This week's wrap for frequent flyers

By Chris C., October 23 2015
This week's wrap for frequent flyers

The Australian frequent flyer landscape continues to broaden with this week marking a new partnership between Etihad and Coles/Flybuys, yet Qantas’ existing tie-up with Coles’ rival Woolworths is under threat as the retailer moves to rein in its costs.

Also in this week’s wrap, Qantas overhauls how you’ll earn both points and status credits on its range of partner airlines including American Airlines, British Airways and Cathay Pacific, with some travellers better-off under the changes.

Rounding things out for another week, we take an in-depth look at the United MileagePlus and Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty schemes and put both Qantas and Virgin Australia under the microscope when it comes to earning points at the petrol pump.

Qantas continues rejig of how you'll earn points

Qantas is set to change how many of its frequent flyer points you'll earn when travelling on other airlines such as Emirates and Oneworld members including Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines.

As of December 1st 2015, Qantas will switch to a new formula to bring the Qantas Frequent Flyer partner airlines scheme in line with Qantas' own program, which the airline revised in mid-2014, which defines geographical 'zone' in which your flight takes place rather than the outright distance.

Other changes include revising how each type of airline ticket lines up against Qantas' own points-earning categories and increasing the number of economy 'earn categories' from two to three.

See what’s changing: Qantas continues Frequent Flyer rejig

Etihad, Coles Flybuys unveil points partnership

A new alliance between Etihad Airways and the Coles Flybuys scheme will see shoppers earning not just frequent flyer points with the airline's Etihad Guest program, but also status credits for fast-tracking towards Silver, Gold and Platinum membership and perks.

The deal covers Coles Supermarkets, Coles Online, Coles Express, Liquorland and First Choice Liquor stores.

Here's what you need to know.

Read: Etihad, Coles Flybuys unveil points partnership

Your guide to United MileagePlus

With generous priority security and boarding privileges for its frequent flyers and even free upgrades to first class for entry-level Premier Silver members, United MileagePlus is a rather complex frequent flyer program, but one that’s worth getting your head around.

Through United’s Star Alliance membership, elite travellers can enjoy perks not only with United but also with other alliance members such as Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Air Canada, so here’s how to make the most of MileagePlus.

Read more: Your guide to United MileagePlus

Qantas vs Virgin Australia: earning points on petrol

Want to earn frequent flyer points every time you fill the tank?

Qantas and Virgin Australia both offer two points per litre at selected Caltex and BP service stations, which provides an easy way to top up your points balance and edge your way closer to that free ticket or upgrade.

But which 'points at the pump' partnership represents the better value?

Continue reading: Qantas vs Virgin Australia: earning points on petrol

Hyatt Gold Passport: the unofficial guide

Hyatt Gold Passport (HGP) delivers what you’d expect of any decent hotel loyalty program – being free space-available room upgrades and Internet access – but goes beyond the ‘usual’ to also provide perks like confirmed suite upgrades and even free airport lounge access.

Members begin their journey by earning HGP Points at an impressive range of Hyatt brands including Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt and Andaz before redeeming them for free hotel stays, room upgrades and more at over 600 Hyatt hotels in 51 countries, or can even convert them into frequent flyer points.

Here’s what you need to know about Hyatt Gold Passport, and how to get the best value from the points you’ll earn in the program.

Read more: Hyatt Gold Passport: the unofficial guide

Woolworths rethinks Qantas points partnership

Woolworths is reconsidering its long-standing partnership with Qantas under which shoppers receive frequent flyer points and fuel discounts.

The troubled retailer is looking to revamp its own Everyday Rewards loyalty scheme, which has been pivotal in driving mainstream engagement for Qantas Frequent Flyer through points earning at Woolworths supermarkets, Big W discount department stores and BWS bottle shops.

Qantas is keen to continue what it sees as a valuable relationship, with a spokesperson for the airline telling Australian Business Traveller that "we’ve been in discussions with them on the details of Woolworths loyalty program to ensure it continues to meet the needs of our Frequent Flyers."

Read: Woolworths rethinks Qantas points partnership

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

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