Updated: 4 days ago
by Roland Howlett
Most of us are creatures of comfort. The sense of familiarity draws us back to a place, or a product, and when so much of travel is new, it is often nice to have something that makes you feel at home.
In our everyday lives, we shop at one supermarket, purchase our favourite brand of bread and butter, most likely the one we used to have as kids, the one mum used to buy. Why? Because we trust it. It's what we have always done. We are very brand loyal when it comes to groceries and it's the same when it comes to frequent flyer programs.
We purchase airfares with the frequent flyer partner that we always have because we think we are getting the best deal - because that's the deal that landed in your inbox. Why would you look elsewhere?
While that super special, limited time offer, urgent sale fare might be a good price, often it is not necessarily the best in the market.
The team at Frontier Travel live and breathe airfares, all day, every day and know exactly what is good value and a great price.
Imagine this scenario as an example:
An email from your frequent flyer program arrives in your inbox. It is for a business class fare to London for $7900. It's on sale, so it must be cheap right? Wasn't it only 15 years ago when business class to Europe was over $10,000? This $7900 is incredible, isn't it? You jump online and the airline website is saying "only 2 seats left" so the sense of urgency is elevated. "I have to do this now, otherwise I'll miss out", you're thinking.
Chill pill time.
Maybe not. If you look past the fact that is is being offered by your familiar frequent flyer program (or if you just ask us), you will see great deals thousands of dollars less. A business class fare (on a quality airline) at around $6000-7000 to Europe is not that unusual these days, (and you can go lower if you broaden your airlines to those considered more second tier).
That’s a huge saving, particularly if you are travelling in a family or a group.
The point? Frequent flyer points often skew a purchase decision away from the best value option. Do not be blindly loyal to a frequent flyer program just because you are a member.
Why? Ask yourself these questions:
Are the points you accumulate worth paying extra for?
Is the lounge access worth the price? If you are flying business class you will be sipping champagne in an airline lounge regardless because you get access as part of your ticket.
Is the possibility of "preferred seating" worth the price difference?
So what should you do?
Open your eyes to other options.
Segment off the frequent flyer points from the decision and look at the price, the itinerary/connection, the airline experience and the value that presents. Then overlay the frequent flyer program and see if that still makes it good value.
How much are those points worth to you? Using the above example, if it is $2000 more to fly with your preferred frequent flyer program, is that frequent flyer benefit worth it? The general rule of thumb is that a point is worth 1 cent (rarely more, often much less, and of course only if you can find something to use them on). So just to get $2000 more value in points, you would need to earn 200,000 points for that flight! (to give a reference point, you only earn 37,200 Qantas Points or 25,104 Virgin Velocity points, flying Etihad, for a return flight to London in Discount Business Class).
If the bigger picture is not feeling like it is good value - then take the cheaper fare and join another frequent flyer program to get points on these flights! Every airline has a frequent flyer program, so it isn’t like you’re going to miss out.
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