The reality in Australia is that for the purposes of frequent flyer points, you’ve got two main choices, being Qantas and Virgin.
Qantas’s program is called Qantas Frequent Flyer, while Virgin Australia runs theirs under the name of Velocity Frequent Flyer. The first thing you should do is join both of them, even if you’re feeling particularly aligned to only one. Do this for every member of your immediate family who you fly with.
While you’re at it, join flybuys as well. We don’t talk too much about flybuys on Point Hacks, but that will certainly increase now they and Etihad are working together, finally putting the ‘Fly’ back into flybuys.
There’ll be times when you can’t travel with your chosen carrier, but still have the opportunity to earn some points. As you’ll see when we get to the offers section, both airlines don’t always cater for every market either. For example, you can earn Velocity points for getting fuel at BP, but Qantas no longer has a fuel partner. Some points are better than no points.
If you have an ABN and fly Qantas often enough, joining Aquire is also a good idea. Essentially this doubles your points earn from flying, but does involve a one off fee of $89.50.
As you get more accustomed to earning points and the different strategies involved, you may want to look at joining a few other programs – we’ve run down the top 10 programs to know for domestic and international use.
One other note- make sure you sign up to all your Frequent Flyer (and Point Hacks) mailing lists to hear of any points earning opportunities.
Alliances & Partnerships
Airline alliances are a pretty big deal, with the three main ones on the planet being oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam. As much of a big deal as they might be, oneworld is the only one that represents an Australian airline, being Qantas. Qantas also have agreements with other airlines not in oneworld as well, including Jetstar and Emirates.
Virgin Australia aren’t part of an official alliance, but have partnership agreements with a number of other airlines, such as Etihad, Air New Zealand, Delta and Singapore Airlines to name a few.
Airline partnerships mean you can travel seamlessly between the airlines, as well as earn and redeem your native points on partner airlines. You don’t need to join the frequent flyer program of every airline you fly, as most will be part of an agreement with either Qantas or Virgin.
An example of this is that you can earn Qantas points while flying with American Airlines, and then use those points down the track on Cathay Pacific.
Likewise you can earn Velocity points with Hawaiian Airlines and spend them with Etihad.
There is an argument to decide an airline or alliance reasonably early on if you want to maximise your points earn, but that decision isn’t for everyone either.
The reality is that you can get almost anywhere with either airline. If you’re happy to split your points to wherever they may land, then you don’t need to make a decision right away. For me though, I’d rather have 100,000 points in one, than 50,000 in each – I like all my points in one basket. That’s just my personal preference and some people prefer to have a more diversified frequent flyer portfolio.
Earning Points: First Principles
- Getting Started with Frequent Flyer programs
- Earning by Flying
- Buying points and miles
- Earning from Credit Cards
- Earning from Offers & Partners
- Ask Questions & Keep in the Loop
- Earning and Using Points – First Principles
Using Points: First Principles
- Who, What, When, Where and How?
- Flexible Points Programs
- Maximising Points value
- Qantas and Virgin Australia Key Partners
- Searching for points seats