3 July 2021

Frequent Flyer Training Updates

Here are some of recent changes to loyalty programs and new updates we’ve recently made to the Frequent Flyer Solutions training as of 3 July 2021.

As a reminder, unlimited access to the Frequent Flyer Solutions training program is available to all Business Class & First Class members! If you’re a Premium Economy or Economy member, you can access the first unit of every course for free or upgrade your membership to gain full access.

Radisson Rewards & Hilton Honors changes

Last month, Radisson Rewards devalued its award chart and split into two separate loyalty programs based on geographical zones. Radisson Rewards Americas will now be Radisson’s loyalty program in North & South America, while Radisson Rewards remains the program in all other parts of the world (including Australia). You can transfer points between both programs. Unit 9.1.2 (Overview of Hotel Loyalty Programs) has been updated.

Also during June, Hilton Honors removed the ability to transfer points to 11 former loyalty program partners. Hilton Honors points can no longer be converted to miles with Amtrak or the following airlines: Aeroflot, Alaska Airlines, Avianca, Finnair, Frontier Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Hawaiian Airlines, LATAM Airlines, Philippine Airlines, & South African Airlines.

Plaza Premium lounges no longer part of Priority Pass

From 1 July 2021, Priority Pass & LoungeKey members no longer have access to Plaza Premium lounges. This does not affect Amex Platinum cardholders, as Amex Platinum still gives access to Plaza Premium lounges separately.

Plaza Premium operates a few international lounges at Australian airports. It has also just taken over several lounges in New Zealand.

We’ve updated Unit 8.2.2 (Priority Pass), which also now contains information about Plaza Premium’s own new lounge pass product.

American Airlines Platinum Pro is now equivalent to Oneworld Emerald

The American Airlines AAdvantage program has made some changes to its status tiers, with Platinum Pro status now aligned with Oneworld Emerald (the top tier) instead of the lower Oneworld Sapphire tier. Updated Unit 2.3.3 (American Airlines AAdvantage Program).

While good news for Platinum Pro members, there is some bad news for Qantas Platinum frequent flyers. American Airlines is now treating Qantas Platinum as equivalent to its Platinum Pro tier, rather than Executive Platinum, meaning fewer benefits for Qantas Platinum members flying with American Airlines.

Changes to Etihad Guest airline partners

Etihad Guest has quietly ended its partnerships with Czech Airlines & Brazil’s GOL Airlines, meaning you can no longer earn or redeem Etihad Guest miles with either airline. But Etihad will soon launch new reciprocal frequent flyer benefits with El Al. Updated Unit 4.2.7 (Etihad Guest).

In related news, Virgin Australia has now officially removed Silk Air (which merged with Singapore Airlines) as a partner airline.

Update on Australian international border arrangements

The Australian government gave an update on 2 July 2021 on its plan to reopen Australia’s international borders. Meanwhile, New Zealand will soon restart the quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia but with mandatory pre-flight testing before flying to New Zealand. Updated Unit 10.2.7 (Travel in a Post-COVID World) with the latest information.

Fee increase for pay.com.au

The ATO & bill payment service pay.com.au has increased its payment surcharges for Mastercard & Visa payments by 0.1-0.15%.

Meanwhile, the ATO has also updated its payment surcharges. Mastercard payments are now slightly more expensive, while the Visa surcharge has been reduced. Updated Unit 3.3.2 (Earn Points for Tax Payments).

Updates to credit card sign-up offers

We continuously update the Credit Card Master List in Unit 3.2.4 (Choosing a Credit Card), as well as Unit 3.3.1 (Bonus Sign-up Points), at the start of every month. This was last updated on 3 July 2021.

We’ve also updated the list airlines that you can transfer CommBank Awards points to, among other updates, in Unit 3.3.2 (Complete Overview of Credit Card Programs).