This week in frequent flyer news

By Chris C., October 17 2014
This week in frequent flyer news

Have you always wondered what a Qantas Frequent Flyer point was worth, or how you could take advantage of the Qantas ‘status bonus’ when flying with other airlines such as Emirates, Alaska Airlines and British Airways?

That’s covered in this week’s wrap, along with how the new Avianca LifeMiles award rates will affect your travel plans, and how you could benefit from the new Virgin Australia Velocity/Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer points exchange system.

We’ll also show Qantas Frequent Flyer members new and old how to grab an easy (and free) 10,000 points – enough for a round-trip business upgrade between Sydney and Melbourne – and how to earn points on American Airlines’ new Atlanta flights.

To wind things up, Qantas and Velocity members will be able to earn points at Hilton’s new Canopy brand, while Velocity members can also earn points on the treadmill with Jetts, with bonus points on top as a reward for hitting the gym regularly.

What is a Qantas frequent flyer point worth?

You may have hundreds of thousands of Qantas Frequent Flyer points, or you may have just a handful, but the question remains the same: what’s the actual value of a Qantas Frequent Flyer award point?

Would you be surprised to hear that it's rarely more than 1c, and can be as low as half a cent? It depends entirely on how you 'spend' your points.

We’ve used the retail price of a series of items in the Qantas Store, along with domestic and international award bookings to determine just how much a Qantas Frequent Flyer point is actually worth.

Read: What is a Qantas frequent flyer point worth?

Virgin Australia readies Singapore Airlines frequent flyer points swap

Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines will reveal the ‘exchange rate’ for converting between Velocity points and KrisFlyer miles towards the end of this month, ahead of a November kick-off for the innovative scheme.

Australia is said to hold the highest number of KrisFlyer members outside of Singapore, with Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Neil Thompson telling Australian Business Traveller that “members are often telling us they have points here and points there, and they wish they could put them all together”.

The unique points-conversion deal is the first initiative in Virgin Australia’s campaign to drive Velocity to 7 million members by 2017, winning over an increasing number of Qantas frequent flyers in the process.

Read more: Virgin Australia readies Singapore Airlines frequent flyer points swap

New Avianca LifeMiles award rates: less points for the same seat

While Avianca is increasing the number of points needed for many award flights booked across the global Star Alliance network, Aussie travellers can now cough up fewer points for the same seat.

That includes business class flights to Singapore, Bangkok and London on airlines such as Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines, yet also in first class on Thai's Boeing 747 flights between Sydney and Bangkok.

Use Avianca miles to book business class seats on the Singapore Airlines A380
Use Avianca miles to book business class seats on the Singapore Airlines A380

Jetting all the way to Europe does get a little pricier, but still remains reasonably good value for those who followed Australian Business Traveller’s advice and stocked up on LifeMiles before the business class rates dropped.

Whether you’ve an Avianca expert or are completely new to the idea of buying frequent flyer points to save money on travel, here are the new LifeMiles sweet spots that could save you thousands on your next business trip.

Read: Aussie travellers win under new Avianca LifeMiles award rates

Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold: the unofficial guide

Gold status in the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme is often considered the 'sweet spot' in terms of the perks you get measured against the number of flights needed to pocket that shiny Gold card.

Among the benefits are 75% more points on Qantas, American Airlines and US Airways flights, and also with Jetstar when travelling on a fare that would normally accrue both points and status credits.

If you’re crafty, you can also book codeshare flights through Qantas, AA and US Air to earn that bonus elsewhere, such as with Emirates, Alaska Airlines and British Airways.

Along with the generous points bonus, we’ll show you a few hidden benefits of Qantas Gold that could save you both time and money on your next journey abroad.

Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold: The unofficial guide

Grab 10,000 free Qantas Points with Bankwest

Bankwest is again giving away 10,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points when signing up for a Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account and depositing at least $2,000 per month for the first three months.

There are no sign-up fees – and you can of course withdraw the money as you desire – which means that you can grab those bonus points without being out of pocket by even a cent.

Ten thousand points is enough for a return upgrade to business class when travelling between Sydney and Melbourne on flexible fares – yours at no charge.

Take advantage now: 10,000 free points with Bankwest

Burn calories, earn points on the treadmill at Jetts

Staying in shape when travelling far and wide is no mean feat, but with Virgin Australia‘s newest partner Jetts Fitness awarding Velocity Frequent Flyer points on gym memberships, and bonus points if you exercise regularly, there’s never been a better time to get in shape.

Although you can join with no lock-in contracts, Velocity members enjoy discounted annual memberships, and enterprising high flyers can pick up half a million points when opening their own Jetts franchise.

New members also earn a joining bonus, while existing gym junkies can simply add their Velocity number to their account to start earning points today.

Read more: Earn Virgin Australia frequent flyer points with Jetts Fitness

New to Qantas Frequent Flyer? Get free membership plus 10,000 points

Of course, anybody reading our points wrap on Australian Business Traveller is probably earning Qantas Points on their business travel and day-to-day expenses – but chances are you have at least one friend or family member that isn’t as savvy as yourself, or even a member of a frequent flyer scheme.

This is their chance to make a grand entrance without paying for the privilege, and if they earn at least 10,000 Qantas Points in the first three months of membership, Qantas will also kick in a bonus 10,000 points as a welcome gift.

Those first 10,000 points can be amassed from flights taken with Qantas and its web of partners including Emirates, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines, along with credit cards, Qantas Cash and any other partner in the program – be they in the air or on the ground.

To sign up: Free Qantas Frequent Flyer membership plus 10,000 bonus points

Earn HHonors points at Canopy by Hilton Hotels

With its first properties opening to guests in 2015, the brand new Canopy by Hilton chain will be the latest way for Hilton HHonors members to earn points on their travels.

Through the scheme’s ‘points and miles’ earning option, you’ll pick up both HHonors points and airline points or miles – including with Qantas Frequent Flyer and Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer.

Offering all travellers little niceties such as free Wi-Fi and breakfast, 11 Canopy hotels are already planned across both the US and London with more locations on the way.

Read more: Hilton Hotels launches Canopy by Hilton chain

Earn Qantas Points, status credits to Atlanta

American Airlines will launch direct flights from Los Angeles to Atlanta on March 5 2015, on which Qantas Frequent Flyer members can earn both points and status credits.

With three flights each day between the two cities, Aussie travellers can link these Atlanta flights with their Qantas trek from Australia to Los Angeles for an easy one-stop connection.

Currently, Qantas passengers can only reach Atlanta from LA by travelling via Dallas/Fort Worth with AA, or via Phoenix with US Airways.

Read more: American Airlines to launch Los Angeles-Atlanta flights

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

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