How to plan and book free Virgin Australia flights via AMEX

By Chris Chamberlin, April 27 2018
How to plan and book free Virgin Australia flights via AMEX

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You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

The AMEX Velocity Platinum Card includes a complimentary return Virgin Australia flight every year to help offset its annual fee – and it’s a great perk, provided you put it to good use.

Here’s how you can plan and book that free trip.

American Express Velocity Platinum Card: free Virgin Australia flight

Slip an American Express Velocity Platinum credit card into your wallet and you’ll be entitled to a complimentary return domestic flight every year with Virgin Australia, once the card’s annual fee of $375 has been charged to your account and you’ve used your card to make at least one purchase after that.

Where you can travel depends on where you live. Here’s where you could fly to from Sydney…

… while from Melbourne, you can travel as far north as Hamilton Island:

Brisbane’s central location on the east coast sees flights to Cairns, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin available…

… and if you live in Perth, your free return flight can take you across to Sydney and back – but note that if you live in Sydney, you can’t book a return ticket to Perth – only the cities mapped above.

For journeys beginning in other cities, use the interactive map on the AMEX website to see where you could travel.

Flights can only be booked in economy class, don’t normally earn points or status credits, and can’t be upgraded using Velocity points or cash. However, you can book your complimentary flight in another person’s name, such as for your partner to join you on a business trip, or as a gift.

Just keep track of when your credit card annual fee falls due every year, because the free flight credit doesn’t carry forward into your next AMEX ‘membership year’ if you haven’t used it, and when your annual fee hits your account, that signals the start of your next AMEX ‘membership year’.

You can normally book flights for travel up to 11 months in advance, however, so you do have the option of travelling during your next membership year – you just need to make that booking this membership year to avoid this year’s free flight going to waste.

To book, head to this page on the Virgin Australia website, login with your Velocity details and follow the prompts. That is, unless you're wanting to fly from Perth to Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide; or from Darwin to Sydney or Brisbane, for which you'll need to call 1300 153 006 instead.

Don’t already have the AMEX Velocity Platinum Card? Eligible new customers who apply, are approved and spend $3,000 on the card within the first three months can earn 50,000 bonus Velocity points, with other perks included too such as AMEX and Virgin Australia lounge access.


Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Nov 2015

Total posts 35

The AMEX Velocity Platinum free return flight can now be booked online at!

It directs you to login to your Velocity account, and if it detects you are eligible, leads you to a simple mobile-site interface where you can search for a free return flight.

Flights with availability are automatically displayed and once selected, you just checkout with the detail of the traveller.

Hi bl5965, thanks for your comment. At the time our article was written (only the other day, in fact), the only option was to call, but AMEX has just enabled online bookings for this (yesterday, I'm told), so we've updated our article to reflect this. Have a great weekend!

07 Mar 2013

Total posts 30

The online booking for AMEX Velocity Plat started on 10th April.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jul 2011

Total posts 184

Hmm, I booked a "comp" flight using ANZ Travel Rewards ADL-SYD-ADL for the beginning of April 2018 and receives the VA email "upgrade your flight" So I put in the lowest bid and flew up the front for $280 return. Checking my activity statement I've recd both status credits, base and bonus points.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jun 2015

Total posts 13

I booked my complementary flight 2 weeks ago and had no issues upgrading to Business class with points. I first had to call Virgin directly to add my FF number and then could do the upgrade online.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

04 Apr 2018

Total posts 10

Can also confirm these flights are upgradable- phoned VA to merge booking with partner already on the same flight, then upgraded both seats.

Hi all, just on earning points and status credits, and upgrades on these flights: technically, none of these are supposed to be possible - both the AMEX and ANZ T&Cs for this explicitly state that points and status credits can't be earned, and that flights aren't upgradeable using points or cash... so it's one of those things where you shouldn't expect any of this, but be happy if the system is nice to you and gives you some or all of the above!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jul 2011

Total posts 184

Thanks Chris, I certainly wasnt expecting to get anything when I booked. Bit like being awarded QF points on a flight that never went anywhere, and then points when it finally did two days later. A nice surprise.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Jan 2013

Total posts 15

Great article. In my experience booking complimentary flights using my Velocity Amex, it doesn’t seem to matter where you LIVE, as long as the return flight is from and to a destination allowed on the map. For example, I live in Melbourne but use my ‘free’ flight to travel from Perth to Broome return each year, if I’m going to be in Perth anyway. I do this because this because PER-BME-PER is quite expensive (when paying cash), but from Melbourne the ‘free’ destinations on offer are often relatively cheap anyway. This may not be strictly guaranteed in the fine print, but I’ve never had any issues for 5 years straight.

29 Apr 2018

Total posts 2

anyone having trouble seeing available flights using this platform? I've put all sorts of different dates and cities from Perth and they all come back with no flights available..

Flights from Perth to Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide can only be booked over the phone, as covered in the article. If you were trying the other Perth routes without much success, perhaps just give them a call anyway to try.

25 Feb 2013

Total posts 64

AMEX need to update their map. MKY is still listed as a destination from SYD, but there is no longer a direct flight. It used to be my preferred route, but now I can't do it anymore!

I was just on to AMEX to check on when my anniversary date was. I was told that the date that the flights "reset" is your date of joining and not the date that your annual fee hits the account. For me the join date was a month earlier so watch for this or it could mean you miss a chance to redeem.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

31 May 2014

Total posts 2

Are there any blackout periods for either the AMEX or ANZ complimentary flights, or is first in best dressed any time?
I vaguely recall reading about blackouts for ANZ, but am keen to know how "real" that is in people's experience. Thanks

The biggest 'problem' with ANZ is that you have to book at least 60 days in advance: but other than that, there are no set dates you can't fly, it just depends on the commercial availability and loadings on each flight (so the earlier you call, the better).

With AMEX, if you do the online booking, any of the options presented to you via that portal are bookable, and anything that isn't, isn't (except for the few routes for which you always need to call, namely Perth and Darwin).

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