This week's wrap for Qantas, Virgin Australia, Etihad frequent flyers

By Chris Chamberlin, February 27 2015
This week's wrap for Qantas, Virgin Australia, Etihad frequent flyers

Not feeling the ‘loyalty love’ from your regular frequent flyer program? Now’s the perfect time to switch to Etihad Guest or Qantas Frequent Flyer, with free Gold cards up for grabs to the top travellers of other airlines.

Also in this week’s wrap, how to save thousands of dollars on your next business class, or even first class, trip with Qantas, Cathay Pacific, British Airways and more by buying frequent flyer points, and five simple rules to follow along the way.

We’ll also show you how to earn double Qantas or Virgin Australia Velocity points with staying at Hilton, Conrad, Waldorf Astoria hotels and more, and how to earn Starwood SPG points when riding around town with Uber.

To wind things up, we take a look at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts’ paid Ambassador program, and the invitation-only Royal Ambassador scheme.

Status matches: free Qantas, Etihad Gold status

Qantas is aiming to bring more of New Zealand's business travellers under its wing with the rare offer of free Gold status in the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme.

The status match promotion requires only that the traveller holds 'gold or higher status with any airline' other than Qantas partner Emirates, and lives in New Zealand.

Similarly, Etihad is offering to match Gold and Platinum frequent flyers of other airlines’ loyalty schemes over to Etihad Guest Gold status, which also provides lounge access when travelling domestically with Virgin Australia.

Read: Qantas Gold status match for New Zealand travellers

Also read: Free Etihad Guest Gold match for Qantas frequent flyers

Buy miles for discount Qantas business, first class travel

How does this sound – fly from Sydney to Hong Kong, Singapore or Shanghai and back in Qantas business class for around $2,260?

No, you’re not dreaming: through American Airlines’ latest ‘buying miles’ promotion, jetsetters can quite literally buy frequent flyer points to redeem for travel across the Oneworld alliance, and can pocket a bonus of up to 40% more miles than they’d otherwise get for their cash.

It’s by no means for beginners, but for savvy road warriors, there are thousands of dollars in savings to be had.

Here’s how it’s done: Low-cost Qantas business, first class buying US frequent flyer miles

Hilton serves up double Qantas, Virgin Australia frequent flyer points

Staying at the likes of Hilton, Conrad, Waldorf Astoria and DoubleTree hotels over the coming months? Register for Hilton HHonors' latest promotion and you'll pick up double HHonors points or frequent flyer points on every stay.

As a partner to both Qantas Frequent Flyer and Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer, HHonors normally dishes out either one Qantas Point or two Velocity Points per US$1 spent in-house to members who select the 'Points and Miles' earning option.

With double frequent flyer points, that increases to two and four frequent flyer points per US dollar, respectively, while still earning your normal chunk of HHonors points on the side.

Register for the deal today: Earn double points, miles with HHonors

Five expert tips for buying miles and frequent flyer points

Buying up frequent flyer points for discounted business and first class flights is a topic oft-covered by Australian Business Traveller, with jetsetters saving thousands of dollars over buying a regular ticket.

Buy miles with AAdvantage: Ryan Bingham's favourite loyalty program
Buy miles with AAdvantage: Ryan Bingham's favourite loyalty program

But whether your plans include a short Asian jaunt or taking the longer ride to London, here’s what you should keep in mind when topping up your mileage account.

Read more: Our top five tips for buying miles

Earn SPG Starpoints with Uber

Members of Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) can now collect Starpoints when riding around town with Uber, thanks to a new partnership between the hotel loyalty scheme and the Google-backed technology giant.

After spending just one night in a Starwood hotel each year – including brands such as Sheraton, W, Le Meridien and St. Regis – travellers will earn one Starpoint per US dollar, or the equivalent in other currencies spent with Uber.

Base-level Preferred members also pick up double points on Uber rides when staying in-house with Starwood, Gold and Platinum members earn triple points with Uber and 75-night Platinum guests net an impressive quadruple points on Uber spend: that’s four Starpoints per US dollar.

Read more and link your accounts: Starwood, Uber team up

Our ‘unofficial’ guide to InterContinental Ambassador and Royal Ambassador

Whether you’re always on the road or travel just a handful of nights each year, the InterContinental Ambassador program quite literally pays for itself, and then some.

Immediately after joining you’ll score a free weekend night certificate: a buy-one-get-one-free offer that lets you stay for two nights at the cost of one, plus other benefits that make the scheme worth its while.

Standard Ambassador members who are also frequent travellers have a shot at Royal Ambassador status too, with a raft of perks to match.

Read more: InterContinental Ambassador, Royal Ambassador guides

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

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.


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