redeem on your next eligible shop, it’s unlikely you’ll have more than $10 to redeem at any one time. And remember you can only redeem in multiples of $10. Any remaining Woolworths Dollars will remain in your balance.
Whoopie do!  Like $10 every few weeks is going to make enough difference to influence my shopping?  I’m already good at getting discounted products by shopping when they mark down the meat and bakery goods and I get points on those items just like they were full priced.
I like the passive forced saving of Qantas points or even Flybuys so I can save a good amount and spend them on something worthwhile like a trip to Fiji or a week’s worth of free groceries.  Over the past few years I have earned enough Qantas points for 1 round-trip Brisbane-Fiji ticket simply by shopping strategically.
I am not yet a member of Etihad but with the new Flybuys partnership I will be taking a special look at it over the next week.  After 31 Dec, I’ll be shopping more at Coles except for the few products I like that only Woolies stocks.  I expect a lot of miles and points collectors will be doing the same.

Aussies Can Earn Airline Points For Everyday Spend

Maybe a few of you saw the Ben Schlappig interview on Sunrise over the last 2 days and are enviously sizing up the opportunities Americans have to earn easy airline miles and points.  It’s true, Americans do have better credit card deals with lower (or waived) annual fees and easier-to-get cards while the Aussie cards do occasionally have good sign up bonuses but they are not easy to get.  The real value for Americans over the past few years has been churning these cards – that is applying, getting the bonus, canceling the card, then doing it again in a few months although US banks have been recently cracking down on churners.

It’s not easy getting miles in the more lucrative USA programs such as AA and UA unless you are a business traveller with company paid travel that you can credit to these programs.  Amex Membership Reward members can transfer MR points to SPG at a rate of 1000 MR = 500 SPG and certain cards have up to 3 points per $ based on categories  so you may be able to get a reasonable amount of AA miles using the 20k SPG = 25k AA but unfortunately United’s ratio for SPG transfers is half of American’s so it’s not a good option.

So what CAN the average Aussie with a modest income and no employer-paid travel do?  One of the easiest ways is to join Woolworth’s Everyday Rewards in any of their supermarkets for free and scan the card when you pay for your groceries.  The 1 point per $ after $30 spend is nothing to get excited about but they do start sending you targeted promos by email.  Last week, I had one where I got  a 1000 bonus QF points if I spent $120 on groceries that week.  This week I have an ever better promo – 5000 QF points if I make an online order for delivery of at least $50!

EDR1When shopping online with Woolworths you get the same great prices and specials as in store delivered right to your door. With this Member exclusive offer, if you order today, you’ll receive 5000 bonus points and free delivery. Simply select a delivery window between 23rd July and 2nd August and spend $50 or more on your first online shop.

 

T&Cs:  This offer has been selected especially for you and can be redeemed once. Make sure you enter your Everyday Rewards card number when you register with Woolworths Online to qualify for your reward. The qualifying amount must be spent in one transaction and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers. You’ll find your reward in your Everyday Rewards account up to 7 days after the offer end date.

Offer valid for orders delivered from 00:01 23rd July 2015 to 23:59 AEST 2nd August 2015 when you spend $50 or more. Minimum spend of $50 excludes any other coupons/discounts and delivery charges. $50 or more must be spent in a single transaction. Free delivery will apply automatically at the checkout. Orders must be placed by 15:00 AEST 1st August 2015. Offer valid only once per shopper during the offer period. Order cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Orders may be cancelled by us without notice to you if the above terms and conditions are not adhered to. Excludes Delivery Saver, flowers, liquor, tobacco items, gift cards and selected services. Offer can only be redeemed at Woolworths online. Available delivery times will vary between areas.

Now I usually prefer to do my own shopping and grab anything that’s been marked down but for this promo I will find some non-perishable staples to fill the order.  Not gonna pass up 5000 free QF points!

I may even up the ante and order $100 of groceries as I have a $10 off $100 voucher from the petrol station!  Yes, you can stack these kinds of promos and also earn credit card points when you pay so that would be a nice triple-dip!

Always check the Velocity and Qantas pages for deals on electricity, phone, utility, dining and shopping before you buy anything, you never know what you may find!  Velocity has a good deal for car servicing as well!

While we don’t have the super deals Americans have, there are a few ways to get easy, free points if you stay alert and are willing to redirect your normal spend from one company to another!

15% Off Qantas & Jetstar Classic Award

This was emailed to me by Qantas, good deal for those who have travel plans they can book at such short notice.

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For 7 days only, we’re offering 15% off Qantas and Jetstar Classic Award flights in Economy to all Australian domestic destinations and selected international destinations*.

Hurry, offer ends 25 January 2015 at 11:59pm (AEDT)! Just be sure to book your Classic Award seat (including any connecting domestic Australian flights) on Qantas or Jetstar operated flights with a QF or JQ flight number within the promotional periods to receive the discount.

How can I book?

  • Check below to see our wide range of destinations on sale.
  • Log in to Your Account.
  • Select the ‘Search Qantas and Partner Classic Awards’ option when searching for your flight. Your 15% discount will be applied where the full itinerary only contains Qantas (QF) or Jetstar (JQ) flights (including domestic transfers) within the promotional period. If a booking is made on partner airlines, no discount will apply for the entire itinerary.
  • Book your Qantas or Jetstar Classic Award flight online before 11:59 (AEDT) on 25 January 2015.

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Finally, ANZ Offers Aussies A Credit Card Deal Like Americans Get

This post is for my Australian readers, especially those who have been looking with envy at the lucrative credit cards Americans can get with Chase, Citibank, Amex and more!  It’s very rare to find an offer where the annual fee is waived!  Minimum spend is $1500 in 3 months so pretty easy even if we can’t manufacture spend here!

*Not affiliate links, they go right to Qantas website.

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I applied and got a “more information required” message so no instant approval but my details are well within the criteria for the basic card.

What can you do with 50,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points?  Use the “where can I go” tool!  Please note the taxes and fees, some of which are YQ fuel surcharges.

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