It's not hard for frequent flyers to take their points for granted.
A bunch of international business trips in business or even first class, savvy swiping of Platinum credit cards to earn several points for every dollar you spend at home and abroad, plus taking advantage of special credit card and insurance promotions to pour even more points in your pocket.
But reading the stories of the winners of Qantas' million points giveaway, to celebrate the 10 millionth member of the airline's loyalty program, reminds us of what those frequent flyer points can really represent – and, indeed, the wonderful difference which air travel can make in people's lives.
Qantas staff ploughed through a veritable mountain of entries to choose ten people who each shared how winning one million Qantas Points would change their life or the life of someone they know.
Here are the winners' stories.
Dan, from NSW
My 24 year old daughter Victoria is disabled. She suffers from Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP). Vikki is likely to be in a wheelchair by the age of 30. But this isn't a sob story. Vikki is passionate about travelling and working with disadvantaged kids.
She has visited many places in the past 3 years e.g. as a support worker for special needs children in Queenstown, an Indigenous mentor for 'at risk' children in Australia, taught English to a tribe on the Thai/Burmese border and to disabled children in Ubud plus worked in an orphanage in Chang Mai.
Vikki's travel and helping all these wonderful children will inevitably stop if/when she is confined to a wheelchair. A million Qantas Frequent Flyer points means she can travel extensively before this happens and positively affect many young lives.
Jo from SA
Our 9 year old daughter Aimee is about to undergo her 11th heart surgery in Melbourne in mid sept. The surgeons have told us this is going to be her biggest surgery with the most risk.
If we won 1 million Qantas frequent flyer points it would mean that we could stay in some accommodation that was more private and not surrounded by the raw emotions of other families going through surgery too.
It would also allow us to have a family holiday for our two beautiful girls to look forward to and hope for when the surgery is behind us. Aimee's biggest dream has always been to see the Eiffel Tower. The biggest lesson Aimee has taught us is that we need to live life now.
Debbie from Queensland
My husband and I have worked hard all our lives and had planned an around the world holiday this or next year as our sliding into early retirement plan. However we have been given custody of our three little grandchildren so any plans have been put aside.
The world is a magical place and I know it would change all our lives if we could travel and explore it with our grandchildren. Something we will never be able to do on our own. We are teaching our grandchildren that anything is possible and that they have to work hard, be respectful and reach for the skies in everything they do.
I believe traveling profoundly changes peoples lives forever. The opportunity to see history, wonders of the world and hear and learn different languages will open so many horizons for the future, this would be a major life changing experience particularly for the children.
Faith from NT
If I won 1 million Qantas Points I'd fly my elderly mother (she's 71) over to Germany for her sister's (my aunt's) 70th birthday in Feb 2015 in Qantas Business Class. Mum has never been overseas before and I'd love for her to be able to go to this special family gathering, and also for her to see Germany where her great-grandfather came from.
She really wants to go, and was giggling with excitement when she first mentioned the prospect of going to me, but now she feels she doesn't want to be a burden on anyone paying for her or having to go with her, and she keeps putting me off whenever I mention it. And one of her excuses is that she can't sit for a long-haul flight, thus Business Class!
She doesn't understand that it would be such a joy for me to help her get over there just once in her life! And if I won the points, and thus the flights, then I think she'd be happy to accept!
Click here to read more stories from the winners of one million Qantas Points.
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