Members of United MileagePlus and Avianca LifeMiles are about to lose one of the best redemption options from Australia when Thai Airways axes first class on its Sydney flights from next month.
Also in this week’s wrap, we’ll show you how unwind in Virgin Australia’s domestic lounges by matching across your British Airways Executive Club status to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
And to wind things up, Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer members can soon earn points on South African Airways flights from Perth to Johannesburg, while Qantas frequent flyers will collect both points and status credits on China Airlines’ direct flights to Taiwan.
Thai Airways abandons first class to Australia: fewer Star Alliance award options
Savvy flyers who buy miles through either United MileagePlus or Avianca LifeMiles to redeem for heavily discounted travel will lose the most attractive redemption from Australian soil – Thai Airways’ new first class suites.
They’re currently found on the airline’s Boeing 747 flights between Sydney and Bangkok, but from late October, both flights will switch to the Boeing 777 – which comes without first class.
Singapore Airlines’ A380 Suites are off-limits to both MileagePlus and LifeMiles members between Australia and Singapore, but members in both programs are set to gain a new first class redemption on Air China’s Boeing 777-300ERs between Sydney and Beijing.
Virgin Australia to codeshare on South African Airways flights
Members of Velocity can soon earn points on direct flights between Perth and Johannesburg as Virgin Australia looks to codeshare with South African Airways.
Travellers can already earn Velocity points by flying with Singapore Airlines from Perth to Johannesburg via Singapore, although the new partnership skips the stopover for a shorter overall journey.
Earn an easy 50,000 Qantas Points through Citibank Citigold
Citibank’s Citigold customers can earn 50,000 Qantas frequent flyer points by applying for the bank’s Qantas Signature Visa credit card.
With the annual fee waived (normally $395), you’ll pay just $49 each year for membership in the Citibank Qantas Rewards Program to earn Qantas Points on your everyday spend.
Also thrown into the mix is free Priority Pass Standard membership, which allows for two free visits each year to over 700 Priority Pass airport lounges – including the new Plaza Premium lounge at Macau Airport.
Find out more and apply: Pocket 50,000 Qantas frequent flyer points with Citibank
Get Virgin Australia lounge access with your BA frequent flyer card
Members can climb the frequent flyer ladder on their Oneworld travels via British Airways’ Executive Club, which can then be used to open the doors to Virgin Australia’s domestic lounges.
It’s done by catching a Virgin Atlantic Little Red domestic flight from London Heathrow to Edinburgh, Manchester or Aberdeen, and then matching your BA status across to Virgin Atlantic.
As Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia are both frequent flyer partners, Flying Club Gold – what you’ll get as an Executive Club Gold member – gets you that lounge access when flying with Virgin Australia.
Here’s how it’s done: Virgin Australia lounge access via BA Executive Club
Qantas launches codeshare partnership with China Airlines
Qantas will partner with China Airlines for direct flights from Sydney and Brisbane to Taipei under a new codeshare agreement with the Taiwanese airline.
Subject to approval, members of Qantas Frequent Flyer can earn Qantas Points and status credits on China Airlines flights between Australia and Taipei from October 15, 2014.
Qantas continues to fly to Hong Kong, with onward connections to Taipei available on Oneworld partners Cathay Pacific and Dragonair.
Virgin Australia sells 35% of Velocity Frequent Flyer
Virgin Australia has sold 35% of its Velocity Frequent Flyer scheme in an attempt to turbocharge the scheme and double its membership from 4.5 million to 7.5 million in the next three years.
Velocity Frequent Flyer will remain part of the Virgin Australia Group but gain its own Velocity Frequent Flyer Board, with the parent airline maintaining a majority stake and majority representation on the Board.
On the other side of the fence, Qantas has opted to hang onto its lucrative frequent flyer scheme as it attempts to ride out its current financial losses, which were revealed on Thursday to be a record $2.83 billion dollars.
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