This week's wrap for Oneworld, Star Alliance and Virgin Australia frequent flyers

By Chris Chamberlin, January 23 2015

Virgin Australia Velocity members can collect double or even triple points when travelling to Abu Dhabi and beyond with Virgin Australia and Etihad, with Platinum members in VA business class pocketing a staggering 120,000 frequent flyer points from a single return trip.

Or if you’re bound for Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific reveals its plans for a new Pier First Class Lounge to Australian Business Traveller, while at the same time, the airline is also considering a major shakeup of its Marco Polo Club and Asia Miles frequent flyer programs.

Also in this week’s wrap, Star Alliance Gold members can soon relax in new Café Lounges when travelling with SAS, and may shortly be able to earn and redeem points with Royal Air Maroc, which is tipped to be in the final stages of becoming Star Alliance’s newest member.

Cathay Pacific reveals details of new The Pier First Class lounge

Cathay Pacific has a full roster of lounges lined up for 2015 – with new and refreshed lounges in Manila, Bangkok, Taipei and Vancouver on the cards – but the high point will be the mid-year re-opening of The Pier First Class at Hong Kong.

Available to the airline’s first class passengers, Qantas Platinum, Marco Polo Club Diamond and other Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers, it’ll feature its own version of Cathay’s iconic Noodle Bar, along with an a la carte restaurant and a ‘grab-and-go’ area for travellers in a hurry.

Construction on The Pier First Class “should finish in late May 2015”, Cathay Pacific’s General Product Manager tells Australian Business Traveller, with an official ribbon-cutting in June.

Read more: Cathay reveals details of new The Pier First Class lounge

Also read: Hong Kong lounge guide for Qantas, Cathay and Oneworld

Earn triple frequent flyer points with Virgin Australia, Etihad

Virgin Australia is serving up a stack of extra Velocity Frequent Flyer points on flights to Abu Dhabi and beyond on its own aircraft and that of its partner Etihad Airways.

You’ll pick up double points in both economy and premium economy, and a solid triple points in business class and first class – including on any Etihad-operated flight with an EY flight number, and also Virgin Australia’s VA29/30 services to and from the UAE capital.

Here’s how it’s done: Earn double, triple points with VA, Etihad

Cathay Pacific mulls revamp of Marco Polo Club, Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific is considering a major overhaul of its Marco Polo Club and Asia Miles frequent flyer schemes with widespread impact ranging from restricting lounge access to awarding points and ‘Club miles’ based on the cost of the ticket rather than the number of miles flown.

In the wake of rumours about impending changes to the airline's loyalty programs, Cathay Pacific has confirmed that revisions would focus on rewarding high-yielding premium travellers who fly in business and first class – an approach similar to that adopted by Qantas in the mid-2014 overhaul of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.

Read more: Cathay Pacific mulls revamp of Marco Polo Club, Asia Miles

SAS launches new Café Lounge concept at airport boarding gates

Scandinavian airline SAS will open new mini-lounges near its main departure gates at selected airports this year.

Dubbed Café Lounges, these are similar to Airberlin's Exclusive Waiting Area concept – a convenient space where business travellers and frequent flyers can relax or catch up on last-minute work within a minute's walk of their boarding gate.

Stocked with coffee, tea, pastries and Wi-Fi, the Café Lounges will be open to Diamond and Gold members of the SAS Euro Bonus loyalty scheme and the airline's Plus class passengers, along with Gold-grade frequent flyers from Star Alliance partner airlines.

Read more: SAS launches new Café Lounge concept

Royal Air Maroc to join Star Alliance?

The world's largest airline alliance could be about to sign up one of its smallest members, with Moroccan flag carrier Royal Air Maroc tipped to take a seat at the table.

The Casablanca-based airline is fully owned by the government of Morocco, is reportedly in the final stages of applying for Star Alliance membership, says industry website ch-aviation.

Read more: Royal Air Maroc to join Star Alliance?

Also read: Earn Virgin Australia Velocity points on Star Alliance flights

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

ChrisCh
ChrisCh

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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