The price of airfares to standard worldwide locations has soared to greater than double pre-pandemic ranges, whereas these wanting to make use of frequent flyer factors to e-book are unable to seek out seats.
Australians trying to fly to Europe subsequent month will likely be hard-pressed to seek out fares for lower than $3000 return, whereas enterprise class flights are effectively over $10,000.
These wanting to save cash through the use of frequent flyer factors will wrestle to seek out any seats out there resulting from unprecedented demand.
Dr Christopher James, a Port Melbourne-based paediatrician, stated his “coronary heart sank” when he was quoted $60,000 for enterprise class flights to Europe for his household of 4 to attend a marriage. So he bought artistic.
“I found that it was attainable to fly to Europe in enterprise class throughout the peak season utilizing factors if you’re organised, versatile and decided,” stated James.
“For us that meant flying Melbourne-Sydney-Tokyo, spending an evening at an airport resort, after which flying onto Italy by way of Helsinki or Amsterdam. After which the identical in reverse,” he stated. “Complete price was 1.2 million Qantas Frequent Flyer factors, plus taxes.”
Michael Vikatos, a top-tier frequent flyer member throughout all three airline accomplice alliances, stated he searched far and extensive for June redemption flights, however did not have any luck.
“In comparison with pre-pandemic, I’ve by no means seen so little availability for premium cabins in early June and even September-October for northern hemisphere locations,” the Sydney financial institution supervisor stated. “I gave up on Europe and selected a fast getaway to Da Nang, Vietnam as a substitute.”
The pivot paid off, with Vikatos scoring premium seats every means on the much less sought-after route, utilizing Air France factors to e-book with the French service’s accomplice Vietnam Airways.
“The return flight was solely 70 per cent full, so we had the entire entrance row of 4 seats to ourselves to unfold out,” stated Vikatos.
Daniela Scibberas, editor-in-chief Factors Hacks, stated the present lack of rewards flights is the results of lowered route capability colliding with pent-up demand.
“That mixture of upper demand, decrease provide is making it a lot tougher to seek out these reward seats in the mean time, however by way of the variety of reward seats on provide, it is most likely the identical [as pre-pandemic].”
The frequent flyer professional famous a standard false impression round redemption charges proper now, amid claims charges have quadrupled in some instances.
“When individuals are saying ‘it is 4 occasions greater than I keep in mind’, most likely what’s occurred is that they’re complicated a basic flight reward or low-cost reward with the ‘any award seat’ quantity, which is the variety of factors you want if you are going to pay the equal money fare. That may price as a lot as 1.1 million,” Sciberras stated.
Qantas final hiked its factors redemption charge in 2019, with factors required for premium cabins rising by 15 per cent, and factors required for upgrades going up by 9 per cent.
For travellers nonetheless eager to attain a rewards flight amid international fare hikes, Sciberras suggests reserving as early as attainable and being versatile.
“They all the time launch a sure variety of seats – I managed to attain round-trip rewards enterprise class seats to London however I needed to seize it very, in a short time,” stated Sciberras.
It is price noting how far upfront airways launch their rewards flights.
A Virgin Australia Group spokesperson stated: “Velocity members may be savvy by benefiting from discounted fares throughout gross sales and reserving forward with reward seats out there greater than 300 days upfront.”
The 2 predominant Australian frequent flyer schemes, Velocity and Qantas Frequent Flyer, have not too long ago reported report factors redemption charges.
In March, Velocity recorded its highest month-to-month consumption in factors redemption in two years, with over two billion factors spent throughout this system.
Qantas loyalty members have additionally been utilizing up factors in report numbers, based on the airways, with over 40 per cent of factors doled out on premium cabin bookings.
“There are nonetheless thousands and thousands of reward seats out there throughout home and worldwide routes for the rest of the 12 months on Qantas, Jetstar and accomplice airways and we’ll proceed to launch extra reward seats in all cabins,” a Qantas spokesperson stated.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce final week acknowledged airfare value hikes in an interview on 2GB.
“Gasoline costs have spiked and our gas invoice subsequent 12 months will likely be $1.8 billion greater than it was earlier than COVID,” stated Joyce. “On the similar time, there’s nonetheless unbelievably low airfares on the market. Jetstar had a $29 airfare sale yesterday [June 15], so you continue to can get very low air fares, however air fares must go up with the oil costs.”
- Sydney-Queenstown, financial system (Jetstar) from $566
- Sydney-Queenstown, enterprise (Qantas) from $2991
- Sydney-London, financial system (Emirates/Qantas) from $3116
- Sydney-London, enterprise (Qantas) from $11,200
- Sydney-Los Angeles, financial system (Qantas) from $2604
- Sydney-Los Angeles, enterprise (Qantas) from $17,486
- Melbourne-Denpasar, financial system (Qantas) from $1076
- Melbourne-Denpasar, enterprise (Jetstar) from $1930
- Melbourne-London, financial system (Qatar Airways) from $3616
- Melbourne-London, enterprise (Etihad) from $11,852
- Melbourne-Los Angeles, financial system (Virgin Australia/United) from $2541
- Melbourne-Los Angeles, enterprise (United/Virgin Australia) from $12,776
- Most cost-effective return fares on specified airways for July, based mostly on Google Flights information