8 June 2020

Training Program Updates

Here are some of the updates we’ve recently made to the Frequent Flyer Solutions training program…

New unit on buying & redeeming Air Canada Aeroplan miles

Last month, Air Canada began selling its Aeroplan miles to the public. This could present some interesting opportunities in the future because Aeroplan miles can be redeemed for flights across the Star Alliance network as well as with Etihad Airways, which just commenced a partnership with Air Canada.

All of the details are in the new Unit 4.2.6 (Air Canada Aeroplan).

Meanwhile, we’ve added Air Canada to the list of Etihad Airways partner airlines in Unit 4.2.7 (Etihad Guest), where we’ve also just added some new information about Etihad award chart sweet spots.

New Credit Card Master Spreadsheet

We have just replaced our previous list of Australian personal credit cards that award frequent flyer points with a brand new, updated spreadsheet that’s easier to read. You’ll find a link to the new spreadsheet in Unit 3.2.4 (Choose the Right Credit Card).

Other updates to credit cards

There have been some changes to CommBank Awards credit card transfer partners, with CommBank removing Japan Airlines and adding Qatar Airways & IHG Rewards Club. Updated Unit 3.2.2 (Complete Overview of Credit Card Programs).

In addition to the Credit Card Master Spreadsheet, we update Unit 3.3.1 (Bonus Sign-up Points) at the start of every month. This was last updated on 3 June 2020.

Changes to Velocity Global Wallet & Bankwest Qantas Transaction account

Velocity Global Wallet made some changes to earning rates and fees from 4 May. Unit 3.4.1 (Point-Earning Alternatives to Credit Cards) and Unit 10.1.1 (Travel Money, Debit & Credit Cards) were updated at the time.

In Unit 3.4.1, we’ve also updated the section on bank accounts that earn Qantas points to reflect recent changes to the Bankwest Qantas Transaction account, and added information about the BOQ Specialist Everyday Plus account.

United removes partner airline award charts

After removing award charts for travel on United Airlines last year, United MileagePlus has now also removed award charts for itineraries on Star Alliance partner airlines. At the same time, most redemptions increased in price by around 10% without warning. Updated Unit 4.2.3 (United MileagePlus).

Changes to Qantas Frequent Flyer redemptions

Qantas Frequent Flyer redemptions on Emirates will require more points from 1 September 2020. Meanwhile, Qantas is now waiving change & cancellation fees on Classic Flight Reward bookings until 31 October 2020. Updated Unit 2.1.2 (Redeem Qantas Points).

New airline status matches

We’ve added information about a couple of new airline status matches to Unit 8.1.3 (Status Matches).

7 May 2020

Virgin Australia in Voluntary Administration

As you’re probably aware, Virgin Australia entered voluntary administration on 21 April 2020. Virgin Australia continues to operate scheduled flights but the administration process is expected to take at least until the end of June 2020, and possibly longer.

The Australian Frequent Flyer has published a comprehensive summary of the voluntary administration here and an update on the airline’s financial situation as of 1 May here.

Although 100% owned by Virgin Australia, the Velocity Frequent Flyer loyalty program is a separate entity and is not currently in voluntary administration. Velocity assures its members that the value of existing Velocity points is backed by a trust and that Velocity points are safe. However, the ability to earn or redeem Velocity points is currently severely limited.

Here’s a summary of how Velocity Frequent Flyer is affected by the current situation, as of 7 May 2020:

  • Velocity redemptions have been paused for an initial period of 4 weeks, starting from 21 April 2020. This period will almost certainly be extended.
  • Velocity points will not expire during the redemption pause (the expiry date of all Velocity points will be extended by the length of the “pause” period)
  • Velocity redemptions made prior to 21 April will be honoured, but there delivery delays
  • It is still possible to earn Velocity points. But all Australian banks have temporarily blocked the ability to transfer points from a credit card rewards program to Velocity Frequent Flyer
  • Applications for new Velocity co-branded credit cards have been suspended. If you already have a credit card that earns Velocity points directly, you will continue to earn points but may have an option to change to a different credit card (especially if you have an American Express card – see here for Amex info)
  • Virgin Australia travel credits remain valid, but Virgin Australia is not currently processing any new refunds or travel credits

Meanwhile, Virgin Australia has launched a range of initiatives in response to the COVID-19 travel restrictions:

 

If you’re a Premium Economy, Business Class or First Class member, be sure to attend the next webinar on 27 May 2020 for an update of the situation with Virgin Australia & Velocity Frequent Flyer. The webinar will also feature lots of tips for maximising your points on the ground!

8 April 2020

New training unit on Qantas Points Club

We have written a new training unit covering the Qantas Points Club, which launched in March 2020. This unit is located in the Qantas Frequent Flyer module of Course 2 on Frequent Flyer Programs.

Business Class & First Class members can access the new unit here: Unit 2.1.3 (Qantas Points Club)

Next webinar date & topic announced

Also, a quick reminder that the next webinar will take place on Thursday, 16 April 2020. The topic will be “Navigating Airlines & Loyalty Programs during COVID-19”.

If you are a Premium Economy, Business Class or First Class member, you can register in advance at no cost by going to “Webinar Registration” in the Member Portal menu, or clicking here.

1 April 2020

Training Program Updates

Here are some of the updates we’ve recently made to the Frequent Flyer Solutions training program…

New credit cards that earn points on ATO tax office payments

There are two new business credit cards in Australia that earn points for ATO tax office payments at the full, everyday rate. Updated Unit 3.3.2 (Earn Points for Tax Payments).

Changes to Oneworld alliance members

Royal Air Maroc joined the Oneworld alliance as of 1 April 2020. This means you can now earn Qantas points & status credits, and redeem Qantas points, for Royal Air Maroc flights. You can also include Royal Air Maroc now as part of a Oneworld Classic Flight Reward or Oneworld Explorer booking.

LATAM Airlines will leave the Oneworld alliance, meanwhile, on 1 May 2020. And Alaska Airlines has announced its intention to become a Oneworld member in mid-2021.

Many units have been updated to reflect these changes, including Unit 1.1.3 (Airline Alliances).

Qantas launches partnership with BP

After Velocity Frequent Flyer ended its partnership with BP in January, Qantas Frequent Flyer has now replaced it. You can now earn Qantas points (and, for a limited time, status credits) at BP petrol stations in Australia. Updated Unit 2.1.1 (Earn Qantas Points & Status Credits).

IHG Rewards Club has discontinued PointBreaks

IHG Rewards Club is unfortunately no longer offering PointBreaks promotions, where discounted hotel award nights were offered for last-minute travel. Updated Unit 9.1.2 (Overview of Hotel Loyalty Programs).

Changes to buying AAdvantage miles

American Airlines no longer requires members to have had an active account for 60 days in order to buy AAdvantage miles. The airline has also removed the USD75 close-in award booking fee. Updated Unit 4.2.1 (American Airlines AAdvantage).

Alaska Airlines, meanwhile, has increased its maximum purchase amount from 60,000 to 100,000 Mileage Plan miles. The annual purchase limit of 150,000 miles remains, unless you have Alaska Airlines status. Updated Unit 4.2.2 (Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan).

Qantas Frequent Flyer ending partnership with Airnorth

After 30 April 2020, you will no longer be able to earn or redeem Qantas Frequent Flyer points with Airnorth, an Australian regional airline.

UK Air Passenger Duty increase

On 1 April 2020, the UK government increased its Air Passenger Duty that is applicable to long-haul flights departing from the UK. Updated Unit 5.1.3 (Avoid Fuel & Carrier Surcharges).

Hipmunk has closed down

Flight booking website, which was previously featured in Unit 7.1.1 (Online Tools for Cheap Flights), has now closed down.

Qantas status runs updated

We’ve updated our list of Qantas Frequent Flyer status runs in Unit 8.1.2 (Status Runs).

Asia Miles axes free stopovers on awards

As of 1 April 2020, Asia Miles is no longer offering free stopovers on one-way and round-trip award bookings. You are now allowed only one transit per direction of up to 24 hours. Updated Unit 2.3.2 (Cathay Pacific Asia Miles).

New status matches

There have recently been a couple of new airline status matches available, including with SkyTeam and Star Alliance airlines. Updated Unit 8.1.3 (Status Matches).

8 January 2020

Training Program Updates

Here are some of the updates we’ve recently made to the Frequent Flyer Solutions training program…

Velocity has increased Virgin Australia carrier charges

Velocity Frequent Flyer has increased the carrier charges payable when redeeming points for Virgin Australia flights. Updated Unit 2.2.2 (Redeem Velocity Points) & Unit 5.1.3 (Avoid Fuel & Carrier Surcharges).

United MileagePlus changes

United Airlines has launched a new Star Alliance status match & challenge for 2020. Updated Unit 8.1.4 (Status Challenges).

United has also removed award charts for redemptions including United-operated flights. Updated Unit 4.2.3 (United MileagePlus).

Qantas Frequent Flyer partners with Air France & KLM

It’s now possible to earn and redeem Qantas Frequent Flyer points (but not status credits) for Air France and KLM flights. Updated Unit 2.1.1 (Earn Qantas Points) and Unit 2.1.2 (Redeem Qantas Points).

Upgrade on Delta flights using Velocity points

It’s now possible to upgrade on selected Delta-operated flights using Velocity points. Updated Unit 6.1.2 (Virgin Australia Upgrades).

Status run updates

We’ve updated our lists of Qantas & Virgin Australia status runs in Unit 8.1.2 with the latest information.

Changes to expiry of Asia Miles & Etihad Guest miles

Both Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program and Etihad Guest have changed the way in which miles expire, for the better. Instead of having fixed expiry dates, miles with both programs now expire only if there is no account activity for 18 months. Updated Unit 1.2.3 (Prevent Points from Expiring).

Mileage Plan pulls stopover trick

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has sadly stopped offering free stopovers on one-way award booking itineraries within Asia. Updated Unit 4.2.2 (Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan).

Adria Airways bankruptcy

Adria Airways, a former Star Alliance member based in Slovenia, ceased operations in 2019. We’ve removed references to the airline from our training program.

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 8 January 2020.

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.