Qantas and Virgin are giving their rewards programs a major shakeup in 2020

Two major Australian airlines are embarking on revamp of their frequent flyer programs in 2020 with changes that will see business passengers in particular reap hefty rewards.

Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer and Qantas Frequent Flyer passengers can expect to be rewarded more often and to a greater degree for their patronage as both companies shore up member benefits in a bid to ensure loyalty in an increasingly volatile market.

As is always the case, the level of benefits you receive or the additional services to which you have access may depend on attaining and maintaining appropriate status tier levels. That said, these feats of frequent flyer prowess have also been made easier.

Fly the friendlier skies

A rewards scheme within a rewards scheme? You'd better believe it. 

Hot on the heels of a new partnership with BP Australia that gives QFF members Qantas points with every eligible purchase; this year Qantas is introducing an extension of its frequent flyer program, named Points Club.

The new program features two member tiers, appropriately titled Points Club and Points Club Plus and are targeted at members who earn the lion's share of their points on the ground, with the entry-level tier kicking in once you clock over 150,000 points.

This new program will be focussed on unlocking travel benefits for in-frequent flyers, such as lounge access, which usually requires status points earned from flying to climb tiers on entitlement. You can already smell those toasted cheese sandwiches in the Qantas Club, can't you?

In a nutshell, you could book a business class fare using QFF points and waltz into a Business Lounge even if you've never flown the flying kangaroo before.

Keys to the kingdom

At the same time, the QFF program will introduce a new Lifetime Platinum status tier; the first program in Australia to offer this level of distinction. The golden line to cross to gain entry to this prestigious club will be 75,000 status points.

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Although the exact details are yet to be confirmed announced, the bonus points earned on eligible flights once you reach this tier level may become a perpetual motion machine for your status forever after.

"Our members are all unique in how they choose to earn and use their Qantas Points," said Qantas Loyalty CEO, Olivia Wirth. "The combination of the new Points Club, the introduction of our most elite tier in Lifetime Platinum, and the increase in seats across our network means the revamped program should offer something for everyone."

Branson's reply

Despite the recent loss of the partnership between Velocity Frequent Flyer and BP Australia, Virgin passengers are being presented with a new inside track to benefits.

The core of Virgin Australia's 2020 thrust is the company's semi-flexible Elevate fare, which, from 23 April, allows flyers to earn twenty per cent more frequent flyer points and up to fifty per cent extra on status credits.

The changes also apply to Virgin Atlantic services as well as codeshare partners, like Etihad and Singapore Airlines. The new conditions apply to flights booked after 23 January for travel beyond 23 April.

Despite the fact that an Elevate fare is slightly more expensive than the cheapest Getaway fare; for travellers looking to give their status credits a swift shot in the arm, the cost may be worth it. Think of the Elevate fare as your Rosetta stone to fast-tracking points accrual towards premium cabin class redemptions.

As a little icing on the in-flight cake, Virgin Australia has partnered with new ride-sharing kid on the block, Ola, offering members the opportunity to earn two Velocity point for every dollar spent on eligible airport rides, or one point per dollar on any other ride, plus an extra 1000 points awarded upon your first ride.

With some creative planning and the appropriate fare, achieving your goal status tier in 2020 just became a little bit easier.

On any given day, you'll find Mark Gambino exploring the worlds of luxury travel, technology and alcohol; putting his spin on the experiences that define life's most memorable moments. He finds no greater pleasure than being behind the wheel of a luxury vehicle or sequestered in a basement bar to indulge a bibulous vice.

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