CHOICE membership

A case in points (Velocity)

I’ll preface this post with a note acknowledging our other threads on rewards points, whether they are worth it and some rip offs. I thought this example that I received from the Velocity Frequent Flyer program was worthy of its own thread.

As of February 2019, there is the below promotion where you can purchase Velocity points and receive a 20% bonus.

Before we we even get into the detail of this, I’m already reminded of this classic skit:

So here we have Velocity points, just like regular money but more ‘fun’. And what kind of fun can these points purchase? Well how about this Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, just 268,871 points.

Seems like a lot of points - for example, let’s say you have an AMEX Velocity Platinum card that can ‘Earn 1.25 Velocity Points per $1 spent’ at the time of writing. You’ll need to be spending in the hundreds of thousands to collect this many points, which leads us to purchasing of points outright - perhaps to bridge the gap between points balances and the rewards we so dearly deserve, or perhaps we just like the look of the promo.

However we arrived here, the next step is to check out how many points we can buy for our money here’s the conversion table:

Assuming you needed to buy all the points to get this phone, you’re looking at $5341 (once you account 20% bonus points). Even if you are already halfway to the total points needed and want to bridge the gap, you’ll still end paying double the RRP (shown below) and a quick Google search will tell you that you should be able to get this phone for less than the RRP anyway.

While I know that many people would not use the points in this way, or for this item. Or perhaps there is a backdoor for signing up to a new card that grants you a one-off points bonanza and that changes the equation - however you cut it, it’s still a VERY expensive way to buy a phone. At five times the RRP, at what point does this become a concern and switch into something a little more predatory, Shonky even?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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Well done @BrendanMays :slight_smile:

It seems to be inbred ingrained Aussie marketing culture where the headlines are about points (cards,groceries, frequent flyers, hotels, rental cars, ad nauseam), discount percentages not actual costs (utilities and various offers), and draws to win (many promotions) rather than about the value of any of the above.

If it did not ‘suck in’ those not paying attention and those just keen to do it because, they would not make offers so easy to laugh at and :roll_eyes:
.

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We have both Velocity and Frequent Flyer points.

It’s not just phones that are expensive, it’s everything. I have never bought anything with the points, and never will. The only thing I was going to use them for was for subsidising or purchasing flights. Unfortunately, using the points for flights is getting harder and harder too with the selection of available seats appearing to constantly diminish.

Perhaps the points are good for business flyers or globetrotters who could benefit from the vast amounts they spend on travel by getting something for nothing? They offer nothing of value to the average flyers.

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I was stuck in Auckland when Ansett went under (same day as 9/11) and lost a zillion points. Working one week in 3 overseas, like an idiot. Sort of lost interest from that point.

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I have both Flybys and Velocity points and continue to add to both. However, I don’t go out of my way to collect the points in either case. I shop where I shop regardless of points, I fly with whoever will get me where I want to go, when I want to go and at a price I can afford or am willing to pay. Nevertheless, I still have lots of points and in the past I have redeemed some. I have had the ‘luxury’ of sailing on Sydney Harbour, a few meals such as afternoon tea in a swanky hotel, climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, had a helicopter flight over Sydney Beaches and the like. All this I would never have directly paid for because it is too expensive for me to afford. However, using the points that did not cost me anything more than doing my normal shopping meant that for me at least, (and my Father visiting from overseas) the points allowed me to take my Father on these outings and create everlasting memories for us both. Yes it took years to collect the points, but so what? In my case it really was ‘something for nothing’, a benefit that I would not otherwise have had.

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We lost around 700,000 points when Ansett went down the gurgler, most of which had been accrued from business spending.

The points were all from spending on Diners Cards when the points were automatically transferred to Ansett.

As Ansett’s position became ever more tenuous,I had considered using them for a round-the-world First Class family trip but I was concerned that we may have been left stranded.

Fortunately we did not and Diners Club, who we no longer deal with, did not even offer a brass razoo as token compensation when their deal with Ansett left their customers high and dry.

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Quite true. The only real value in FF points is to upgrade an already purchased economy flight.
Unfortunately this does not benefit most people who only fly occasionally.

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I just booked a $130 flight on points and noted that I paid a $99 “Fee” for the privilege.
I often wonder what goes on in their systems when you log on as a frequent flyer member as against remaining anonymous. I have had instances where I have received a price for a flight, did a comparison and got back an hour later to book and found it was fully booked. On inquiring they told me seats sell out quickly but as I always do a screen print I noticed the ticket prices above and below had not changed. It all has to do with the algorithms they use and I would not be surprised if the same happens with points. My take on points is be grateful of small mercies. Any discount is a good discount providing you don’t spend unnecessary money to chase them.

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Noting not all economy fares can be upgraded with points!

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Far out, that’s annoying. Makes it pretty hard to get value when this type of thing is happening.

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Perhaps it should be called a "fleece?

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With the coronavirus devastating travel and threatening the very survival of airlines, we decided to opt out of transferring our CBA credit card points to Qantas Frequent Flyer.

Once bitten, twice shy.

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An article regarding many other people choosing to “cash in” their frequent flyer points.

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