Health & Fitness

Australian Travel Hacks Roundup For April 2024

  • Apr 1, 2024
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Australian Travel Hacks Roundup For April 2024

New and ongoing status match offers, more countries opening their airport e-gates to Australian travellers, Qantas business class price drops, new and resuming routes, and discounted lounge access are among the travel hacks currently available and making life easier for frequent flyers.

Airline status matches for Australian travellers

Status match opportunities for Australia-based travellers continue, with Star Alliance operator United Airlines now offering a status match challenge to silver grade and above Qantas frequent flyers. Meanwhile, SkyTeam affiliated Garuda Indonesia has extended its status match challenge to gold-grade and above Virgin Australia Velocity members.

Turkish Airlines and Etihad’s long-standing status match challenges remain open to Qantas frequent flyers. Finally, the Delta Air Lines express ticket to SkyTeam status remains open to higher-tier Qantas and Virgin Australia frequent flyers.

WATCH: Qantas Ad Makes Australia Emotional

Airport e-gates open to Australians at Jakarta and Denpasar

Indonesia now allows Australians who have obtained a prepaid e-visa on arrival to use e-channels at Soekarno Hatta and Denpasar Airports, skipping the latter airport’s notorious immigration queues.

Indonesia quietly opened its e-gates in February to all foreigners who arrived with an e-gate-ready passport and the e-visa sorted.

The e-channels can be used for arrival and departure purposes. Pre-registration is not required.

Registration required for Australians to use airport e-gates at Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong

An increasing number of ASEAN countries allow Australians to use e-channels, making airport arrivals and departures a smoother experience. Aside from filling in the pre-arrival entry card, Australians are not required to register to use the e-channels at Singapore Changi Airport. 

However, registration is required to use the e-channels in Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur’s KLIA Terminals 1 and 2. To register for the Hong Kong e-gates, you can visit the e-channel enrolment office after clearing immigration at HKIA. But as DMARGE recently discovered, the opening hours are erratic…

A more reliable bet is to swing by the e-channel enrolment office during business hours on level 7 of Immigration House in Wan Chai, where the registration process is fast, friendly, and fee-free.

To register to use the KLIA 1 and 2 e-channels, you need to line up at specific immigration counters upon arrival at the airport. Presently, the counters you need are next to the APEC business cards/diplomatic channels, but this can change. The best bet is to ask staff managing the often-long immigration queues at the airport for the right counter.

Enrolment takes a couple of minutes, costs nothing, and is worth its weight in gold the next time you arrive at KLIA and can skip those queues. Note that registered Australians can only use the e-channels at KLIA, not at the JB land crossings or any other arrival/exit points.

Qantas reduces domestic business class fares

Qantas has reduced many of their usually ridiculously expensive domestic business fares. DMARGE recently picked up a Hobart—Sydney business class fare for AUD490, and we’re seeing fares from AUD449 across sub-600-mile sectors if booked at least a month in advance. Slightly longer sectors, such as Melbourne—Brisbane are starting at AUD499, and Adelaide—Darwin from AUD699. All are substantial decreases from the previous asking prices.

While the fares aren’t available on all flights on all days, there is reasonable availability. It opens up Qantas domestic business class to more passengers and brings the pricing structure closer to what Virgin Australia and Rex charge.

Thai Airways has resumed flying to Perth and now offers four roundtrips per week using 256-passenger B787-8s. However, DMARGE notes that the business class cabin on this aircraft type, with its 2-2-2 layout, is not great. But when you have a monopoly on a route, you can get away with offering an uncompetitive cabin product.

Singapore Airlines is adding four more weekly roundtrips to Brisbane starting in August using its regionally configured A350-900 aircraft, housing a 40-passenger business class cabin in a far nicer 1-2-1 layout.

If you are happy to sacrifice comfort for cost, VietJet continues its Australian expansion, starting twice weekly Melbourne—Hanoi roundtrips from June 4 using 377-passenger A330-300 equipment. The low-cost carrier will also begin twice-weekly Sydney-Hanoi flights from June 8 using the same aircraft type. The Sydney flights offer an alternative to the existing once-per-week Vietnam Airlines Hanoi service.

An oldie but a goodie – discounted DragonPass lounge access via a Regus account

Flying airlines like VietJet means you are likely to forego creature comforts such as lounges, although there are several pay-to-use lounges in Sydney and Melbourne, the Amex lounges, and Priority Pass as backup options.

An alternative to Priority Pass is DragonPass, which for some time has offered discounted lounge access after signing up for a free Regus account. One-off visits cost GBP24 (AUD46) — a significant discount to the asking price of AUD63 at the Dragon Pass participating Plaza Premium Sydney and Melbourne lounges.

The deal also works at member lounges at overseas airports, with DMARGE recently enjoying value for money and many champagnes over several hours at the tasty Air France lounge in Bangkok. You’ll also need to sign up for a free DragonPass account and download their app to store the purchased lounge pass. 

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by menshealthfits.
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