SYD-MEL Weekly Return Fly-in Fly-out - Flights & Cards Advice

Need some help and advice from the lovely people at Ozb.

Need to be flying in and out of Melbourne from Sydney on a weekly basis for a 3 to 4 (could extend to 12) month period. Regardless of fare fluctuations, the flights have to be taken and we need to make it work as best possible. There are some occasions when the return would be after two weeks instead of weekly. 1 adult passenger only, checked baggage not necessary, meals not necessary.

The itinerary will need to look somewhat as follows.
Depart Sydney on Sunday to arrive Melbourne by 8pm. On-time reliability not necessary.

Return from Melbourne to Sydney on Friday, arriving Sydney airport by 5pm. On-time reliability required.

1) SYD-MEL return or MEL-SYD return flights, what is more economical generally on a continuous basis?

2) which credit card should be used to maximize the advantage of points or rewards? - I currently have citi signature, anz travel adventures, amex classic, and thinking of getting kogan black for First membership.
E.g. virgin or jetstar cards - are they really worth it or just stick to ANZ, for example?

3) are there any airline subscriptions or memberships that can be subscribed to to lock in good pricing for regular flying? Happy to buy tickets in advance. Which airline or combination of airlines is best?

4) should I perhaps consider using a travel agent? Why? Who? Online agents / 3rd party websites?

5) anything else one should do to maximize the benefits of frequent interstate flying?

6) any good sites or apps that I could setup automatic notifications on and track pricing etc? Easily configurable?

Many thanks in advance.

Comments

  • +1 vote

    I'd suggest asking on Australian Frequent Flyer (AFF). I'm sure there'll be more than a few there who fly the same route as frequently. In the meantime:

    1) not sure
    2) perhaps check out a co-branded card like the AmEx Velocity Platinum or the Virgin or Jetstar ones you mentioned. Hunt around for one that you're eligible for a sign up bonus, even though it may mean fewer spend points. Some basic math would reveal the best way to go.
    3) I'm not aware of any such subscriptions but discounts may be had with The Entertainment Book (VA), or check the VA discount code thread on AFF or perhaps a credit card (Jetstar?).
    4) I wouldn't have thought so. Just as easy to do it yourself and far better if things go wrong or you need to amend your ticket. Good chance the agent will go bust anyway.
    5) Pick an airline and stick with it. Two horse race for mine with your travel plans. QF or VA. If getting there on time or at all is important, you can't afford to be on Tiger or Jetstar. Easier to get to Gold and Platinum with VA and there's nice perks there. But if you were to do lots of international flights, Qantas may be a better option with status.

  •  

    If you're only looking at once a week for 3-4 months max (16 return tickets) unfortunately you'll be too small a fish for anyone to throw any real incentives at you. You're a VIP and worth retaining when you fly multiple times a day, or at least a few times a week but usually those people are real corporate types with corporate accounts that's handled centrally already.

    At 16 return flights you're not even close to getting any real lifetime status that's worthwhile either but can help if you plan with Qantas or Virgin a bit in advance. Only problem is if you don't need luggage or a meal (usually a horrible snack in the case of Virgin) you're paying way too much for extras you don't need and points that's not worth the spend.

    Every airline will likely charge a booking and credit card fee if you chase points. If you build a relationship with a travel agency they may waive the credit card fees and sell you flexi tickets at a better price than if you buy yourself.

    From the sounds of it you may be better off saving the most money. Flying in and out is still going to take a dint off your pay a the end of the week so my only tips are:

    1) plan and buy in advance when tickets are cheap. Often if it does get cheaper it might be $5-$10 but if price goes up it's $10+ so waiting won't necessarily help, especially not in the last 14 days. For that route tiger would be the most competitive (with no checked luggage) at those times. Friday night is going to be a pain to score a bargain.
    2) Use gift cards to save money rather than chase credit points, especially with interest rates being so low and credit repayments still disproportionately high
    3) Come to think of it I think Tiger are doing cheap $1 return fares if your 3-4 months fit within the promo period it ain't gonna get much cheaper than that
    4) Familiarise yourself with Skyscanner

    I used to work in the industry long ago in my younger days whilst studying for a real job but from what I hear times haven't changed too much.

    •  

      Thanks for your reply.
      What if the period extends to 12 months (it is an unconfirmed likelihood for now)?

      •  

        Not really they will be focused on the weekly regularity and yours will likely remain constant, if not decrease over time as you get used to the flying in flying out and extended costs in doing so when you self fund so at the start likely every week flights then it'll slowly move marginally I expect if you extended it out to 12 months.

        Unclesnake makes a good point re jetstar membership as the club fares you can save another I think $5-$10 off? I don't fly budget airlines much so not 100% sure and the credit card they have gives you a free flight with zero fees purchases on their website so if you have the credit limit and are open to jetstar go for it.

        Based on my experience I find Jetstar the worst between them and Tiger but that's just me.

  •  

    Buy 4 weeks out in advance.
    Consider doing fortnightly, otherwise u will get burned out
    Consider working 14 day roster 6 on 1 off 4 on 3 off.
    Get the Jetstar membership

    I did this for years but flights were free but I left Monday 4 am:(

    No airline will give a rats ur flying weekly, ur one of thousands who do

  •  

    Best advice is to pick an airline (VA or QF if reliability is important) and stick with it, so that you accumulate points that can be redeemed for flights when they are expensive to purchase outright.

    Pick a credit card that also earns points with that airline when you book flights.

    Sign up to that airline's mailing list and book as many flights as possible when they are on sale.

  •  

    Jetstar price match to Tiger Air. It is reliable and a piece of cake! Plus, as a bonus, Every Jetstar booking will also get you a $25 off Hotels voucher.

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