For week ending 8 July 2016.
As End of Financial Year celebrations draw to a close there is still plenty of activity in the travel industry for you to read about. Qantas have introduced changes to how credit card fees will be charged while Velocity and BP have announced a new deal to market. In hotel news, AccorHotels and Hertz have a new loyalty offering whilst Hyatt have announced a new Hyatt Regency for Shanghai boasting 306 rooms.
All this and more in our weekly news round-up brought to you by FCM Travel Solutions.
Qantas card levy changes
Qantas plans to switch to a percentage-based card payment fee from 1 September. The new system replaces the current flat fee structure and applies to all credit card payments, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club. Travellers paying by card will be charged a 1.3per cent surcharge, capped at $11 for domestic and trans-Tasman fares and $70 for international fares. While this will mean a saving for most economy class passengers, it will see international business class and first class travellers paying more than the current flat fees of $7 for domestic and $30 for international fares. The change comes in response to new rules on surcharging announced earlier this year by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Reserve Bank. Debit cards such as Qantas Cash will attract a much smaller 0.6per cent levy.
Hilton Worldwide has signed a deal to manage a new-build hotel in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City. Located in the heart of the CBD, the 350-room Hilton Saigon is scheduled to open towards the end of 2019 and will feature two all-day dining restaurants, a bar and a Grab-and-Go food option, as well as a gym, swimming pool and spa and a range of flexible meeting spaces.
Swissôtel Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia will soon boast a new Swissôtel property. The Swissôtel Al Maqam, Makkah is set to open in September. The hotel features 1624 rooms and suites, a choice of dining venues.
AccorHotels Hertz loyalty link-up
AccorHotels has announced a new partnership with Hertz. Le Club AccorHotels loyalty program members will receive a 10 per cent discount on car hire bookings and can earn points on all car rentals globally.
New Shanghai Hyatt
A new Hyatt hotel has opened in Shanghai. The 306-room Hyatt Regency Shanghai, Wujiaochang offers a choice of restaurants, a 24-hour gym and an indoor swimming pool as well as 2858sqm of meeting and event space.
Accor adds 2 in Korea
AccorHotels has opened two new ibis Ambassador-branded hotels in Korea. The 242-room ibis Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun and the 237-room ibis Ambassador Busan Haeundae. The new additions raise Accor’s South Korea property portfolio to 19.
Velocity/BP fuel deal
Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer program has added a new reward option. Members can now use Velocity Points to claim between $10 and $60 off fuel and in-store purchases at BP service stations.
Four Points Singapore
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has opened a new property in Singapore. The 476-room Four Points by Sheraton Singapore, Riverview is located on the Singapore River opposite Robertson Quay. The hotel boasts a range of dining options, a gym, steam bath and outdoor swimming pool as well as 876sqm of function space across six venues, with the largest catering for up to 320 guests.
Singapore Airlines is rolling out a new seat upgrade auction platform for KrisFlyer members. Dubbed ‘mySQupgrade’, the invitation-only bidding system will enable eligible economy class passengers to make a bid in dollars for a premium economy upgrade. The option to bid will be available seven days prior to departure and customers can make, change or cancel a bid upgrade until 50 hours before their flight. Successful bidders will be notified by email 48 hours prior to travel.
New Star Alliance check-in for Tokyo
A new check-in concept has been introduced at Terminal 1 of Tokyo Narita Airport. Star Alliance has added 116 new common-use kiosks, which allow customers to check-in for any of its 17 member airlines. Those with check-in luggage attach a tag printed at the kiosk their bags before proceeding to special baggage drop-off counters.
The 33-room Doubletree by Hilton Naha Shuri Castle in Okinawa, Japan is now open. The property features three restaurants, a Sunset Lounge bar with views across this city, a swimming pool and meeting and event space for up to 800 guests.
Emirates LA route boost
Emirates has launched a new second daily A380 service on its Dubai-Los Angeles route. The move raises capacity on the route to almost 1000 seats per day. Flights EK217/218 will now feature 14 first class suites, 76 business class seats and 401 economy seats.
New Hilton Wuhan
Hilton Worldwide has opened a second property in Wuhan, China. The 338-room Hilton Wuhan Riverside is located in the city’s CBD with views of the Yangtze River. The property features a choice of dining venues, a spa, gym and indoor swimming pool as well as a range of meeting and event spaces catering for up to 1000 guests.