Health & Fitness

This Month’s Tips You Don’t Want To Miss

  • Feb 29, 2024
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This Month’s Tips You Don’t Want To Miss

In the second instalment of our monthly travel hacks roundup, DMARGE brings you all the travel tips you need to know: airlines opening new routes, status match offers abound, and Townsville’s first 5-star hotel.


February proved to be a cracker of a month for deals targeting frequent flyers. Read on for a selection of the best that are still running.

Virgin Australia’s Status Boost

Virgin Australia is running a status boost offer for flights booked and flown by March 28, 2024 (inclusive). Activate the offer on the Velocity Frequent Flyer app, book and fly a minimum of two eligible flights (Lite fare types are excluded) by the deadline, and you’ll score 45 bonus status credits.

The offer tops out at six flights, which will see you pick up 125 bonus status credits. This is far from Virgin’s best bonus status points offer but handy nonetheless if you are travelling in March.

The recent short-lived but more generous Qantas double status points offer expired on February 27.

Delta’s Status Match For Virgin and Qantas Frequent Flyers

Delta Air Lines is running a status match offer open to gold and platinum Qantas and Virgin Australia frequent flyers. The offer, which doesn’t have a hard expiry date, gives 90 days of the equivalent status on Delta (a SkyTeam member).

A long-haul return flight in that period will lock in status for 365 days. Delta has also announced it will start running seasonal services between LAX and Brisbane from December using A350-900 metal featuring Delta One Suites, which frankly, crap all over the Qantas A330 business seat product on that route.

Etihad Is Revamping Its Frequent Flyer Program

Etihad has announced it is revamping its Etihad Guest Frequent Flyer program in June, which will see lower redemption rates for economy and business class seats as well as a new Diamond tier that will reportedly require USD150,000 (c. A$230,000) annual spend to acquire.

Regardless of your tier, there will be a fresh focus on miles flown rather than segments flown — which should benefit Australians on the long trek to Europe.

Splitting On Singapore Airlines

If you ask nicely at check-in, Singapore Airlines will allow you to input a second frequent flyer number. It’s called splitting or, more properly, FQTV/FQTS splitting. What’s the point of it? One number can be used for miles/status accrual and the other for service benefits. 

For example, if you have Velocity gold or platinum status and are flying in SQ, there are many tasty benefits, including KrisFlyer lounge access. But let’s say you are doing a Star Alliance status run because your current Star status is rubbish, and you need the miles and status to go to your KrisFlyer account…

Input the KrisFlyer number into the booking and then ask nicely at the counter if they can also input your Velocity number for service benefits. From recent experience, I can attest it works a treat.

Alas, Qantas doesn’t allow splitting as it breaches their frequent flyer terms and conditions. From conversations with travel agents, I believe Singapore Airlines is the exception rather than the rule, but it is another reason to book with that airline.

Air New Zealand Opens Lounges To Trans-Tasman Velocity Members

There are also further benefits on the horizon for Velocity frequent flyers if Virgin can clinch their planned trans-Tasman agreement with Air New Zealand. It’s still subject to ACCC approval but, if Gina says yes, Air New Zealand lounge access will open up to Virgin Australia gold and plats at Australian and New Airports when flying across the Tasman on VA-marketed Air New Zealand flights, even in economy-class.

Turkish Airlines Flights To Melbourne Start This Weekend

Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines kicks off their thrice weekly Melbourne — Singapore — Istanbul roundtrips on Friday, March 1. But don’t rush to the airport. The first few flights will be operated by B777-300ERs, which offer a distinctly substandard business class seat configuration of 2-3-2. However, the barbarity is shortlived, with the service switching to a B787-9 with a 1-2-1 business class seat configuration a week later and to the equally civilised A350-900 in April.

Heading to Istanbul, it’s a late evening departure from Tullamarine, a pre-dawn arrival into Changi for a 1 hour and 40-minute layover and a lunchtime arrival into Türkiye. On the return, it’s a late afternoon departure from Istanbul, a breakfast time layer in Singapore, and a mid-evening arrival in Melbourne.

Turkish is a Star Alliance airline, so if you have Star Gold and are flying back of the bus, you can still tap the Star Alliance lounges, including the Singapore Airlines lounges at Changi and the splendid Turkish Airline lounge at Istanbul.

Townsville Opens First Five-Star Hotel In 40 Years

Open to a weekend in Townsville? The first five-star hotel since 1986 has opened in the city. Ardo is located next door to The Ville (formerly the Sheraton) but offers a far more luxe experience from around USD250 (c. A$385) per night. Expect on-point design, good bed linen, rooftop bars, infinity pools and views over to Magnetic Island. 

I’m going to go against the tide here and say I prefer Townsville to Cairns. There’s less attitude, fewer tourists, it’s easier on the wallet, and the police chases are all out in the suburbs. Beside the water on The Strand, there are cruisy bars, parks, gelato, and easy-going lunches with Coral Sea viewsThe Ardo brings high-quality accommodation into the mix. 


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