How to use frequent flyer points for flights? For me it’s a no-brainer – either a business or first class suite. But how about which routes? What is the best value to redeem for the hard-earned points?

If possible I would use the points for the furthest distance possible. A 15 hour flight in business class is definitely going to be more enjoyable than in economy. But say a 7 hour flight in economy for example I would accept as it is tolerable.

So a general rule of thumb if your have frequent flyer points or miles is this especially if you reside in Australia. Never use your points for flights domestically. As the distance is short – usually an hour flight – by redeeming 16,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points between Sydney and Melbourne return but then also paying a hundred dollars or so in tax. In this instance because it is such a short distance – I would use other avenues to fly. For example I could use my free flight per year with American Express Platinum Edge Card in Virgin Australia. Or I wait till Tiger Airways has their super-cheap sales – then get Jetstar to do a price beat guarantee which also lowers the price by 5% and I don’t have to pay a booking fee.

In regards to international flights if I wanted to fly to south-east asia – I could use my points for a business class flight. I personally wouldn’t use the points for an economy flight as the tax which could be at least $500 compared to a full fare which costs $700 when on special does not provide good value. I might as well spend $700 and save the points for a business class which is value at around $5000 to South-East Asia.

I would have no hesitation though to fly Scoot or Air Asia to get to South-East Asia when they have super low fares. Paying $300 return to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur is an absolute steal and I would always consider if this is a better option to fly and save my points for a flight that goes further.

Usually for any flights that go further than Asia such as the USA or Europe I would look at all avenues to fly business or first class there. That is where I get the biggest return for my buck. A lot of the times it only requires maybe 50% more points fly to the USA than to Asia – but to be stuck that long in a plane I would want to fly business class any day.

US Dividend Miles is a good example as it costs 90,000 miles to fly to Asia from Australia and only costs 110,000 miles to fly to the US. Plus I can stopover in Asia as well.

So the best use of frequent flyer points for award seats is flying business or first class to the US or Europe in my opinion by weighing up different factors. But of course if you only ever fly to Asia then you could maybe fly 70% on paid fares on Scoot and Air Asia and the other 30% fly on business class on a full-cost airline.