Our guide to the best frequent flyer programs for Australian travellers

Ever tried to compare frequent flyer programs? Lucky for you, we have some serious travel nerds at Flight Centre who know frequent flyer programs upside down and back-to-front. We’ve picked their brains, studied the fine print, and come up with the ultimate guide to helping you choose the best frequent flyer program – for you.

We cover six of the most relevant programs for Australians, from the following airlines: 

  • Qantas 
  • Virgin Australia 
  • Air New Zealand
  • Singapore Airlines 
  • Emirates 
  • Cathay Pacific

Our guide also contains insider tips, status hacks, and more. Let’s get started!

 

Comparing frequent flyer programs – what to look for 

There are some key features to get your head around when you’re attempting to evaluate which frequent flyer program is going to give you the best benefits. Remember that it’s not just about the best program, it’s about which program is best for you

  • Current behaviour – take an honest look at how you usually fly. Is there a destination you usually fly to? How often do you fly? Do you prefer one airline over another? There’s no point jumping over to a different airline’s frequent flyer program for the sake of a few extra points. It could end up costing you more in the long run if you’re buying more expensive flights just to accrue points. 
  • Earning points –  what are all the ways? Flying is not your only opportunity to rack up those reward points. Many frequent flyer programs also give you the chance to earn rewards through their partnerships with supermarkets, banks, fuel companies, hotels, car hire and other airlines. Basically, when you’re shopping for certain things, you could also be earning points. Look at where you usually shop, and go from there.  
  • Using points – the most obvious way to redeem your frequent flyer rewards is to put them toward another flight, but that’s not the only option available. Different programs have different rules, but you could potentially use your frequent flyer points for upgrades to your class of flight, hotel stays, car hire, shopping or dispersing between members of your immediate family. Be aware that the value of each point is fluid. The points you use to redeem a flight will have a different value to the points you use for online shopping, for example. Generally speaking, redeeming your points for flights offers the highest value per point.
  • Membership levels – what are they and how easy is it to move up? Frequent flyer programs will offer entry-level status as the bottom rung in a hierarchy of increasing prestige. It’s worth comparing what’s involved in jumping up to the next level.
  • Expiry of points – this will differ between airlines and you should be aware of the points expiry rules and regulations for any frequent flyer program you join.
  • Other benefits – depending on your status level, you could also enjoy other benefits such as increased baggage limits and lounge access. When comparing frequent flyer programs, be sure to look into the benefits at each status level. 

A note on credit cards: A credit card that is linked to your frequent flyer program can be an effective way to earn points faster. Banks usually offer some incredible joining incentives regarding frequent flyer points, and are regularly offering promotions and bonuses. The specific deals are always changing so do your homework if you’re looking for the best deal. Be aware that interest rates are usually higher for these types of credit cards. 

 

Frequent flyer programs for Australians 

Australians love to travel. As well as doing a bucket-load of domestic travel each year, we are frequently jetting off to London, Bali, New Zealand, the US, Japan, Fiji, Thailand, Singapore… it’s in our DNA. Below is a guide to some of the most popular frequent flyer programs in Australia starting with the big two: Qantas Frequent Flyer and Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer.

 

Qantas Frequent Flyer

With 13 million members, Qantas Frequent Flyer is Australia’s largest airline loyalty scheme. In 2019 Qantas made the biggest changes to its Frequent Flyer program that it has ever made in the program’s 32-year history. Some highlights include one million additional Reward seats added to Qantas and its airline partners (making it easier to get a seat using your points at Easter, Christmas and during school holidays – love that) and new airline partnerships with Air New Zealand, China Airlines and Air France. It also increased the number of points you’ll need to upgrade your class of travel.

 

Quick squiz at the benefits of a Qantas frequent flyer membership:

  • That oneworld network – with Qantas you can earn and use your frequent flyer points to travel to over 1,200 destinations around the world.
  • You have lots of easy ways to earn and redeem points.
  • Status for life is possible, with Silver, Gold and Platinum Lifetime Membership options (for the very, very frequent flyers).

 

Joining fee

$99.50 (unless you take up one of the many Qantas offers in which the joining fee is waived – see Qantas Frequent Flyer joining hacks, below)

Earning points 

You have several ways to earn points with Qantas:

Flying for business or leisure on every eligible flight with Qantas, Jetstar and over 50 oneworld member and partner airlines and their affiliates

Booking hotels, resorts, Airbnb stays, car hire and other travel experiences with Qantas partners

Shopping online through Qantas shopping (which gives you over 970 brands to choose from); purchasing food, wine, leisure and entertainment through Qantas partners; purchasing Qantas Club membership; earning points with partners such as Uber

Purchasing insurance, using a Qantas points-earning credit card from one of Australia’s major banks or using a Qantas Travel Money Card when you travel

Flying carbon neutral, for which you’ll receive 10 Qantas Points for every dollar you spend on carbon offsetting

 

Insider tip: Routing

Mark McCallum

Flight Centre Travel Expert, Business Leader and Qantas Platinum One member

Travel is a huge part of Mark’s role at Flight Centre. He travels long haul about once a month, has one personal break overseas a year, and lots of work trips in between. He’s a self-confessed frequent flyer nerd and has some great tips. 

“Unusual routing options is where a Flight Centre Travel Expert can make all the difference and help you accumulate points as well as status credits with your flights,” says Mark.  “If you don’t fly a lot, routing is your way to achieve status.”

What does he mean by ‘routing’? Routing is all about the route you take to reach your destination.

“Before I travelled a lot for work, the routing was how I got my status and kept it. I never used to fly very often so I always needed to make sure every flight gave me maximum value. A status run (in frequent flyer nerd circles) is where you map out the cheapest ticket you can buy which will earn you the most status points. Breaking a trip to Europe into two fares and looking for cheap tickets with partner airlines along the route can help you maximise your status points. This is where a consultant can really help you – it’s the kind of stuff you just can’t find online.”

Flight Centre note: Keep in mind that this is an involved type of fare to book. Mark’s advice is to make sure you go through a Flight Centre Travel Expert, make sure you have travel insurance, and avoid this type of creative routing if you have a tight schedule or zero flexibility with dates, such as on a corporate trip. Otherwise, enjoy!

 

 

Using points

Qantas gives you thousands of ways to use your points:

Flights

  • You can redeem Classic Flight Rewards and book flights (remember that taxes, fees and carrier charges are still payable) with Qantas, oneworld alliance partners and other partner airlines; 
  • If you don’t have enough points to get to your dream destination, you can use what points you do have and make up the dollar difference with Points Plus Pay; 
  • You can use your points to request a Classic Upgrade Reward and move from Flexible Economy to Business, for example. Note that there are some terms and conditions associated with redeeming points. 

Hotels and travel

  • Put your Qantas points toward tours, cruises, car hire, hotels, room upgrades, airbnb stays and luxury escapes. 

Shopping

  • There are more than 8,000 products in the Qantas Shopping Rewards Store, from hundreds of well known brands such as Apple, Bose, KitchenAid, SK-II and Samsonite. You can use your points to buy what you love.

Food and wine

  • You can use your Qantas points to shop online at Qantas Wine for premium wines, spirits, gourmet food, beer, cider and more.

 

Interesting fact: If you like the idea of shopping at Qantas Wine, it pays to become a Qantas Wine Premium member, because Qantas Wine Premium members earn 3 points per $1 spent whereas Qantas Frequent Flyer members earn 1 point per $1 spent.

 

Status credits

There are five status levels or membership tiers in a Qantas Frequent Flyer membership: 

  • Bronze (entry level)
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Platinum One

Which tier you belong to depends on how many Status Credits you have. Status credits are earned for paid travel or Points Plus Pay Flights. Note that Status Credits reset at the beginning of your membership year, but all Status Credits earned since joining the program are added together and count towards your Lifetime Status Credit total. You can check out Status Credits and Airline Earning Tables on the Qantas website for more detail.

 

How do you upgrade your Qantas Frequent Flyer status?

  • 300 Status Credits are needed to jump from Bronze to Silver and you also need to take at least four eligible Qantas, QantasLink or Jetstar flights in a membership year [You’ll only need 250 points to maintain your Silver status]
  • 700 Status Credits are needed to jump from Silver to Gold with the same flight requirements as above [You’ll only need 600 points to maintain your Gold status]
  • 1,400 Status Credits are needed to jump from Gold to Platinum, ditto flights above [You’ll only need 1,200 points to maintain your Platinum status]
  • 3,600 Status Credits are required to jump from Platinum to Platinum One, again with the same flight requirements as above

 

Expiry of points

Qantas Frequent Flyer points will only expire if you don’t earn more or redeem your existing points within an 18-month period. You can go to the Qantas website and view your activity statement at any time to find out if your points are going to expire any time soon.

 

 

Insider tip: Great value on round-the-world (RTW) redemption

Mark McCallum

Flight Centre Travel Expert, Business Leader and Qantas Platinum One member

“The other points hack would be the Qantas round-the-world redemption tickets. Consider that currently you need 318,000 Classic Flight Reward points for a Business Class round-the-world ticket, but to fly from Sydney to London return in Business Class will require about 285,000 points. These RTW tickets are incredible value and to be able to go around the world for not too much more than a return fare is pretty amazing. And RTW tickets come with a load of flexibility such as different airlines and different stops.” 

Flight Centre note: the number of points you need for a flight is subject to change, so regard these examples as a guide and refer to your Flight Centre Travel Expert for the most up-to-date requirements.

 

Sharing points 

Qantas does allow you to transfer a portion of your Qantas Points from your Frequent Flyer account to an eligible family member’s Frequent Flyer account. Note that by ‘eligible family member’ Qantas includes brothers, sisters, grandparents… even first cousins! 

You can transfer a minimum of 5,000 to a maximum of 600,000 points per transfer, with an unlimited number of transfers in any 12-month period. If you transfer the points online yourself, it’s free, but if you call the Frequent Flyer Service Centre and a consultant helps you, there’s a A$35 fee.

You can also use your points to make a Reward flight booking for a family member, provided you have the required amount of points. While you can transfer Frequent Flyer points with Qantas, you can’t transfer Status Credits. Those babies you have to earn.

 

Living the dream

For what Qantas calls their ‘highest fliers’, they have Lifetime Platinum. This is for members who earn over 75,000 Lifetime Status Credits and is essentially Platinum Status for life. Lifetime Platinum includes access to Qantas International First Lounges and Domestic Business Lounges, priority check-in on all routes, 100 percent more Qantas points on flights and a whole lot more.

 

Qantas Frequent Flyer joining hacks (correct at the time of writing but these things change FAST!)

  • Sign up via Woolworths’ Everyday Rewards and score a Qantas Frequent Flyer membership as part of the package
  • Sign up via the Qantas app
  • Join Qantas’ Wine Club (for a fee) and get complimentary Frequent Flyer membership
  • Other Qantas partners who sometimes offer free membership promotions include Mastercard, Avis and Deliveroo

 

 

Velocity Frequent Flyer (Virgin Australia) 

Australia’s other major airline loyalty scheme is the Velocity Frequent Flyer program by Virgin Australia, which has just under 10 million members. One of the major differences between the two is that Velocity has no joining fee and also offers Family Pooling when it comes to sharing points. For a direct comparison between each program, see our comparison chart. (ANCHOR LINK)

 

Quick squiz at the benefits of a Velocity frequent flyer membership:

  • No joining fee
  • Family Points Pooling
  • Easy to earn points with partners like flybuys and Virgin mobile
  • Points expiry time

 

Joining fee

No joining fee.

Earning points 

Virgin Australia gives you loads of ways to earn your Velocity points:

Flying with Virgin Australia and airline partners such as Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Tigerair and Delta Air Lines, on eligible flights (and if you have Silver, Gold or Platinum Status, you’ll earn a Velocity Points bonus when booking with selected Velocity travel partners, Virgin Australia flights and flights with Etihad Airways)

Booking hotels, resorts, car hire and other travel experiences with Velocity partners

Buying everyday essentials from Velocity partners, such as fuel from BP, your phone plan from Virgin Mobile, rideshare with Ola; shopping at the Velocity eStore, which includes over 200 international and national retailers and offers a number of points per dollar spent

Purchasing financial products such as insurance, superannuation or home loans; by using Virgin’s own Velocity credit card, a Velocity points-earning credit card from one of Australia’s major banks or from international providers such as American Express and Diners Club International

Note that earning Status Credits is slightly different to earning Velocity Points. Check out our section on Status Credits, below.

 

Using points

The Velocity program gives you as many ways to redeem your points as it does to earn them:

Flights

  • You can use your points to book Reward Seats or any eligible seats on flights to over 600 destinations worldwide (remember that taxes, fees and carrier charges are still payable);
  • To upgrade on Virgin Australia flights; 
  • To book flights with Tigerair Australia or holiday packages with Tigerair travels (use Points + Pay if you don’t have enough points)
  • To add services to your Tigerair Australia booking, such as checked baggage, food, drinks and seating choice.

Hotels and travel

  • You can use your Velocity points (or Points + Pay) to enjoy hotel stays as well as the whole holiday experience, with packages from Virgin Australia Holidays that include flights, accommodation, tours, transfers, insurance, car hire, events and experiences. You can also use your points for car hire alone, with partner Europcar.

Shopping

  • Velocity Frequent Flyer has the Rewards Store, where you can shop across categories such as electronics, fashion, home, health and beauty, and entertainment, using your points. (This is different to the Velocity eStore – an online shopping mall in which you earn points as you shop.)

 

Hot tip: If you don’t have enough points to get the reward you’re after, you can buy extra points with Velocity Points Booster.

 

Wait up – why make up the difference by buying points instead of just using Points + Pay? Because there is always a minimum points requirement on Reward Seats, and the only way to satisfy that requirement is with actual points. 

Points Booster is all about getting you that Reward Seat, while Points + Pay is a way of paying for the taxes on your Reward Seat or other services such as car hire and Virgin Australia Holidays.

 

Status credits

In contrast, there are only a few ways to earn Status Credits. The more Status Credits you have, the higher your membership tier. The higher your tier, the greater the benefits.

There are four status levels or membership tiers in a Velocity Frequent Flyer membership: 

  • Red (entry level)
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum

As well as having the required amount of Status Credits, you will also need to have flown the minimum Eligible Sectors in order to upgrade and maintain your Velocity membership. (What’s an Eligible Sector? Any flight that begins with a VA flight number and does not include Reward Seats.)

As soon as your Status Credit and Eligible Sector balances reach the required number to upgrade you’ll be automatically bumped up to the next level, which you can then enjoy for 12 months. Benefits across the levels include lounge access, priority check-in, points bonuses and more.

Velocity Frequent Flyer Status Credits will expire 12 months from the date they are earned, regardless of tier. Unfortunately no status-for-life, at least maintaining a Status Level is slightly easier than achieving it in the first place.

 

Upgrade your status

To achieve Silver Status: Earn 250 Status Credits + Fly 2 Eligible Sectors

To achieve Gold Status: Earn 500 Status Credits + Fly 4 Eligible Sectors

To achieve Platinum Status: Earn 1,000 Status Credits + Fly 8 Eligible Sectors

 

Maintain your status

To maintain Silver Status: Earn 200 Status Credits + Fly 2 Eligible Sectors

To maintain Gold Status: Earn 400 Status Credits + Fly 4 Eligible Sectors

To maintain Platinum Status: Earn 800 Status Credits + Fly 8 Eligible Sectors

 

Expiry of points

Velocity Frequent Flyer points will only expire after 24 months of inactivity. So that’s a full two years without earning or redeeming any points. Given that it’s relatively easy to earn points without flying (Coles, anyone?) you shouldn’t need to worry about your points expiring unless you really drop the ball. What’s more, Velocity will email you at least 30 days before your points are due to expire.

 

Did you know? You can suspend your frequent flyer membership if you’re welcoming a new addition to the family. Both Qantas and Velocity Frequent Flyer offer this to members of the silver tier or above. Check out the full terms and conditions on the relevant airline’s website.

 

Sharing points

Velocity takes the family benefits to another level with their Family Points Pooling. Amongst family members living at the same address, you can choose to pool either Points or Points and Status Credits into one account, so that one person fast-tracks their Velocity Points (and potentially Status Credits) and is then able to nominate a different beneficiary in the family and repeat the fast-tracking process all over again. 

Velocity Frequent Flyer also enables you to transfer between 5,000 and 125,000 points from your Velocity account to the account of an eligible family member, up to four times per membership year.

While we’re on the topic of families, Velocity allows you to pause a Platinum, Gold or Silver membership for six months if you’re expecting a new addition to your family. Check out the terms and conditions on this one if you wish to apply.

 Hot tip: If you are travelling as a family, Family Points Pooling is definitely the way to get more benefits for everyone. The extra status achieved by the ‘first’ beneficiary leads to a higher points-earning rate when flying, which gets you to the status you want faster, and also includes additional perks such as a couple of lounge passes a year.    

 

Qantas v Velocity comparison table

It’s not easy to offer a direct side-by-side comparison of how many points you will earn flying with either Qantas or Virgin Australia. The rate at which you earn points depends on several factors, including:

  • which fare class you’re travelling in
  • what type of ticket you’ve purchased
  • which membership tier you belong to
  • whether your flight is domestic or international
  • which airline you’re travelling with (such as a partner airline, for example)

Qantas has a Minimum Points Guarantee, ensuring you earn at least 1,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points for every eligible one-way Qantas Economy flight you take, and at least 1,250 points in Business and First. There’s also an Earning Points and Status Credits Calculator on the Qantas website, which makes calculating what you’ll earn on your specific flights a whole lot easier.

Virgin hands out their points slightly differently. You’ll earn 5 points per $1 spent on all eligible domestic fares (plus bonus points for Velocity status members). International fares are different, and also differ by airline. Virgin also has status credit tables which can help you work out what status credits you’ll earn when you fly.   

*This is information is incredibly simplified, so we advise you to consult the relevant Velocity and Qantas pages for the specific terms and conditions.

 

Cameron Robert

Flight Centre Travel Expert and Velocity member (Platinum)

"You can use all your points to buy a Reward seat but on Reward seats you don’t accrue any points for the travel – so it doesn’t help your status. It’s better to have paid cash for the base seat, earn the tier points and mileage points for the seat, then use your points to upgrade further. That way you get a luxury seat at an Economy price, but you still get your sectors and your points, and you’re really maximising the loyalty structure and the free currency structure. And what if paying for that one seat kicked you up into the next membership tier? Read those terms and conditions, read those tables, because they literally teach you how to get the most out of the frequent flyer program and use the structure to your advantage. They show you where the most benefit is to be gained."  

 

 

Emirates Skywards

Emirates is a popular airline for Australian travellers and when Emirates Skywards hit the milestone of 20 million members in early 2018, more than 1.7 million of them were Australian. Skywards costs nothing to join and is known for offering members exclusive access to world-class events such as European Football matches, Formula 1 and more. Emirates Skywards also has a strategic alliance with Qantas, which means you can earn and redeem Skywards Miles when you fly with Qantas.

 

Quick squiz at the benefits of Emirates Skywards membership:

  • No joining fee
  • Unique partnership with Qantas
  • Ability to pool your points with a My Family account
  • The Emirates Citi World Mastercard is one of the few international loyalty programs linked to an Australian credit card

 

Joining fee

No joining fee.

Earning points 

With Emirates Skywards, it’s all about generating Miles. There are two types of Miles within the Emirates Skywards program – Skywards Miles and Tier Miles. Here’s a breakdown of how they differ:

Skywards Miles: the miles you earn while flying Emirates or flydubai and are calculated on the combination of route, fare type, class of travel and tier. 

Tier Miles: just as valuable, and are earned every time you fly with Emirates or flydubai. The difference is that Tier Miles cannot be spent; they are only used to build up your tier status from Blue through Silver and Gold, to Platinum. The number of Tier Miles you earn on any given flight is calculated on route, fare and class of travel.

 

There are loads of ways to earn Skywards Miles:

Flying with Emirates, flydubai, Qantas, Jetstar, Malaysia Airlines, Japan Airlines and more

Using the Emirates Citi World Mastercard – one of the only international loyalty programs linked to an Australian credit card

Book your car rental or hotel stay with Emirates Skywards partners such as Avis, Budget, Marriott, Hilton, Novotel and more

Shop with selected retail and lifestyle brands, such as Bicester Village, or at Heathrow Airport, where you can convert your Skywards Miles into Heathrow Rewards

 

Using points

Here are some of the ways you can redeem your Skywards Miles:

  • Reward flights and upgrades on Emirates, flydubai and Emirates’ worldwide partners;
  • Reward upgrades, from Economy Class to Business Class or from Business Class to First Class;
  • Luxury hotel stays, fun days out at attractions such as Ski Dubai and Wild Wadi Water Park, on tickets to a wide range of sporting and cultural events;
  • Tickets to world-class sporting and cultural events;
  • On flights for family and friends across Emirates, flydubai and partner airlines
  • Donate your Miles to any one of a range of charities.

 

Hot tip: If you want to bring down the cost of your flight with Emirates, you may be eligible to pay via ‘Cash+Miles’.

 

Status credits

There are four tiers within the Emirates Skywards program:

  • Blue (entry level)
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum

There are two ways to move up a tier: by collecting the required amount of Tier Miles or completing the number of flights needed to reach the next level. For example, to jump from Blue to Silver, you need 25,000 Tier Miles or 25 qualified flights under your belt.

Collecting Tier Miles? If you’re travelling on the Emirates-Qantas network, you’ll need to book flights with an Emirates code (EK flight number) to continue to collect Tier Miles. 

Expiry of points

It’s a quirky arrangement but Skywards Miles are valid for three years from the date of travel and then, when you get to the calendar year in which your Miles are due to expire, they will be removed from your account at the end of the month in which you were born. 

It’s a bit rough on those Capricorns, but that’s how Emirates Skywards works. 

So say you earned Miles in June 2016 and your birthday is in January, these Miles will expire on 31 January 2019. Likewise if your birthday is in November, those Miles will expire on 30 November 2019.

As an Emirates Skywards member, you can set automated messages from your My Account page to remind you when your Skywards Miles are due to expire. You can also pay to extend Miles that are due to expire in the next 3 months, and you’ll find full details on the Buy Miles page of the Emirates website.

Sharing points (Miles)

Emirates has a thing called My Family, which enables you to pool your Skywards Miles into one account and enjoy the benefits of higher status sooner. 

You can choose from different percentages of Miles to pool, or pool 100% of your Miles. Including the primary Skywards member, a My Family membership can contain up to eight people, including the Nanny. 

Note that Tier Miles cannot be shared, and will continue to be credited to individual Emirates Skywards accounts.

  

Kari Edie

Flight Centre Travel Expert and Velocity member (Gold)

  • If you’re with Velocity and you also collect Flybuys points, wait until there’s a special offer to convert your Flybuys to Velocity points. Sometimes there are promotions where you can get 15% more Velocity points for your Flybuys, depending when you convert. 
  • Get in early to book your redemption seats if you know when you want to travel. 
  • If you’re not with a frequent flyer program and you’re planning international travel, it’s worth looking into. Perhaps your flights could earn you a domestic flight when you get home.

 

 

 

Air New Zealand Airpoints 

Air New Zealand’s loyalty program is called Airpoints, where you can earn Airpoints Dollars. Anyone can join and membership is free. A Koru Membership is similar to Australia’s Qantas Club, where there is a joining fee as well as a membership fee.

  

Quick squiz at the benefits of Air New Zealand Airpoints membership:

  • No joining fee
  • Airpoints are valid for four years
  • Member of the Star Alliance network and also partnered with Cathay Pacific

 

Joining fee

No joining fee.

Earning points 

There are a number of ways to earn Airpoints Dollars with Air New Zealand:

On every Air New Zealand flight (with the exception of greenlight Grabaseat fares, and flights bought with Airpoint Dollars) and on selected flights operated by Air New Zealand’s 30+ partner airlines

By using a credit card from one of Air New Zealand’s card partners

By booking with Air New Zealand’s hotel or car rental travel partners

 

Using points

Here are some of the ways you can spend your Airpoints Dollars:

  • On Air New Zealand ticketed and operated flights (you can combine your Airpoints Dollars with cash if you don’t have the required amount, which is called Airpoints Flexipay)
  • On car hire with Avis or Budget
  • To upgrade your seat to a premium cabin class
  • To purchase Koru Programme membership

 

Status credits

Air New Zealand calls these ‘Status Points’, and you can earn Status Points on eligible Air New Zealand flights as well as many Star Alliance and partner flights.

Tiers (and the Status Points required to reach them) are as follows:

  • Silver (450)
  • Gold (900)
  • Elite (1,500)

As you move up a tier, you’ll be entitled to an increasing number of benefits that you can make use of when you are travelling on eligible Air New Zealand, Star Alliance, Cathay Pacific (with a NZ flight number), Aerolineas Argentinas, Etihad Airways and Virgin Atlantic flights. This includes lounge access, upgrades, extra baggage allowances and more.

 

Expiry of points

Your Airpoints tier determines when your Airpoints Dollars expire. 

If you’re a Silver Airpoints member, you have four years to use your points, starting from the date the points were added to your account. The oldest points are automatically used first. 

If you’re a Gold or Elite Airpoint member, your points won’t expire as long as you maintain your Elite or Gold status.

 

Sharing Points (Miles)

In sassy Air New Zealand style, the capability to share Airpoints is called Shairpoints, but it’s only available to New Zealand-based Shairpoints members. What’s on offer is the ability to create a Shairpoints account between up to four friends and family, with the purpose of combining Airpoints Dollars and helping each member get to greater rewards, faster. You can also gift Airpoints to anyone in your household for the purpose of flying with Air New Zealand. 

 

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer  

The frequent flyer program of Singapore Airlines is the KrisFlyer program and it’s free to join. Members can earn KrisFlyer miles, which are earned and can then be redeemed, as well as Elite miles, which count toward qualifying for Elite Silver and Elite Gold membership. Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance network and has additional airline partnerships.

For the travellers who frequently fly in the premium cabin classes, there is PPS – Priority Passenger Service, otherwise known as the PPS Club. The PPS Club gives travellers the highest level of recognition, and to achieve PPS Club status you need to accumulate 25,000 PPS Value. This can only be accumulated when you fly in Singapore Airlines Suites, First Class or Business Class, or Business Class on SilkAir. Privileges include access to the First Class area of Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounges, increased baggage allowance, priority check-in and more.

 

Quick squiz at the benefits of Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer membership:

  • No joining fee
  • Member of the Star Alliance network and other partners such as Virgin Australia

 

Joining fee

No joining fee

Earning points 

There are plenty of ways to rack up your KrisFlyer miles flying with Singapore Airlines and their regional airline, SilkAir. (SilkAir flies from Singapore to 41 cities in 15 countries in Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, East Asia and Australia.) As well as being part of the Star Alliance network, Singapore Airlines has arrangements with Star Alliance Connecting Partners, plus Scoot, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia and Vistara.

 

OK here’s how you can earn those KrisFlyer miles:

By flying with Singapore Airlines or any of their airline partners (number of miles you earn will depend on which airline, your flight number and how far you’re flying)

By using either Singapore Airlines Westpac Gold or Westpac Platinum credit card, or a credit card from one of Singapore Airlines’ other financial partners, such as ANZ, Bank SA, nab, St George and more

By renting a car with providers like Avis, Europcar and Hertz, but make sure you read the fine print because it will need to be from a participating location and at a qualifying rate

By staying in an affiliated hotel or serviced apartment

By shopping with a range of retail partners and other services

 

Note: Earning KrisFlyer miles is different to earning Elite miles. KrisFlyer miles are earned in a variety of ways (above) and can be redeemed for travel. Elite miles are earned in a more limited way (only on select flights) and are accrued to determine your level of Elite status. See more about status credits below.

 

Using points

Here are some of the ways you can redeem your KrisFlyer miles:

  • Flying on an award ticket to over 1,000 destinations in 170 countries
  • Upgrading your purchased ticket to Premium Economy Class, Business Class, First Class and Singapore Airline Suites 
  • Mixing your KrisFlyer miles and cash on Flyscoot.com, where you can use your KrisFlyer miles to pay for not just airfares but also taxes and selected extras
  • Gifting your points to a family or friend, with the option to nominate up to five people as your redemption nominees

 

Status credits

There are three tiers within the KrisFlyer program:

  • KrisFlyer
  • KrisFlyer Elite Silver
  • KrisFlyer Elite Gold

To jump from the entry-level tier of KrisFlyer to KrisFlyer Elite Silver, you need 25,000 Elite miles, earned within 12 consecutive months.

To jump from KrisFlyer Elite Silver to KrisFlyer Elite Gold, you need to earn at least 50,000 Elite miles within 12 months.

Because Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, you’ll earn Elite miles when you fly with Virgin Australia as long as you are flying on a Singapore Airlines codeshare flight within Australia, Trans-Tasman, and between Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Elite status lasts for 12 calendar months only.

 

Expiry of points

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles expire after 36 months, regardless of activity.

 

Sharing points (miles)

Sharing points with Singapore Airlines is not as simple as with Virgin Australia or Qantas, but it is possible. With the KrisFlyer program you can nominate up to five individuals as Redemption Nominees.  This means that you can redeem your KrisFlyer miles or award tickets or flight upgrades for your Nominees, and/or pay for their tickets on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir with your KrisFlyer miles when you book online. 

 

 

Cathay Pacific 

The Marco Polo Club is the frequent flyer program of Cathay Pacific, where members accumulate points by flying. 

Asia Miles is an independent travel rewards program that is partnered with Cathay Pacific (among other airlines). With Asia Miles, you can accumulate points in a variety of ways, including flying and shopping.

 

Quick squiz at the benefits of Cathay Pacific’s Marco Polo Club membership:

  • Part of the oneworld network
  • Special partnership with Air New Zealand
  • Priority boarding and check-in from the entry-level Green tier
  • Unlimited lounge access at the Silver tier

 

Joining fee

There is an enrolment fee of USD100 to join the Marco Polo Club and obtain entry-level Green tier status. At the end of your 12-month membership, you can renew with 20 club points or pay a renewal fee of USD100. If you join Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club, you’ll gain automatic membership to the Asia Miles program free of charge.

Earning points 

With Marco Polo Club

Earn points whenever you fly in eligible fare classes with Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon or any oneworld alliance airline. The number of points you earn is calculated on a combination of airline, cabin, fare class and distance travelled.

With Asia Miles

 Earn Asia Miles whenever you fly with one of the Asia Miles partner airlines such as Qantas, Malaysia Airlines, and Air New Zealand.

Booking hotels, resorts, cruises, car hire and other travel experiences with Asia Miles partners

Shopping with retail partners including Clarins, Samsonite and other (mostly Asia-centric) brands

Purchasing insurance from a partner company or using an Asia Miles points-earning credit card

Earn points at partner restaurants and other suppliers (mostly located throughout Asia)

Using points

Marco Polo Club points 

These are used to indicate your membership tier status. As you earn more Club points, you move up to the next level and enjoy more benefits. Depending which membership tier you belong to, perks include priority reservations and boarding, lounge access and flight upgrades, and discounts with hotel partners. Marco Polo Club points reset to zero upon renewal, upgrade or downgrade and a new membership year begins.

Asia Miles

Asia Miles are the currency for Cathay Pacific (and other airline) flight redemptions. They can also be used for lifestyle award redemptions including travel and entertainment, and are valid for three years. 

Status credits

There are four tiers within the Marco Polo Club:

  • Green
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Diamond

 

 

How do you get from Marco Polo Green to Silver, and beyond?

  • 300 club points will take you from Green to Silver
  • 600 club points will take you from Silver to Gold
  • 1,200 club points will take you from Gold to Diamond

 

Marco Polo Club also offers mid-tier benefits:

 

200 club points will get a Green tier member one business class lounge pass.

450 club points will get a Silver tier member two business class lounge passes.

800 club points will get a Gold tier member two business class lounge passes.

1,400 club points will get a Diamond tier member two first or business class lounge passes.

 

Expiry of points

Marco Polo Club membership is renewed annually, so points in your account are reset to zero either on the anniversary of your joining date or when you qualify for a tier upgrade or downgrade. Asia Miles are valid for three years from the month mileage is created.

 

Sharing points (Miles)

Cathay Pacific’s Marco Polo Club doesn’t have a system for sharing points with family and friends, although the Silver members have their priority boarding and waiver of seat selection fees extended to a travelling companion. At the next level, Gold members can bring a guest into the lounges of Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon.

 

Airline partner networks – who’s connected to who

Oneworld alliance

  • Qantas
  • Jetstar
  • Air New Zealand
  • Air Niugini
  • Air Vanuatu
  • Airnorth
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Dragon
  • Cathay Pacific
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • El Al
  • Emirates
  • Fiji Airways
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LATAM
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qatar Airways
  • S7 Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines
  • WestJet

Virgin Australia’s codeshare and interline partners 

  • Delta Air Lines Alliance
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Singapore Airlines Alliances
  • Hong Kong Airlines Alliance
  • Hainan Airlines Alliance
  • Etihad Airways Alliance
  • South African Airways
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Alitalia
  • Air Canada
  • Air New Zealand
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Serbia
  • Alaska Airlines
  • All Nippon Airways
  • EVA Air
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • PNG Air

Star Alliance global airline network

  • Adria Airways
  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • Air New Zealand
  • ANA
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian
  • Avianca
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • EGYPTAIR
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • Scandinavian Airlines
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • SWISS
  • TAP Portugal
  • THAI
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United

 

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