Traveller letters: Qantas Frequent Flyer points – What's the point in being loyal?
WHAT’S THE POINT
Why does it seem one is punished for using Qantas Frequent Flyer points on flights? Having accumulated many points we discovered the only way we could actually use them for tickets was to call up about a year in advance. Which we did last October.
Impossible to get on a Qantas flight (why have we bothered being loyal?) and limited choices on partner airlines. But only to get there. We had to wait another four weeks for the return journey tickets to become available.
Same story then with regard to Qantas flights, and the only partner airline tickets involved a seven-hour stopover in Dubai. That was unsatisfactory so the helpful Qantas lady suggested we go via Melbourne and then on to Sydney. When the booking was confirmed we discovered that we now have a seven-hour stopover in Melbourne – from 11pm to 6am. Nightmare. We have since called at least once a fortnight trying to change the return flights, we are very flexible with regard to dates and even flying together. But no business-class seats have come up.
This is a real disincentive to sticking by Qantas, paying more and getting shafted in return.
Robyn Bransby, Northbridge, NSW
LETTER OF THE WEEK
I really enjoyed reading Steve McKenna’s article about the delights of Singapore’s Tiong Bahru neighbourhood (Traveller, June 4-5). I was there in late June of last year and the streamline moderne style of art deco architecture is stunning.
After strolling round this heritage area, I caught a bus to Alexandra Park and walked down quiet tree-lined lanes peering at another heritage feature of Singapore – the collection of black-and-white houses – huge Edwardian-style bungalows that the upper echelons lived in, between the wars, on the outskirts of the city.
They are whitewashed, two-level bungalows with black-and-white awnings, wide verandahs and plenty of shading in a peaceful tropical-garden setting. Well worth a walk down Royal Road, Canterbury Road, York Road and so on.
Phillip Musgrave, Chatswood, NSW
LOST AND FOUND
Lost-baggage statistics (Traveller, June 4-5) in reality means (using official figures) more than 1.4 million items were never recovered last year. They were lost, or more likely, stolen, especially in Europe.
However, the numbers lost/stolen are even greater as many millions of passengers have only carry-on luggage yet are counted among the 3.5 billion travellers. I have a sneaking suspicion organised crime (in Europe) is involved.
John Simmonds, Collingwood, NSW
On a recent international trip I spent time carefully completing the immigration departure cards for myself and three other family members. We then went through Customs using the facial recognition technology and so therefore there were no customs officials to check or collect our departure cards.
I then just happened to notice a small perspex box in front of a duty-free store that said “leave departure cards here” which we did. However, I could have easily walked past this box without noticing it and I imagine many travellers did.
Also, I’m sure that quite a large percentage would be filled out incorrectly, so why do we still need to complete them?
Justin Kranz, Eltham, VIC
Roy Palmer (Rants & raves, June 4-5) seems to think his hotel room should be ready for occupancy no matter when he arrives. This seems somewhat unrealistic. All hotels have check-in and check-out times and these tend to be made available at the time of booking, usually 10am or 11am for check-out and some time after 2pm for check-in
This seems more than reasonable to me. After all, hotel staff have a relatively short time to service a room and make it ready for the next occupant. While I have often been offered a room before the official check-in time, it is never something I would expect.
As a regular traveller I have always found it is possible to leave my luggage to be safely stowed while I take myself off for a walk or a meal or I can simply relax in the lounge or lobby.
Kathleen Warren, Coal Point, NSW
Regarding your corespondent Charlotte Brewer’s frustration at dealing with an international airline, my own experience of dealing with American Airlines (AA) may offer a glimmer of hope.
AA refused to honour a OneWorld J-class ticket at Raleigh-Durham (RDU) airport and charged me $US25 for a checked bag on a flight to JFK.
On return to Australia, I lodged the claim form online and waited, and waited. Each month I inquired as to progress and was given the usual run-around stories – staff on holiday, being dealt with by another department, etc.
After seven months I wrote by surface, international registered mail to the CEO and sent a copy of the letter to the customer care department. Surprise, surprise, the money was in my bank account within three days.
Lesson learned: keep at it and go right to the top.
Paul Wylie, Wahroonga, NSW
I recently stayed at the Oaks on Market apartment hotel in Melbourne. My well-priced apartment did not include daily housekeeping, which turned out to be a blessing. I am usually neat and tidy, rehang wet towels, and make my own bed when I wake up. Even on holidays, my comfortable stay-at-home routine is not onerous.
Thankfully, no sharp knocks at the door followed by the loud announcement “Housekeeping!” when one preferred rest or recovery. I concede it’s no fault of hotel staff, though, with the flimsy “Do not disturb” sign falling off the door handle or still stationed at “Please make up my room” from the previous day.
Best of all, I use the same towels and small soaps for a week without their being replaced by housekeeping staff, which is surely a plus for the environment and my hip pocket.
Joseph Ting, Carina, QLD
WE WELCOME YOUR TRAVEL-RELATED OPINIONS AND EXPERIENCES
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The story Traveller letters: Qantas Frequent Flyer points – What’s the point in being loyal? first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.