Earn QFF Points for restaurant reservations

This is a sweet trick, especially if you like dessert!! You can now earn 100 points per person at restaurants with reservations made through the Qantas Restaurants website. There are a wide variety of restaurants to choose from though not all are available as the service is provided through Dimmi restaurant reservations only. It should be noted that your reservation doesn’t have to be for dinner, but at some restaurants you can book a table for breakfast or lunch and still earn points.

Here’s the link…. http://restaurants.qantaspoints.com/

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Qantas ‘T80’

Qantas like to restrict certain seats to high tier members of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, they are usually seats with extra legroom, or those towards the front of the plane. Just because you don’t have the status doesn’t mean that you can’t get these seats, it just means that you have to work a little harder for them. The term ‘T80’ refers to the time at which these seats become available on the Qantas website, around 80 hours before your flight departs the blocked seats will become available. On my upcoming flight I tried this trick and found out that the seats become available between 80 and 65 hours before your flight; if they don’t become available then, you and everyone else will then have one more chance to choose them through on-line check-in from 24 hours before the flight.

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The two images (screenshots from Expertflyer) show a Qantas A332 aircraft before ‘T80’ (Left) with many seats covered in a white and blue cross whereas the same flight after ‘T80’ (Right) has significantly less seats blocked though some still remain which may indicate that someone is sitting there, they are marked as ‘exit row’ or ‘extra legroom’ seats or they are unavailable for some other reason.

Apart from giving you more seating options, it also gives you a pretty good idea of the plane’s loading, in this case it is almost empty 2 days before the flight!

This trick is especially helpful if you are in a rush to get off the plane and want to sit at the front or if you are travelling in a large group and could not get good seats together at booking. I managed to get 3 seats to myself on an Emirates A380 to Sydney which meant I had plenty of room to sleep across the seats as well as plenty of stares from the envious people sitting across the row!!

The point of this is to make your trip a little bit more comfortable, especially on a long-haul flight and at no cost I think it would be silly not to do it!

SYD to LHR with Oneworld Alliance

There are plenty of airlines which offer flights from Sydney to London via their hub city; some of these include the likes of Qantas, Emirates, Etihad, Qatar ………. The list goes on ……….. But what if you want to earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points on them?? Is it just restricted to flying on a ‘QF’ flight?? It turns out that there are more options than you may think, don’t forget that you can earn Qantas FF Points aboard it’s Oneworld alliance members as well. Below are the Oneworld members in question, their stop over point and how many points you’ll earn with them..

 The Oneworld alliance is made up of the following airlines, of which the ones in bold operate to Australia….

  • Airberlin

  • American Airlines

  • British Airways

  • Cathay Pacific

  • Finnair

  • Iberia

  • Japan Airlines

  • LAN

  • TAM

  • Malaysia Airlines

  • Qantas

  • Qatar Airways

  • Royal Jordanian

  • S7 Airlines

  • Sri Lankan Airlines

From this, we now know that 8 of the 15 Oneworld airlines fly to Australia. What does this mean to us?? It means that Australian Oneworld members (usually as Qantas Frequent Flyers) have a huge choice between airlines when flying overseas. Take two large hubs, Sydney and London, all the Oneworld airlines flying to Australia offer a one stop service to London (except LAN) meaning that the point conscious traveller still has a wide variety of choice. The table below outlines the route per airline and the Qantas Frequent Flyer points earned as the lowest frequent flyer on the lowest fare.Table

EDIT: QANTAS FREQUENT FLYERS EARN 1850 POINTS FROM SYD TO DOH, COMBINING TO A TOTAL OF 2600 POINTS BETWEEN SYD AND LHR

As show in the table, the amount of points one can earn fluctuates massively between airlines; this ranges from 2625 all the way to 6200 points on a basic economy fare. Naturally, the airline to which you hold a frequent flyer membership will offer the most points with their airline but if you prefer to fly with another carrier or there is an exceptionally good deal with one of the other Oneworld airlines it’s worth having a play around to see who offers the best rate, after all its not about points earned per flight but rather points earned per dollar spent on the flight which is worth your while the most.

QF 10 Review LHR to DXB

Flight Number: QF 10

Departing: London Heathrow LHR 12:45

Arriving: Dubai DXB

Operated By: Qantas

Class: Business (J)

Type: Upgrade from Flexible Economy

Seat: 13E

Aircraft: Airbus Industrie A380-842 VH-OQH

Frequent Flyer Program: Qantas Frequent Flyer

Frequent Flyer Points Earned: 3400

One week before the flight I chose to place my bid for an upgrade from Flexible Economy to Business Class, normally this would be cutting it fine, though I had been watching ExpertFlyer from three weeks prior to see how many seats were still available; I’m a window seat person and was waiting to see if one would become available, in the end it didn’t 😦 none the less though I managed to snag a seat in the front, smaller section of Business class. A word of warning, when you place a points upgrade from Economy to Business with Qantas be sure to deselect the “If no Business class seats are available place a bid for Premium economy” option on International flights, even though its for less points I don’t think it is worth it.

In total it cost me 15,000 points from Flexible Economy though if you were in standard Economy it would cost 24,000 points each.

Qantas didn’t allow me to check in for this flight on-line, nor was I able to book the chaffer service as it was a points upgrade. I’d recommend to make sure to get to the airport early and head straight to the check-in desks. Despite this though, when I arrived the line for economy was short with business and first not having to wait. The process was seamless, with the lady at the business desk welcoming me with a smile and printing my pass in good time; I hate it when they circle parts of your boarding pass, I know how to read!! Luckily, she didn’t. From there it was a short walk to the priority security screening.

Surely we’ve all heard of those stories about how long and arduous everything at LHR is, security is no exception; having said that, it didn’t really seem that bad though.

Qantas customers in First or Business Class or those with Platinum One, Platinum or Gold QFF status flying on a QF Flight or Oneworld Emerald or Sapphire holders are able to access the British Airways Galleries Club T3 lounge with one guest whereas Qantas Club members and their guest must use the American Airlines Admirals Club lounge.

As a Business Class passenger, I headed for the British Airways lounge which was easy to locate, once through the long corridor I was greeted by a British Airways employee at the door where my boarding pass was scanned. Once past some oddly placed seating in a small corridor, you walk through a large seating area with a buffet along the wall which was well stocked.

The Lounge was pleasant, it was clean and staff were quick to pick up plates and glasses though looked disinterested and not in a mood to talk at all! The view wasn’t all that bad even though the windows are a bit small and don’t let much light into the lounge, mind you its always cloudy in London!

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View from The British Airways Lounge T3

From the lounge, it was a 5 minute walk or 4 minute travelator ride to gate 1. Shortly after arriving at the gate boarding began.

Boarding began on schedule with passengers called up by class. As Premium Economy is located directly behind Business class on the A380, it seemed quite busy in the main Business cabin with lots of passengers trying to pass to get to PE; other than that the process was smooth with passengers greeted with hello Mr…, hello Mrs…. with drinks served to our seats quickly.

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QF10 Boarding Pass

Despite missing out on a window seat, 13E proved to be a good choice, it was in the smaller more quiet Business cabin and there were plenty of flight attendants to cater to everyone’s needs. The good thing about being in the middle (E or F) is that no one will climb over you to get to the aisle. Below is the Seatguru diagram of the Business Cabin…

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Screenshot from Seatguru of Qantas A380 Business Class Cabin

Despite row 13 being highlighted in yellow, there was barely any noise from the galley behind and the bathrooms were no bother as it was closer to the galley than the cabin as there was a coat closet between the seat which acted a bit like a sound barrier; that coupled with the curtain being drawn made the cabin quite for sleeping. A word of warning though, aisle seats in row 11 (B,E,F,J) will experience some light from the ‘Qantas-Couch’ area at the front of the A380 as the lights in that area are not dimmed and may become annoying when someone moves the curtain to pass through the cabin.3533b3_e5f8f14b2c32475ab12222cd126a4a32

The above photo is of seat 13E with blankets and pillows for the flight, note that the headphones are my own but a set is supplied which can just be seen to the left of the pillow.

 The Qantas A380 Business Class seat reclines to a fully flat bed and coupled with what I think may be the softest duvet in the Business Class skies made for an easy and more than satisfying sleep on the seven hour trip to Dubai. The seat also features a massage function with different settings which make for a really refreshing wakeup.

As per usual, the cabin crew were attentive and intuitive, always coming around to check on you, asking if you wanted a drink or if there was anything they could do for you. The intuitive attendant working my row saw that I had reclined my seat to almost horizontal whilst watching a move after the cabin had been dimmed for sleeping, during that time I went to the bathroom and as I returned he kindly said “Mr …. your bed has been made, would you like an ice cream to complement your movie?”  It was such a nice gesture, instead of me asking to have it done and feeling bad, the attendant kindly used his own initiative and made it for me. Some of the crew members were even keen for a chat when they noticed me having a drink on the ‘Qantas Couch’, they were really nice but what really got them was that I was travelling without my parents!! They had a good laugh with me about that!

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After 7 hours it was time to leave the plane at Dubai, it would be continuing to Melbourne though I wouldn’t. I really enjoyed the flight and the crew were very professional throughout. An international upgrade is the best way to use your points as opposed to a domestic upgrade considering that it only cost me 15,000 from flexible economy for seven hours compared to 10,000 for the 5 hour domestic flight from Sydney to Perth; the International Business Cabin is by far better than the domestic equivalent though Qantas are improving their A330-200 & -300  cabins to meet the high standards, if you were flying a 737 I would highly recommend saving the points for another day.

JQ 38 Review SYD to MEL

Flight Number: JQ38

Departing: Sydney International Airport T1, SYD 09:10

Arriving: Melbourne International Airport T1, MEL 10:40

Operated By: Jetstar

Class: Economy (Y)

Type: Paid economy ‘starter’

Seat: 34A

Aircraft: Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner VH-VKH

Frequent Flyer Program: Qantas Frequent Flyer

Frequent Flyer Points Earned: 0

You might not really want to fly with Jetstar, neither do I, none the less, here is a review of their service and yes there is method to my madness. The flight number JQ38 is an international service originating at Bali Denpasar travelling to Sydney with irregular services continuing to Melbourne as an international flight. If your dates just so happen to match or you don’t mind coordinating your travel with this flight, it is a pretty good way to get from Sydney to Melbourne on a flight that isn’t your standard 737 or A320.

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Text message alert from Jetstar

Though this is technically a domestic segment, Jetstar does not allow you to check-in on-line as the plane departs from the Sydney International Terminal. You are also required to carry a valid passport as your identification though it will not get stamped. Although you are not able to check-in on-line the check-in line was non-existent when I arrived, though I imagine it would get busy 30 minutes before check-in closes (I arrived as soon as check-in opened so that I could have as much time as possible at the lounge). It is also worth noting that you must be checked-in at the airport no later than 60 minutes before the scheduled departure, which is a bit more restrictive than a domestic flight.

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Screenshot from Jetstar.com

Once you’ve received your boarding pass, head off to the departure area and through the doors to the passport check area. Immediately after you get to the end of the corridor turn right and join the line with sign showing an ‘orange D sticker’ as should be shown on your boarding pass. This line is shorter and you will not need to fill out a departure declaration form, from there a Customs officer will check your boarding pass and passport as if you were travelling internationally and you will then be directed to the security screening area as per normal.

For persons travelling on JQ38, you will be able to access the Qantas International Business Lounge if you are travelling in Business Class, are a Platinum One, Platinum or Gold Qantas Frequent Flyer or are a Qantas Club Member. As I fell into that category, I headed straight for the lounge after clearing security and walking through the duty free of which you cannot buy anything and I find tacky that you have to walk through. After you clear this, head straight and to the upward escalators to the left hand side, from there walk along the podium to the lounge. A review of the lounge is coming soon..

The boarding process began on time and with little difficulty; it began with Business Class passengers, those with children or in need of assistance and finally everyone else, note that Qantas Platinum One members or below do not receive priority boarding on Jetstar flights, well, at-least not this one. which was disappointing!

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JQ38 boarding passes in the Qantas International Business Lounge

Jetstar have three classifications for their economy seats on the 787. They are standard, upfront and extra legroom with each coming at a different price. To select any seat on a Jetstar flight costs you $5 or you can purchase a ‘plus bundle’ for $35 which gives you free standard seating selection, Qantas Points, Checked baggage and a $5 inflight food voucher. As this was only a day trip and the cost of the plus bundle was almost as much as the sale ticket, i decided only to take the $5 seating selection.

 All seats aboard the 787 are pretty much the same, in the sense that thay are tight and offer little legroom, though it is bareable for a 1 hour flight; I couldn’t imagine sitting in it for more than 2 hours! It is worth noting though that the 787 economy seats have 1 extra inch of pitch compared to the Jetstar A320 and A321 aircraft.

The cabin layout is in a 3-3-3 configuration, I chose a window seat on the wing which had a nice view and wasn’t too loud being near the engine.

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Screenshot of Jetstar 787 seating from Seatguru

Each seat comes with an entertainment system which you can access for $10, for a flight of 1 hour it isn’t at all worth the money though on a longer flight it does have a nice variety of films and TV shows. The only thing good about the entertainment system on this flight was that I was able to charge my phone and watch the air-show at no cost.3533b3_f490af9b6d8f4081adfe4196ab953772

Service in the economy cabin was quite good, the flight crew were eager to distribute pre purchased meals and sell items to other customers just after the seat belt sign had been turned off, though with this the process felt a little rushed and lacked a bit of courtesy. None the less, for a 1 hour flight it was adequate and no issues arose.

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Dust on the air vents

 

Once the plane had landed at Melbourne, it was a short taxi to our gate where we promptly disembarked and headed for the exit where our boarding passes were again stamped. Note that there is no priority line when exiting Melbourne International for domestic passengers so there can be a little wait. After this you pass through the baggage collection area and then on to the bag check area, here your boarding pass will be taken from you as if it were a declaration card for an international passenger, the customs officer told me that “no-one is allowed to keep them”.

For a flight of only one hour it is quite an ordeal compared to a normal domestic flight between Sydney and Melbourne, I would recommend this flight only to people with a Qantas FF status above Gold or QC Member to access the International Business Lounge or to anyone who just wants to try the 787 on a short trip. If given the choice between International or Domestic, I would choose the International purely for the lounge access though if you are in a hurry it would be best to travel on a domestic flight. There really isn’t much difference between the Jetstar 787 and A320 from a seating point of view either.