Carry On: News for business travellers
Mars rover publicises Qantas loyalty programme
US space agency NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity is at the centre of a campaign for the Qantas Frequent Flyer programme. It is one of the largest loyalty schemes of its kind with nine million members worldwide. Qantas Loyalty is also a highly profitable earner for the airline – in the latest financial year it made a record underlying profit of $A260 million, up 13% on the previous year. It also scored a record customer satisfaction rating.
The advertising campaign to spread its message in New Zealand features a 2m plus high life size replica of Curiosity exploring New Zealand locations and showing the many ways members can earn and redeem points – from buying groceries on their ANZ Qantas credit card to flying on Qantas and partner airlines Jetstar and Emirates. The campaign includes television commercials, outdoor advertising, direct, digital, print, experiential and social media executions.
Bonus and double points on offer
Qantas Loyalty chief executive Lesley Grant says New Zealand provides a sizeable chunk of its members and is the second most popular destination outside Australia for those redeeming their points. Qantas will be making a number of exclusive double and bonus points offers throughout the New Zealand campaign for purchasing of flights, hotel rooms, car hire and QBE travel insurance.
In December, Qantas will introduce a new seasonal route between Auckland and Perth and has retimed services to Christchurch to improve connections with more international services from Sydney. The most popular place for the first six months of this year was Fiji, followed by Auckland, Los Angeles, Johannesburg and Hawaii. Apart from travel, the biggest in-store items were cookery products and homemaker items, partly attributed to the popularity of renovation and food-focused TV shows.
Emirates offers top football matches
Emirates says New Zealand members of its frequent flyer programme, Skywards, now have exclusive opportunities to redeem their reward miles for tickets to matches of top clubs its sponsors.
This applies to matches played by AC Milan, Arsenal, Hamburger SV, New York Cosmos, Olympiacos, Paris Saint-Germain and Réal Madrid. General admission tickets can be redeemed starting from just 2000 Skywards Miles. Emirates Skywards members in premium tiers can also redeem Miles for VIP seating in designated hospitality areas. These vary by game and football club. All tickets are offered at a first-come first-served basis and are limited to two tickets per booking at www.emirates.com\nz under the Skywards section.
Eithad completes Virgin Australia buyup
Etihad Airways says the doubling of its equity stake in Virgin Australia Holdings to 19.9% cements a long-standing partnership whose benefits include more than 40 codeshare destinations in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Thailand.
The airlines also share loyalty programme privileges such as priority baggage handling, priority boarding and airport lounge access for top tier programme members. Air New Zealand, which has permission to build its shareholding to as much as 25.9%, and Singapore Airlines, also with 19.9%, have similar arrangements.
Etihad Airways began flying to Australia in March 2007, when it launched services to Sydney. Flights to Melbourne and Brisbane followed in 2009. The airline has carried more than 2.5 million passengers between Abu Dhabi and these three Australian gateways in the past six years. The airline plans to operate services to Perth in Western Australia in the future
Combined, Etihad Airways (25) and Virgin Australia (3) operate 28 flights a week between Abu Dhabi and Australia and passengers have access to a combined global network of more than 280 destinations.
Etihad Airways also holds equity investments in Airberlin, Air Seychelles and Aer Lingus, It will acquire 49% of Air Serbia from January 2014, and, subject to regulatory approval, will acquire 24% of India’s Jet Airways. It also has codeshare partnerships with 47 airlines worldwide.
California, here we come (from the UAE)
Separately, Etihad has announced the launch of direct flights from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates to Los Angeles from June 1, 2014, subject to regulatory approvals. It will be Etihad Airways’ first destination on the west coast of the US and its fourth after Chicago, New York and Washington DC.
Jetlag cure comes closer
Scientists at Kyoto University in Japan say they have edged closer to a cure for jet lag by identifying the “reset button” in the body clock inside the brains of laboratry mice. In a paper published in the journal Science, the researchers demonstrated that by disrupting the information shared between the approximately 10,000 brain cells that make up the body clock and control the physical responses to the passage of time, the leap to a new time zone can be completed in a matter of hours instead of days.
Scientists estimate that it takes the average person one day to adjust to every one-hour change in time zone. The Japanese found that by interfering with the body clock’s vasopressin receptors, which serve as the ears of a brain cell through which it can stay in touch with the surrounding cells, the body clock can move more rapidly. Genetically modified mice without vasopressin receptors were able to adjust to an eight-hour time difference within a single day, a process that took normal mice six days to complete.