This week's wrap for frequent flyers and lounge lizards

By Chris C., March 27 2015
This week's wrap for frequent flyers and lounge lizards

There’s points aplenty this week with Qantas delivering up to 10 points per dollar when shopping online and Accor dishing our triple and quadruple points in its Le Club scheme on stays within the Asia Pacific region, including Australia.

Also in this week’s wrap: new lounges for frequent flyers in Los Angeles, Darwin and Alice Springs, and a new way to earn points on Virgin Australia group travel.

To wind things up, we’ll show you the ins and outs of Westpac’s credit card-based Altitude Rewards program, and a slight change to how points are earned on American Express corporate cards.

Virgin Australia opens Darwin, Alice Springs lounges next week

Virgin Australia’s new Darwin and Alice Springs lounges will open their doors next week, coinciding with the launch of non-stop flights between the two regional centres.

In Darwin, travellers will unwind in a 150-seat lounge that’s roughly the size of its Gold Coast sibling (pictured below) with creature comforts such as all-day espresso, free wireless Internet and complimentary food and alcoholic beverages.

We expect Virgin's new Alice Springs lounge to adopt the more pared-back 'regional' design of its sister lounge at Mackay, which still ticks the basic preflight boxes.

Read more: Virgin Australia to open new Darwin, Alice Springs lounges

Earn double Qantas frequent flyer points for online shopping

Qantas is dishing out double frequent flyer points when filling your shopping cart via the Qantas Points Online Mall this week, with a solid 10 points per dollar up for grabs at David Jones, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bonds.

You’ll also collect eight points per dollar with The Iconic, Macy’s, SABA and Bloomingdales, six points per dollar at Samsung, iTunes and J. Crew and four points per dollar at eBay and the Apple Store, and more.

But be quick – the double points promotion winds up on Tuesday March 31.

Read more: Earn double Qantas Points for online shopping

American Express cuts Membership Rewards points on corporate cards

AMEX corporate cardholders will earn fewer Membership Rewards points on telecommunication and government transactions come July 1, affecting cardholders enrolled in the Choices, Ascent and Spirit rewards schemes.

Telco payments join AMEX’s already-low earning rates on insurance and other utility charges, whether that’s for your landline, mobile phone or Internet account.

Also on the chopping block: payments to any government body or organisation including the Australian Taxation Office and Australia Post, along with federal, state and local governments and councils – all of which are halved from 0.5 MR points per dollar to a measly 0.25 points.

At that rate, and with the likelihood of credit card surcharges being imposed, you’ll almost certainly earn more points by switching to a Visa or MasterCard instead.

Earn triple, quadruple Accor Le Club points on hotel stays

Le Club Accorhotels members travelling within the Asia Pacific region, including in Australia, can earn either triple or quadruple points at hotel brands including Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel and Mercure.

Earn triple or quadruple points at the Sofitel Brisbane hotel
Earn triple or quadruple points at the Sofitel Brisbane hotel

Classic, Silver and Gold members of the program can pocket three times as many points, while top-tier Platinum guests are treated to the full quadruple bonus.

The only catch? You’ll need to book your hotel stays directly with Accor – rather than an online travel agency such as Expedia – and register for the offer before arriving at the hotel.

Here’s how it’s done: Earn triple, quadruple Accor Le Club points

How to maximise Westpac’s Altitude Rewards credit card program

With airline partners ranging from Virgin Australia right through to Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines and Air New Zealand, Westpac’s credit card-linked Altitude Rewards program gives travellers the freedom to choose how and where they earn frequent flyer points.

Just swipe your Westpac Altitude credit card to pile up ‘Altitude points’ – which can later be converted into actual frequent flyer points with the airlines above – or opt for ‘Altitude Qantas’ and have your frequent flyer points appear automatically in your Qantas account each month.

Whether you’re an existing Westpac customer or are considering a switch, here’s what you need to know about Altitude Rewards.

Continue reading: Westpac Altitude Rewards 101

Emirates opens new LAX business, first class lounge

Emirates is the latest airline to open an all-new lounge at Los Angeles’ Tom Bradley International Terminal for business class and first class passengers.

With seats for 157 guests in a space covering 840 square metres at LAX, there’s also enough room inside for up to 67 Emirates Skywards Gold and Platinum members stuck in economy – even if the pointy end, or in this case, the upper deck, is completely full.

But Qantas passengers heading home to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane won’t have access before their Qantas flight, nor will the airline’s Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers when heading to Dubai with Emirates.

Take a peek inside: Emirates’ new Los Angeles lounge

Virgin Australia international group fares now earn points

Travellers on Virgin Australia group tickets in economy class can now earn frequent flyer points and status credits on their journeys.

On domestic flights you’ll pick up five Velocity points per dollar spent on the ticket, and internationally you’ll collect half a Velocity point per actual mile flown on Virgin Australia-operated flights and on codeshares with its airline partners.

Status credits accrue at the discount economy rate, in line with what you’d otherwise get from a Saver fare.

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

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