6000 Velocity Points With Midas Car Service

The Midas promo is back and almost as good as before.  I got 10,000 points 2 years ago and my car is so sparingly used, it doesn’t really need another one or I would go for this.  6000 points is still pretty good for something most car owners do at least once a year.  This is a good one to combine with the free 1000 points new member bonus if you aren’t already a member.

DETAILS

*From 14 March 2017 to 21 April 2017, Velocity members can earn a bonus 6,000 Points on all vehicle services at Midas*! From 22nd April 2017, Velocity members will revert to the base earn 2 Points per $1 spent on all vehicle maintenance, maintenance services and Manufacturers Logbook Services. Service definitions are found at midas.com.au/car-service and midas.com.au/logbook-service.

The following additional maintenance service items are eligible for Velocity Points earn if deemed to be required and are additional to the service package: Brake fluid flush, Coolant system flush, Power steering flush, Transmission flush.

The following repair items are not eligible for Velocity Points earn: Brake parts, Exhaust parts, Drivetrain parts, Engine parts, Body parts, Suspension parts, Electrical parts, Climate control parts, Steering parts, Tyres and Non-related service labour.

Velocity members can book an eligible service by calling 13 MIDAS (64 32), booking online at midas.com.au or in any Midas Service Centre. Velocity Points will be loaded within 7 days of the completed service.

To earn and redeem Velocity Points, you must be a Velocity member. Velocity membership and Points earn are subject to the Member Terms and Conditions available at velocityfrequentflyer.com as amended from time to time.

1000 Free Velocity Points For New Members

Are you a member of Virgin Australia’s Velocity?  If not, now is your chance to join and start off with a FREE 1000 bonus points!  Use my referral link and I will also get 1000 points for referring you (thank you very much)!

 

You need to earn at least 40 points as per T&C’s which is very easy to do.  Here are some ideas.

  1.  Transfer points from Flybuys
  2.   Buy petrol at BP
  3.  Shop online
  4.  Get credit cards
  5.  Join E-Rewards and do a survey.
  6.  Transfer from Amex Membership Rewards
  7.  Keep an eye out for new promos, they have them all the time.  I just got 200 points from doing this survey!

Once you have qualified, then go out and refer your own friends to boost your balance and soon you will be on your way to a dream trip!

 

Aussies: Qantas & Virgin Both Have Transfer Promos

These promos come up several times a year so no need to rush and transfer your points.  Best to wait until you are within a few months of booking an award to avoid being caught out by devaluations.

First up: Qantas is emailing members who have previously transferred credit card points with a tiered bonus promo.  Few people will be able to hit the 30% tier so I am calling this a 15% bonus for all practical purposes.  The link emailed to me is tied to my account so keep an eye out for it.  You may want to transfer a nominal amount of credit card points to keep you in the loop for future promos.

Not to be outdone, Virgin’s Velocity has a more accessible promo with Flybuys that anyone can do if you have linked your Flybuys and Virgin accounts. 

This promo was a real nice earner for me last year as I got lots of Flybuys points from maximizing shopping promos, then used a promo like this to get a 15% bonus!

Getting To Darwin, Northern Territory With Airline Miles

Darwin is the gateway to the vast Northern Territory of Australia and you’d be surprised how big it really is!  If you are already in Australia (see miles guide here), it’s pretty easy to pick up domestic flights to Darwin (DRW) from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

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INTERNATIONAL OPTIONS

STAR ALLIANCE

There are no Star Alliance carriers operating to Darwin, however if you have Singapore Krisflyer miles you can use Silk Air from Singapore.

ONEWORLD

Obviously in Australia Qantas is the main player and you can redeem your miles from any OneWorld partner.  Although Qantas has no direct international flights from Darwin, you can easily add on a Sydney-Darwin (for example) segment to any international award to Australia.

Malaysian Airlines flies direct from Kuala Lumpur and is a great choice for people arriving from Europe.

SKY TEAM

There are no Sky Team carriers operating to Darwin although people with Delta miles can redeem them on Virgin Australia.

NON-ALLIANCE AIRLINES & LOW COST CARRIERS

Virgin Australia is the big one and as mentioned above people with Delta miles can redeem with them.  Virgin is also partnered with Singapore Airlines, Etihad and others.

Jetstar is a partner of Qantas but not a member of OneWorld but they have frequent sales so you are better off keeping an eye on their sale page and just paying for the flights.  This is what I did, I got BNE-DRW-BNE for $210 each!

Air Asia flies direct from Denpasar.

Air North has some interesting destinations like Dili, Timor-Leste and some remote Aussie towns.

 

 

15% Bonus When You Transfer Partner Points to Velocity

Traditionally Virgin Velocity has been running a 15% bonus promo every November and May and thankfully this year has been no exception!  I always plan my transfers to take place during a promo like this to maximize the value I get from my credit card and supermarket points.  The promo ends 30 November but I wouldn’t cut it too close, I like to have all my transfers done at least 3 days ahead of time.

Full details and T&C’s

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Please note that while NAB has Velocity branded credit cards they are not included in the promo.  This may give you an idea of which banks offer products to help you grow your Velocity point balance.

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Velocity’s latest partner – Flybuys is also part of the promo so you can really get great value for those Flybuys points that come with your weekly grocery shopping!va-nov4

Velocity Adds Whopping Surcharges To Etihad Redemptions

On top of the most recent devaluation in which Virgin Velocity moved Etihad to the more expensive chart and jacked the prices up as of 1 June…………..now we have this shock-horror “enhancement”.

All Reward Seat bookings on Etihad Airways operated flights made from 18 June 2016 will incur an Etihad Airways Reward Seat Carrier Charge.

A charge of US$50 in Economy, US$205 in Business and US$300 in First Class will be applicable per flight sector for both adults and children. A reduced charge of US$5 in Economy, US$20.50 in Business and US$30 in First Class will be applicable per flight sector for infants not occupying a seat.

This charge will be payable when completing your Reward Seat booking.

I already spent my last Velocity points on an award from Australia to Abu Dhabi for next year.  We will be stopping over a couple days before the big “Godmother of all African Adventures” and I got business class since I knew the devaluations were coming anyway.  Looks like I dodged another bullet with these surcharges!  Yikes!

Lesson learned – don’t hoard miles, spend them as soon as you can because they will never be worth more than they are today.

Virgin Velocity Devaluation – 1 June 2016

I got an email with the following:

Last year we celebrated 10 years of Velocity. During this time we have built a world-leading loyalty program*.
As we move forward, I wanted to update you on some adjustments we are making to the program, which will come into effect on 1 June 2016.
Points Expiry
We are making some changes to the expiry of Velocity Points.
Firstly, from 1 June 2016 your Velocity Points will not expire provided you earn or redeem Points at least once every 24 months. Previously, the expiry period was 36 months. Any Points earned from eligible activity prior to 1 June 2016 are not affected by this change and will not expire for 36 months.
Secondly, transferring Points between family members or receiving Points from a Family Pooling relationship will no longer be considered eligible activity to prevent your Points expiring. This change will be applied retrospectively. This means, if on 1 June 2016 your only activity within the previous 36 months is Family Pooling or Points transfer between family members, you will be notified that you need to earn or redeem Points before 30 June 2016 in order to prevent your Points expiring.
Despite these changes:
● It is now easier than ever to remain active by earning Points across a broad range of partners including airlines, credit cards, fuel and online shopping. In the past year alone we have welcomed some major partners including BP, HSBC and Le Club AccorHotels.
● We continue to provide you with more time than any other Australian frequent flyer program to keep your Points active.

Please take comfort knowing you will be notified via email at least 30 days prior to your Points expiring, giving you ample time to earn or use your Points and keep your account active.

Reward Seat Pricing
New Reward Seat bookings flying Virgin Australia or our partner airlines, made on or after 1 June 2016, will be subject to revised Points pricing. As part of these revisions some destinations are increasing in price and others are decreasing. Please see some examples below^:

Velocity deval

This is the first time in over five years that we have made adjustments to Reward Seat pricing. During this time Virgin Australia has undergone significant changes to become a full service airline, providing all guests with complimentary checked baggage allowance, in-flight entertainment, food and beverages.
We remain committed to continue offering you all of the benefits that make us a world-class program, including our award-winning Reward Seat availability*. In addition, the taxes and fees payable when you book a Reward Seat will not be affected by these changes.
For more information on all these changes please refer to our Program Updates.
I look forward to keeping you up to date in the coming months as we introduce exciting new features and benefits, including innovative new ways to earn and use your Points.
Yours sincerely,
Karl Schuster
CEO, Velocity Frequent Flyer

*********************************************************************************

On first glance, the points expiry doesn’t worry me at all.  A simple purchase at BP for fuel or shopping, a purchase from the Velocity shopping portal or E-Rewards will reset the expiry.

The increases on most awards is minimal and some are actually going down.

The biggest devaluation is Etihad who have been moved from Table 1 (cheaper awards) to Table 2 (expensive awards) AND devalued on top of that!

I do have a travel plan for 2017 which includes using Velocity for Etihad on one sector so I am going to have to crunch some numbers and see if I can bring it forward.  I’ve already been messed up by the American devaluation!

15% Bonus When You Transfer To Velocity

Velocity (one of my top 8 airline programs) is running their (usually) bi-annual bonus promotion where you get 15% extra when you transfer credit card points to Velocity such as Amex Membership Rewards.

Velocity bonus

Velocity Frequent Flyer offers you the ability to turn your existing credit card and charge card points into Velocity Points.

Transfer your credit or charge card points to your Velocity account between 1 and 30 November 2015 and receive 15% bonus Velocity Points*.

Top 8 Airline Miles Programs – 2016 Edition

I last made my recommendations of which airline miles programs to join back in 2012 so with all the changes I think it’s time for an update!  Which programs are still good?  Which ones no longer exist?  Which ones are less valuable than before?  How can Australians and Americans get free miles from credit cards?  Read on!

WHAT MAKES A PROGRAM “GOOD”?

  • I attribute greater value to programs which require minimal outlay of cash (no fuel surcharges) and better opportunities to get miles from everyday credit card spend and sign up bonuses.
  • “Buy miles 100% bonus” deals may have value to people who have cash to outlay but since this is a guide for cash poor people who want to travel I am not including them here.
  • These recommendations are for eco-tourists so I haven’t considered luxury travel to Europe and Asia redemptions.
  • Free miles from E-Rewards is a plus.
  • I have not taken elite programs into account in any of the below programs.
  • I am not a credit blogger so please use other resources to find the best deals on sign up bonuses.

1.  American Airlines AAdvantageOne World member

Has more options between USA and Australia on Qantas, Air Pacific or Air Tahiti Nui, also great for LAN or AA to South America and Africa via Qatar or direct QF flights.  Can book several of their partners online with AA planning to add more as they go along.  One way awards at half round trip rates.  Save AA miles for long hauls if possible, use BA for short haul.  No fuel surcharges except BA and IB awards.  E-Rewards participant.

Americans get miles from Citibank co-branded cards and the grandfathered Barclays Aviator cards (not available to new applicants).  You can also transfer points from SPG best done in blocks of 20k to get 5k bonus.

Australians get miles by transferring preferably blocks of 40k Amex MR points to get 20k SPG, then blocks of 20k SPG to get 5k bonus.

2.  United Airlines Mileage PlusStar Alliance member

Good for awards to South-east Asia on UA, SQ & TG; Central & South America on Copa & Avianca and Africa on South African, Ethiopian and Egypt Air.  Also very good for intra-Latin America and intra-Africa.  E-Rewards participant.

Americans get miles easily via Chase’s Ultimate Rewards cards and co-branded United Explorer card.

Australians have a much harder time getting miles as the SPG route is a poor value at 20k SPG gets 10k United plus bonus of 2500.  Most Aussies will find Singapore a better Star Alliance partner.

3.  Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerStar Alliance member

Don’t keep miles in here if you can’t use them within 3 years because they expire whether you have activity or not.  Be careful of fuel surcharges on Asian routes.  Good for redemptions on NZ between Australia and Pacific islands & redemptions on Avianca & Copa for Central/South America trips as no fuel surcharges.

Americans get miles from Chase’s Ultimate Rewards cards, Citibank Thank You cards, American Express Membership Rewards & SPG.

Australians get miles from American Express Membership Rewards 1000:1000 and transferable rewards programs from Westpac and ANZ.

4.  British Airways Avios and Iberia AviosOne World members

Same Avios currency but you need to join both BA and IB’s versions to maximize it.  Pretty easy to earn Avios via E-Rewards and can also credit stays at Accor hotels to Iberia’s program and transfer easily between BA and IB.    Not a great program for long haul or itineraries needing connections but excellent for short haul within South America on partner LAN, the BA-Comair flights within Southern Africa or within Australia on partner Qantas.  Some nice 5th freedom flights in the Caribbean – Trinidad to St Lucia gets you between 2 islands with good birding.

Americans get miles from Chase’s Ultimate Rewards cards and co-branded British Airways card. You can also transfer points from SPG best done in blocks of 20k to get 5k bonus.

Australians get miles by transferring preferably blocks of 40k Amex MR points to get 20k SPG, then blocks of 20k SPG to get 5k bonus.  Aussies need to use a European or American address as they don’t accept memberships with Australian addresses.

5. Flying BlueSky Team member

Be careful as most redemptions here attract fuel surcharges.  Flying Blue can get you some places that are otherwise very difficult to get to such as Kenya Airways flights to Madagascar and Garuda domestic Indonesia flights (no surcharges).  Also use on short haul flights on Gol, Aerolinas Argentinas (no surcharges) and some other interesting partners.  Participates in E-Rewards.  Miles expire after 20 months of when they were earned unless you credit a Sky Team flight to Flying Blue.  Non-flying activities such as credit card spend and E-Rewards don’t renew your expiration date.

Americans get miles from Citibank Thank You cards & Amex Membership Rewards.  You can also transfer points from SPG best done in blocks of 20k to get 5k bonus.

Australians get miles by transferring preferably blocks of 40k Amex MR points to get 20k SPG, then blocks of 20k SPG to get 5k bonus.

6.  Virgin Velocity – Not in an alliance. 

Good for short-haul to New Zealand and Pacific islands, domestic Australia flights and sometimes long haul to USA and Asia.  Participates in E-Rewards.

Americans get miles from transfering SPG points best done in blocks of 20k to get 5k bonus.  You need an Aussie address to join.

Australians have numerous credit cards (basically every bank in Australia) that earn Velocity points directly or transfer there.  Keep an eye out for huge sign on bonuses which have greatly improved in the last year or so.  There is a new partnership with BP to get 2 points per litre with occasional targeted bonuses.

7. Etihad Guest – Not in an alliance

I never looked twice at this program until they partnered up with Flybuys.  I did a recent review with Aussies in mind (sorry Americans) and found some interesting options with partners and decent value to Africa.  Probably not a good program for Americans to join, better to use AA redemptions on Etihad awards.  Beware of miles expiring after 2 years, don’t transfer them until you are within booking range.  Activity does not renew the expiration.

Americans get miles from Citibank Thank You cards.  You can also transfer points from SPG best done in blocks of 20k to get 5k bonus.

Australians get miles from American Express Membership Rewards 1000:1000 and the new Flybuys partnership FB 10,000: EY 4000.

8.  Qantas Frequent FlyerOne World member

Use for domestic Australia or short-haul to NZ, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.  Has fuel surcharges on most routes with the possible exception of LAN intra-South America.

Americans get points from Citibank Thank You cards.

Australians get points from co-branded Qantas cards, just about every bank in Australia has them.  Unfortunately the Woolies and Optus partnerships are gone so much harder to get points now outside of credit cards.

Dream TravelObviously not everyone needs to use ALL these programs.  It depends on where you want to go.  Situations change so you need to be constantly evaluating.  A month ago I wouldn’t have considered Etihad Guest but now I can see getting at least 16,000 free miles each year just by grocery shopping at Coles and using bonuses.  From the previous list US Airways Dividend Miles is gone and the Avianca Lifemiles program is no longer as valuable as it once was due to devaluations.  It is no longer so easy to get Qantas miles as they eliminated their best “every day spending” partners.  American may lose it’s #1 position if they devalue their awards.  I say as long as it’s free to join a program, then do so as you never know what deals may come in the future!