This week's wrap for frequent flyers

By Chris C., December 4 2015
This week's wrap for frequent flyers

Summer delivers some sizzling deals for Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyers with hefty sums of bonus points on the table when applying for a new credit card, meanwhile Qantas travellers can collect five points per dollar spent on gift vouchers, whether for themselves or as Christmas gifts.

Also in this week’s wrap, the Sofitel Sydney rethinks its longstanding lounge ban for Platinum members of Le Club AccorHotels while Hilton entices top-tier travellers across to its HHonors loyalty program with a Diamond status match deal.

Winding things up for another week, we look at the best ways to earn frequent flyer points when paying your dreaded tax bill, and how frequent flyers can soon earn points for walking under a new health insurance tie-up.

Summer's best Velocity credit card sign-up deals

You’ll find some red hot credit card sign-up deals coming into summer with many banks enticing new customers with the promise of bonus Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer points.

Among the top five offers there’s a very precise 296,666 Velocity Points on the table, with as many as 100,000 Velocity Points to be had from a single credit card application.

As we always say, it’s generally unwise to apply for every credit card on the market just to pocket a bunch of frequent flyer points, but if your wallet is begging for a new card to maximise your points on Christmas shopping, it makes sense to consider one with a great sign-up deal.

Read more: Summer’s best Velocity credit card deals

Hilton HHonors offers Diamond status match

Want to enjoy perks such as free breakfast, space-available room upgrades and access to Executive Lounges at hotels like Hilton, Conrad and DoubleTree by Hilton?

Then move fast and take advantage of a Hilton HHonors ‘status match’ deal whereby your existing top-tier loyalty card with programs like Hyatt Gold Passport, Starwood Preferred Guest and IHG Rewards Club can be used to gain HHonors Diamond status.

Importantly, you won’t forfeit your original hotel loyalty tier. Hilton simply bumps you up to Diamond – waiving the usual nights/stays requirements and offering all Diamond benefits from your first stay as an encouragement to shift your business across from competitors to its own hotels.

Read: Hilton HHonors offers Diamond status match

Qantas gift vouchers: earn 5 points per dollar

Throughout December Qantas is offering five Qantas frequent flyer points per dollar spent on gift vouchers, which can be given to friends and family or also used for your own travel over the coming year.

Qantas flight vouchers are similar to any other type of gift card: you buy them with money up front and then have that same amount in credit to be used towards domestic trips and also international journeys (as long as that trip begins in Australia).

For business owners, that could help keep your travel budgets in check or simply provide an extra expense to write off before the end of the quarter, reducing your travel costs in the next.

Read more: Earn 5 points per dollar on Qantas gift vouchers

Sofitel Sydney trials Platinum lounge access

Top-tier members of the Le Club AccorHotels loyalty program can now enjoy access to the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth hotel's Club Sofitel lounge – but only on a short-term 'trial' basis.

The Sofitel Club in Sydney: now open to Le Club Platinum members...
The Sofitel Club in Sydney: now open to Le Club Platinum members...

Through December 31 2015, any Platinum-grade cardholder staying in any room of the hotel will find the Club Sofitel available for complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, evening drinks, hors d’oeuvres, Champagne and spirits, along with other refreshments throughout the day.

Although lounge privileges for Platinum guests are commonplace at practically every other lounge-bearing Accor hotel, the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth and Sofitel Melbourne on Collins have long been the exceptions to the rule.

Read: Sofitel Sydney trials lounge access for Platinum members

How to earn points when paying income tax, HECS

Nobody likes paying tax, but savvy travellers can earn enough frequent flyer points on their tax bill to take a free flight or an upgrade to business class.

All you need to do is use the right credit card to settle your personal income tax obligations or chip away at that lingering university HECS debt.

Those points do come at a price – the ATO levies a surcharge of 0.42% for Visa and MasterCard a higher 1.45% for American Express when paying via its website. But for a large-enough tax bill you can rake in more than enough points to come out ahead.

Read: How to earn points when paying income tax, HECS

'Qantas Assure' insurance wants fitter frequent flyers

Frequent flyers will earn points for walking under a new health insurance scheme hatched between Qantas and NIB set to launch mid-2016.

The Qantas Assure program will also offer travel insurance, which the airline already provides to more than half a million customers a year.

An app will log how many steps you take in a day and deposit a number of Qantas Points into your account, although the actual points-per-step amount has yet to be revealed.

Read more: Qantas Assure: earn points for walking

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

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