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I’ve been pondering this thought the last few weeks on what makes a person actually fulfil any goal – let alone achieving that ultimate flight through accumulating enough points and miles over the years. What makes a person successful in life of their chosen passion? Why do so many people fail in their dreams and only a very few ever complete their goals?

One of my goals in life that is above points accumulating for that first or business class is actually being financially independent – how I don’t have to worry about money so I can travel in luxury every day of my life? How can I have enough cash flow so that both myself and my wife can enjoy not having to go to jobs to just pay the bills – but rather spend time with our children and seeing everything that this world has to offer?

It may sound cliché – but from experience over the last few years in terms of finance – 99% of people have no clue about investing in shares, property etc. Everyone has an opinion about how to get rich – but they themselves have a huge credit card debt and don’t know what the value of money is.…

Have you ever had nearly enough Krisflyer points – but just fell short of that 20,000 points to fly that First Class Suite from Singapore to New York? Many would think close enough – but still not enough to redeem that dream flight. So what are the options? I will provide 2 of the most common ways.

First is on Singapore Airlines Krisflyer programme – if you have at least 50% of the Krisflyer points required for redemption with the flight then you have the ability to purchase points to complete the redemption. They sell for $40 USD per 1000 Krisflyer points. So if I had 50,000 Krisflyer points but short of 43,000 points to get a business return flight from Sydney to Singapore (it takes 93,000 points) – it is going to cost me $1720 USD. So this is roughly $2000 AUD to complete the purchase. Does it make sense to pay for this flight – or just fly economy for 40,000 Krisflyer Points?

My advice is pay that $2000 for the extra points because essentially you will be paying $2000 for a $5000 valued flight. But obviously if you would like to save that $2000 and just fly economy – everyone to their own.…

From the last Blog post I wrote about the American Express Platinum Charge card – but I wanted to expand further on the features and benefits of this card and will give you a better indication in regards to if it is the right card in terms of points and travel.

In terms of hotels – it provides elite status for the following:

  1. IHG Rewards – Gold member. I’ve had gold status before and it is nothing special – you get 10% more points but that’s about it. I’ve never had any preferential treatment by having this before
  2. Club Carlson – Gold. This is for hotels such as Radisson. There is 50% bonus in points earned when staying in these hotels.
  3. Accor Advantage – part of the Accor group – you are entitled membership which costs $319 annually and includes a complimentary nights stay as well. This is included in your Amex membership – so really does save you some money. The free night could be used in an expensive property such as the So Sofitel in Singapore which retails for around $450 just for the base room. Also you get 50% discount in Accor hotels when dining.
  4. Accor Platinum – this is the top tier of the Accor group. The hotels include the Sofitel, Novotel, Ibis and Pullman among others. You are entitled to upgraded rooms if available and also lounge access. There is a 100% bonus in points earned as well
  5. Starwood Gold Elite – this is for hotels such as Sheraton and Westin. This status is as bad as the IHG Gold – you get nothing but a bit more points earned.
  6. 80,000 Amex sign-up bonus after spending $500 in the first 2 months. This is worth $5000 as this is enough for a return business class to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific.
  7. $200 Travel Credit with American Express Travel
  8. Free Flight or Hotel Stay with Amex Reservce Card – worth around $300
  9. Accor Advantage membership – valued at $319 when paying it yourself

Currently American Express has a promotion with the American Express Platinum Charge Card. This is in my opinion the flagship card of Amex. The promotion is that you receive 80,000 Amex points when you spend $500 in the first 2 months. How good is this do you ask?

It’s as good as getting a business return flight on Cathay Pacific which requires 80,000 points. That alone would cost you an average of $5000.  The bad thing about this card is the high annual fee of any card I’ve ever seen at $1200 per year.

So why you get this card? If you are like me and thinking that paying $1200 for a $5000 business class flight is a deal – then we are on the same page! Usually it costs $800 when on special to fly to Hong Kong.  So to get a business class flight for a few hundred dollars is a bargain to me!…

When I stay at Hotel chains I am presented with an option – either have breakfast (up to 2 people usually) or have 1000 points credited to my account instead for each night. Which one will I pick? Easy – I would almost always have the breakfast instead of claiming the points. Let me explain.

It comes down on how much points are valued. If I take Hilton for example – if I am given 1000 points per night instead of taking the breakfast – then use the Conrad Hong Kong for example. Each room costs on at least $400 a night. If you use Hilton points – it requires 80,000 Hilton HHonors points per night. So $400 = 80,000 points

So therefore 1000 points is equal to $5. Usually a Hilton Breakfast for an adult costs $40 in Australia and overseas. Also if I use points and am a Hilton Gold member – I am provided breakfast for 2 adults and 2 small children – so is easily over $100 value had I just come to the hotel for buffet breakfast.…

While you are collecting your points/miles from credit card spend I hope you are thinking of the best way to use Frequent Flyer points for International Flights. It is a cardinal sin to be using your points for domestic flights or a gift voucher. The redemption value with redeeming your points for a gift card compared to redeeming it for an international First class flight from Sydney to London is possibly at least 100 times worse.

Treat your credit card and frequent flyer points as a currency that is valuable. If you value it – then you will treat it with the respect it deserves and only redeem it for international business or first class flights. If you do not value it or are not educated about it – then you will redeem it on gift cards, toasters etc.

Now in terms of an international flight – what is the best way to get the most value out of it? Is it to fly from Sydney to Singapore (7 hour trip) or Sydney to New York via Singapore  (24 hours flight). The rule of thumb in my opinion is that the further you fly – the better value you get out of it.…