By Chris C., September 19 2014

Want to earn up to 50% more points on Qatar Airways flights from Melbourne and Perth to Doha and beyond while also expediting your climb to Oneworld Ruby, Sapphire or even Emerald status?

Or, fancy earning more Qantas frequent flyer points on SriLankan Airlines flights to Colombo, or more points through the Starwood Preferred Guest and Club Carlton loyalty schemes?

That’s all in this week’s wrap, along with how to book a full-motion Airbus A380 or A330 flight simulator session for a mere 9,900 points, and how to continue using Star Alliance points and miles for first class flights from Australia to Thailand.

To wind things up, we’ll show you how to save up to 44% on your hotel stays with IHG by buying and then redeeming Rewards Club points while they’re available for purchase at half the price, and go under the hood of Australia's worst credit card for earning Qantas and Velocity frequent flyer points.

Earn more Qantas points on SriLankan Airlines flights through new codeshares

Whether travelling to Sri Lanka on business or for the cricket, you’ll be able to earn even more points on SriLankan Airlines flights from next month as the newest member of Oneworld strengthens its partnership with Qantas and kicks off reciprocal codesharing.

Qantas will place its QF codeshare on SriLankan’s flights between Singapore and Colombo, allowing travellers to earn frequent flyer points at the more generous Qantas rates and to earn status bonuses when flying with SriLankan on a QF flight number.

Better yet, codeshare travel with SriLankan Airlines counts towards the ‘Qantas marketed’ qualification requirements when reaching or retaining Platinum One status and allows Qantas Club members to use the Qantas Singapore Lounge ahead of SriLankan flights booked on a QF flight number.

Read more: Qantas, SriLankan Airlines launch joint codeshare partnership

Thai Airways offers flight simulator sessions for frequent flyer points

Just 9,900 Royal Orchid Plus miles can get you an hour at the controls of a Thai Airways Airbus A380 or A330 full-motion flight simulator, which is incredible value given that you’d earn more than enough points on a single return trip from Sydney to Bangkok in business class.

Ride in the Thai Airways simulator on your second visit to Bangkok!
Ride in the Thai Airways simulator on your second visit to Bangkok!

It’s also a steal compared to the two-hour A380 simulator sessions offered by Qantas in October last year, which set frequent flyers back a whopping 275,000 frequent flyer points – only 5,000 points shy of a round-the-world business class ticket.

From the captain’s seat of a Thai Airways simulator, honorary airline pilots can practice take-offs and landings at some of the world’s best-known airports including Sydney, Bangkok, Hong Kong and London Heathrow, along with the basics of flying.

Read more: Thai Airways offers flight simulator sessions for frequent flyer points

Buy IHG Rewards Club points, save up to 44% on hotel stays

Thrifty business travellers have a short window of time to slash their hotel costs by as much as 44% with IHG when buying Rewards Club points to redeem for hotel nights, rather than booking a more traditional room rate.

Rewards Club members can buy as many as 120,000 points in a calendar year, which can then be swapped for stays at 4,700 hotels around the world – including the InterContinental Sydney, IC Melbourne The Rialto and the IC London Park Lane hotel.

All up, you’ll end up paying between $100 and $200 less each night.

Here’s how it’s done: Buying IHG Rewards Club points to save on business travel

Qatar Airways: 25-50% more points and fast-track to Oneworld Sapphire, Emerald

When flying with Qatar Airways from Australia to Doha and beyond to over 130 destinations, Australian Privilege Club members can earn 50% more ‘Qpoints’ and ‘Qmiles’ in business and first class, and 25% more in economy.

That’s not only a nice boost to your points balance, but as Qpoints are the Privilege Club version of ‘status credits’, you’ll also be on your way to Oneworld Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald in no time – matching up to Qantas Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Privilege Club is free to join, and your Oneworld gemstone-encrusted card also brings perks with Qantas such as priority check-in, and for Sapphire and Emerald members, lounge access and priority boarding.

Register for the promo: Earn 25-50% more points on Qatar’s Melbourne, Perth flights

Pocket 3,000 bonus Club Carlson hotel points on mobile app bookings

Club Carlson members staying at hotels such as Radisson, Radisson Blu and Quorvus Collection can earn a bonus 3,000 Gold Points per stay when using the Club Carlson mobile app for iPhone and Android to make their booking.

There’s no limit to the number of times that bonus points can be earned, so if you’re planning to to book multiple stays through mid-November, remember to use the app every time.

Read more: Earn 3,000 bonus Club Carlson hotel points on mobile app bookings

Thai Airways first class award seats on Sydney flights here to stay

Savvy flyers who buy miles through either United MileagePlus or Avianca LifeMiles to redeem for heavily discounted travel won’t lose the most attractive redemption from Australian soil after all, with Thai Airways now to retain its Boeing 747s with first class suites on its Sydney flights.

Use your United or Avianca miles to book first class with Thai Airways
Use your United or Avianca miles to book first class with Thai Airways

Previously, the airline had flagged the removal of the Boeing 747s between Sydney and Bangkok to be replaced by smaller Boeing 777s, which come without first class.

Onwards to London, members of MileagePlus, LifeMiles and also of Thai’s own Royal Orchid Plus scheme can also redeem their points for Thai’s newer first class suites on London flights from October 26 as the route faces an upgrade from the current – and older – Airbus A340.

Read more: Thai Airways to reinstate first class, Boeing 747s on Sydney flights

Also read: Thai Airways upgrades London flights to Boeing 747, new first class

Earn double, triple Starpoints with Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)

SPG members can earn double points at Starwood hotels such as Sheraton, W Hotels and Westin through December 15 2014 when registering for the new ‘More for You’ promotion.

And, if your visit includes a Friday or a Saturday night (or a Thursday or Friday night in the Middle East), you’ll earn triple Starpoints on the entire stay.

While you can earn the extra Starpoints until mid-December, registration closes on October 31 – so get in now before it slips your mind.

Be quick: SPG serves up double, triple Starpoints

Commonwealth Bank’s Gold Awards MasterCard: sharing the title as Australia’s worst credit card for earning frequent flyer points

Credit card users looking to earn points on their everyday spends should look past the CBA Gold Awards cards, as reviewed this week by Australian Business Traveller.

The Gold Awards MasterCard brings in a paltry 0.4 Qantas or Velocity frequent flyer points per dollar spent, placing it squarely in last place in the frequent flyer ranks – along with the 'vanilla' Awards MasterCard, which has the same earn rate.

On the Gold Awards AMEX, you’ll earn only 0.8 Qantas or Velocity points on every dollar spend, which is less than what you’d earn on the free American Express Qantas Discovery and Velocity Escape cards.

See how it compares to the other banks: CBA Gold Awards reviewed

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

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