As of this week Apple customers can now earn either Qantas or Virgin Australia frequent flyer points when buying iPhones, iPads, MacBook laptops and iMac desktops, along with iTunes content such as movies, music and apps.
So why not pocket some frequent flyer points with your next Apple purchase?
All you need to do is be a member of either airline's frequent flyer scheme and then go shopping via each airline’s respective online portal – that’s the new Qantas Online Mall and Virgin Australia's Velocity eStore.
(Qantas nominally charges $90 to join the Qantas Frequent Flyer program but you can use this promo code to sign up for free.)
Earn frequent flyer points on Apple products
You’ll earn either two Qantas points or two Velocity points for every dollar spent on the latest gadgets at the online Apple Store.
This includes iPhones, iPads, iPods, MacBooks and iMacs, along with other Apple products, software and accessories.
Of course, this only applies if you do your shopping online rather than at an actual Apple Store.
Earn frequent flyer points on iTunes
Apps, music, movies and TV shows bought through iTunes also earn you points.
However, Qantas has the edge here: you'll pick up three Qantas points per dollar compared to two of Virgin Australia's Velocity points.
Which to choose: Qantas or Velocity?
If you do most of your flying with Qantas or Virgin Australia, the choice is pretty straight-forward.
But if you've got a foot in both camps, consider how you'd like to spend those points – such as on upgrades to business class with Qantas or Virgin Australia.
As you'll earn 50% more points on the same iTunes spend through the Qantas Mall than through Velocity's eStore, Qantas is the winner.
How to earn Qantas and Velocity points buying Apple gear
So how do you set about collecting those frequent flyer points?
Then search the list of partners for either Apple Store (for buying gadgets) or iTunes (for buying digital content), and click the 'Shop Now' link through to begin your purchase.
Here's what you're looking for on Qantas' Online Mall...
... and this is how it'll appear at Virgin Australia's eStore.
You have to go via either of those websites in order to get frequent flyer points with your purchase.
That's because this process drops a bit of software known as a ‘cookie’ on your computer, and this cookie allows the airline to see how much you’ve spent and therefore how many points to award.
After clicking that Shop Now link it’s best to wait until the first page of the iTunes or Apple Store has completely loaded before searching for content or clicking any further links, to ensure that the cookie is saved correctly.
You’ll also need to follow those links every time you shop – and if you close and re-open the browser or leave the website momentarily to search for your product on Google, you should go back and click the link again to earn those points.
How to earn even more points through your credit or debit card
By paying with the right credit card or debit card you can ‘double dip’ on points, earning them both through the online store and from your credit card spend.
For example, if you spent $20 on iTunes via the Qantas Mall and paid with a credit card that earns 1.5 points per dollar, you’d get 60 points for shopping online and 30 points from your credit card, for a grand total of 90 points.
The same applies if you’re now using either Qantas Cash or Virgin Australia Global Wallet – the points you’ll earn through the Qantas Mall or Velocity eStore are in addition to what you’d normally get from your debit card.
Depending on how much you're spending, the Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account's attached Debit MasterCard could also prove a real winner.
Dishing out five Qantas Points on every transaction, the card would award you five points on a single $1.19 song on iTunes: more than what you'd get on a top-tier American Express card.
That's great if you're only buying one track, but if you're buying a few songs – or even a whole album – you're best to use a different card to earn even more points.
Buyer (and downloader), beware...
Note that you can only earn frequent flyer points on iTunes purchases when using a desktop computer to buy your music and movies – you can't earn points if you go shopping directly from your iPhone or iPad.
As a workaround, we’d suggest enabling automatic downloads for music, apps and eBooks on your iDevice, so when you’ve bought something on your computer, it’ll automatically appear on your phone or iPad.
(In iOS 7, you’ll find this option in Settings > iTunes and App Store > Automatic Downloads, and you may wish to limit these to Wi-Fi only if your mobile data is limited.)
Earlier this year, Singapore Airlines also launched a KrisFlyer Spree mall with a similar, yet far more extensive, list of international partners – including the Australian versions of iTunes and the Apple Store.
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