11 October 2019

Training Program Updates

We’ve recently updated the entire Frequent Flyer Solutions training program! All of the content has been revised and is now up to date.

Here is a summary of key changes and updates made since our last updates post…

New Qantas Classic Flight Reward pricing

On 18 September 2019, Qantas increased the number of points required for reward flights in premium cabins, including Oneworld Awards and upgrades. Updated Unit 2.1.2 (Redeem Qantas Points) and Unit 7.2.3 (Round-the-World using Points).

We’ve also updated our charts showing the value of a Qantas Frequent Flyer point in Unit 2.1.2 (Redeem Qantas Points) and the value of a Velocity Frequent Flyer point in Unit 2.2.2 (Redeem Velocity Points).

Qantas increases top-up points pricing

Qantas Frequent Flyer has increased the cost of buying top-up points. Meanwhile, Velocity Frequent Flyer has increased the minimum Points Booster purchase amount. Updated Unit 4.1.3 (Buying Qantas & Velocity Points).

Singapore Airlines redemptions now available via Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

It’s now possible to redeem Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles for Singapore Airlines flights! We’ve updated Unit 4.2.2 (Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan) with information about this. We’ve also updated the full list of routes available as Alaska Airlines awards out of Australia.

Philippine Airlines awards no longer available via Etihad Guest

It is no longer possible to redeem Etihad Guest miles for Philippine Airlines flights. Updated Unit 4.2.6 (Etihad Guest).

Update to Qantas/American Airlines earn rates

Qantas and American Airlines have increased the number of points/status credits/miles earned on each others’ flights, on selected routes. This affects the American Airlines status challenge, covered in Unit 8.1.4 (Status Challenges), and Qantas status runs, covered in Unit 8.1.2 (Status Runs).

Changes to Hilton Honors status challenge

Hilton has made some changes to qualification requirements in its status challenge.

Choice Hotels also has new qualification criteria for its status match, with residents of Canada and Europe also now eligible. We’ve updated Unit 8.1.5 (Hotel Status Shortcuts).

United Club price increase

United Airlines has increased the cost of United Club membership, which grants you access to Star Alliance airline lounges all over the world. Updated Unit 8.2.1 (Paid Airline Lounge Membership).

Priority Pass changes

There have been a number of changes relating to Priority Pass lounge membership in recent months. The Cairns Reef Lounge is no longer a Priority Pass participant, but new lounges have been added in Sydney and Melbourne. Meanwhile, Priority Pass has increased the cost of brining a guest into the lounge, Amex cardholders no longer receive the food & beverage credit and selected airport restaurants, and the Citi Prestige card (which came with unlimited Priority Pass visits) is no longer offered in Australia. Updated Unit 8.2.2 (Priority Pass) & Unit 8.2.3 (Credit Card Lounge Access).

Woolworths Rewards increases Qantas points

Woolworths has made changes to its Woolworths Rewards program. You’ll now receive 1,000 Qantas points (previously 870) for every 2,000 Woolworths Rewards points transferred, and transfers are immediate (previously 3-monthly). Updated Unit 9.2.1 (Flybuys & Woolworths Rewards).

Thai Airways guts frequent flyer program

On 1 October 2019, Thai Airways conducted a massive devaluation of its Royal Orchid Plus frequent flyer program. Award flight pricing on some routes doubled, and the program now has a terrible value proposition. The new Royal Orchid Plus program is so bad, in fact, that we’ve added it to our list of frequent flyer programs we don’t recommend in Unit 2.3.5 (Programs NOT Recommended).

Resort fees

Resort fees are becoming increasingly common in North America, so we’ve added some information about resort fees – and how to avoid paying them – in Unit 10.2.1 (Find the Perfect Hotel).

New resource to compare award flight pricing

Added AwardHacker to our list of resources for comparing award flight pricing in Unit 1.2.1 (Choosing a Frequent Flyer Program).

United MileagePlus miles no longer expire

United MileagePlus miles no longer expire. Updated Unit 1.2.3 (Prevent Points from Expiring).

Updates to credit card sign-up offers

We continuously update the Credit Card Master List from Unit 3.2.4 (Choose the Right Credit Card), as well as Unit 3.3.1 (Bonus Sign-up Points), at the start of every month. This was last updated on 10 October 2019.