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Old 19th December 2016, 4:30 PM   #16
GTR27
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This is the best use of points I've seen. Champion for posting it!
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Old 19th December 2016, 4:54 PM   #17
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Wow very interesting!!! I have 125k
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Old 3rd January 2017, 9:56 AM   #18
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this is awesome man! Really looking forward to following this after just arriving back in australia ourselves after months of global travel.

I found pointhacks a really helpeful tool as well as they break down a bit of info that i was either too tired/lazy/dumb to understand.
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Old 1st March 2017, 4:22 PM   #19
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Update time.
All flights are booked and confirmed. Hotel bookings using points also achieved.
Post #1 flight itinerary and Post #3 costs updated.

Slight change to the itinerary, we’ll now just be doing a transit in Helsinki and removed the Nagoya overnight transit.

Originally planned an overnight stop in Helsinki, but decided we’d prefer a little bit more time in Denmark/Sweden so we’ll just be doing a 13 hour transit in Helsinki which means we can still do a quick daytrip into the city.

Also couldn’t find any flights from Tokyo to Nagoya to follow on from our flight from Ho Chi Minh that would make sense. The flight timing meant that we would either have 10 hours between flights or 1 hour. Wasn’t keen on taking the 1 hour transit option, as that left no spare time in case of delays from Ho Chi Minh and the 10 hour transit was too long to wait around at the airport and not long enough to do what we want to do in Tokyo. So instead we’ll be going from Tokyo to Sapporo but we’ll be doing 2 x Tokyo transits with the first being 23 hours and 30 mins and the other being 23 hours and 50 minutes. (Remember, we needed to keep it under 24 hours so it is not a “stop” as per the ticket rules!)

Flights added:
Stockholm > Helsinki
Tokyo > Sapporo (economy )
Sapporo > Tokyo (economy )

Flight Changed:
Hong Kong > Ho Chi Minh, from economy to business class


It did take a number of attempts to get a Qantas operator that was able to add the remaining domestic flights in Japan on Japan Airlines. I tried 6-7 times and each time I got the “computer said no” response, despite the British Airways search tool showing available award seats on the specific flights I wanted. Eventually got a great Qantas operator who added the flights and fixed up a few things that has resulted in the new e-ticket now showing a refund amount due on the taxes paid so far.

Still waiting for the refund to be processed, but if the amount shown on the e-ticket is to be believed we’ll be getting back $653 each. Which means the total taxes for all the flights will be $490 per person. This is almost unbelievable, so I’ll wait until that refund arrives before celebrating. (The refund is getting sent to the original card used which has since been cancelled, but should automatically go to the new card account…. Should…..)

It also seems that the change fees for the last three itinerary changes have also not been charged… Possibly due to the complexity involved with different carriers forcing the taxes being sent for manual processing. This has meant that we’ve saved a lot of points, as it would’ve been 5k QFF points per person per change (30k QFF points total!)

We’ve also managed to scheme our way to getting some free hotel bookings using credit card points. So far we’ve booked 4 nights in New York, 1 night in Munich and 1 night in Hong Kong on points. We’re also looking at getting 3 nights in Berlin, 3 nights in Hamburg and possibly the 2 nights in Tokyo also on points too. For these hotel bookings we won’t be using QFF points, but the majority are using Amex points. Amex points are able to be converted to Starwood Preferred Guest points, so we are able to book hotels through that system.

We started getting Amex points as we both got Amex platinum edge cards last year so we could make use of the free domestic flight offer that came with that card (also no annual fee for the first year). Since then, the new Amex Explorer card launched which offered a stack of points however this came with a $400 annual fee but this is offset by a $400 travel credit if you book through Amex travel. Figured it was worth it, so got the Amex Explorer which came with enough Amex points to cover 4 nights in an apartment in New York staying near Times Square (equivalent value if we went through booking.com is $1,350). The $400 travel credit was also used to reduce the amount paid on a hotel stay in Stockholm so that card’s annual fee has paid for itself already.

I also had a bunch of ANZ points from a card I accidentally applied for… (which got approved and I then spent the required amount to get the bonus points )
I genuinely did accidentally apply for this as I thought it was the card that was offering bonus QFF points card. However by the time I realised that it was the wrong card, I was halfway through to the spend requirement so I figured I might as well keep going and get the bonus ANZ points. These ANZ points have been used to book 1 night in Munich ($164) and 1 night in Hong Kong ($100). That ANZ card was also on a free first year offer, so win-win.
I did eventually get the correct ANZ QFF card too, so another +75k QFF points there
Gotta start saving more points for RTW trip #2!
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Old 12th April 2017, 4:28 PM   #20
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Update time again.

After many calls to Qantas chasing up the refund, it has finally arrived. This means that total taxes for all the flights is $490 per person

Wasn’t simple though, chasing Qantas for a refund went something like this. All these calls went through to the New Zealand call centre.

Qantas: yep refund coming, give it a cupala dayz

Waited a week then called again.
Qantas: yeah yeah, we'll send you the money, give it a cupala more dayz

Waited another week, then called again...
Qantas: oh yeah, nah, we have problems with our systems, give us til the end of the month, we'll send the refund then

End of month and still no refund, back on the phone.
Qantas: let me take this to my supervisor and check this... *hold* oh looks like we made a mistake, we should have charged you an extra $200 taxes per person. We can leave it like it is, or we can re-issue the tickets and charge you the extra taxes.
I declined their offer to reissue the tickets and pay extra taxes...

Checking against google matrix and Qantas' own website to get an idea of the taxes, I couldn’t see how it was possible that total taxes would be $1,300 per person, so called Qantas once more.
Qantas: let me check this *hold* I’m just going to check this again with my supervisor *hold* Hello? We can’t find in our system records the amount of taxes you’ve paid, are you able to send us proof of payment?
Me: Ok.
Qantas: send it to this email, abc_xyz(at)Qantas.com

So I went through my records, scanned statements and sent it to that email address.
[postmaster undeliverable – email address not found]

Sigh. Called again.
Me: I’d like to check the email that I need to sent these proof of payments to.
Qantas: oh yes I can see in the notes here, email is abc_xyz
Me: Can’t be, it got bounced.
Qantas: oh ok, let me check with my supervisor *hold* please send it to xyz_abc(at)Qantas.com

So I sent the email to the revised address.
[postmaster undeliverable – email address not found]

FFS. Back on the phone. However this time, it went to the Hobart call centre…
Me: I would like to check this email address again please.
Qantas: That sounds strange, you shouldn’t have to email anything to anyone
Me: IKR!!!
Qantas: Let me read through the notes here *short hold* Ok there’s a lot to go through here on your booking so rather than you wait I’ll call you back once I check through this.
*A few hours later*
Qantas: Yes, the refund amount is correct and we will process this immediately. Should take a few days to process.

A few days later, the refund amount arrived. Strangely the refund appeared in the missus’ Amex account, on a new card barely 2 months old, had not been used with Qantas before and is not linked to mine (different bank!). It was my understanding that the refund was to be sent to the initial card that was used , but that card was closed but should have still gone to the replacement card at the same bank…

How the refund got to the missus card is a bit of a mystery, but I’m not going to complain about that. The only thing worth complaining about is that the New Zealand call centre has no idea what they’re doing.

Also, FWIW google matrix's calculated flight taxes are pretty much correct.

---------

Hotel accommodation is almost complete and we’ve used up a bunch of amex points for some free stays.

3 nights in Berlin: 42k Amex points (Amex -> SPG)
3 nights in Hamburg: 60k Amex points (Amex -> SPG)
2 x 1 night in Tokyo: 40k Amex points (Amex -> SPG -> Marriot)

Which leaves Sapporo and Ho Chi Minh accommodation to be booked.
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Old 8th August 2017, 11:13 PM   #21
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busy busy busy!
Got married, work got real busy and we had many family from overseas arrive for the wedding which meant we were going to the airport a lot, but tomorrow it'll be our turn to fly!

No changes to flights and accommodation is all sorted, we will be staying with family in Ho Chi Minh and Sapporo is booked.

Pulled a 'bank error in your favour' monopoly card
Somehow a second $400 amex travel credit appeared on my account despite having already claimed it for the year
So we used that to save a bit on Sapporo hotel. We will have to change hotels midway through our stay there, as it works out a fair bit cheaper that way.

Europe trains and some airport trains also booked, with it costing about $600 total for us to go via train:
Berlin -> Hamburg ($73)
Hamburg -> Copenhagen ($206)
Copenhagen -> Jonkoping ($78)
Jonkoping -> Stockholm ($143)
Along with airtrains from Stockholm->Airport ($60) and Hong Kong Express return ($66) for our first daytrip.

Still to do:
Buy second Hong Kong airport train tickets and Narita airport train tickets
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Old 8th August 2017, 11:28 PM   #22
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That's awesome, are any of your flights with Qantas?

I'm currently saving towards this with my Wife (she doesn't like flying,so is pretty resistant to the idea )
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Old 8th August 2017, 11:39 PM   #23
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The last flight from Sydney to Brisbane is on Qantas
We wanted to avoid Qantas as the taxes they charge are too high compared to other carriers.
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Old 9th August 2017, 12:05 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nin82 View Post
The last flight from Sydney to Brisbane is on Qantas
We wanted to avoid Qantas as the taxes they charge are too high compared to other carriers.
But what about the product?

I have been abusing the FF CC's for a number of business class upgrades with work (10k a flight, Perth to the east, well worth it)

I really rate the Qantas service levels / lie flat beds etc.
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Old 10th August 2017, 5:39 PM   #25
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And we're on our way! I could get used to this

Currently in the CX lounge at HKG after spending about 4 hours in Hong Kong. Pretty humid here and showers in the lounge are well worth it.

Cannot comment on QF business class flights as we've not had the luxury of experiencing that before, but the CX flight from BNE was great, with excellent service and also lie flat beds.

We have had access to QF lounges before via passes at BNE/MEL/AKL/NRT, but this CX lounge in HKG is a lot better than any of the QF ones

Next stop New York!
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Old 20th August 2017, 3:48 AM   #26
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Currently in Madrid, leaving tomorrow for Munich. New York was so damn busy with crowds everywhere all the time. Madrid is hot but not as crowded. The lemon beers here help cool things down.

Madrid has been quick to install some concrete obstacles around Puerta del Sol pedestrian area after the terror attack in Barcelona a couple of days ago. Police presence has increased slightly but it was already high before.

Had some dramas with my credit card earlier in the year (was used fraudulently and maxed out in about an hour), which at the end of the investigation resulted in the bank refunding the Madrid hotel costs despite it being charged a week before the fraud date. Hotel got their money and didn't ask for payment on check-in, so I think I pulled a second 'bank error in your favour' monopoly card

Some other quick flight/airport thoughts:

Flew out of JFK terminal 7 on Iberia with access to the British Airways lounge. This BA lounge has been the worst so far, showers in particular needs a refurb (like the rest of the terminal ). Bar was good, but food on offer was poor.

Iberia business class flight was good but not as good as cathay pacific.
I found the lay flat seats were more comfortable but the layout with straight facing seats feeling not as private as the angled ones of cathay. Dinner was better with Iberia, but breakfast was basic. Overall service was more friendly too on cathay.

Madrid airport terminal 4 was much nicer and easier to travel via public transport into the city. Madrid metro doesn't start early enough for tomorrow's flight though so we'll be going via hotel organised shuttle.

Next stop Munich for a 23 hour transit
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Old 5th September 2017, 5:40 AM   #27
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Busy times

Made our way from Munich to Berlin on Airberlin (economy - was a full flight) and then train from Berlin to Hamburg, then Copenhagen, Jonkoping and Stockholm.

Caught up with some cousins I haven't seen since I was 10 and they were pretty happy to meet us, and has been the highlight of the trip so far.

Currently in the Finnair lounge at Helsinki after spending the day in the city, waiting for our flight to Hong Kong

Comparing lounges so far on this trip and previous trips:
1. Cathay Wing in Hong Kong
2. Qantas Brisbane
3. Qantas Tokyo
4. Qantas Auckland
5. Iberia Madrid
6. British Airways JFK
7. Finnair Helsinki
8. Aurora Lounge Stockholm

Tight call between Qantas Brisbane and Tokyo, with Brisbane ahead because of the bar service and the fact that they walked around offering freshly cooked party pies and spring rolls when we were there. Otherwise Tokyo had better food.

I was excited to get into the Finnair lounge at Helsinki as it looked flash, but the food on offer was pretty disappointing. Tried some but it wasn't to my taste. Walked outside the lounge and got a burger from burger king instead. There is some sort of Japanese sports team here and they also have takeaway burger king bags too.

British Airways at JFK had bar service and better food despite being in need of renovations.

Aurora lounge at Stockholm had no bar and basic everything so it gets last place.

Hopefully the Finnair flight to Hong Kong will have good service. 18 hour transit then onwards to Ho Chi Minh
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