Need a boost to your frequent flyer points balance after a nice Easter holiday? Then take a look at this month's top Qantas credit card sign-up offers, which deliver as many as 120,000 bonus Qantas Points from a single card application, with over 1.2 million bonus frequent flyer points on the table overall from these offers alone.
Here's what's currently available to supercharge points from your spending with American Express, ANZ, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA, Citibank, NAB, Qantas Money, St. George and Westpac.
1. Westpac Altitude Black cards, American Express Platinum Business Card
Tying for first place this month is the new Westpac Altitude Black American Express + World Mastercard credit card combo for individuals, and the American Express Platinum Business Card for businesses, each with an offer of 120,000 bonus Qantas Points.
With Westpac, you'll need to apply by June 11 2018, and then the bonus comes in two chunks: firstly, as 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when spending $5,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval using the Altitude Black Mastercard, plus 40,000 bonus Qantas Points when spending a separate $3,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval using the Altitude Black American Express card.
All up, that's 120,000 bonus Qantas Points, and when using the AMEX, you can also earn 2.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent direct with Qantas, two Qantas Points per $1 spent abroad, 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on government payments, and 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 everywhere else. The Mastercard instead has a flat earn rate of 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent.
If you're a business owner, the American Express Platinum Business Card is dishing out those bonus points for new AMEX customers who apply by July 2 2018 and charge at least $5,000 of business expenses to the card during the first three months, in addition to paying the card's $1,500 annual fee.
These points will be awarded as 120,000 Membership Rewards Ascent Premium points with American Express, which you can convert to Qantas at a 1:1 rate (120,000 Qantas Points). You can also earn up to two points per dollar spent on a range of categories such as travel expenses, advertising and computer equipment, earning one point per dollar spent on most other charges.
2. AMEX Qantas Business Rewards, NAB Qantas Rewards Signature
Next in line with offers of 100,000 bonus Qantas Points are the AMEX Qantas Business Rewards and NAB Qantas Rewards Visa Signature credit cards.
Another option for business owners is the AMEX Qantas Business Rewards card. Apply by July 2 2018, spend $3,000 on purchases within the first two months and pay an annual fee of $450 to earn that same bonus, plus up to 1.25 Qantas Points per dollar of everyday spend.
Finally, NAB's offer requires you to apply by June 17 2018, pay a $395 annual fee and spend $4,000 on everyday purchases within 60 days of account opening, with a similar deal available via NAB's comparable Qantas Business Signature Card for entrepreneurs, except with a $295 annual fee.
3. St. George Amplify Signature Visa credit card
Another offer comes with the St. George Amplify Signature Visa credit card, tempting with 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply by September 26 2018, spend $4,000 on purchases within 90 days of card approval and pay a $279 annual fee, while also earning up to 0.825 Qantas Points per $1 spent.
Just be sure to choose ‘Amplify Qantas’ as your loyalty option if Qantas Points are the goal, which promises 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent each month, plus a 10% ‘birthday bonus’ in the month of your birthday on all the points you’ve earned on the card over the past year (except for the sign-up bonus), taking your total haul to 0.825 points per $1.
If you prefer to bank with the Bank of Melbourne or BankSA – which, like St. George, are both part of the Westpac Group – you can avail of the same offer through the Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature Visa and the BankSA Amplify Signature Visacredit cards, which also have the same frequent flyer earning rates and fees
4. American Express Platinum Charge Card
Close behind St. George is AMEX, with 80,000 bonus Qantas Points on the American Express Platinum Charge Card for customers who apply, spend $3,000 on the card within the first three months and pay an annual fee of $1,200.
You'll earn your bounty as 80,000 Ascent Premium points, on-par with 80,000 Qantas Points when transferred at a 2:1 rate.
Spend at most AMEX-accepting restaurants in Australia also attracts the equivalent of three Qantas Points per $1 spent, while payments to airlines and hotels, plus all overseas charges, provide two Qantas Points per dollar spent. Most other purchases award one Qantas Point per dollar spent, except for utility, insurance and government payments, where you'll earn 0.5 points per $1.
5. ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa, Qantas Premier Platinum Mastercard, Westpac Altitude Platinum
Closing out the ranks this month, ANZ, Qantas Money and Westpac: all offering 75,000 bonus Qantas Points with a new ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Visa, Qantas Premier Platinum Mastercard or Westpac Altitude Platinum AMEX + Visa card pair.
With ANZ, you'll pay no annual fee in the first year (a $425 saving) when you apply and spend $2,500 on eligible purchases within three months, on which you'll also get one Qantas Point per $1 spent up to $7,500 per month, and 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent thereafter.
Or, the Qantas Premier Platinum card features a reduced annual fee of $149 in the first year ($299 ongoing) for customers who apply by April 30 2018 and spend $3,000 within 90 days of card approval.
Westpac's offer instead provides two chunks of bonus points. First, you'll need to apply for the new Westpac Altitude Platinum AMEX + Visa combo by June 11 2018, and you'll get 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases using the Altitude Platinum Visa within 90 days of card approval.
Joining that is a further bonus of 15,000 Qantas Points when you spend a separate $3,000 on eligible purchases using the American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Card within 90 days of card approval, for a grand total of 75,000 Qantas Points.
Some of the other offers on the table this month include 70,000 bonus Qantas Points with Citibank's Citi Qantas Prestige Visa credit card, but as this product requires a minimum income of $150,000/year to apply for a minimum credit limit of $30,000, it's not one for everybody.
Those more accessible include 65,000 Qantas Points on the ANZ Frequent Flyer Platinum Visa with no annual fee in the first year (spend $2,500 within the first three months), and 60,000 Qantas Points on the St. George’s Amplify Platinum Visa (spend $3,000 within 90 days of card approval via ‘Amplify Qantas’), among others.
Air New Zealand's Airpoints frequent flyers will enjoy have access to Qantas Clubs around Australia under the newly-forged alliance between the two airlines.
As of October 28, 2018, Airpoints Elite and Gold members booked on a codeshare flight with Qantas will find the doors swing open for them at the two dozen Qantas Club lounges in Australia's capital cities and regional centres. They'll also be permitted to bring in one guest.
But it won't be as easy as flashing your shiny Airpoints card, as the following conditions apply:
- you have to be travelling on a domestic Qantas flight
- it has to be booked under the Air New Zealand codeshare (those flight numbers will be in the NZ7xxx range)
- and this must be booked as part of a trans-Tasman booking
This arrangement replaces Airpoints access to Virgin Australia lounges following the dramatic bust-up between the two former allies.
However, there appears to be no Qantas Club lounge access for Koru Club members, nor can AirNZ frequent flyers cool their heels in the more upmarket Qantas Business lounges.
The Qantas / Air New Zealand alliance covers selected flights on the domestic network of each airline, however trans-Tasman and other international flights are excluded from the arrangement.
Cathay Pacific will roll out its new 'business class dining concept' this month, with the meal service taking a step closer to a first class experience.
Meals will be individually plated and delivered to passengers by hand rather than by trolley, as the airline adopts more personalised and upmarket approach.
Cathay also expects this will result in a "quieter and calmer cabin environment", especially on late night flights.
Passengers will have a choice between three appetisers and "up to six main course choices" on flights over ten hours in the initial launch of the service to the likes of Chicago (on July 30), London/Gatwick (in August) followed by Frankfurt, Manchester and Washington DC (September); Amsterdam, Paris and Johannesburg (October), Madrid, Brussels and Barcelona (November) and London/Heathrow (December).
And, being very much on trend, light and healthy 'wellbeing options' feature in every main course.
On flights from Hong Kong the menu will be changed every month, with a quarterly menu refresh for flights to Hong Kong.
Fights from Hong Kong (but not, for now, the return leg) will also see a new range of Hong Kong Favourites inspired by local dishes, such as
- Hong Kong char siu pork with egg noodles, seasoned soy sauce, spring onion and ginger (shown below)
- Wok fried seafood in lobster soup with ginger, spring onion, crispy and steamed rice
- Beef brisket with flat rice noodle soup
- Mango with pomelo and sago
But before all that eatings starts, business class passengers will notice the new-look menus.
Printed as eight pages on quality paper, they not only detail the meals and drinks available on that flight but include foodie-friendly articles such as 'Anatomy of a Laksa' and feature a local chef revealing their favourite eateries both in Hong Kong and around thr world.
There will also be a breakfast menu card which passengers will complete before hitting the hay, so that they can wake to what the airline described as a "hotel room-service" experience.
However, these are set menus rather than allowing travellers to pick-and-mix from a wide selection of items.
In addition to what's described as 'traditional' Chinese and Western breakfasts, there's also a lighter Continental breakfast plus a minimalist Express breakfast of a piece of pastry and a drink, which can be served 60 minutes before landing for passengers who wish to maximise their sleep.
Refreshments will be revamped as a selection of 'most loved dishes' available throughout the flight as a snack between meals on services to North America and Europe, including the airline's signature burger and popular soup noodles. These will also appear on the main meal menu.
Next year will see Cathay's 'new business class dining concept' extend to medium-distance routes, with plans to include Sydney and Auckland in February 2019 and Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide and Perth in May 2019.
Very few watches can claim true originality, and the Cartier Santos is among those few.
The Santos made its debut way back in 1904 as a personal timepiece for aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont, making it both the first pilot’s watch and one of the earliest known men’s wristwatches.
As we've previously detailed, the Santos was borne from a request by Brazilian flyer Santos-Dumont, who told his friend Louis Cartier – then a Parisian watchmaker – of the challenge of timing flights using the then-conventional pocket watch, as pilots needed to keep both hands on the aircraft controls.
In response, Cartier designed a large square-faced watch and fitted it to a strap so it could be worn on the wrist – quite a revolutionary concept at the time.
The first commercial Cartier Santos watches went on sale to the public in 1911 with solid gold cases and ultra-thin mechanical movements designed by French clockmaker Edmond Jaeger.
(In order to produce this movement for Cartier, Jaeger worked with Swiss movement manufacturer Jacques-David LeCoultre, a partnership that would lead to the birth of storied brand Jaeger-LeCoultre.)
The enduring design of the Cartier Santos was reimagined in the late 1970s as a luxury steel sports watch, later adding two-tone steel and gold and the now-iconic screwed bezel with exposed gold screws along the bracelet for a modern, industrial aesthetic.
For 2018, Cartier has once again re-invented the Santos.
The distinctive screw-set bezel now tapers at both ends towards the bracelet to create an organic, integrated look.
The satin-brushed case features a wide mirror-polished bevel along its length, extending all the way to the gracefully curved crown guards at 3 o’clock. A square watch the Santos may be, but there’s hardly a sharp edge or straight line to be found.
The case has been slimmed dramatically from previous incarnations of the Santos, allowing this watch to disappear easily under a shirt cuff when needed.
The bracelet is fitted with a new 'QuickSwitch' system allowing for easy swapping with the included tan calfskin strap or Cartier’s alternative crocodile straps, providing some style versatility.
Adding or removing bracelet links has also been made easier with a new 'SmartLink' design which allows the wearer to expand the bracelet during a hot summer’s day without requiring a tool.
While the bezel, case and bracelet have all been modernised, the dial remains classic Cartier. With Roman numerals, a railroad minute-track and heat-blued hands, it’s hard to imagine a more traditional look.
The 2018 Cartier Santos can serve dress-watch and sports-watch duties equally well, and boasts a history that few timepieces can match.
• In-house mechanical movement with automatic winding
• Seven-sided crown set with a faceted synthetic spinel
• Silvered opaline dial, blued-steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal
• Water-resistant to 10 bar (approximately 100 metres)
• Medium version case width: 35.1 mm, thickness: 8.83 mm
• Large version case width: 39.8 mm, thickness: 9.08 mm
• Pricing from A$8,750 for the Cartier Santos Medium in steel, to A$52,500 for the Cartier Santos Large in solid pink gold with matching pink gold bracelet. For stockists, visit www.au.cartier.com.
Finnair will launch inflight Internet on its European flights this week, with travellers able to enjoy the high-speed satellite service free of charge during a two-month trial period running through to the end of September.
The Oneworld airline has already outfitted six of its single-aisle Airbus jets with technology provided through partner Viasat, which also provided the backbone for Qantas' Australia-wide WiFi system.
By the end of northern summer some 20 aircraft will be upgraded, with Finnair's entire single-aisle Airbus fleet slated for WiFi by mid-2019.
The system will be available on a gate-to-gate basis, so passengers won't even need to wait for their jet to reach level flight – which will maximise time online for many of Finnair's relatively short European hops.
However, parts of some European routes will present black spots to the satellite network, including above the Bay of Biscay and the North Sea, while some restrictions also apply over Latvia, Lithuania, parts of Belarus and Russia.
Over the two-month testing period Finnair intends to "gather information on system functionality and feedback on the overall customer experience."
"In entering the passenger testing phase, we’ll be gaining the critical insights needed to further optimise our service to ensure Finnair customers get a unique experience built around their needs, interests and usage behaviours," explains Viasat vice-president Don Buchman.
The airline has yet to reveal what pricing it will charge for its sky-high WiFi once the trial period ends, although frequent flyers will no doubt hope that some sort of monthly pass is available as an alternative to paying on a per-flight basis.
Finnair already offers WiFi on its long-range 'intercontinental' jets, with the first hour free for business class and Finnair Plus Gold members, then €3 (A$4.70) for three hours or €20 (A$31) for the entire flight. Finnair Plus Platinum frequent flyers are provided with free Internet access for the whole flight.