I always seem to read news articles about people who travel around the world first class while paying a pittance and I really didn’t understand how on earth they did it. I figured it was an American thing like their amazing coupons where you go into a store with little bits of paper and leave with 10 trolleys for only 68 cents. I honestly thought it’s just not possible, for us poor beleaguered Australians trying to travel the long distances in the lap of luxury to get these type of bargains. However this trip I have proven that it’s not only possible but not as hard as you would imagine.
Now if you’re wondering about just how much it cost let me explain, my parents booked the exact same route and paid just over $3,000 per person. Overall for 2 first class flights from Perth to Zurich, then London to Dubai and Finally Dubai to Perth (Business for this leg) I paid just under $3,000 per person. As for the cost of the flights if I was to pay full price, I actually looked into this last week and these exact same flights were worth $55,000 for the two of us.
So, first the flights themselves, Ben and I will be travelling all our long haul flights either first or business class. Perth to Zurich with Emirates – First Class! That’s right, first class on an A380 with large bar, premium champagne and of course, the all-important shower at 42,000 feet. We will then be travelling First Class with British Airways from London to Dubai and then unfortunately slumming it down in Business for the flight from Dubai to Perth with Emirates (please note the sarcasm here). Travelling first class has always been a bucket list item for me, something I thought I would do one day if I won the lottery so this is a big deal don’t get me wrong.
How did you do it, you may ask – well the truth of the matter is points – lots and lots and lots of points with both Qantas and American Airlines.
But first let’s talk Qantas – I’m not going to lie, you do need A LOT of points to travel with Qantas but if you are slight creative with your accruing it’s not that hard. My husband obviously travels for business which helps but the majority of points we collect are from other sources, we changed credit cards to American Express and were awarded nearly 100,000 points. Additionally, our phones are connected to Qantas so we get points with every bill. They give you points sometimes when you order a case of wine so we wait until a particularly good deal comes along and re-top up our cellar. Hotel stays can help you accrue miles and even normal shopping like clothes and electrics can be done through their online mall can help add to your balance. Something they are doing at the moment is giving you points just for walking. That’s right, up to 200 points per week just for doing the required amount of steps. Another deal I have just seen is 50,000 points for signing up for their health insurance. Finally, my credit card gives me up to 2 points per dollar spent so I pay all my bills and purchases through that and then pay it off straight away. To be honest, it’s really not hard to start accruing some serious miles if you put your mind to it.
Additionally I mentioned American Airlines and this is where it gets interesting. American Airlines allows you to purchase miles which you can then use to book award flights. Now that is itself is great but it gets even better because a couple of times a year they give you additional miles when you purchase. For example, buy 80,000 miles and get another 40,000 free. If you are careful with exchange rates and take advantage of these type of deals it’s possible to get quite a bit for your money. Recently I purchase approx. $3,000 worth of miles, that I then used to booked the British Airways flights from London to Dubai. Overall that is 62,500 miles per person. So for approx. $3,000 I got 2 First class flights from London to Dubai plus I still have an additional 55,000 miles left to use next time I travel. To keep your miles you need to use your account at least once a year and that can be either making a booking through American Airlines or even just recording a flight with an affiliate airline or also, just adding to your points balance.
Oh and one other thing to consider – you need to book early. Obviously there are only a certain amount of frequent flyer seats available so you need to book early enough to secure them, and also be a bit flexible with your dates, a great seat is just waiting for you to snap it up if only you take the time to book. Now just remember you still will have to pay taxes on flights as well, while I spend $3,000 on American Airline miles I also had to pay another $3,000 in taxes for the flights.
So that’s it, that my secret recipe for flying like a rock star on a backpackers budget! I will tell you neither Ben or I can wait for this particular aspect of the trip. Expect copious amounts of photo’s and shower selfies because this trip has just become EPIC!!!