Latest changes in flights, points and airlines: impact on Aussie travellers

Point Hacks has carried out all the research to bring Australian frequent flyers the latest and most important changes in flight travel.

 

This independent platform of one of Australia’s biggest communities of airline rewards expert has a knowledgeable team of frequent flyers who regularly scour for travel news and offers to help Aussies improve their travel. Now, it explains what the six latest changes in air-travel mean for the Aussie traveller.

 

Daniel Sciberras, spokesperson for Point Hacks, says: “From a big round of Virgin points offers, to changes in carrier charges, flight paths and popular airport lounges, we want to ensure Aussie frequent flyers can leverage those changes to their own benefit.” 

 

Point Hacks’ 6 latest changes in flights, points, airlines and airports – and what they mean for you

 

  1. Velocity increases its carrier charges. Velocity Frequent Flyer introduced a new carrier charge in January on some Virgin Australia and Delta Airline flights to cover increasing operating costs. Travellers now pay an additional fee on their ticket, including award redemptions.

 

What it means for you: A reason why some frequent flyers were attracted to Velocity is because taxes and charges for award redemptions were cheaper than Qantas award flights. These new carrier charges are now more in line with Qantas. Those redeeming points for domestic and trans-Tasman flights in Economy will see the highest percentage increase: a $3.50 charge for a one-way domestic or trans-Tasman flight in Economy is now $10, a $35 charge for an Economy flight to Tokyo (Haneda) is now $45, while a $230 for Business Class flight to Los Angeles remains unchanged.

 

  1. Cathay Pacific temporarily closes three lounges. Due to the coronavirus and political strife in Hong Kong reducing travel demand, Cathay Pacific has temporarily closed three of its lounges at Hong Kong International Airport: The Pier First Class Lounge, The Bridge Business Class Lounge and The Bridge Business Class Lounge.

What it means for you: For those continuing to travel or transit through Hong Kong with other airlines, there is no indication currently that other lounges linked to other airlines will follow suit. With six branded lounges at Hong Kong Airport, Cathay Pacific is doing this to help it operate in this climate. With Smartraveller.gov.au issuing an ‘exercise a high degree of caution’ warning to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Point Hacks recommends Aussies to follow the advice published on this site.[1]

  1. Brisbane reveals launch date of new airport runaway. Brisbane Airport Corporation, the operator of Brisbane Airport, has confirmed that the new international runway will be in operation on 12 July. It has been under construction for the last eight years, with the expectation of luring more international flights to the city.

 

What it means for you: Travellers will likely have more international flights, destinations and choices flying to and from Brisbane. However, it is yet to be determined whether the flights will be in addition to, or replace current international flights to and from Melbourne and Sydney. The new runway may also see competition between international flights landing into Sydney in the evening, with Sydney Airport having an 11pm curfew for flight arrivals, while Brisbane has no restrictions. Geographically, Brisbane is well-placed to be Australia’s third connecting hub to the rest of the world.

 

  1. Virgin Australia axes its daily Sydney-Hong Kong flight. Since 2 March, Virgin Australia stopped its daily Sydney to Hong Kong flight, with the airline saying, “Hong Kong is no longer a commercially viable route for [it] to continue operating”. This followed its November announcement when Virgin Australia stopped its Melbourne to Hong Kong route, from 11 February.


What it means for you: For those who believe prices for flights to Hong Kong will go down due to decreased demand for travel to Hong Kong, you may be disappointed. Qantas and Cathay Pacific are mitigating the fall in demand by reducing their flight schedules between Australia and Hong Kong, which will likely cause little movement in prices. But we may see prices fall slightly to entice people to travel during this time, so carriers can still cover the costs required to operate a full plane.

 

  1. Velocity offers multiple new offers and promotions. Velocity members can earn plenty of points, thanks to various new partnerships and offers. Firstly, members can earn up to 20,000 bonus Velocity Points on one-way or return direct flights to LA or Tokyo (Haneda) for travel up until 31 May, when an offer is activated by 16 March.[2] Secondly, new and existing Optus customers can earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points when signing up for the first time or to a new contract term on eligible plans before 12 March.[3] Thirdly, Velocity’s existing partnership with ride-sharing app Ola has expanded to offer Velocity Silver, Gold and Platinum members 3-4 Velocity points per $1 spent on rides – previously 2 points per dollar. Lastly, Point Hacks has done to research to source the latest Virgin Australia promo codes for domestic and international flights offering up to 10 per cent off (see table below). There are currently no expiry dates on the promo codes and have been tested to work for travel until November 2020.[4]

    What it means for you: Given the current climate and threat of coronavirus, Virgin Australia is likely offering multiple promotions and offers to encourage travellers to make future bookings. As a result, members have more opportunities to earn points through limited-time offers.

 

Code

Discount

Destinations

Fare class

Advance purchase restriction

BVZ27

10%

Domestic flights

Elevate, Freedom, Business Saver, Business

20 days

BHJ23

10%

Domestic and select international flights to Denpasar, Nadi etc.

Getaway, Elevate, Business Saver, Business

20 days

BKT24

5-10%

Domestic and international flights

Getaway, Elevate, Business Saver, Business

N/A

FGZ45

5-10%

Domestic and international flights

Getaway, Elevate, Business Saver, Business

N/A

PTV47

5-10%

Domestic flights

Elevate, Business Saver

N/A

DSX57

5-10%

Domestic flights

Elevate, Business Saver

20 days

JTX27

5-10%

Domestic flights

Elevate, Business Saver, Business

20 days

 

  1. Virgin Australia opens ‘Summer Pop Up’ lounge in Adelaide. With Virgin Australia’s Adelaide Airport lounge under refurbishment until April (date to be confirmed), a temporary ‘Summer Pop Up’ lounge has been set up near Gates 15 and 16.

 

What it means for you: There are minimal details about the lounge at this stage, but it’s expected to be in the same theme as Sydney and Melbourne’s airport lounges. Passengers will get access through most of the usual methods. However, it won’t provide access to passengers on arrival, single-entry passes, and passengers flying on partner airlines.

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