Paying Cash Saves $ Travel Advice is part of the Trip Report: The $77,000 Trip Heard Round the World which covers 5 Continents, 13 Countries, and 17 Cities.
- Tokyo, Japan
- Melbourne, Australia
- Wellington, New Zealand
- Sydney, Australia
- Colombo, Sri Lanka
- Saigon, Vietnam
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Hong Kong
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Knysna, South Africa
- Durban, South Africa
- Johannesburg, South Africa
- Doha, Qatar
- New York, New York
- Helsinki, Finland
Fixated with constructing the best points itinerary beheld by all of mankind, I forgot common sense in making my booking from Melbourne to Wellington. I elected to use Avios to fly business on Qantas. The fare should’ve been 40,000 points and a nominal amount in tax. Instead, after hours arguing with terrible British Airways customer service, I ended up paying $260 which included improper fuel surcharges. Upon arriving in Australia, the agent confirmed that British had incorrectly charged me but could only offer me his business card as a point of reference for my complaint. Had I paid cash for the ticket, the round trip flight from AU to NZ was $400 in economy.
The lessons I have learned are as follows:
- Never book business class with Avios. Avios are great for short-haul economy tickets to get you out of Yangon when flights are $800, for bailing you out when you mix up the visa rules in China, or when you need a ticket to see the University of Michigan in the Final Four.
- Qantas Australia and Qantas New Zealand are the same company but different. This tax loophole maneuver played a big part in my fuel surcharge issue.
- Refunds for improperly assessed fuel surcharges aren’t coming. British Airways didn’t care about Qantas’s assessment of the situation.
- 40,000 Avios is an obscene amount of points for two 3.5 hour flights.
- Business Class from Australia to New Zealand aboard a dated 737 is marginally better than coach. This is evidenced by the fact there is no flight review on this leg of the trip.
- Paying for tickets isn’t the worst thing in the world. Using points carelessly is.