Using Amex and Velocity points, which airline gives the best value for business return tickets from Sydney to London?

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Hello,

My goal is Sydney to London on Business class, flying in June. I have ~200k Amex points waiting to be distributed, and ~45k Velocity points. I’m comfortable with being $2,500 out of pocket.

Two questions:

  1. Does Etihad or Singapore give the best return on redemption? One pro for Singapore is I can straight transfer my Velocity, which I don’t think I’m able to with Etihad?
  2. Which is more economical, buying the economy return tix and using points for upgrade OR buy return business class tix with points and $

Thanks in advance, appreciate these are rookie questions.

Sarah.

  • For point 1, no, unfortunately you can’t transfer direct to Etihad from Velocity. The fact that you *can* transfer to KrisFlyer from Velocity (two separate FFPs) is a wonderful outlier in the points world.
    You can *redeem* flights on Etihad using Velocity points, however (from within the Virgin/Velocity website).

  • Also, rule of thumb for Velocity and KrisFlyer:
    Velocity = high points, low $
    KrisFlyer = low points, high $
    The “best return” is really a calculation comparing how many points you have vs how many $ you’re willing to spend outright. HTH!

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In general, upgrades are risky as they are not automatic and you would need to have high status with an airline to be successful. As such, I’d say an outright redemption makes most sense.

Singapore Airlines is a good bet, given it will be about 160,000 Krisflyer points return in business from Sydney to London; however, the taxes are very high (~$900). June is a very busy time to travel and you’ve left it quite late, but there are a couple of days of business available in June (e.g. 8 June with a long Singapore stopover). It takes one business day for points to transfer from AMEX to Krisflyer. I would also make sure you look at flying to other European cities, and then getting a separate flight to London. In particular, under the Singapore award chart, flying in to Amsterdam, Athens, Copenhagen or Rome would cost 30,000 less points than London, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Paris etc.

Alternatively, you can use Velocity points for redemptions on Etihad as they are partners, so you’d be able to combine those with your existing points. There are some guides on Point Hacks about how this works, so you should track those down and have a look. I think it’d be about 250,000 Velocity points return, but I am not entirely sure. You can search Etihad availability here: etihad.com/en-us/plan-and-book/book-redemption-flights/

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