This week's frequent flyer news round-up

By Chris C., May 8 2015
This week's frequent flyer news round-up

Fancy flying in business class, or even first class, with the likes of Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways and Lufthansa? Through two AAdvantage and LifeMiles promotions you could soon find yourself at the pointy end, but having paid only around half of the usual asking price – and it’s all above board.

Also in this week’s wrap, we take a look at frequent flyer-earning credit cards: whether it’s worth paying a credit card surcharge just to earn points, how to grab a 15% bonus on points you’ve already earned and how to make the most of ANZ’s Rewards line of credit cards.

Finally, we take a look at upcoming changes to Velocity Frequent Flyer that affect how points are earned on Virgin Australia’s US partner Delta, and how to score yourself a free Star Alliance Gold card for lounge access with Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Air Canada, Air New Zealand and more.

Virgin Australia: 15% bonus on credit card frequent flyer points

Virgin Australia is dishing out 15% more Velocity Frequent Flyer points on credit card transfers this month, with the number of points needed for award flights in business class, premium economy and economy also dropping by 15% through June 30.

The deal gets even sweeter if you're sitting on a solid pile of credit card points – transfer them to Velocity now and you'll earn that 15% bonus on the lot, taking you to your next free flight or business class upgrade even sooner.

But not every bank is on board: this time around it's available with American Express Membership Rewards, ANZ, Bank of Queensland, CardServices, CItibank, Commonwealth Bank, Diners Club and Suncorp.

Read more: 15% bonus points on credit card points transfers

Is it worth paying credit card surcharges to earn frequent flyer points?

Credit cards are a great way to notch up frequent flyer points on the money you spend every day, but is it worth paying a credit card surcharge just to earn those points, or are you better off reverting to ‘savings or cheque’, or even cash, when it costs more to pay with plastic?

In short, that depends on how high the surcharge and how many points you’ll get in return – here’s where it makes sense, and where it doesn’t.

Continue reading: Credit card surcharges: worth paying for points?

New ‘buying miles’ promotion with AA: 15-35% off

A new AAdvantage 'buy miles' promotion is underway, this time offering a discount of up to 35% on American Airlines mileage purchases through May 12 2015 for use on Qantas, Cathay Pacific and other Oneworld airlines.

If your goal is a simple trip from Sydney to Hong Kong, Shanghai or Singapore and back in business class, you could buy the 70,000 miles you'd need for about A$2,007 – around half the normal cost of buying that ticket.

Fully-flat business class on Cathay Pacific's A330 flights to Hong Kong
Fully-flat business class on Cathay Pacific's A330 flights to Hong Kong

Our article explains the deal in more detail and all about the actual process of buying and using American Airlines AAdvantage miles to book flights with Qantas and co.

Read more: Low-cost Qantas business class buying AA miles

Delta shakes up Virgin Australia Velocity earning rates

Virgin Australia Velocity members travelling with Delta Air Lines will soon earn more Velocity frequent flyer points on most business class, first class and Delta One fares, but could wind up with fewer points on the less-expensive tickets.

From June 1 2015 passengers up the front will collect two Velocity Points per mile or 1.75 Velocity Points on a slightly more affordable fare – up from 1.5 Velocity Points.

But if you’re flying on the most discounted business class, first class or Delta One fares, that’s reduced to 1.25 Velocity Points per mile, while some economy fares drop from 1.25 points to 1 point or from 1 point to 0.5 points.

Here’s what you need to know: New Velocity earn rates with Delta

Avianca LifeMiles: 120% bonus on mileage purchases

A new Avianca 'buy miles' promotion is paying out 120% more LifeMiles until May 31, which can be redeemed for travel on Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and across the Star Alliance.

Through the deal LifeMiles members can grab up to 149,600 miles at a cost of A$2,849, which is more than enough for two return business class trips to London when using the 'flexible payment' option detailed in the article.

Or if you’d prefer to use the miles outright, look towards Thai Airways – a first class trip from Sydney to Bangkok is only 120,000 LifeMiles + tax, return!

Here’s what you need to know: Buying Avianca LifeMiles

Getting the most from your ANZ Rewards credit cards

ANZ partners with a variety of frequent flyer programs to let its cardholders earn points on every credit card transaction they make, from Virgin Australia Velocity to neighbouring Air New Zealand Airpoints right through to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and even Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.

And if you’d prefer to rack up Qantas Frequent Flyer points, ANZ also has a dedicated range of Qantas Frequent Flyer credit cards just for this purpose.

We take a look at how ANZ Rewards works, how you can pocket those all-important frequent flyer points, and also a quirk that allows you to earn both points and status credits when travelling on a ticket booked using points. Here’s what you need to know.

Read more: ANZ Rewards 101

Get a free Star Alliance Gold frequent flyer status match

A Star Alliance Gold frequent flyer card unlocks plenty of business class privileges and perks, even if you're flying in economy.

From priority check-in at the airport and a fast track through airport security to a larger free allowance for checked luggage and of course access to some of the best airport lounges, along with that ever-present chance for an upgrade – Gold status is the way to go.

If you’re already a high flyer, take advantage of a status match promotion from Turkish Airlines and enjoy the perks you’re accustomed to right across the Star Alliance.

Here’s what you need to know: Free Star Alliance Gold status match

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

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