Unavailability of Virgin Reward Seats

13 replies

azsha

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 05 Jul 2019

Total posts 3

Hello Executive Traveller community,

I have been slowly amassing a decent-ish points collection with VFF, and was primarily using points to purchase seat upgrades. However recently I've turned my mind to purchasing reward seats instead but I've been unable to find much availability, if any.

The qualifications to the above, are that I am looking at international routes (not domestic which I do find reward seats plentifully) and usually fulfilled by a partner airline (like SIA or Delta). Does everyone else find these reward seats difficult to come by? Or am I missing something completely?

djtech

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 02 Sep 2018

Total posts 322

Singapore Airlines usually releases Business Class space to its own Krisflyer program only and very few Economy seats to partners. Delta has a variable price chart meaning 'saver' rewards available for partners like Velocity is few and fair between on high value routes.

robtemt

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

Member since 02 Apr 2017

Total posts 3

I found this to be a VA issue and not the partner carriers. Where VA had no availability listed for weeks at a time on Hawaiian, American Airlines had availability for the same flights daily. We also struggled making a Delta booking via VFF from LAX to SJO (Costa Rica), and had to plan our trip around the flights that had availability, even though that far out the entire cabin was empty on all the days we were looking.

I've never had problems booking a SQ reward flight direct with SQ (never tried via VFF). While you take a hit converting VFF to KF miles, I've always found my first choice in flights to be available (or waitlisted and then with a simple request to release the waitlist, I'm booked), including Suites and Business. Admittedly I've never booked an economy reward seat. We do plan in advance though and typically book on the day they release flights for award booking.

johnmcc10

Member since 21 Oct 2014

Total posts 1

How do you know when award booking is going to be released?

Leisuretravel

Member since 17 Dec 2014

Total posts 1

I was able to book tickets from LAX to Vancouver on Delta, at fairly short notice (less than a month), without much difficulty using Velocity. If I'm not mistaken, only economy class tickets were available.

Michael Kao

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 06 Nov 2014

Total posts 144

Forget velocity. I've given up on them 3 years ago. VA used to be very generous in releasing award seats to LAX. That's not the case anymore. You might be able to snatch a seat or two in the next week or so but nothing much pass 14 days.

Even with partners, they've added crazy surcharges in Etihad flights, so you'd pay USD$400-600 for premium cabins on average. With the current poor exchange rate, that's an awful $600-1000 in taxes and surcharges.

Of course there are still some silver linings especially flying into Asia. But definitely Velocity is nowhere near as useful as QFF in my experience. QFF has been expanding its partners besides Oneworld (Eg China Eastern, China Airlines, and Air France/KLM), I just don't understand why can't VA add more partners.

andyf

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 07 Dec 2014

Total posts 42

I found Etihad has quite reasonable availability to Europe in business (though with much higher taxes than other options).

Isn't this issue one of the main reasons for the transferability to Kris Flyer? That gives you access to the entire Star Alliance network, while earning Velocity points (which in Australia are much easier to come by, and don't expire).

Eugene

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

Member since 03 Apr 2019

Total posts 1

DJTech is right, Kris Flyer has far more flex and availability, even on partner airlines.

awong999

Member since 30 Aug 2019

Total posts 1

The problem is that KrisFlyer points expire, whereas for Velocity, you are easily keep them forever by keeping some activity.

xtfer

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 14 Mar 2017

Total posts 143

Transferring Velocity to KrisFlyer takes only about 5 minutes, so you can retain your points in Velocity until you want to use them, thus negating the expiry issue.

Also, in my experience, if you can get Saver awards on KrisFlyer these are still cheaper after conversion than booking the same flight via Virgin directly using Velocity points.

Last editedby xtfer at Sep 13, 2019, 06:20 PM.

waratahbay

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 14 Mar 2018

Total posts 5

Originally Posted by awong999

The problem is that KrisFlyer points expire, whereas for Velocity, you are easily keep them forever by keeping some activity.

KrisFlyer miles expire after 3 years. I understand you can do a once-only time extension of 6 months on request. If you're planning on converting VFF points to KF miles with the intention of actually using them instead of storing them then I suspect the 3-year expiry will just not be an issue. Redeeming KS miles for flights on SIA also counts as activity, so that would be 36 months expiry from the redemption point for any leftover points. I've never found SIA redemptions difficult (I'm KF Bronze) in F travelling to and from London (admittedly 12 months out) or on one month's notice F to Singapore/Hong Kong and Singapore/Shanghai. I like that there are two-tiers for points redemption - super earlybird and standard.

Angle for A380 for Suites, F or J. (I appreciate that the OP is travelling Y.) I used to be rusted on to QF but SIA service/food/wine/bed in F leaves the old kangaroo way behind. The premium to be paid, of course, is the discount converting VFF points to SIA miles. SIA F points seats never show up on the VA booking engine.


Last edited by waratahbay at Sep 18, 03.18 PM.
Last editedby waratahbay at Sep 18, 2019, 03:20 PM.

jds747400

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 04 Mar 2015

Total posts 6

As a frequent AU-US flyer, I have also given up on Velocity. With close to 1m points and Platinum for 6-years running, flying mainly the BNE-LAX route for many years now, I've scored one biz seat using points (and that was 3-years ago) and one Prem Y seat using points (only available one-way 2-years ago). Economy I've never had an issue finding. I've tried searching for months at a time and IF you found a biz seat on points, it was 800,000+ points which is ridiculous. Shame as their biz cabin is truly one of the best in the sky, and although I miss flying them, I've had to switch to Delta SkyMiles. When Platinum for 6-years and not ONCE getting an upgrade (even domestically), and not able to use points, then what's the point of staying with them?

clipped_wings

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 02 Jun 2019

Total posts 3

Velocity reward availability is often found when you search one way. It does take some gumption to invest the outbound sector and then wait for a return flight to pop up, but I am a perfect example of how it can work. I started looking SYD-LAX around 300 days out, found a couple of J seats via BNE, as well as some Economy X reward seats for our kids. Sweated it out for a week, then VA2 J reward seats materialised and I jumped on them - plus another set of the YX rewards.

I think you have to be prepared to be flexible, vigilant with searching and very patient. But the rewards are there :)

Winstonatc

Member since 24 Sep 2019

Total posts 5

I have used a mixture of velocity and qantas points to fly our family of 3 to Switzerland and back in January. Etihad were useful in getting there in business - it helped that my husband was flying a day later as they only released 2 x J seats per day. Coming back I found Singapore Airlines really cheap for taxes and good availability, but I could only book Zurich-Singapore and Singapore-Brisbane on separate bookings. Meanwhile I found the taxes charged by Qatar and Emirates for business seats out of Zurich and Geneva were quite high, and again I couldn't get seats all the way through to Brisbane. Back in March I was quoted around $500AUD per person just to get to Singapore on Qatar - double what was quoted for economy, and nearly $900AUD for 1 adult and 1 child to fly from Singapore to Brisbane on Emirates. I imagine it would be more expensive now that the Australian dollar has dropped against both the Swiss Franc and the Singapore dollar. Meanwhile Singapore Airlines was only $92 each in taxes and 65000 points in J. Moral of the story: bookings for a family of 3 are seriously difficult and I needed to trawl both programs at the 330 day mark to find us seats to Switzerland and back.

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