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guides & insights on how & when to use travel rewards points

Ideas on how to travel well using hotel points & airline frequent flyer programs

Travel tips, including finding "better" deals.

Destinations to make your soul sing and boost your well-being.

Wellness as part of your travel.

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Using Your Travel Points

Sunglasses, camera, compass. notepad and guides - all laid out preparing for your next trip

We show you how to extract the greatest value for your travel using both cash and rewards points.  

HOW TO BEST USE TRAVEL LOYALTY PROGRAMS HOW TO BEST USE TRAVEL LOYALTY PROGRAMS

Travel Rewards - News & Views     VIEW ALL BLOG POSTS VIEW ALL BLOG POSTS

Bonza launches booking website

Bonza launches booking website

After customer feedback, low-cost carrier Bonza has launched a new website that allows flyers to make bookings.



Travellers can use the new website to book flights and Bonza Holiday packages, which include flights, baggage, accommodation and the option to add travel insurance, car hire or airport transfers. 

Prior to the new website, Bonza customers could only book flights on the carrier’s app. The first airline globally to prioritise app bookings, the airline says its Fly Bonza app has been downloaded over 1.8 million times since launching just over a year ago.
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it will continue to be the only way to check in, obtain boarding passes, make menu purchases and enjoy entertainment onboard. 

The airline’s new website lets customers book tailored package holidays to any of their 21 destinations, with activities and attractions also coming soon. Each Bonza Holiday package includes a 23kg checked bag, 8kg hand luggage and standard ‘Pick’ seats. 

Plus, the carrier offers a price match guarantee, in which it will refund the difference if customers find a cheaper holiday within 24 hours of booking. 

In February, the airline announced it would link the Sunshine Coast and Tasmania for the first time.


Apparently the demand for the ability to book via a website was a critical part of flyer feedback to Bonza.  Well done Bonza for being responsive to its customer's requests !

I hope this initiative results in even greater support for this low-cost airline.

Accor opens 22 new properties in Japan - in a single day!

Accor opens 22 new properties in Japan - in a single day!

Accor has announced the opening of 22 hotels and over 6,000 rooms in Japan. With these openings, the Group’s footprint in Japan will instantly double increasing Accor’s portfolio of hotels in Japan to 46 properties.

The hotels, comprising 12 Grand Mercure and 10 Mercure hotels, range in location from the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido to the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa and are located close to local hidden gems such as Cape Zanpa in Okinawa, Asuka village in Nara, Shiroi Koibito Park in Hokkaido and Senri Beach in Wakayama.  Each hotel offers a range of guestrooms, restaurants, and wellness facilities such as onsen, saunas and swimming pools.

Prior to the addition of these new hotels, Accor was operating 24 hotels in Japan, under eight brands: MGallery; Pullman; Swissôtel; Mercure; Novotel; ibis; ibis Styles and ibis budget. In addition to the 22 Grand Mercure and Mercure hotels that joined Accor’s network on 1 April 2024, there are two more properties currently in the group’s pipeline.

Grand Mercure Hotels & Resorts

  • Grand Mercure Sapporo Odori Park
  • Grand Mercure Nasu Highlands Resort & Spa
  • Grand Mercure Yatsugatake Resort & Spa
  • Grand Mercure Minamiboso Resort & Spa
  • Grand Mercure Lake Hamana Resort & Spa
  • Grand Mercure Ise-shima Resort & Spa
  • Grand Mercure Lake Biwa Resort & Spa
  • Grand Mercure Nara Kashihara
  • Grand Mercure Wakayama Minabe Resort & Spa
  • Grand Mercure Awaji Island Resort & Spa
  • Grand Mercure Beppu Bay Resort & Spa
  • Grand Mercure Okinawa Cape Zanpa Resort

Mercure Hotels & Resorts
  • Mercure Miyagi Zao Resort & Spa
  • Mercure Urabandai Resort & Spa
  • Mercure Nagano Matsushiro Resort & Spa
  • Mercure Toyama Tonami Resort & Spa
  • Mercure Wakayama Kushimoto Resort & Spa
  • Mercure Kyoto Miyazu Resort & Spa
  • Mercure Tottori Daisen Resort & Spa
  • Mercure Kochi Tosa Resort & Spa
  • Mercure Fukuoka Munakata Resort & Spa
  • Mercure Saga Karatsu Resort.
I expect these will all participate in the Accor Live Limitless program. For information refer to our guide to  Accor ALL.

Langham Launches New Loyalty Program

Langham Launches New Loyalty Program

Langham Hospitality Group has announced the launch of Brilliant by Langham, a new loyalty platform designed to meet the dynamic and evolving needs of its guests. 

Similar to both Accor Live Limitless and Marriott Bonvoy, the new program will reward members with not only stays, but also curated experiences.

Beyond traditional perks, Brilliant additionally allows for the introduction of personalised experiential offerings, from whimsical excursions and cultural immersions to unforgettable wellness and culinary delights. Examples of such offerings are said to include: 

    • Private cooking lessons and dinners with celebrity chefs 
    • Behind-the-scenes dance and musical performance encounters 
    • Nature walks with guided mindfulness sessions 
    • Off-the-beaten-path tours hosted by local guides 
    • Traditional crafting workshops with seasoned artisans 
    • Themed tea parties in picturesque locations 
    Brilliant will go live on 29th February 2024  and thereafter serve as Langham sole loyalty program. It replaces the group’s existing loyalty programs, Langham Supper Club and 1865 Privilege by Langham, both of which will cease to operate on 28th February.

    Members from the closing programs will have their past loyalty rewarded with an invitation to join Brilliant at higher starting membership tiers. 

    Analysis of the new Brilliant program will follow, once the T&C's have been released.

    Qatar Airways Holidays launch fan packages for the Formula 1

    Qatar Airways Holidays launch fan packages for the Formula 1






    Qatar Airways, the Global Partner and Official Airline of F1, in partnership with Qatar Airways Holidays, announced on 19 February the launch of its fan packages for the upcoming FIA Formula One World Championship.

    The packages allow fans travelling from more than 40 countries to be up-close to high-octane action and enjoy unique experiences. 

    From the beginning to end of their journey, the packages are designed for fans to enjoy a seamless motorsport extravaganza, with the inclusion of return flights, hotel accommodation, F1 Paddock Club or Grandstand race tickets, and return airport transfers for all global races (excluding Qatar). Packages are available for purchase at: qatarairways.com/f1

    Similar to the inaugural packages, this year’s fan packages include an array of flexible and competitively priced options for select F1® 2024 race destinations. 

    This year, fans are also encouraged to experience guided track tours, pit lane walks and more with the F1® Paddock Club™ packages, featuring savings of up to 20 per cent on global race packages.

    One of the best spots to watch the action, offering world-class cuisine and free-flowing beverages, the Paddock Club™ is the pinnacle of F1® hospitality.


    Qatar Airways Privilege Club members

    In addition, Qatar Airways Privilege Club members can collect Avios and Qpoints on all fan packages, accumulating rewards to use towards future travel and experiences while helping them retain and quickly reach their next tier.

    Members can also purchase their package using Cash + Avios. 

    Alternatively, members can bid for the packages using Avios.
    How will the Formula 1 deals work?

    Packages have been secured for the following races:
    • Melbourne Grand Prix, 24th March (now open for bidding)
    • Miami Grand Prix, 5th May
    • Monaco Grand Prix, 26th May
    • British Grand Prix, 7th July
    • Las Vegas Grand Prix, 24th November
    • Qatar Grand Prix, 1st December

    The Privilege Club Collection website is only open for bidding on the Melbourne Grand Prix at the moment, so we don’t know exactly what will be available for each race.

    However, each package will include two Paddock Club™ VIP passes and hotel accommodation for the entire race period, usually three days. Paddock Club is the highest level of hospitality available and includes track tours and pit lane walks.
    How can you bid for Privilege Club experiences?


    Privilege Club Collection will eventually have a mix of ‘buy it now’ and auction experiences, although everything currently listed is for auction.

    Here are two very important points to note:

    (1)  You must have Avios in a Qatar Airways Privilege Club account before you can bid. It is NOT good enough to have Avios in say a British Airways Executive Club account which is linked to your Qatar Airways Privilege Club account. You must have physically moved Avios across to your Qatar Airways Privilege Club account.

    (One snag here is that you can’t use the entire balance of a British Airways Executive Club household account to bid. The only Avios you can move into a Qatar Airways Privilege Club account are those in your own personal account. If you have 200,000 Avios and your partner has 50,000 Avios to give you a household balance of 150,000 Avios, the most you could use to bid for a single Privilege Club Collection auction is 200,000 – ie your own balance.)

    (2)  You must have enough Avios in your Qatar Airways Privilege Club account to match your maximum bid. You cannot bid more than your current Avios balance, and you cannot set a future auto-bid which is higher than your balance. Transfers are free, instant and can be reversed at any time.

    Travellers passing through Melbourne Airport can now access short stays with use of amentities.

    Travellers passing through Melbourne Airport can now access short stays with use of amentities.

    Travellers passing through Melbourne Airport, Australia’s busiest 24/7 hub, now have instant access to hourly hotel stays.


    Following it's recent refurbishment, the PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport, the only hotel connected to the domestic and international terminals via a sky-bridge, is now offering short-stay hourly accommodation.. 

    Bookable online or by phone, short stays at the hotel are available in three, five and eight-hour blocks, from $109, $119 and $149 respectively – significantly less than rooms at nightly rates.

    Whether it’s to catch up on some sleep, freshen up or just chill for a few hours, travellers can access newly refurbished rooms with city or airport views, a 24-hour gymnasium, heated indoor pool, spa, sauna and steam room

    Other amenities include the modern Australian restaurant, Airo, the casual Airo Café for coffee and light snacks, and Airo Bar for boutique beers, regional wines and specialty cocktails (and no doubt conversation with fellow flyers).

    PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport boasts 276 rooms including eight suites and eight family rooms.


    Loyalty Program

    The PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport participates in the GHA Discovery loyalty program.


    Our thoughts

    The suites and family rooms are a great idea for families travelling at hours that little ones do not cope well with, or after long international flights with broken sleep, enabling you to refresh prior to moving on more refreshed. 




    A room at the PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport


    Bali imposes tourist tax from Valentines Day 2024

    Bali imposes tourist tax from Valentines Day 2024

    A tourist tax of 150,000 Indonesian Rupiah (approx GBP 8 or USD 12) oer person has been introduced for foreign travellers to Bali effective from 14 February 2024..

    The levy aims to raise funds to protect the culture and natural environment of the Indonesian island.

    A ‘Love Bali’ initiative by the island’s provincial government has created a development plan to be funded by the tax.

    “The goal is to preserve the integrity and balance of Bali’s nature, its people, and their culture,” a statement said.

    “As a form of support that aims to protect the customs, traditions, arts and culture, and local wisdom of the Balinese people, Bali will impose [a] levy for the international tourist.

    “Efforts and innovations will continue to be made for maintenance the culture and the natural environment in Bali. There will also continue to be an improvement in the quality of services.”

    The levy is described “as a form of support, towards the efforts to preserve the nature and culture of Bali”.

    It comes as the regional authority continues to make “various progressive efforts and innovations related to improving Bali’s quality of the nature and culture through preservation, conservation and revitalisation.”

    The proceeds will also go towards improving “the quality of services, safety, and comfort of tourists, by developing land, sea and air infrastructure in an integrated and connected manner”.

    Payment can be made online or on arrival at designated payment counters at Bali’s airport and seaport.

    Awayz: Flights cash vs points comparison released soon

    Awayz: Flights cash vs points comparison released soon

    Awayz is a great tool which we use and recommend for our readers to find whether booking a stay is better value through paying cash or by redeeming points.


    We are excited to say that Awayz will soon offer a similar feature for flights of Air France and Virgin Atlantic (good for European travel) and the North American majors of Air Canada, American, Delta and United.

    This video shows how easy it is to compare miles and cash for planned flights and book accommodation.

    This new capability will soon be launched via Twitter and Instagram. Once released the Awayz Premium price will increase by approximately 50% to accommodate all the new offerings we are adding with flights and many more new hotel features.

    However, all current Premium users and new users who sign up for Premium before launch will get flights for free, not just for the first year, but for every year in the future!

    A really useful tool will soon be doubly useful.  So use this link to sign up for a Premium Subscription (advertiser) to lock in this bargain !

    For our readers, Awayz is offering a promotional offer of free 72-hour trial of Premium plus a US$10 discount off the annual subscription and you will keep that rate forever, as long as you renew the subscription each year.

    That's an annual subscription for US$89.99 (excludes tax) for as long as you maintain this special subscription.

    The best value is in the Annual Premium tier - at a discount to the already discounted annual rate (an overall discount of 37.5%). To take advantage of the offer either use the link above, or enter the code pointsnplaces on the Packages page on their website awayz.com.

    Happy bargain hunting !

    Virgin Australia adds 17 regional domestic routes

    Virgin Australia adds 17 regional domestic routes

    A new agreement with Link Airways will see Virgin Australia grow its regional footprint by 45 per cent - 90 new flights on 17 domestic routes



    The partnership will benefit Velocity Frequent Flyer’s nearly 12 million members, allowing them to earn Points and Status Credits on Link Airways-operated codeshare flights by Virgin Australia. Platinum, Gold and Silver members will earn bonus Points and extra baggage allowance, while eligible members can also access Virgin lounges. 

    Thanks to the new arrangement, Virgin Australia flyers can now book travel to 42 Australian destinations, including Inverell, Wollongong and Biloela, with through check-in and baggage transfer, a first for these locations.

    "...the partnership is set to support regional trade and tourism in destinations like Inverell, Wollongong and Biloela, which are not currently serviced by any other major airline" stated Virgin Australia Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Alistair Hartley

    “....Together, our networks will be operating up to 365 daily flights across Australia, offering 42 domestic destinations for guests to explore, all while ensuring guests can enjoy seamless connectivity and loyalty benefits under our award-winning Velocity Frequent Flyer program when they travel.” 

    New regional routes available as Virgin Australia codeshare: 
    • Brisbane <> Coffs Harbour (BNE-CFS)
    • Brisbane <> Bundaberg (BNE-BDB)
    • Brisbane <> Biloela (BNE-ZBL)
    • Brisbane <> Inverell (BNE-IVR)
    • Brisbane <> Narrabri (BNE-NAA)
    • Brisbane <> Dubbo (BNE-DBO)
    • Brisbane <> Orange (BNE-OAG)
    • Brisbane <> Tamworth (BNE-TMW)
    • Brisbane <> Armidale (BNE-ARM)
    • Brisbane <> Wollongong (BNE-WOL)
    • Sydney <> Narrabri (SYD-NAA)
    • Sydney <> Inverell (BNE-IVR)
    • Melbourne <> Dubbo (MEL-DBO)
    • Melbourne <> Orange (MEL-OAG)
    • Melbourne <> Wollongong (MEL-WOL)
    • Canberra <> Hobart (CBR-HBA)
    • Canberra <> Newcastle (CBR-NTL).




    Vestiaire Collection offers pre-loved luxury luggage

    Vestiaire Collection Offers Pre-Loved Luxury Luggage

    Recycling luxury luggage is good for the environment...and you !  At Vestiaire Collection (advertiser), brands and quantities vary almost daily but include Louis Vuitton, Celine, YSL, Dior, Chanel, Prada, Burberry, Fendi, Gucci, Loewe, Hermes, Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta.

    Importantly, Vestiaire Collective have  in-house experts to authenticate everything they sell.

    T&C's apply


    Fly Virgin Australia (Advertisement)

    Best offers from Virgin Australia

    Book now !

    Don't forget to also check the Virgin Australia Happy Hour - discounted fares offered between 4pm and 11 pm (AEST) each Thursday.

    T&C's apply


    Top Tips For Travellers' Health

    Travel can be stressful !  Ideas to keep your travels happy and healthy.

    There’s an ever-expanding body of scientific evidence that (whether behind a desk at work or during a long plane trip or train ride), being seated for prolonged periods can be harmful.  We provide tips to boost your health and reduce the harmful impact on your body while travelling. 

    TIPS FOR STAYING HEALTHY WHILE TRAVELLING TIPS FOR STAYING HEALTHY WHILE TRAVELLING

    (Advertisement) Singapore Airlines advertisement