This year is set to be an exciting year for frequent flyers, with the launch of rewards credit card deals, airline cabin upgrades and new airport lounges dominating the travel news space.
Point Hacks – an independent platform with one of Australia’s biggest active online communities of frequent flyers – has compiled the top airline and rewards products that travellers can anticipate this year.
Daniel Sciberras, Point Hacks’ spokesperson and frequent flyer expert, says: “The Point Hacks team is made up of highly experienced frequent flyers, who are on the lookout daily for the best offers, new products and deals across financial products, airlines, airports, and airline rewards programs.”
Here are the 9 best travel-related products and deals to get excited about in 2019
1. Complimentary return flights and 80,000 bonus points through the ANZ Travel Adventure Card. Point Hacks has an exclusive offer for the ANZ Travel Adventure Card, which gives new cardholders 80,000 bonus Velocity Points, in addition to the regular benefits of a complimentary return domestic flight with Virgin Australia and two single-entry Virgin Australia lounge passes each year.
2. Up to 120,000 bonus points on the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa and Westpac Altitude Black cards. The ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa offers new cardholders 120,000 bonus Qantas Points, 75 bonus status credits, $150 back to your new card, two Qantas Club lounge passes and complimentary insurances. Westpac's Altitude Black Mastercard and American Express offers up to 120,000 Qantas or Altitude Points on sign up – 80,000 bonus points on the Mastercard and 40,000 on the American Express – when customers spend a minimum of $3000 on each card within 90 days of being approved.
3. Multimillion-dollar upgrade at Qantas’ Sydney International Business Lounge.Selected Qantas travellers will be impressed by the completely new design of Qantas’ Sydney International Business Lounge – inspired by Sydney’s lifestyle and geography, and featuring a new Neil Perry-designed dining experience, full-service bar, dedicated family zone, and at least 30 per cent more seating. The lounge upgrade, which started in the third quarter of 2018 and will be completed at the end of 2019, is the latest in a series of Qantas upgrades. It follows on from the refurbishments of the Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne lounges.
4. Premium Entry at Virgin Australia’s Melbourne Airport domestic terminal. Set to open in mid-2019, Virgin Australia business class travellers, as well as Platinum and Gold Velocity Frequent Flyer members, will have Premium Entry at the airline’s Melbourne Airport domestic terminal. There will be a dedicated security screening point ahead of the lounge, and areas for check in and bag drop for premium travellers – which will have automated options. Going by the Sydney and Brisbane Premium Entry facilities, we predict travellers will also benefit from the optional valet parking and potential direct kerbside access (currently offered in Sydney).
5. New Qantas first class lounge at the world’s favourite airport. Singapore’s Changi Airport has long been synonymous with being the world’s best airport – and soon, premium travellers will have another reason to love it with the new multi-million-dollar Qantas First Lounge. The lounge will offer seating for 240 customers in the high-end-designed space, with premium a la carte dining with Asian-inspired menus, a cocktail bar, shower facilities and an open kitchen. The existing Qantas Business Lounge will also be expanded to add at least 50 seats – with both lounges combined providing seating for more than 800 travellers. Development is due to start in April 2019 and will open towards the end of the year.
6. Premium cabins in Qantas Airbus A380 to get multi-million-dollar revamp. Qantas Airbus A380 will undergo a major cabin upgrade to improve comfort on long-haul flights to the US, Europe and Asia – with work on the first plane to begin in the second quarter of 2019 and all 12 aircrafts in the fleet to be upgraded by the end of 2020. While structural changes will see the upper deck remove 30 economy seats and add six business class and 25 premium economy seats, other upgrades include replacing the original business class sky beds with the latest version of the Qantas Business Suites found on the Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and having a 1-2-1 configuration. The 14 first class suites will also experience a subtle upgrade that includes contoured cushioning and larger HD entertainment screens.
7. Mega-facility terminal at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Aussies travelling on Etihad – an airline partner of Virgin Australia – will soon have a better travel experience during connections, with Abu Dhabi International Airport opening its new state-of-the-art terminal, Midfield Terminal, which is set to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2019. The new terminal will have the capacity to handle 84 million passengers each year, and travellers can enjoy 35,000 sqm of duty-free shops, dining and entertainment.
8. US airlines launching premium economy cabin. Three of the major US airlines – American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines – will each be launching premium economy cabins across selected flights into Australia. United Airlines’ Premium Plus will begin in early 2019, with the product being introduced on a number of its aircrafts, including the Boeing 787 which flies between the US and Australia. Delta’s Premium Select will be available on some international routes, including Los Angeles to Sydney, on its A350 flights, commencing 16 April 2019. American Airlines will continue to roll out premium economy on selected flights into Australia – with its Dreamliner to the country already including the cabin.
9. $300 million Gold Coast Airport terminal expansion. Gold Coast Airport is undergoing a multi-million-dollar upgrade, that will see a new three-level terminal adjacent to the southern end of the airport, advanced facial recognition systems and full-glass panels for more natural light. The first stage of the project is expected to be completed by 2019. In addition, travellers requiring rest can soon stay at the new $50 million four-star Rydges hotel that will open near the airport’s major terminal this year.
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