This week's wrap for Aussie frequent flyers

By Chris Chamberlin, November 14 2014
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Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

Want to upgrade from economy to business class on Virgin Australia’s cheaper fares, or to earn both Skywards miles and SPG Starpoints on your next trek with Emirates?

Or, how about a whopping 64,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points for a single return trip from Sydney to Singapore, or up to 10 Qantas Points per dollar spent when shopping online?

That’s all in this week’s wrap, along with the new international lounge arrangements in Sydney during Air New Zealand’s Koru Club refurbishment, and the change of hands to Accor for the current Hilton on the Park hotel in Melbourne.

To wind things up, we’ll show you how to convert your Aquire Points into regular Qantas Points, how to continue earning Qantas and Singapore Airlines points and miles with Westpac after the axing of Earth Black and the KrisFlyer Platinum cards, and we review Jetstar’s Platinum MasterCard.

Virgin Australia trials in-lounge business class upgrades on Saver fares

Virgin Australia will soon allow travellers to swap their frequent flyer points for an upgrade to business class when booked on Saver-level economy fares, with a trial kicking off later this month.

Passengers at the airline’s lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and the Gold Coast from November 24 through to Friday December 19 are all in with a shot – which includes all Velocity Gold and Platinum flyers, paid-up lounge members, and any guests of the above.

However, there are a few hoops to jump through before 1A lands on your boarding pass… here’s what you need to know.

Read: Virgin Australia trials in-lounge business class upgrades on Saver fares

Emirates Skywards, Starwood SPG partner for points and perks

Elite members of Emirates Skywards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) will be able to earn points as they sleep both on the ground or at 35,000 feet, and can soon enjoy reciprocal status benefits when jetting abroad with Emirates and staying with Starwood.

Your World Rewards kicks off on November 19, at which time travellers can link their Skywards and SPG accounts to double-up on points and perks such as priority check-in and boarding, plus free Internet at Starwood hotels.

Read more: Emirates Skywards, Starwood SPG partner for points and perks

How to quadruple-dip on Qantas frequent flyer points with gift vouchers

Want to earn up to 64,480 Qantas Points on just one return business class trip from Sydney to Singapore?

It’s done by stacking one deal on top of another – including a 10 points per dollar promotion on Qantas flight gift vouchers, double Aquire Points that can be converted to Qantas Points on a 1:1 basis, bonus points from certain credit cards and then what you’d normally earn in the air.

Earn points in your sleep on Qantas' A330 flights to the Lion City...
Earn points in your sleep on Qantas' A330 flights to the Lion City...

All up, that’s more than enough points to get you to Singapore again on a one-way flight in business class, or a round-trip upgrade to business class from a paid flexible economy or premium economy ticket on the same route.

See how it’s done: Quadruple-dipping on Qantas Points with gift vouchers

Air New Zealand Sydney lounge closes for refurbishments

Virgin Australia Velocity Gold and Platinum members, Star Alliance Gold flyers and international business and first class passengers will have new homes at Sydney Airport for the next six months as Air New Zealand gives its lounge a complete overhaul.

There’ll be a temporary space set up to accommodate most jetsetters, although passengers bound for Los Angeles on VA1 will have access to Sydney’s new Etihad lounge, complete with a formal dining room for a pre-flight bite.

Here’s what you need to know: Where to unwind before your next flight from Sydney

Earn double Qantas, Virgin Australia frequent flyer points when shopping online

Rather than heading straight to your favourite retailer’s website, start your expedition at either the Qantas Mall or the Virgin Australia eStore – where you can select from a range of retailers before clicking through to earn a haul of bonus points.

You’ll find big name stores such as David Jones, eBay, Dick Smith, StrawberryNET and Macy’s between the two airlines, which are each serving up between four and a staggering ten Qantas or Velocity points per dollar spent.

But as good as one offer may seem, some stores are partners with both Qantas and Virgin, and award a different number of points in each frequent flyer scheme.

Here’s how to make the most of it: Shop online, earn double frequent flyer points

Hilton on the Park hotel to become a Pullman

Australia’s first-ever Hilton – the Hilton on the Park hotel in Melbourne – will leave the brand to become the Pullman Melbourne on the Park in January, with HHonors members losing their perks along with the change.

The sun sets on the Hilton on the Park hotel...
The sun sets on the Hilton on the Park hotel...

It also marks the end of earning HHonors points across from the MCG and Rod Laver Arena, yet it’s a win for Le Club Accorhotels members.

They’ll pick up niceties such as free room upgrades, welcome drinks and access to the hotel lounge, and can earn and redeem Le Club points at the hotel from the New Year.

Read more: Hilton on the Park to become Pullman Melbourne on the Park hotel

Westpac scraps Earth Black, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Platinum credit card

Earning KrisFlyer miles just became more expensive and complex with Westpac, with the bank axing its direct-earning Singapore Airlines credit card in favour of its Altitude scheme, whereby points have to be manually converted into airline miles.

Existing customers can continue to use their credit cards, although new customers looking to get in on the deal will now pay $395 instead of $250 to earn the same number of points on everyday transactions.

Qantas Points can now only be earned via Altitude Black with Qantas Rewards, rather than the dedicated Earth Black card, although the fee structure and earning rates remain the same.

Read more: Westpac scraps Qantas Earth Black, Singapore Airlines credit cards

How to convert Aquire points into Qantas frequent flyer points

If you’ve taken advantage of the latest Aquire promotion offering businesses up to 20,000 bonus Aquire Points, don’t twiddle your thumbs: they can become valuable Qantas frequent flyer points today.

Whether you’re looking to book a free trip for yourself, upgrade your employees from economy to business class or reward your best client, here’s how to convert your Aquire Points into Qantas Points.

Our how-to guide: Converting Aquire Points into Qantas Points

Reviewed: the Jetstar Platinum MasterCard

Earning one Qantas frequent flyer point per dollar spent, the Jetstar Platinum MasterCard is great to use where American Express or Diners Club aren’t accepted, or even as your everyday card if you’re only after one piece of plastic.

Cardholders are also exempt from the usual ‘booking and service fees’ when paying for Jetstar flights on the credit card, and also have the option of earning Jetstar Dollars in lieu of Qantas Points at the rate of two cents for every dollar spent.

As an extra perk, the ‘overseas’ travel insurance also applies on trips from mainland Australia to Tasmania – which may save you the cost of interstate insurance coverage if that’s where you’re next headed.

Read our review: Jetstar’s Platinum MasterCard

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Disclaimer

Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!


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