Health & Fitness

Thailand Doubles Visa-Free Stay Duration For Australian Travellers: Tricks & Tips For June 2024

  • May 31, 2024
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Thailand Doubles Visa-Free Stay Duration For Australian Travellers: Tricks & Tips For June 2024

Winter might be starting, but that’s no reason to curl up and stay home. There’s a whole wide world to explore out there.

DMARGE’s regular end-of-the-month travel update details changes to United’s Brisbane flights, a switcheroo on Philippine Airlines flights to Sydney and Melbourne, new status match and status booster opportunities, lounge closures in Brisbane, and hotel openings in Tasmania, giving you plenty of good reasons to pack a bag and head out.

United’s Brisbane flight movements this summer

United Airlines won’t be resuming its short-lived seasonal Brisbane – Los Angeles flights this upcoming Australian summer, and the seasonal Auckland – Los Angeles flights also look like they won’t be returning.

There’s a capacity glut on the Australia – US country pair and the US carriers are experiencing generally mediocre loads on their Australia runs. The Queensland Government enticed three US airlines to Brisbane last year with fixed-term subsidies. However, once they start to expire, the Queensland capital no longer looks so appealing to the carriers.

RELATED: United Airlines Business Class Review: Ice-Cream Sundaes And Eight Hours Of Sleep

On the plus side, United’s Brisbane – San Francisco service is sticking around and the airline is reportedly upsizing from a B787-9 to B777-300ER on the route later this year.

Philippine Airlines to use Wamos A330s on Australian flights

Philippine Airlines flies between Manila and Sydney and Manila and Melbourne every night using A330s. It offers a decent business class and often very well-priced ex-Asia return fares to Australia. However, starting June 1, passengers will fly on a Wamos Air A330-200 as Philippine Airlines needs its A330s elsewhere on the network.

Wamos will operate the flights to Melbourne until September 30 and Sydney until October 31. Wamos A330-200s offer a staggered 1-2-1 configuration in business class and include all the expected business class bells and whistles, such as lie-flat beds and IFE. 

On matters Manila, Qantas is resuming flights between Brisbane and Manila on October 28, 2024. The four times per week roundtrips will use an A330-200.

Fast track status offers

Garuda has extended its status match offer to Velocity platinum members, giving them access to the offer already available to Qantas platinum frequent flyers. Open until June 30, 2024, Garuda will grant GarudaMiles Platinum VIP status for three months and extend that until March 2025 if you complete one Australia – Indonesia flight on Garuda in those three months.

Garuda is a SkyTeam member, and Platinum VIP is their Elite Plus tier. Garuda Elite Plus grants lounge access and a swag of other benefits across all SkyTeam carriers, including Delta, Korean, Air France, and China Airlines.

Garuda will only status match applicants who earned status, not picked it up via previous status matches and other non-flying methods.

RELATED: Airline Alliances & Why They Matter To Australian Frequent Flyers

Accor is offering Qantas frequent flyers a fast track to Accor ALL Gold. You’ll need to link your Qantas and Accor memberships, register for the promotion, and stay three nights at hotels participating in the Accor Live Limitless Loyalty program by the end of 2024. Gold status is then secured until the end of 2025. If you already hold Gold status and register, you’ll score ten status nights instead.

Accor Gold isn’t that great, but it does offer a few perks like room upgrades, early check, late check out, and a free drink, and sure beats being an Accor Classic or silver member. Members of the paid Accor Plus program could piggy-back off this promotion and the regular red hot room rate deals to power up to platinum for a relatively inexpensive sum, opening up complimentary access to lounges, breakfasts, and suite upgrades.

Brisbane International Airport lounge closures

Both pay-to-use lounges at Brisbane’s international terminal are closing at the end of May, with the Plaza Premium and Aspire lounges shutting up shop.

Exactly why the lounges are closing is not known. However, neither really got their mojo back after Covid and its likely a simple case of not making money. Executive Traveller reports that the UK-based Escape Lounges will take over the 532 square metre Plaza Premium space but there is no official announcement on when or if this will happen.

Hilton is opening a hotel in Tasmania

Hilton is opening a 206-room Doubletree hotel in Macquarie Street, Hobart, later this year. The property was originally tagged to be a Novotel. It will be the first Hilton property in Tasmania.

Meanwhile, up the Midland Highway, Accor will open a 139-room Pullman on Wellington Street, Launceston, but alas not until 2027. It will be the city’s first five star hotel and provide travellers with somewhere decent to sleep before hitting the Saturday morning food markets.

Thailand is extending visa-free entry to 60 days

The Thai government is doubling the visa waiver period for Australian travellers from 30 days to 60 days, effective June 1. The visa exemption applies to tourists, business visitors, and short-term workers from 93 countries. There are also some adjustments to the visa rules for people wishing to stay longer, including digital nomads. The government is making the changes to entice tourists with money to burn.

While this is good news, the bad news is the government intends to introduce an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system for visa-exempt foreign travellers by mid-2025, which like ETA systems everywhere, will likely come with a fee. 

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