This week's wrap for Qantas, Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines travellers

By Chris Chamberlin, July 24 2015

If your budget – or that of your employer – only stretches to economy, using your frequent flyer points for a business class upgrade is a great way to make a journey more comfortable: this week, we show you how that’s done and what to look out for with Qantas, Singapore Airlines and more.

Also in our Friday wrap, Star Alliance frequent flyers have a new partner in Avianca Brazil, while Cairns residents will lose two weekly Star Alliance flights come September.

Home-grown Virgin Australia is also counting a new points partner in Le Club AccorHotels with frequent flyers soon able to earn Velocity Points at hotels such as Sofitel, Pullman and Novotel, and on ANA’s new Sydney-Tokyo flights from December, via Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.

Rounding things up for another week, we take a look at the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards loyalty program, and at the latest partners to set up shop in Qantas’ Online Mall.

How to book ANA’s Sydney flights with points

With the launch of ANA’s Sydney-Tokyo flights from December 11, Star Alliance frequent flyers will soon be able to use their points for a non-stop hop between the two cities for the first time since 1999.

What's more, the new route also provides an opportunity for Virgin Australia Velocity members to both earn and redeem frequent flyer points on ANA's services via Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer scheme.

Here’s what you need to know: Booking ANA to Sydney with points

Virgin Australia, Accor ink points partnership

Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyers will soon be able to earn Velocity Points at 2,800 new hotels via the Le Club AccorHotels program.

The system will see travellers first earn Le Club points at Accor’s range of brands – including Sofitel, Novotel, M Gallery, Pullman, Adagio, Mercure, Grand Mercure, The Sebel and Ibis – and then convert those points into Velocity frequent flyer points from September 30.

Points that are already sitting in the accounts of Le Club AccorHotels members are also ripe to funnel across to Velocity, along with new points earned after that date at any hotel that participates in the Le Club loyalty program.

Here’s what you’ll earn: Virgin Australia, Accor ink points partnership

The business class upgrade guide

Your boss or your budget may see you consigned to the cheap seats in economy but there's no reason you have to stay there.

Our expert upgrade guides reveal how a serve of frequent flyer points can bump you up to business class on your next flight with Qantas, Virgin Australia, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. 

Read more: The business class upgrade guide

United Airlines to exit Cairns-Guam route

Star Alliance frequent flyers based in Cairns will lose an opportunity to earn and redeem miles come September 27 as United Airlines ceases its twice-weekly Cairns-Guam flights.

“We have taken this decision because the service’s financial performance did not meet our expectations,” a spokesperson for the airline told Australian Business Traveller.

“We will contact customers with bookings for flights beyond that date to either offer them alternative travel plans to Guam or provide refunds. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

United’s flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles, along with its services from Sydney to San Francisco, are unaffected.

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards: the unofficial guide

With free upgrades for elite members and priority assistance desks for all, it makes sense to join the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program whether you rent but once a year or spend most of your days on the road.

What’s more, members can earn either Hertz Rewards points or frequent flyer points with airlines such as Virgin Australia: providing even greater choice for road warriors.

Here’s what you need to know about Hertz Gold Plus Rewards in our unofficial guide.

Read: Hertz Gold Plus Rewards: the unofficial guide

Avianca Brazil joins Star Alliance

Avianca Brazil is now the newest member of the Star Alliance family after Star's 27 other member airlines voted to approve the Brazilian airline's seat at the table in Warsaw last month.

Frequent flyers with Star Alliance Gold status can now enjoy lounge access, priority check-in and boarding when flying with Avianca Brazil, while all Star Alliance frequent flyers can earn and redeem points on Avianca Brazil flights.

Parent airline, Avianca, is too a Star Alliance member.

Read: Avianca Brazil joins Star Alliance

Qantas Online Mall recruits 16 new retail partners

Qantas is boosting its showing of shopping partners with 16 new stores added to the airline’s Online Mall: allowing frequent flyers to earn even more points when they buy goods online.

Shoppers can now earn five frequent flyer points per dollar at Fossil, Glasshouse Fragrances, Kurt Geiger and Zanui; or four points per dollar with Forever New, Oroton, Peter Alexander, Rebel Sport, Smiggle and Uniqlo.

General Pants, Kathmandu, Lenovo and L’Occitane also serve up three points per dollar, while Lorna Jane and Wiggle deliver a lower two points per dollar and take Qantas’ roster of Online Mall partners to 45, which includes other major brands such as David Jones, Apple and eBay.

Read more: Qantas Online Mall recruits 16 new retail partners

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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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