Cathay Pacific offering double Asia Miles on flights to Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific are offering double Asia Miles on Economy Class flights from Australia to Hong Kong or Mainland China

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Cathay Pacific are offering double Asia Miles on Economy Class flights from Australia to Hong Kong or Mainland China booked before 15 September 2017, for travel until 31 October 2017. An additional 1,000 Asia Miles are on offer if you book via the Cathay Pacific website.

To get the bonus points, simply register on the Asia Miles website and then head to the Cathay Pacific site to make your booking.

If you’re considering travelling to Asia or beyond, I highly recommend Cathay Pacific. I recently travelled on the airline’s new A350 aircraft from Brisbane to Hong Kong (and onwards to Europe) and found the aircraft, leg room and lounges to be excellent. The service was comparable to their competitors; not outstanding but good.

Double Qantas Points on flights to Europe

Qantas is offering double points on bookings made before 9 September 2017 for travel to Europe.

Qantas is offering double points on bookings made before 9 September 2017 for travel to Europe between 18 September 2017 and 6 September 2018 on eligible flights.

The offer is for Qantas marketed flights with a QF flight number, operated by Qantas or Emirates.

Qantas has announced its Australia to London A380 flights will operate via Singapore from March 2018, news which has delighted many frequent flyers including myself. Also launching in March 2018 is their new Qantas 787 Dreamliner service direct from Perth to London.

To participate, simply register on the Qantas website and make a booking.

Qantas bonus Status Credits on flights to Hong Kong

The competition is intensifying on flights between Australia and Hong Kong with the recent arrival of Virgin Australia. For the next 7 days, Qantas is offering 50% extra Status Credits on new bookings.

The competition is intensifying on flights between Australia and Hong Kong with the recent arrival of Virgin Australia. For the next 7 days, Qantas is offering 50% extra Status Credits on new bookings for travel between 23 August 2017 and 18 February 2018.

To participate, simply register and make a new booking between 23 and 29 August 2017, for travel between 23 August 2017 and 18 February 2018. Don’t forget to include your Qantas Frequent Flyer membership number in your booking.

The 50% bonus Status Credits offer is valid on eligible flights between Australia and Hong Kong with a QF flight number (QF29/30, QF97/98, QF117/118 or QF127/128) on the ticket

Register on the Qantas website.

Velocity lounge access in Hong Kong

Velocity Frequent Flyer will be joining the Fortune Wings Club offering full reciprocal benefits.

Earlier this month Virgin Australia kicked off their almost daily Melbourne to Hong Kong service. The company hopes that the new route, serviced by Airbus A330 aircraft, will capture some of the lucrative Chinese travel market. For consumers, it’s great news as more competition on the Australia – Hong Kong route will lead to better prices and better cabin products. Virgin’s A330s offer a world class Business Class product.

Virgin Australia announced that Velocity Frequent Flyer members will have access to the Etihad First & Business Class Lounge in Melbourne when departing for Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, the company has partnered with Hong Kong Airlines to give customers access to the Hong Kong Airline’s Club Bauhinia Lounge located in Terminal 1.

Coming soon, Velocity Frequent Flyer will be joining the Fortune Wings Club. Giving Velocity Frequent Flyers lounge access, priority check in, the ability to earn and redeem points and status credits, priority boarding, and additional baggage with Hong Kong Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Capital Airlines and Tianjin Airlines. This is pretty good news for Virgin Australia customers travelling to China.

Lookout for more news soon about this relationship as it develops.

Bid for cabin upgrades on Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific has re-introduced the ability to bid cash to upgrade to a higher cabin class on existing bookings. Does it offer good value? 

Cathay Pacific has re-introduced the ability to bid cash to upgrade to a higher cabin class on existing bookings. Upgrade Bid lets customers submit an offer for how much they’re willing to pay in cash to upgrade to the next cabin class.

 Cathay Pacific Upgrade Bid
Cathay Pacific Upgrade Bid

The system is powered by Plusgrade and is the same software used by Qantas, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, Lufthansa, Air Canada and Air China.At present, only Premium Economy and Business Class are supported, so no First Class upgrades unfortunately.

Does Upgrade Bid offer good value?

I am flying with Cathay Pacific to Paris in 3 weeks. I booked a discount return Economy ticket in February 2017. After checking the Cathay Pacific website I found that my booking is eligible for Upgrade Bid. Unfortunately since it’s an Economy booking I am only eligible to bid for Premium Economy.

Upgrade Bid is essentially a blind auction. You can submit any bid you like between their pre-allocated minimum and maximum bids. The price bands are based on a range of factors including flight length. You don’t find out if you’ve ‘won’ the auction until a few days before your flight. You can get an indication of your chances of success by looking at the animated offer strength feedback, ranging from ‘Poor’ to ‘Excellent’. Thankfully you will only get charged if you are successful, making this fairly risk free if you are happy with the price.

 Cathay Pacific Upgrade Bid
Cathay Pacific Upgrade Bid

As for my upcoming travel, my return Economy ticket originally cost $1,082 on sale. At the time of booking, return Premium Economy fares were available for $3,353. If I bid the absolute minimum on each segment, it would cost an extra $1,623, giving a grand total of $2,705. A discount of approximately 20%, assuming I get accepted for every segment, which the status bar tells me is ‘Poor’.

Instead, if I bid the recommended amount for a ‘Strong’ offer, it would cost an extra $2,423, giving a grand total of $3,505, more than if I had booked the fare originally in February 2017 but without the higher status credits and points!

My thinking is that I may submit the minimum bid on a couple of the segments (there are 4 in total) and see what happens. I would like the chance to try Premium Economy on the new Cathay Pacific A350 but don’t think it’s worth spending too much money on it.

Qantas reward seat availability for Bronze vs Gold members

Qantas, along with many other premium airlines, reserves reward seat space for its most loyal frequent flyers. How does this actually work in practice?

Qantas, along with many other premium airlines, reserves reward seat space for its most loyal top tier frequent flyers. This is an advertised benefit of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program for Silver members and above. The QFF website states Silver/Gold/Platinum members receive “preferential access to selected Qantas Classic Flight Reward seats”. In theory, Platinum members get the most availability, followed by Gold and then Silver.

So how does this actually work in practice?

Quite well actually. And it’s an advantage of Qantas Frequent Flyer over Velocity Frequent Flyer who doesn’t offer any extra availability for reward space in premium cabins for top tier fliers.

Example: Sydney to Johannesburg

Let’s assume we want to fly Business Class from Sydney to Johannesburg in June 2018. A search using a Qantas Gold Frequent Flyer account revealed the following direct flights were available to redeem:

 Gold: Qantas Business Class reward seat space from SYD to JNB in June 2018
Gold: Qantas Business Class reward seat space from SYD to JNB in June 2018

As shown in the table, the search returned 7 flights during the month with one or more Business Class seats available.

Repeating the search using a Qantas Bronze Frequent Flyer account had the following results:

 Bronze: Qantas Business Class reward seat space from SYD to JNB in June 2018
Bronze: Qantas Business Class reward seat space from SYD to JNB in June 2018

As you can see, Qantas is following through on its advertised benefit of withholding reward space for top tier frequent flyers. Some may argue that this is unfair for people who have worked hard to stockpile large points balances, but I would also say that Qantas should focus on rewarding its most loyal members, and that is Gold/Platinum fliers.

As always, your best chance with Qantas reward seats is to get in early and keep checking.

Use Velocity Points to redeem Singapore Airlines award tickets across all cabins

From 31 August 2017, Velocity members will be able to redeem their Velocity Points for tickets across all Singapore Airlines cabin classes

From 31 August 2017, Velocity members will be able to redeem their Velocity Points for tickets across all Singapore Airlines cabin classes: Economy, Premium Economy, Business and First Class, including Suites.

Previously, it was only possible to book Premium Economy and First Class seats by transferring your Velocity Points to KrisFlyer Miles and then booking.

The number of points required for each ticket are based on Velocity’s ‘Table 2’ redemption table, which includes Etihad and Air New Zealand. The benefit of selecting Singapore Airlines over Etihad is that you won’t have to pay Velocity’s ridiculous ‘Etihad Airways Reward Seat Carrier Charge’ which is up to $300 USD per sector (depending on class of travel).

In some cases it may still make sense to transfer your Velocity Points to KrisFlyer to make a reward booking. For some routes there is a substantial difference in the number of points required. Other benefits from KrisFlyer include waitlisting for award tickets when there is no availability and also the ability to book First Class seats online instead of via a call centre. The cancellation terms may also differ between the two programs. As always, before making a booking weigh up your options to ensure you are getting good value from your points.