Every week, there are miles promotions and news stories affecting the points and miles world. To save you leafing through hundreds of webpages every week, Simple Flying select the most relevant and important pieces of miles and points news affecting you. So read on to find out what’s hot and what not in the points and miles world this week.
Singapore to devalue Star Alliance awards
Singapore Airlines has announced a devaluation to its Star Alliance Partner award chart. Effective April 16th, a new chart with new pricing will come into force. Fortunately, for the time being Singapore is not making any changes to the price on awards on its own flights.
Glancing over the new chart, it seems most of the changes are affecting travel in business and first. The new chart sees no increases in economy award pricing. However, travel in business and first will see an increase of between 5% and 15% depending on the route.
The changes are wide-ranging and affect a host of routes around the world, including from Singapore to Europe, From the US to Europe, and from the US to Asia.
Ultimately this change will not make a lot of difference to most people since Singapore already had pretty expensive awards on Star Alliance partners. For the vast majority of travelers with a stack of Singapore miles, or those looking to transfer points to Singapore, the best value is for redemptions on Singapore’s own business class or stunning first class.
Apple launches new credit card
At a huge event Apple has announced that it is getting into the credit card game this summer with the launch of the new Apple credit card. The card is a collaboration between Apple and investment bank Goldman Sachs. The new card has some interesting and revolutionary features including:
- No card number
- No security number (CVV)
- No expiration date
- No signature
The card is designed to be used in conjunction with the Apple Pay app, although it can be used like any other normal card when making physical purchases in store. In terms of earning, the card is a cashback card, with variable earning rates depending on how you make your purchase. The earning rates are as follows:
- Earn 3% cashback on purchases made directly with Apple
- Earn 2% cash back on purchase made using ApplePay
- Earn 1% cashback on all other purchases
If you use the card mainly for purchases using ApplePay, then your cashback earnings will be on par with some of the best cashback cards on the market today. The lower 1% cashback is not the best, and if you are going to make a physical purchase, there are better cards available. Applications are set to become available through the wallet app.
Priority Pass announces its ‘Lounge of the Year’ award
Priority Pass has announced the winners of its lounge of the year 2018 awards. The awards are voted for by over 52,000 Priority Pass members. The list of awards includes a regional winner and runner up, as well as a global winner, which for 2018 is Sala VIP Internacional at Quito International Airport, Ecuador. The full list of winners for 2018 are:
- Overall Winner: Sala VIP Internacional- Quito International Airport, Ecuador
- Africa & Middle East Winner: Ahlan Lounge at B, Concourse B, DXB, United Arab Emirates
- Africa & Middle East Highly Commended:Marhaba Lounge, Concourse A, DXB, United Arab Emirates
- Asia Pacific Winner: Miracle First Class Lounge, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Thailand
- Asia Pacific Highly Commended: SATS Premier Lounge, Singapore Changi International Airport, Singapore
- Europe Regional Winner: Primeclass Riga Business Lounge, Riga International Airport, Latvia
- Europe Highly Commended: Northern Lights Executive Lounge, Aberdeen International Airport, UK
- Latin America and The Caribbean Highly Commended: Eldorado Lounge, Bogota El Dorado International Airport, Colombia
- North America Winner: Lounge 19, Mexico City Benito Juarez International Airport, Mexico
- North America Highly Commended: The Club MCO, Concourse 4, Orlando International Airport, US
BA improves lounge access rules for Gold Members
British Airways has announced a big improvement to its guest access policy for Gold Guest List and Lifetime Gold Guest List members. The new lounge access rule takes effect immediately.
- Members can now bring in five guests with them before departure
- Member and guests must be flying on the same BA flight
- Lounges must be owned and operated by BA
- The policy applies to the Club World lounge and The First Wing at London Heathrow
Sadly the new benefit does not extend to the Concorde Room at London Heathrow or at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York. Neither does it apply to arrival lounges.
This is a great move by BA for its most loyal travelers who, if they were ever flying with extended family, would have not been able to bring in all their guests. Hopefully, other airlines take a leaf out of BA’s book.
Qantas and Aer Lingus to end partnership
Qantas and Aer Lingus have announced that their loyalty program partnership will end from June 30th, 2019. After that date, members of both programs will no longer be able to earn miles when flying on partner aircraft.
The move is not surprising since Aer Lingus is not a Oneworld member, and the route from Europe to Australia is being dominated more and more by the Middle East carriers. Currently, there is speculation that Aer Lingus may be joining Oneworld as a Connect member; after all, Aer Lingus is owned by IAG which also own BA and Iberia who are both full Oneworld members. If that does happen, maybe we could see a change to the link between Qantas and Aer Lingus.
Lifetime Global Services Status for Medal of Honour recipients
United has announced a great gesture to thank veterans for their service on Medal of Honor day. Recipients of the Medal of Honor will receive lifetime Global Services status with United Airlines. Bear in mind that you can not earn Global Services status; it is invite only and is offered by United to some of its most profitable and prestigious passengers.
United does not publish any information about Global Services status, either on how to qualify or what benefits members receive. However, we do know that members can receive upgrades on awards, Mercedes Benz transfers between connections and a host of other perks. According to the United statement, the offer is a small gesture:
“It’s a small gesture in light of what these individuals accomplished on the battlefield, but it’s one way we can say thank you. When it comes to flying heroes, the honor is all ours.”
In total 72 living members of the Medal of Honor will receive the status, which will be renewed automatically for them every year.
Chase Freedom Q2 bonus category registration now live
Holders of the Chase Freedom Card can now register for their Q2 bonus category. This quarter the bonus category is grocery stores and home improvement stores. With Chase Freedom, each quarter you earn 5% cash back at select categories on the first $1,500 of spending.
- You need to activate your bonus category
- Earn 5% cash back at grocery stores and home improvement stores excluding Walmart and Target purchase
- Earn 5% cashback on the first $1,500 of spending for a total of $75 cash back
- Q2 runs from April through June 2019
If you hold the Chase Freedom card, you have no excuse not registering to earn 5% cashback. The earning rate is excellent and is the entire reason you would hold the card. One thing to remember if you are a Chase Ultimate Rewards fan, you can convert cashback from earned from the Chase Freedom to Ultimate Rewards points at a ratio of 1 point per cent, if you hold a fee-paying Ultimate Rewards point earning card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
There is lots of action in miles and points news this week. While Apple fans will be excited with the new card coming their way, Chase Freedom card holders need to register for their Q2 bonus as soon as possible. Also, BA elites will be happier today as opposed to Singapore members who will be a little disappointed. Finally, United gets a pat on the back for showing appreciation to heroes.