Virgin Australia frequent flyers can now enjoy greater access to Singapore Airlines cabins, with the airline unlocking Velocity-to-KrisFlyer points transfers and the ability to book premium economy seats with Velocity points, joining business and economy redemptions which were reinstated in March.
The popular transfer option went live this afternoon, more than two years since it was suspended in April 2020 in the lead-up to Virgin collapsing into administration – and we know how glad Velocity members are to see this unique points transfer system back in action.
Transferring Velocity Points to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer opens up a range of added travel options on not only Singapore Airlines but its worldwide network of Star Alliance partners.
Under the innovative arrangement, Velocity members can convert their points to KrisFlyer miles at an ‘exchange rate’ of 1.55:1.
That stash of KrisFlyer miles can then be used to tap into SQ’s full inventory of points-based award seats, as well as apply for upgrades.
The same benefit applies to the Singaporean flag-carrier’s global partners, headlined of course by the mighty Star Alliance – whose impressive membership roster includes ANA, Air New Zealand, Lufthansa, Swiss, Thai and newly-minted Virgin partner United Airlines – along with regional players, such as Vistara.
“We know how much our members valued this program feature before the pandemic and we’re really delighted to bring it back to give our members the best of both worlds,” Nick Rohrlach, CEO of Virgin’s Velocity Frequent Flyer program, tells Executive Traveller.
However, travellers will note a hike in the number of KrisFlyer miles needed to book those seats or upgrade their booking, compared to 2020.
As previously reported by Executive Traveller, Singapore Airlines has increased the number of KrisFlyer miles needed to book its Saver award seats as well as to lock in an upgrade to premium economy, business class or even first class. Also on the rise: the number of KrisFlyer miles for booking an award ticket on its Star Alliance partners.
There’s also a new and hefty ‘carrier surcharge’ in place from October 5 when you use Velocity Points to redeem a Singapore Airlines reward seats – and this fee is per flight segment, meaning that a typical Singapore Airlines jaunt from Australia to somewhere else via Singapore will see that charge levied twice, once per flight.
These charges range from US$30 for a flight of up to 4,200 miles in economy, through to US$150 for a business or first class flight over 4,200 miles.
For more on how to transfer Velocity points to KrisFlyer miles, read our detailed guide below...
Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines have a unique frequent flyer partnership that allows you to convert Velocity points into KrisFlyer miles and vice versa.
This opens up a wide range of options for travel on Singapore Airlines' extensive worldwide network, as well as with other airlines in the Star Alliance family (including ANA, Air Canada, Lufthansa, SAS and Swiss).
However, you can also book Singapore Airlines flights directly with Velocity points, removing the need to transfer them across – and sometimes this proves to be a better option. This guide will help you navigate those decisions.
- The Velocity-KrisFlyer 'exchange rate'
- Linking your Virgin Australia Velocity and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer accounts
- How to convert Velocity points into KrisFlyer miles
- Some benefits of transferring Velocity points to KrisFlyer
- When to use Velocity points for a Singapore Airlines booking
- KrisFlyer vs Velocity: which strategy is best for you?
The Velocity-KrisFlyer 'exchange rate'
It's very rare to be able to convert points between airline loyalty schemes. In the case of Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines, this is one component of a reciprocal frequent flyer arrangement. But it's not a straight 1:1 conversion: you don't get one KrisFlyer mile for every Velocity point.
The 'exchange rate' is 1.55:1, meaning that a Singapore Airlines ticket priced at 75,000 KrisFlyer Miles would actually cost you 116,250 Velocity points.
This is important to factor into any decision about which points 'currency' you use to book a Singapore Airlines flight, as well as when it comes to shifting any or all of your Velocity points across to your KrisFlyer account.
Linking your Virgin Australia Velocity and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer accounts
If you've decided to move some points between programs, you'll need to link your accounts first.
- Ensure you have both a Velocity and a KrisFlyer account.
- Log in to your Velocity account, go to 'Link & Transfer' and then 'Airline Points Transfer'.
- Add your KrisFlyer membership number and ensure your name and date of birth match on both accounts.
- If everything lines up, your accounts will be linked instantly.
How to convert Velocity points into KrisFlyer miles
Once your accounts are linked, it's easy to get the transfer underway.
- Log in to your Velocity account, go to 'Link & Transfer' and then 'Airline Points Transfer'.
- Click the words 'Transfer Now' (it's directly above the big 'Unlink Accounts' button).
- Choose how many Velocity points you'd like to convert into KrisFlyer miles (minimum 5,000 Velocity Points).
- Double-check the number of KrisFlyer miles you will be receiving, then click 'Proceed'.
- Those miles should appear in your KrisFlyer account almost instantly.
Some benefits of transferring Velocity points to KrisFlyer
It costs 53,000 Velocity points to book a one-way business class flight from Perth to Singapore with Singapore Airlines directly through Velocity.
However, Singapore Airlines' use of distance-based 'zones' for reward flights means that the same number of KrisFlyer miles needed for Perth-Singapore will also cover an onwards flight to much of Asia.
For example, converting a slightly higher 62,775 Velocity points into 40,500 KrisFlyer miles (due to the 1.55:1 exchange rate) gets you a Business Saver Award ticket from Perth to Singapore to Hong Kong or Taipei under the same reservation.
From the rest of Australia, the rate is a lot higher. Velocity charges 65,000 points for a one-way business class flight between an east-coast city to Singapore, while the same trip booked with KrisFlyer would need 68,500 miles or 106,175 Velocity Points.
In the same vein as the Perth example above, KrisFlyer allows you to continue onwards to much of South East Asia for no additional miles, while Hong Kong and Taiwan need just 3,000 KrisFlyer miles more. However, most routes from east coast Australia to Asia will have lower rates through Velocity than by transferring points to KrisFlyer first.
You can book flights slightly further in advance through KrisFlyer: up to 355 days before departure versus up to 330 in advance when directly spending Virgin Australia Velocity points, so the odds are better for snapping up points-based award seats on popular routes or during peak travel seasons.
Sometimes you'll end up paying more in KrisFlyer miles than Velocity points, but as a 'native' Singapore Airlines frequent flyer you have a better chance of getting an award booking in the first place.
One example is luxing it up in the comfort of Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 first class and Suites, which are technically two different offerings. Suites are mini-rooms found exclusively on the Airbus A380, while first class is a more traditional open seat found on Boeing 777s.
However, KrisFlyer members have access to more first class and Suites reward seats, so you've got a better chance of turning miles into smiles. The downside is that it'll cost you 93,000 KrisFlyer miles, which is actually 144,150 Velocity points.
Finally, KrisFlyer members can also use their points to book round-the-world trips with Singapore Airlines and its Star Alliance partners: something that Velocity doesn't offer as a single reward booking.
When to use Velocity points for a Singapore Airlines booking
The hit of that 1.55:1 conversion rate can tilt the scales in favour of using Velocity points to book a Singapore Airlines flight, rather than first changing them into KrisFlyer miles.
For example, if you're jetting to Europe in Singapore Airlines business class from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Adelaide, the cost is 139,000 Velocity points per person, one-way.
To make that same reservation through KrisFlyer you'd need 130,000 KrisFlyer miles, which means converting 202,275 Velocity points - a huge disparity.
From Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to Singapore, you'd only need 65,000 Velocity Points for a one-way business class trip when booked through Velocity. KrisFlyer would require 68,500 miles, which is equal to 106,175 Velocity Points when converted over.
If your travel dates aren't flexible however, you may find better availability on your preferred flight booking directly with Singapore Airlines using KrisFlyer miles, even if it does cost you more Velocity points in the conversion.
As such, you could consider using your Velocity points to book directly with Singapore Airlines where flights are available: but if not, could then convert those points into KrisFlyer miles to unlock further options with Singapore Airlines and its Star Alliance partners.
KrisFlyer vs Velocity: which strategy is best for you?
Rather than a blanket strategy of choosing one frequent flyer program over the other, a smarter play is to instead consider your needs on a trip-by-trip basis, to make each booking using as few miles as possible.
This means checking how many Velocity points you'd need to book a journey, versus how many KrisFlyer miles would be required – and by extension, how many Velocity points you'd have to convert to unlock those same KrisFlyer miles.
Keep in mind that KrisFlyer miles have a hard expiry of three years from the date they were earned (or transferred over). This makes them a lot less flexible than Velocity Points if you don't have firm travel plans coming up.
Checking how many Velocity points are needed
For bookings made directly through Velocity, you can check how many points you'd need to book Singapore Airlines flights via the Velocity website (scroll down to Table 2).
As that number is based on the distance travelled, you can use the 'mileage calculator' on the same page to calculate the distance of your trip. Where connecting flights are concerned, add both flights together to get your total.
Take a Sydney-Singapore-London journey, for instance. Sydney-Singapore clocks in at 3,912 miles, while Singapore-Paris (Charles De Gaulle) is 6,659 miles: all up, that's 10,571 miles.
You can see from Velocity's Table 2 that journeys of 9,501-15,000 miles on Singapore Airlines require 203,000 Velocity points in Suites/first class, 139,000 Velocity points in business class, 112,500 Velocity points in premium economy, and 75,000 Velocity points in economy.
Checking how many KrisFlyer miles are needed
Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer program instead uses 'zones' to calculate how many miles are needed – you can find the program's latest reward charts for travel on Singapore Airlines here.
In this document, you can see that Sydney is Zone 9, while Europe is Zone 11. Line the two up, and you'll find first class costs 183,500 KrisFlyer miles one-way, business class is 130,500 miles, premium economy costs 101,000 miles, and economy is 58,500 miles.
To see how that relates to Velocity points, just multiply the number of KrisFlyer miles needed by 1.55. For example, take the 130,500-mile business class ticket. Multiply that by 1.55, and you get 202,275: that's how many Velocity points you'd need to convert into KrisFlyer miles.
Given the same booking can be made directly through Velocity for a lower 139,000 Velocity points (per person one-way), that makes Velocity the better play.
You can repeat this process for any reward booking on Singapore Airlines – and don't forget, if you can't find the flights you're looking for on the Virgin Australia website, call Velocity to double-check: you may just save yourself some points.