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Tips, Tricks & Chat from Australian Frequent Flyer

Tips, Tricks & Chat from Australian Frequent Flyer




Tips, Tricks & Chat from Australian Frequent Flyer






Can You Fly to Australia on Points During COVID-19? – AIR060

Over the past year, flying back to Australia has been very difficult for tens of thousands of Australians - some who are still stuck overseas. Many have been bumped off their flights due to the Australian government's restrictive arrival caps. Even some passengers on expensive paid airfares have been kicked off their flights. So, clearly trying to fly from Europe to Australia during the pandemic using frequent flyer points is very risky. But it's not entirely impossible. In this episode,...


Flying to New Zealand in 2021 – AIR059

The trans-Tasman travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand is now well and truly open, and thousands of Aussies have already flocked to New Zealand to take advantage of it. In this episode, Matt chats to Alan Lam from Netwave Travel (a.k.a. madrooster on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum) about the bubble and what you need to know before travelling to New Zealand right now. You can contact Alan by emailing alan[at]netwavetravel[dot]com. Also in this episode, how you can claim back...


Trans-Tasman Travel Bubble Opens – AIR058

The long-awaited trans-Tasman travel bubble is finally here, with quarantine-free travel in both directions between Australia and New Zealand starting on Monday, 19 April! To celebrate the occasion, Qantas is reopening its flagship international First Class lounges in Sydney and Melbourne from the same date - and even Qantas Club, Gold members and Business class passengers will have access to them. In this episode, hear what Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has to say about the launch of trans-Tasman...


800,000 Half-Price Domestic Flights – AIR057

Last Thursday, 800,000 half-price domestic flights went on sale as part of the federal government's push to get more Australians to holiday at home. In this epsisode, find out how to book one of the discounted flights to 15 Australian regional destinations, and what catches to look out for. This episode also features an interview with Sam Heathfield (a.k.a. "support" and "samh004", who is responsible for AFF member support and does a lot of work at AFF behind the scenes). Plus, what to do...


The Pandemic’s One-Year Anniversary – AIR056

It's exactly one year today since Tasmania became the first Australian state to close its border to interstate travel. Since then, there have been endless state border closures and changes to interstate travel restrictions. But thankfully, as of last Monday, all domestic borders in Australia are now open again for the first time since March 2020. Things are now looking up! On this one-year anniversary of the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we find out what happened to Henrique Pereira,...


The Alice Springs “Plane Graveyard” – AIR055

Visitors to Alice Springs, a town in Australia's red centre, have been greeted by an unusual sight since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The town is also now the temporary home of Singapore Airlines A380s, Cathay Pacific 777s, and many other airliners grounded by the pandemic. In total, there are now around 150 planes parked beside Alice Springs Airport at the Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage (APAS) facility, which takes advantage of Alice Springs' ideal climate for long-term aircraft...


How to Fly to Australia Without Getting “Bumped” – AIR054

With the Australian government's international arrival caps still in place, getting back to Australia from overseas remains a huge challenge. In this episode, travel agent Alan Lam (a.k.a. madrooster on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum) shares his tips and advice for Australians trying to return home without getting bumped from their flight. Also in this episode, how to earn full points while paying tax with an American Express credit card and the latest frequent flyer & airline news....


Hotel Loyalty Programs – AIR053

On the AFF on Air podcast, we often talk about the frequent flyer programs of airlines. But hotels are an equally important part of the travel experience, and hotel loyalty programs can offer some great perks (as well as free nights) to frequent guests. In this episode, James Green from Frequent Flyer Solutions explains how loyalty programs work - from earning and redeeming points, to gaining elite status with major hotel chains including Hilton Honors, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy and...


When Could “Normal” Travel Resume? – AIR052

Earlier this month, Qantas reopened international flight bookings for July 2021. But then, this week, Australia's current and former Chief Medical Officers both said they didn't expect regular international travel to Australia to resume until 2022. So, when can we expect some level of meaningful international travel to resume? Also in this episode, Matt discusses the current state border arrangements, the impact of the recent reduction to Australia's international arrival caps and how you...


Domestic Borders Are Reopening – AIR051

As 2020 draws to a close, there's finally some good news. Australian state borders are reopening, planes are back in the air, and more pilots are returning to work. One of them is Virgin Australia 737 pilot Chris Bournelis (a.k.a. AviatorInsight on AFF) who is now doing simulator training and flight checks ahead of returning to the skies later this month. Chris joins Matt on this episode to reflect on the year and explain the process of returning to the sky after a long period on the ground....


Earning Points for Paying Tax – AIR050

In 2009, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) began accepting payments by credit card. Many Australians have to pay tax anyway, so they took the opportunity to pay by card and earn frequent flyer points in the process. Since then, the banks have slowly but surely removed this loophole by excluding government payments from earning points. Next week, St George Bank will become the final major Australian bank to stop awarding points for tax payments. But Australians have made hay while the sun was...


Qantas Centenary – AIR049

On 16 November 1920, Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Services (or QANTAS for short) was incoporated. This makes next Monday, 16 November 2020, the airline's 100th birthday! But the story of the birth of Qantas goes far beyond the signing of a piece of paper in 1920. In this episode, Qantas Founders Museum curator Tom Harwood joins Matt to tell the full story of how Qantas was founded and grew to become Australia's beloved national carrier. Episode contents: 1:00 - Fortnightly news...


Aviation Enthusiast Builds 747 Flight Simulator in Garage – AIR048

Many Australians have used the travel downturn to work on projects around the house. Canberra-based Andrew Newnham, whose AFF handle is harvyk, is no exception. But instead of reseeding his lawn, installing a new kitchen or painting the house, Andrew decided to build a life-size Boeing 747 flight simulator in his garage! In this episode, Andrew tells Matt all about the project and what it takes to build a full-scale flight simulator at home. Also in this episode, find out where all the...


Flybuys Loyalty Program – AIR047

Flybuys Chief Operating Officer Phil Hawkins knows a thing or two about loyalty. He was with Flybuys right back when the Australian loyalty program launched in 1994! In this episode of AFF on AIR, Phil joins Matt to discuss all aspects of the Flybuys program including its partnership with Velocity Frequent Flyer and why targeted offers are so critical to the program's success. In the news round-up, Matt also talks about the current woes beleaguering Virgin Australia. The airline has just...


Air Traffic Control – AIR046

Ever wondered what it's like being an Air Traffic Controller? In this episode Ian Robinson (a.k.a. iRobbo on AFF), who has been an Air Traffic Controller for almost 30 years, talks to Matt about what the job involves, the training required and what it's like dealing with a mid-air emergency from on the ground. Also in this episode, Matt discusses Rex's ambitious plan to compete head-on with Qantas and Virgin Australia and domestic capital city routes. And over 1,000 former Qantas 747 galley...


Vulnerable Australians Stranded Overseas – AIR045

Next week, the Australian government will increase the number of Australians that can arrive each week from 4,000 to around 6,000 people. This is a welcome step forward and will definitely help to clear the backlog of Australians stranded overseas. But with at least 24,000 Australians currently registered as stranded - and perhaps closer to 100,000 by airline estimates - is it enough? In this episode, Matt shares the stories of Australians stuck in the Netherlands. The arrival caps, it...


Virgin Australia Sold to Bain Capital – AIR044

On 4 September 2020, Virgin Australia creditors voted to approve the airline's sale to U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital for $3.5 billion. This was the final major hurdle in bringing Virgin Australia out of voluntary administration and avoiding liquidation. The sale is expected to be completed by the end of October. So, how did Virgin Australia get to this point and where is it going from here? After launching as a low-cost carrier in 2000 (Virgin celebrated its 20th anniversary this...


Kangaroo Island – AIR043

2020 has been a tough year for many Australian tourism businesses. But few parts of Australia have been affected as badly as Kangaroo Island in South Australia. The island was still recovering from a disastrous summer bushfire season, which destroyed almost half the island, when the coronavirus crisis hit. With borders now closed, the island's economy which relies on tourism is struggling. In this episode, Matt takes a close look at how these dual crises impacted Kangaroo Island and its...


Qantas Founders Museum, Longreach – AIR042

Qantas may have retired its last active Boeing 747, but there are still two of the "queens of the skies" on display in Australian aviation museums. One of those, a Boeing 747-200, can be found at the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach, Queensland. Qantas has a long and proud association with Longreach, the town where it first started its operations in the 1920s and even manufactured its own aircraft. Today, Longreach is home to the iconic museum that celebrates the history of Australia's...


Farewell to the Queen of the Skies – AIR041

This week, Australia said farewell to a national icon: the Qantas Boeing 747. Over the past 49 years, Qantas - once an all-747 airline - has operated almost every Boeing 747 variant that has existed. The "queen of the skies" has transported millions of passengers to destinations all over the world, including Olympic athletes and stranded Australians returning home from disaster epicentres - many years ago from Darwin after Cyclone Tracy, and most recently from Wuhan. Current world events...