Qantas Club fees to increase from April


Qantas Club fees set to soar, new research reveals the most dangerous place to park your car, and power bills to drop by up to 7% - will you benefit? Here are five things you may have missed this week. 

qantas club membership price 2024

Qantas Club fees ready for take-off

Qantas fans have a window of opportunity to save on Qantas Club membership, which among other things, provides access to Qantas Lounges.

From April 18, 2024, it will cost up to 30% more to become a Qantas Club member, with the one-off joining fee for new members jumping from $99 to $129.

Annual fees are rising too, in some cases by almost 20%, including a $399 jump in the four-year membership fee for newbies, which will climb from $2000 to $2399.

qantas club prices 2024
Qantas is raising the price of its club membership from April 18. 

The fee hike will help fund Qantas's $100-million investment in new lounges, including a new flagship lounge at London's Heathrow Airport, plus upgrades to existing lounges.

Is the higher fee worth the cost?

It depends on how often you fly, and who you fly with.

If you travel with a partner, they may need their own Qantas Club membership to join you at a Qantas Lounge.

That means an additional outlay, or abandoning your other half to the Maccas coffee counter while you indulge in a Lounge experience.

Probably not a great start to your next vacation.

Power bills to drop by up to 7%, but not for everyone

This week saw the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) release its draft default market offer for energy prices for 2024/25.

The news is good - and not-so-good - depending on your power plan.

AER says residential customers could see power bills drop by up to 7.1%.

But this only applies if you are on the 'default market' offer.

Price changes for residential and small business customers on 'standard retail plans' are expected to be less than the rate of inflation.

What can you do?

First, check if you could switch to a cheaper plan with the same energy provider.

AER Chair Clare Savage explains, "Your retailer is required to tell you on the front page of your bill at least every 100 days if they can offer you a better deal."

Or jump onto the Energy Made Easy website to compare deals.

"Shopping around remains the best way to get the best price," says Savage.

The most dangerous place to park your car

Forget dark alleys or public car parks.

The most dangerous place to park a car is your own home.

ABS figures show around 55,000 households had a car stolen in the last 12 months, and the majority of vehicles (over one in two) were pinched from the owner's home.

If crims don't steal the car, they'll likely have a pot shot at raiding the contents.

In 2022-23, about 220,000 households had items stolen from a motor vehicle. In seven out of 10 thefts the car was parked at home.

Items most often stolen from a car include money, a purse or wallet, and jewellery, clothing or keys.

The moral of the story is to store as little in your car as possible, keep it locked - even when it's parked at home, and don't leave the keys lying around where they can be seen.

Bank of Mum and Dad ripe for abuse

Parents offering their children a leg-up on the property ladder are at increased risk of financial elder abuse.

That's the finding of research by the University of Newcastle, which says the normalisation of older people being expected (or even obligated) to financially assist younger generations buying a first home can give rise to conditions for financial elder abuse.

The report notes that despite mortgage brokers, financial advisers, and even politicians encouraging older people to help their children get into the property market, the vast majority of older relatives who lend a financial helping hand do not seek financial or legal advice or put formal agreements in place around whether the money will be repaid.

Like a loan with your case of pet food?

Membership-based retailer Costco has teamed up with finance provider Manage Your Loans, offering Costco members access to a range of tailored financial solutions.

Costco Executive Members can claim extra perks including, for example, a $1000 Costco Shop Card for taking out a $500,000 mortgage with Manage Your Loans.

Costco has a range of alliances with financial service providers such as health insurer NIB and life insurance company Noble Oak.

The best perks tend to go to Costco members with 'Executive' membership, which costs $130 annually rather than the cheaper Gold Star membership costing $65.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.