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Old 19th December 2016, 4:30 PM   #16
GTR27's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 7,505

This is the best use of points I've seen. Champion for posting it!
"Your Neutralness, it's a beige alert!"
"If i don't survive, tell my wife hello"
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Old 19th December 2016, 4:54 PM   #17
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Hobart
Posts: 6,581

Wow very interesting!!! I have 125k
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Old 3rd January 2017, 9:56 AM   #18
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Adelaide
Posts: 74

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
nin82 Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 206

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
nin82 Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 206

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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