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.

8 September 2019

Last chance for assistance with redeeming Qantas points before the program changes

The upcoming Qantas Frequent Flyer changes take effect from midnight on 18 September 2019.
The Award Flight Assist team is currently experiencing a very high level of demand. If you would like assistance from Award Flight Assist with redeeming your Qantas points before these changes, please request a quote by Tuesday 10 September and pay for the service no later than Wednesday 11 September.
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee a response by next week if you pay for the service after this date.

14 August 2019

Introducing First Class Membership & New Services

In addition to our existing Premium Economy and Business Class membership levels, we're very pleased to announce the launch of First Class membership!
When you fly in First Class, you can expect an unparalleled level of service and exclusive benefits. And that's exactly what you'll receive as a First Class member of Frequent Flyer Solutions. Benefits of this new membership level include:
  • All Business class benefits, including Frequent Flyer Training and Webinar access
  • Complimentary Personal Frequent Flyer Points Consultation
  • Help Desk access
  • $200 Award Flight Assist credit
  • Access to our entire library of past webinars
  • Complimentary Australian Frequent Flyer Gold membership
Learn more about our membership levels.
To coincide with the launch of First Class membership, we're also pleased to announce the launch of two new services...
Personal Points Consultation
We now offer a Personal Points Consultation service to Premium Economy, Business Class and First Class members. Over a 60-minute Skype or phone call with Matt, you can get personalised advice about anything to do with frequent flyer points, airline status, credit cards or travel in general. You'll also receive a full recording of the conversation for future reference.
This service is available to Premium Economy and Business Class members at a cost of $295. Alternatively, you can use this service for free by upgrading to First Class membership.
First Class Help Desk
The Frequent Flyer Solutions Help Desk is an exclusive service for First Class members.
If you have a quick question or problem related to travel, credit cards or frequent flyer programs, this is a place where you can request dedicated assistance from the Frequent Flyer Solutions team of experts. We'll aim to get back to you within 2 business days.
If you are a First Class member, you can submit a Help Desk request.

2 July 2019

Training Program Updates

We've recently made the following updates to the Frequent Flyer Solutions training program...
Updates to Qantas award & carrier charge pricing
Qantas recently announced a range of changes to its Qantas Frequent Flyer program. There have already been reductions to Economy award pricing, including changes to carrier charges and Oneworld Award pricing. We have updated various training units.
In addition to these changes, Qantas will be increasing the number of points required for award flights (including Oneworld Awards) and upgrades, while reducing carrier charges, on 18 September 2019.
Qantas & Cathay Pacific are no longer Aer Lingus partners
As of 1 July 2019, it is no longer possible to redeem Qantas points or Cathay Pacific Asia Miles for Aer Lingus reward flights. But Alaska Airlines is now a partner of Aer Lingus. We have updated various training units.
Macquarie Bank removes Forex fees
From 1 July 2019, Macquarie Bank no longer charges international transaction fees on its Macquarie Black or Macquarie Platinum credit cards. Updated the Credit Card Master List from Unit 3.2.4 (Choose the Right Credit Card)
New Altitude Velocity rewards program
Westpac Altitude Rewards is discontinuing Velocity auto-redemption, replacing it with a new "Altitude Velocity" program. Updated Unit 3.2.2 (Complete Overview of Credit Card Programs) and the Credit Card Master List from Unit 3.2.4 (Choose the Right Credit Card)
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 2 July 2019.

16 June 2019

Training Program Updates

We've recently made the following updates to the Frequent Flyer Solutions training program...
British Airways Executive Club changes
British Airways has made some "enhancements" (this is an airline industry term meaning "negative changes") to its partner award pricing in its Executive Club program. Award flights on British Airways partner airlines such as Qantas now cost more Avios. Updated Unit 4.2.7 (British Airways Executive Club).
KrisFlyer Silver & Gold status shortcut
We've added information to Unit 8.1.4 (Status Challenges) about the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Silver & Gold status shortcut available to Amex Platinum/Centurion cardholders and Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade members.
Instant Marriott & Hyatt status via airline frequent flyer programs
We've added information to Unit 8.1.5 (Hotel Status Shortcuts) about the complimentary status matches available to frequent flyers with United Airlines and American Airlines.
Hertz Gold Plus Rewards update
Hertz has made some changes recently to its loyalty program. Updated Unit 9.4.1 (Car Hire Loyalty).
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 in June 2019.
Updates to list of credit card that award points for tax payments
We have updated Unit 3.3.2 (Earn Points for Tax Payments) with the latest information about which Australian credit cards do and don't earn points for ATO payments.

20 April 2019

Training Program Updates

We've recently made the following updates to the Frequent Flyer Solutions training program...
Credit card changes
Amex made substantial changes to its Membership Rewards program and credit card earn rates on 15 April 2019. Westpac also removed its Velocity auto-redemption feature on the same date. Meanwhile, Macquarie Bank is discontinuing its Hilton Honors credit card.
Updated Unit 3.2.2 (Complete Overview of Credit Card Programs) and our master credit card spreadsheet in Unit 3.2.4 (Choose the Right Credit Card).
Updates to list of credit card that award points for tax payments
There have been a range of changes to credit card earn rates on ATO transactions, and unfortunately some cards that previously awarded points for tax payments will soon no longer do so. In addition, Reward Pay has just updated its fee structure. Updated Unit 3.3.2 (Earn Points for Tax Payments).
All Jet Airways flights suspended
Jet Airways has suspended all operations. As such, we've removed references to the airline which was a Qantas Frequent Flyer partner.
Juicy Miles takes over AwardEx
Juicy Miles, a new award availability search tool, has taken over AwardEx. Updated Unit 5.3.5 (Juicy Miles); formerly AwardEx & Juicy Miles.
Japan Airlines website now shows Oneworld award availability for all airlines
Japan Airlines has updated its website and now shows award availability on all Oneworld airlines. We've updated the video demonstration in Unit 5.2.1 (Find Qantas & Oneworld Award Availability) and the table in Unit 5.3.1 (Introduction to Specialised Online Tools).
Separately, since 1 April 2019, Japan Airlines is now releasing award seats 360 days in advance (previously 330 days). Updated Unit 5.1.2 (Award Availability Search Techniques).
New KrisFlyer award pricing
Singapore Airlines has increased award prices on Star Alliance and other partner airlines, for travel in Business and First class. Updated Unit 2.3.1 (Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer).
New tool for comparing award flight pricing
We've added information about a new tool that allows you to easily compare the price of an award flight across programs on any route and class of travel. Updated Unit 3.2.3 (Transferring Points).
United MileagePlus removing award charts
United is removing award charts and moving to dynamic award pricing for United-operated award flights. Updated Unit 4.2.3 (United Mileage Plus).
Changes to American Airlines AAdvantage
American Airlines has begun partnering with China Southern, meaning you can now earn or redeem AAdvantage miles for China Southern flights. There have also been changes to multi-zone award pricing on Etihad and American has changed the cost of buying miles while removing the processing fee. Updated Unit 4.2.1 (American Airlines AAdvantage).
Beware that American Airlines may also soon follow United in removing award charts. Watch this space...
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan changes
Alaska Airlines has introduced an annual purchase limit on buying Mileage Plan miles (waived for anyone with Alaska Airlines elite status) and slightly changed its pricing structure. Updated Unit 4.2.2 (Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan).
Paid access to "The House" lounges
It is now possible to pay for one-off entry to "The House" lounges when departing Sydney or Melbourne on an international flight with any airline. Updated Unit 8.2.3 (Credit Card Lounge Access).

7 March 2019

Training Program Updates

We've recently made the following updates to the Frequent Flyer Solutions training program...
New award search tool
We've extended Unit 5.3.4 (previously just covering AwardEx) to also include information about Juicy Miles, a new award searching tool.
Updated status runs
We've updated our selection of current Qantas and Virgin Australia status runs in Unit 8.1.2 (Status Runs).
Air Niugini award availability now showing on Qantas website
It's now possible to book Air Niugini awards on the Qantas website. This leaves Jet Airways as the only Qantas partner airline for which award flights cannot be booked online. Updated Unit 5.1.1 (Redeeming Points for Flights) and Unit 5.3.1 (Introduction to Specialised Online Tools).
Malaysia Airlines removes Oneworld multi-carrier awards
Malaysia Airlines' Enrich program is no longer offering Oneworld multi-carrier awards, which previously could be used to fly around the world. Updated Unit 7.2.3 (Round-the-World using Points).
Updates on buying Qantas and Velocity Points
We've completely updated Unit 4.1.3 (Buying Qantas & Velocity Points) to reflect recent changes made by both airlines. Both airlines have recently removed many restrictions that applied when buying points and increased their purchase limits. Meanwhile, Qantas has increased its prices while Velocity has done the opposite and started offering bonus points on purchases.
New LifeMiles website
LifeMiles last month introduced a brand new website. We've updated the information, images, links and LifeMiles award chart in Unit 4.2.4 (Avianca LifeMiles).
Upgrade updates
We've updated the list of airlines (there are many new additions!) that offer online upgrade auctions in Unit 6.2.1 (Online Upgrade Auctions) as well as the list of airlines offering OptionTown upgrades in Unit 6.2.2 (Other Cheap Upgrade Strategies).
Updated travel insurance discount codes
We've updated the list of travel insurance discount codes in Unit 10.2.6 (Travel Insurance).
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 in March 2019.

19 February 2019

Training Program Updates

We've recently made the following updates to the Frequent Flyer Solutions training program...
New unit: Buying Marriott Bonvoy points
We've added a new unit to Course 4 (Buy Points) that explains how to buy Marriott Bonvoy points and transfer these to over 40 airlines. This is a useful option if you wish to buy a small number of miles from an airline that doesn't normally sell them to the public. See Unit 4.2.8 (Marriott Bonvoy).
Launch of Marriott Bonvoy
The new Marriott Bonvoy program was launched last week, replacing the previous Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest hotel loyalty programs. Updated Unit 9.1.2 (Overview of Hotel Loyalty Programs).
Updated packing tips
We've added some more packing tips to Unit 10.2.5 (Preparing for Overseas Travel).
Update to credit card ATO payments
We've updated Unit 3.3.2 (Earn Points for Tax Payments) to account for the upcoming Amex changes and updated the ATO card payment surcharge information.
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 for February 2019.

8 January 2019

Training Program Updates

We've recently made the following updates to the Frequent Flyer Solutions training program...
Change to Velocity-KrisFlyer transfer rates
As of 1 January 2019, the rate at which Virgin Australia Velocity points can be transferred to/from Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer has increased from 1.35:1 to 1.55:1. Updated Unit 2.2.3 (Transferring Velocity Points to KrisFlyer).
From 1 January, Virgin Australia also began levying carrier charges on Velocity Reward Seat bookings. Updated Unit 2.2.2 (Redeem Velocity Points).
Priority Pass Price Increase
Priority Pass increased its fees in November 2018. Unit 8.2.2 (Priority Pass) was updated at the time.
New Commonwealth Bank Awards transfer partner
As of 5 November 2018, it's now possible to transfer CommBank Awards points to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. Updated Unit 3.2.2 (Complete Overview of Credit Card Programs).
Status match updates
We've updated the list of current status matches to include recent matches available through LATAM Airlines and Virgin Australia. Updated Unit 8.1.3 (Status Matches).
China Southern has left SkyTeam
As of 1 January 2019, China Southern is no longer a part of the SkyTeam alliance. Updated Unit 1.1.3 (Airline Alliances).
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 has been updated now for January 2019.

2 November 2018

Training Program Updates

We've recently made the following updates to the Frequent Flyer Solutions training program...
Change to Qantas, Jetstar Award Seat Release times
Qantas recently made some changes to award seat release timings. Premium Economy, Business and First Class reward seats on long-haul Qantas flights are now released to Bronze and Silver members, as well as partner airlines, 297 days in advance. In addition, Jetstar seats are now released around 300 days before departure (previously 308 days). Updated Unit 5.1.2 (Award Availability Search Techniques).
Changes to Virgin Australia partners
As of 28 October 2018, Air New Zealand is no longer a partner of Virgin Australia and Velocity Frequent Flyer. Updated Unit 2.2.1 (Earn Velocity Points & Status Credits) and Unit 2.2.2 (Redeem Velocity Points).
In Unit 2.2.2, we've also updated the information on Velocity Reward seat carrier charges. Virgin Australia will add carrier charges from 1 January 2019, and Etihad Airways flights departing Manila no longer have carrier charges added.
Loss of Diners Club transfer partners
As of 25 October 2018, Diners Club Rewards points can no longer be transferred to Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), American Airlines or EVA Air. Updated Unit 3.2.2 (Complete Overview of Credit Card Programs).
Changes to Westpac Altitude Rewards transfer rates
From 9 November 2018, Westpac will increase the number of Altitude points required to transfer to all airlines except Air New Zealand. We've updated the table in Unit 3.2.2 (Complete Overview of Credit Card Programs) in anticipation of this change.
Updates to credit card sign-up offers
We always update our 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 has been updated now for November 2018.