In March, the aviation industry came to a ligament-pinging halt. So even though the pandemic is now calming, as the fibres of global tourism gingerly knit themselves back together, it’s unlikely you’ll travel much for the rest of 2020.
For this reason, Qantas and Virgin Australia have paused their loyal members’ status for a year. In other words: you don’t need to fly this year to remain considered a frequent flyer.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t grow your points balance. As points hacking expert (and owner of Flight Hacks, a website which shows you how to make the most of airline loyalty programs all across the world) Immanuel Debeer has told DMARGE exclusively, there are a number of smart ways you can earn Qantas Points this year – without setting a foot on the tarmac.
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Starting off with “on ground tricks” which can help you net points, Immanuel told us that for those in the know, this aspect of points building really hasn’t changed: “The ironic part of frequent flyer points is that most of them are earned on the ground anyway.”
“Gone are the days where you need to sit strapped into an economy seat clocking up miles. Frequent flyer credit cards are king and there have been a lot of… promos (recently) to boost our points balances.”
“Personally,” Immanuel tells us, “I’ve moved all my spend to my Amex Platinum since they are offering double points on all spend. I also keep my eyes peeled for other promotions that people can take advantage of [like] the Airwallex deal with 40k Qantas points after making an international money transfer of $4000.”
“There are plenty of bonus deals to be had in the Qantas wine store as well.”
While Immanuel, who is based “behind the iron curtain that is Western Australia” has “zero domestic trips planned” right now (“Australia might continue international travel before Western Australia opens its domestic borders”) Immanuel has his sights set on flying internationally as soon as it is permitted.
“My money is still on July for international travel to slowly open up, in which case I will be ready to go.”
“I have a lot of international travel booked for this year and I’m still staying positive that some of it might go ahead… who knows!” Immanuel added. “While I have no flights booked with Qantas I do have a bunch of flights with ANA, Swiss Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Air France, and Qatar Airways.”
As for the more strategic aspect of maximising points, Immanuel told us, in his opinion, Australians seeking to get the most out of their Qantas points this year should stick to the same techniques as usual: “My strategies of earning points remain the same. I prefer to earn flexible rewards but Qantas is the next best/secure thing.”
“Unless you think travel won’t be a thing anymore after #rona, you should still focus on getting those frequent flyer points on the ground. There are plenty of deals and offers around which require no flying at all so there really is no better time than now to boost your points balance and have it ready to go when travel is a thing again.”
Keen to start booking trips? Soon after we spoke to Immanuel we received an email from Qantas notifying us of their new ‘fly well’ program, which is set to improve flexibility for customers. Granted: this comes at a time where not many people will be booking trips anyway, and as we reported last week, international travel, even once countries open their borders, will be a grey area (at best) for insurance.
Not to mention, in our opinion, the rumours around $19 Sydney to Melbourne flights are vastly overhyped.
However, for those who are using this time to take advantage of the crazy deals flying around, it makes one aspect of your decision a little bit less (financially) risky. How so, exactly?
As for domestic flights, “Customers can book any Qantas or Jetstar Australian domestic flight between 21 May and 30 June 2020, for travel between 12 June and 31 October 2020, and we will waive the change fee one time if you decide to change the date of your travel,” Qantas recently announced. That said: “Customers will have to cover any fare increase (if relevant) for the new booking.”
Regarding international flight credit extensions, Qantas says, “Further flexibility has been introduced for international bookings (excluding Trans-Tasman). Customers with an existing Qantas or Jetstar international flight booking, for travel between 1 August and 31 October 2020, who wish to change their plans, can cancel their booking and retain the full value as a flight credit.”
“Flight credits must be requested by 30 June 2020 and are valid for booking and travel across domestic and international services by 31 December 2021. Jetstar credit vouchers allow up to two years to travel from issue date. Customers will have to cover any fare increase (if relevant) for the new booking.”
Finally, Qantas added: “If a flight is cancelled by us, customers will be rebooked on the next available flight at no additional cost. Alternatively, customers can choose a flight credit or a refund.”
Your next trip awaits.