This week's top frequent flyer news

By Chris C., November 20 2015
This week's top frequent flyer news

Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer members have reason to celebrate this week with a new way to use their points for upgrades to premium economy and business class, and with a brand new lounge in Perth opening its doors on Sunday November 22.

On the other hand, American Airlines AAdvantage cardholders will be less impressed with more miles needed to fly almost anywhere from Australia and twice the travel required to unlock some of the same benefits enjoyed by Executive Platinum members today.

For Qantas frequent flyers it’s more of a mixed bag – the Roo’s dedicated lounge in Bangkok will now sit empty with travellers instead being moved to third-party facility, although Christmas has come early on the credit card front with 25% more points from HSBC and generous sign-up deals from other issuers.

Virgin Australia unlocks 'waitlisting' for business class upgrades

Virgin Australia’s Velocity members can now register their interest in using Velocity frequent flyer points to secure a premium economy or business class upgrade where one isn’t already available on their chosen flight.

Known as ‘waitlisting’ in industry terms, it allows members to have their upgrade automatically confirmed closer to departure (where commercial capacity allows), rather than the previous process which required guests to constantly re-check their booking to see if upgrades became available.

We show how to request your upgrade, how early you’ll find out and who gets ‘first dibs’ when upgrades become available.

Read: Virgin unlocks ‘waitlisting’ for business class upgrades

American overhauls AAdvantage program

American Airlines will re-engineer its AAdvantage frequent flyer program from next year to provide greater appeal to high-spending first class and business class passengers, with a bigger focus on dollars spent than distance flown.

The number of miles needed to book a flight with American and its Oneworld partners including Qantas, British Airways and Cathay Pacific will also change, with the majority of routes requiring more miles than today.

Here’s what’s changing and what it means for you, the traveller.

Read more: AA overhauls AAdvantage frequent flyer program

November's top five Qantas credit card sign-up deals

Practically every bank in Australia issues credit cards that can earn Qantas frequent flyer points, but a choice bunch also dish out hefty sums of bonus points for new customers as an incentive to sign on the dotted line – or these days, enter their PIN.

We've rounded up the top five sign-up deals this November, and between them, there's 355,000 Qantas Points on the table, with up to 100,000 points gained from a single application.

While it's generally unwise to apply for each and every credit card that takes your fancy, if your wallet needs a spruce-up, it pays to consider a card with both a solid welcome bonus and a great everyday earning rate for frequent flyer points.

Read: November's top five Qantas credit card sign-up deals

Preview: Virgin Australia's new Perth Airport lounge

Virgin Australia's bespoke Perth Airport terminal will open its doors to travellers on Sunday November 22nd, and the centrepiece for Gold and Platinum frequent flyers will be the slick new lounge.

With room for some 400 passengers it's twice the size of the previous T3 lounge, and like the rest of the airline's new T1 Domestic Pier home boasts plenty of natural light.

Virgin's iconic Espresso and Wine bar takes pride of place in the sprawling space… oh, and there’s a new The Club lounge too…

Preview: Virgin Australia's new Perth Airport business class lounge

Also read: Perks of 'The Club', Virgin Australia's secret VIP tier

HSBC offers 25% more credit card Qantas Points

HSBC Qantas Platinum Visa credit card customers can net an easy 25% boost to the Qantas frequent flyer points they earn throughout November and December, simply by using their HSBC credit card.

With an everyday earning rate of one Qantas Point per dollar spent, that takes your earn to a more-impressive 1.25 points – comparable to some American Express cards – or to 0.625 points per dollar after exceeding the card’s $2,500/month tiering threshold.

Up to 10,000 bonus Qantas Points can be earned as part of the promotion with all bonus points applied to your credit card account by January 31 2016.

Qantas closes Bangkok business class lounge

Qantas has permanently closed the doors to its longstanding international business class lounge in Bangkok with Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers relocated to the Louis’ Tavern CIP Lounge in Concourse G.

In an email sent to frequent flyers, Qantas spruiks that the new lounge offers “many of the same amenities seen in Qantas-operated lounges” such as shower rooms, wireless Internet access and complimentary food and alcoholic beverages.

The email also shares that "a number of Qantas team members will be available in the CIP Lounge to help throughout the transition."

Read more: Qantas closes Bangkok business class lounge

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

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