This week's frequent flyer wrap-up

By Chris C., October 10 2014
This week's frequent flyer wrap-up

Want to earn three times as many points when flying in first class with Virgin America, which can then be swapped for free treks from Los Angeles to New York, or even for business class flights on home soil with Virgin Australia?

Or, how about double Aquire Points on all Qantas flights through the year’s end, plus a bonus 20,000 Aquire Points for new members?

That’s all in this week’s wrap, along with new privileges for Platinum One travellers at the upper echelon of the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme, including for their partner when not travelling together.

To wind things up, we’ll show how the Virgin Atlantic ‘Little Red’ shutdown will affect Virgin Australia Velocity members, and how Etihad plans to change the ‘loyalty’ game by offering a simple, singular ‘earning and burning’ framework across its new web of Partners.

Qantas boosts Platinum One frequent flyer perks

Platinum One members of Qantas Frequent Flyer can now enjoy a swag of new frequent flyer benefits, including free Platinum status for their partner, bonus points for extensive travel and fee waivers on flight bookings and changes.

The list of goodies features double points through the Qantas Restaurants program, a 75,000-point boost when hitting 5,000 status credits in a membership year and a further 100,000 points if reaching 7,000 status credits in the same period.

Travellers at the Platinum One tier are also exempt from paying the usual booking fees when arranging flights or making changes over the phone instead of the Qantas website, and when switching flights at the airport, any fare difference is also waived if the new journey would have been more expensive.

Read more: Qantas sweetens Platinum One frequent flyer status

Earn double Aquire Points on Qantas flights, plus a bonus of up to 20,000 points

All members of Qantas’ Aquire scheme for businesses can earn double Aquire Points on flights taken with Qantas, Emirates and American Airlines through the year’s end.

Businesses that sign up to Aquire before November 16 can also earn 10,000 Aquire Points straight off the bat, which doubles to 20,000 when earning points through any Aquire partner for the first time.

Selected existing members of the program have also been hand-picked with a targeted offer to earn 10,000 Aquire Points when transacting with an Aquire Partner that they haven’t previously earned points with, although the full 20,000-point deal is limited to new members.

Read more: Earn double Aquire Points on Qantas flights, 20,000 bonus for new members

Also read our handy 101 guide: Qantas Aquire – earning frequent flyer points for your business

Fly with Virgin America, earn up triple miles and bonus ‘qualifying points’

Business travellers heading to the United States can earn their usual haul of Virgin Australia Velocity points when flying domestically with Virgin America – but also have the option of joining Virgin America’s own Elevate program during the current points bonanza.

In the airline’s most generous frequent flyer offer to date, first class travellers reel in triple Elevate miles on all Virgin America flights until December 19, while those in Main Cabin Select can also earn double the usual number of miles.

You’ll also be rewarded with more ‘qualifying points’ – the Elevate version of ‘status credits’ – whether you’re flying in First, Main Cabin Select or even down the back in regular economy.

See how it’s done: Earn triple miles, more status points: Virgin America first class

Virgin Atlantic to axe ‘Little Red’ UK domestic flights

Virgin Atlantic is winding down its UK domestic ‘Little Red’ operation in 2015, bringing an end to earning points and status credits in the Virgin Australia Velocity program when flying between London and each of Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic, said that the airline’s own Flying Club members will soon enjoy “special loyalty benefits” on Little Red services, with Flying Club earning rates to climb and flight redemption costs to nosedive to appease frequent travellers until next year.

Qantas Frequent Flyer members can continue to earn points and status credits within the UK when travelling with British Airways.

Read more: Virgin Atlantic to wind up UK ‘Little Red’ flights in 2015

Etihad Airways Partners to simplify earning and redeeming miles across multiple airlines

After continually shunning established airline alliances such as Star Alliance, Oneworld and SkyTeam, Etihad has seemingly created its own globe-striding alliance network – albeit with Airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, India’s Jet Airways, Darwin Airline and the Gulf carrier as founding members.

"We’re aiming to deliver a consistent experience for frequent flyers when they travel, as well as a consistent framework for earning and using their miles,” said Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan.

This will include standardised mileage and tier benefits across all partners, no blackout periods and priority services.

There’s no word yet of any changes to the Etihad Guest scheme, while strategic partner Virgin Australia has no current plans to join Etihad Airways Partners.

Read more: Etihad Airways Partners – EY's own airline alliance?

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

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