This week's wrap of frequent flyer news and reviews
Tired of the somewhat-dated Qantas lounges in Brisbane and Auckland? Those could soon be replaced with shiny new interiors along the lines of Singapore and Hong Kong to be enjoyed by Gold and Platinum Qantas Frequent Flyers.
Also in this week’s wrap, how to earn Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer points on Star Alliance airlines such as United, Thai Airways and Air Canada, and also in Etihad’s new A380 Residence where Gold and Platinum members pick up an easy six-figure sum in one return trip.
Or if your pile of points is in much need of growth, why not make a New Year’s resolution to collect points wherever you can – such as with St. George Bank’s current 60,000-point signup offer, or the American Express Platinum Charge card?
To wind things up, we’ll show you how easy it is to reach Velocity Silver and the great perks that it unlocks, and how to use up to 50% fewer frequent flyer points for business class flights to Kuala Lumpur with Malaysia Airlines.
Qantas eyes Brisbane, Auckland for new international lounges
Frequent flyers could soon be enjoying all-new lounges in both Brisbane and Auckland as the Red Roo undertakes a “strategic review” of its global lounge network.
Auckland is Qantas’ most popular international destination due to high trans-Tasman traffic, while Brisbane is naturally Queensland’s busiest airport and handles the highest number of Qantas flights in the state.
Read more: Qantas eyes Brisbane, Auckland for new international lounges
Earning Virgin Australia frequent flyer points on Star Alliance flights
Through Virgin Australia’s frequent flyer tie-up with Singapore Airlines, Aussies can now earn Velocity points when travelling across the breadth of the Star Alliance.
That includes on United’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights from Melbourne to Los Angeles, Air Canada’s services between Sydney and Vancouver and EVA Air’s Brisbane-Taipei runs, along with flights on other carriers such as Air China, Asiana, Lufthansa and more.
It’s done by using Singapore Airlines’ own Star Alliance KrisFlyer scheme to earn miles where you can’t with Velocity – such as on Thai Airways flights from Sydney to Bangkok – and then converting those KrisFlyer miles into Virgin Australia Velocity points on a 1.35:1 basis.
Read more: Earn Velocity points on Star Alliance flights
Credit card review: American Express Platinum Charge Card
Bringing in up to three frequent flyer points per dollar spent and with perks such as free airport lounge access, hotel elite status and a hefty welcome bonus, the American Express Platinum Charge Card is worth its weight in… platinum.
With a strong focus on premium and lifestyle spending such as travel and dining, the card’s $1,200 annual fee and a $100,000/year minimum income requirement put it squarely in affluent hands, but in return it delivers up to three frequent flyer points for every dollar spent.
Read our review: the AMEX Platinum Charge Card
Make a New Year’s resolution to maximise your frequent flyer points
Chances are you’re already earning Qantas or Virgin Australia frequent flyer points on the things you do every day, but why not make it your New Year’s resolution to really push that to the max?
Here are our top five ways to boost your frequent flyer points without spending a dollar more.
Read more: Your New Year’s ‘frequent flyer resolution’
Pocket up to 60,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points with St. George Bank
New St. George customers can earn up to 60,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points by applying for the bank’s range of Amplify credit cards and spending once before the end of April.
You’ll pick up an extra 10,000 points after making your first purchase with the entry-level Amplify card, 30,000 points with the Amplify Platinum or 60,000 points with the Amplify Signature card.
Annual fees are $79, $99 and $279, respectively – with the Amplify Platinum giving the best value for money against the bonus points received.
Read more: Earn up to 60,000 points with St. George
Earn up to 130,000 Velocity points in Etihad’s A380 Residence
Virgin Australia Velocity members can now earn an impressive four frequent flyer points per mile flown in Etihad’s Airbus A380 Residence.
While already flying between Abu Dhabi and London, when combined with a Sydney-Abu Dhabi trek from June 1 you’re looking at 43,660 Velocity points in each direction, or 87,320 Velocity points on the full return journey.
Velocity Gold and Platinum members also earn their usual 50% bonus with Etihad, taking that haul to a whopping 130,980 points on a single round trip.
Read more: Earning Velocity Frequent Flyer points in Etihad's A380 Residence
Virgin Australia Velocity Silver: the unofficial guide
Silver status in Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer program serves up a few handy benefits that can save you time on the road, yet is the easiest elite status to achieve for Aussie business travellers.
In return for their loyalty, Silver members earn 50% more points on eligible flights, enjoy priority check-in when heading abroad and receive a free baggage allowance on most flights – even on the cheapest Saver Lite fares that are usually carry-on only.
Here’s how to get a Silver card of your very own and then put it to good use.
Read more: Our guide to Virgin Australia Velocity Silver
Malaysia Airlines Enrich: up to 50% off award tickets
Until January 13, Malaysia Airlines is slashing the number of Enrich miles needed for flights between Australia and Malaysia by up to 50%.
Sydney and Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur enjoys a mileage discount of 30%, Perth and Brisbane come in at 40% off and bother Darwin and Adelaide are half price – making a return trip the same cost as a one-way journey during the promotion period.
Crunching the numbers, just 28,000 Enrich miles is enough to take you from either Sydney or Melbourne to KL in business class, and if you’re from Brisbane or Perth, the same seat is only 24,000 Enrich miles in each direction.
Adelaide and Darwin require 20,000 and 13,750 Enrich miles, respectively, which can be transferred from a number of credit card partners including American Express Membership Rewards and Westpac Altitude.
For more details, head to the Malaysia Airlines website.
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