Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines swap frequent flyer points

By Chris Chamberlin, November 19 2014

Members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer scheme can now transfer their points over to Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer miles scheme at the rate of 1.35:1, opening the door on award bookings and flight upgrades across the Star Alliance.

Likewise, KrisFlyer miles can now become Velocity points at the same 1.35:1 ratio, allowing Aussie travellers to indirectly earn Velocity points with airlines such as Thai Airways, United, Air Canada and Lufthansa by firstly crediting points to KrisFlyer and then sweeping them across to Velocity.

It's the first time that two airlines have arranged a direct transfer of points between their frequent flyer schemes.

Using the 1.35:1 conversion rate, 10,000 Velocity points become 7,407 KrisFlyer miles; while 10,000 KrisFlyer miles ship across to Virgin Australia as 7,407 Velocity points.

“There’s a certain segment of the (Australia/Singapore) market that has often had dual membership, and what happens then is you have points orphaned in one program or another,” Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Neil Thompson told Australian Business Traveller.

“We thought we would take that creative step of bringing the two programs together, and for that particular market, make the option for people to switch into one program – creating choice.”

Transferring Velocity points and KrisFlyer miles: the basics

You'll need to have at least 5,000 points or miles in the kitty before you're able to transfer them, although there's no upper limit on the number of points that can be converted between the schemes.

No fees apply when moving points between either airline, and while the initiative extends to the trading of Velocity points and KrisFlyer miles, Virgin Australia status credits and KrisFlyer Elite Miles aren’t interchangeable.

You also can’t swap your Velocity status with the equivalent in KrisFlyer, so Velocity Gold members can’t give up their Virgin Australia membership for KrisFlyer Gold status with Singapore Airlines.

Eligible members of both schemes continue to enjoy reciprocal benefits when travelling with either airline such as lounge access and priority check-in.

KrisFlyer miles: advantages over Velocity points

Velocity members can already redeem their points for flights with Singapore Airlines, yet they can’t use them to upgrade to business class with Singapore Airlines or to book award travel with most Star Alliance carriers.

Velocity points also can’t be redeemed for flights in SQ's luxurious Suites Class on the Airbus A380, or the new First on the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER fleet.

That’s where KrisFlyer now steps in. By converting your Velocity points into KrisFlyer miles, you’ll be able to book award flights across the breadth of the Star Alliance with partners such as Thai Airways, Air China and EVA Air, and can also swap your KrisFlyer miles for those A380 Suites with Singapore Airlines.

Convert your Velocity points into KrisFlyer miles, book SQ's A380 Suites

When asked if these bookings would eventually become available directly through the Velocity scheme, Thompson was understandably tight-lipped, instead remarking that travellers should “watch this space”.

Further, your KrisFlyer miles can be used to upgrade to business class, or even first class, when travelling with Singapore Airlines and its alliance partners, but if that’s your plan do check that your flight is eligible for an upgrade before making the transfer.

If you’ve booked with directly with Singapore Airlines, you can load up your reservation through the Singapore Airlines website and hunt down the ‘redeem an upgrade’ button:

On the cheaper fares and all codeshare services – such as flights on a Singapore Airlines aircraft booked with a VA flight number – you won’t be able to upgrade, so keep your points in Velocity for another day.

Velocity points: advantages over KrisFlyer miles

In a similar fashion, KrisFlyer miles can’t be used to upgrade to business class with Virgin Australia, which is where the Velocity program really shines.

Velocity points are also considerably easier to earn on Australian soil, given that it’s the airline’s home turf.

While KrisFlyer miles can be piled up through credit card spend, on Virgin Australia flights and with partner hotels, Velocity points can be earned on your home loan, when going out to dinner and soon at BP service stations when filling up your tank.

Velocity points also don’t expire in the same way as KrisFlyer miles, which vanish three years from the month in which they’re earned – whereas Velocity points remain active indefinitely as long as a member earns or redeems points at least once every 36 months.

Mix and match: Velocity eStore and KrisFlyer Spree

Both Velocity and KrisFlyer allow members to earn points on their online shopping, either through the Velocity eStore or the KrisFlyer Spree Mall.

Each virtual store maintains its own list of earning partners, and you’ll find that some merchants are only linked up with one of the two airlines – such as domain registrar and web hosting provider Go Daddy.

Every US$10 spent returns a whopping 185 KrisFlyer miles...

Crunching the numbers, a US$100 payment becomes 1,185 miles with SQ, and ultimately 877 Velocity points through the new exchange system.

On the other side of the fence, Velocity members currently pocket four points per dollar spent with Angus & Robertson, while KrisFlyer members wouldn’t earn anything as the store isn’t part of KrisFlyer Spree.

Again, a $100 transaction serves up 400 Velocity points or 296 KrisFlyer miles after making use of the new transfer facility – a welcome bonus to your KrisFlyer balance when shopping with a partner that isn’t on board with Singapore Airlines.

The bottom line: if you can’t earn points on a flight or other transaction through Virgin Australia Velocity, look instead to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer – or vice versa – and then combine your balances to redeem for that next award flight or upgrade.

New to KrisFlyer? Get started with our in-depth guides:

Then, follow these simple steps to move your points between schemes:

When you're all set, begin planning your Star Alliance travel to earn Velocity points via KrisFlyer:

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

bmc

bmc

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Aug 2013

Total posts 138

Brilliant. SQ suites here I come!

gippsflyer

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

A long overdue feature for airline alliance programs. Simply put, airlines always offer the best redemptions to their own FF schemes (not to mention upgrades), so even though you may be able to book reward flights through one partner to another, it's usually at more point cost and less availability. Hope this starts a chain reaction!

riley

riley

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

This is good. What does it mean for your Velocity status across the Star Alliance network? 

chrisjrn

chrisjrn

09 May 2011

Total posts 294

not much at all.

riley

riley

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

Really? Maybe wishful thinking but I would assume if your points are transferrable than surely your status is?

chrisjrn

chrisjrn

09 May 2011

Total posts 294

the article says that status isn't included

chrisjrn

chrisjrn

09 May 2011

Total posts 294

This is huge -- not being able to redeem for Air NZ and Singapore upgrades was my biggest gripe with Velocity. It now looks like that's gone.

Points earn on a bunch more carriers is also nice, except for the lack of status earn. It's a good start though.

PeterLoh

PeterLoh

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 581

Also in the Virgin Australia media release, but not mentioned here yet:

"The new conversion capability will be available to members of both programmes from November as well as an improved online booking capability for Velocity Frequent Flyers to redeem flights on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir."

gippsflyer

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Handy news Peter, thanks for mentioning (I thought that might be the case, so it's good to have it confirmed)

bmc

bmc

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Aug 2013

Total posts 138

Next maybe we earn SQ Elite Miles on domestic VA flights?  Wouldn't it be nice

KG

KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

Did I read it correctly, the transfer ratio is 1.35:1 for both? Meaning that points of both airlines are effectively valued the same? I would have thought tha 10.000 VA points would transfer to SQ as 13500 SQ points. 

All in all not too bad of an exchange, I had expected a worse rate.

watson374

watson374

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2221

I expected something like 3:1 Velocity:KrisFlyer. I'm pleasantly surprised.

Hugo

Hugo

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

Apparently so. It's just a bit of an "exchange tax", but overall I don't think it's an unreasonable rate.

Now, how many Velocity points do I need to fly to London in SQ suites? (checks table) About 190,000 each way. Interestingly it's only about 30% more than you'd need to do it in business, so you might as bloody well go the whole hog.

KG

KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

Actually it is way less than 190,000 as it would be 132500 SQ points whcih translates into 178,00 VA points, however, by booking awards online you get a 15% discount with SQ, so your award would "only" be 153,00 VA points!

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2939

Just to clarify:

"Using the 1.35:1 conversion rate, 10,000 Velocity points become 7,407 KrisFlyer miles; while 10,000 KrisFlyer miles ship across to Virgin Australia as 7,407 Velocity points."

(132,500 SQ miles doesn't become 178,000 Velocity points – it becomes 98,148 VA points as the conversion rate is 1.35:1.)

KG

KG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 736

Chris: Understand that 132,500 SQ miles do not become 178,000 VA miles, however, to obtain 132,500 SQ miles you need 178,000 VA miles in your VA account. Sorry for the confusion.

All in all I wanted to illustrate that for an SQ Suite award flying SYD-LHR you do not need 190,000 VA points as Hugo pointed out (no pun intended), but "only" 153,000 VA points taking into account the 15% discount when booking online.

SaltyJ

SaltyJ

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Dec 2012

Total posts 168

I think what you will find Chris is that KG was saying that the one way SQ points required is 132,500 (after applying the 1.35:1 ratio that is 178,000 Velocity points) i.e you require 178,000 VA points to convert to 132,000 SQ points

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2939

No worries all – just wanted to make the conversion rate very clear so that nobody is disappointed!

Hugo

Hugo

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

And KG is right, I was looking at the wrong column of the table, that's for Australia to South America, not Europe.

I didn't know about the 15% discount though, this is starting to look like reasonable value! (What a pity I only have 50,000 Velocity points so far...)

Dan22

Dan22

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Aug 2013

Total posts 55

A few weeks ago I wanted to redeem my velocity points for a flight on SQ, after calling the membership I was told there was no availability for business or economy but I could book first class from Melb to Hong Kong which was on a 777 and a380 for 133000 points one way. I didn't go ahead with the booking but I was told it was definitely available to book? Btw signing up up to a credit card or 2 for 50,000 bonus points each is a good way  to fast track the amount of points you need for a trip like that..,just cancel the cards once you get them, nothing wrong in doing that

bob342

bob342

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 47

Just have to be careful about your credit report / score, it's impacted by applying for a bunch of credit.

Doubleplatinum Banned

Doubleplatinum Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

No nothing wrong with that at all apart from screwing your credit record! Good luck with that one ...

TheRealBabushka

TheRealBabushka

21 Apr 2012

Total posts 3034

Wow! That's not bad! Thanks Chris for the update!

sagidec

sagidec

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Nov 2011

Total posts 246

Awesome ways to not let miles expire on SQ. Transfer the miles over when the miles are coming close to their expiration.

Bonus as well, it lets us fly Star Alliance members and not feel guilty letting the miles go to waste in SQ KF due to miles expiration.

Also, it keeps the Velocity account alive especially if we live abroad and options are Star Alliance members.

Gian

Gian

VA Platinum

26 Mar 2014

Total posts 117

Wow. Must admit I was expecting 2:1 or worse, so no complaints from me.

It is a bit weird how they are both valued the same both ways but beggars can't be choosers. I have a bunch of SQ miles sitting there waiting to expire, transfer screen here I come! An awesome initiative!

Doubleplatinum Banned

Doubleplatinum Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

How do you book on star alliance airlines? Still through the SQ website?

chrisjrn

chrisjrn

09 May 2011

Total posts 294

Yes.

Doubleplatinum Banned

Doubleplatinum Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

I'm guessing booking an SQ flight with krisflyer miles rather than with velocity miles through velocity call centre will have much better award availability also?

dscorpcom10

dscorpcom10

16 Mar 2014

Total posts 19

How difficult will it be to book SQ flights now if you're just a basic KrisFlyer member, eg. SYD/LHR in J Class compared with Velocity?

Michael Kao

Michael Kao

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 339

The other big advantage of VA over KF, which almost everyone failed to mention, is the much better availability and no fuel surcharges (YQ). This is especially relevant when you are traveling to the US, one of the hardest redemption to find!

For oneway in J BNE/SYD to LAX, VA charges 94000pt + $103.70, and availability almost always there, SQ charges 85000pt + $733.16!!! A whopping $629.46 difference for 9000 points difference, or $0.07/pt. SQ's availability while good, is about 70-80% of VA as they often block out weekend flights.

Yes, VA J cabin nowhere near SQ, but with the new J coming, VA's is at least as good, if not better than SQ's J. (Definitely better than the crappy A330 regional that SQ use to service other non SYD/MEL port)

VA will also allow you to connect further to other US cities with DL on the same award, whereas SQ is restricted to SQ metals only, that leaves only a handful of cities. (Forget about using KF for *A redemption! No back tracking means you can't fly SQ from AUS to USA. You'll need to fly NZ, AC or UA, and we all know how generous those *A partners in releasing award seats between AUS and USA. Also you don't get 15% online discount with *A, so cost about the same as VA, plus YQ!)

If you are heading to Europe, EY is on par with SQ in terms of hard products. But for the 90% of Australian living outside of SYD/MEL, their staggered J cabin is definitely better than SQ A330, and from Jun 2015, BNE people will benefit from F with EY and new Studio J cabin on the 787! Which is also arguably better than SQ A380 J cabin! And again, no YQ and much better availability!

And did I mention free chauffeur and amenity kit?

So I won't rush to swap all my VA points to KF.

eight10man

eight10man

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Apr 2014

Total posts 37

Very interesting!

I'm looking into getting some J tickets from PER to AMS or BRU next year, and was awaiting this news and what the 'exchange rate' would end up being.

But like Michael points out the big deal breaker on SQ redemptions could be YQ fuel surcharges..!
I called VA to check EY availability, and it seemed wide open in J and the taxes are just around $100.

As you're still paying YQ on a regular Y ticket, maybe it's more wise to go for upgrades on SQ (Suites anyone? ;-) and save some mileage.

Any ideas what's the better 'tactic' here for a PER-Europe redemption in J (or F if I can afford it)??
Otherwise full-fare to SIN, and hop onto SIN-Europe redemption or upgrade? 

Michael Kao

Michael Kao

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 339

I'm not a big fan of upgrades. The mileage is about as expensive as redeeming award seats, and you have to buy the full flexi fare to be able to be upgraded. If you don't get upgraded, you will end up flying on a very expensive coach! For a 22+ hrs flight, I don't think I can survive in coach. So I always like to be sure that I will get business class. 

If you don't mind the short seg PER-SIN with a paid ticket, I would recommend looking into using Lifemiles and fly SIN-Europe on the A380 J. If u wanna try out SQ suite, then KF is the only way to get it unfortunately. However, if you don't mind Etihad suites (and possibly Apartment from AUH to Europe), then I would stick with using VA points. 

eight10man

eight10man

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Apr 2014

Total posts 37

Thanks. Got it: no upgrades recommended ;-)

I guess none of the FF programs transfer into Lifemiles..?

Just comparing PER-AUH-BRU on EY vs. PER-SIN-AMS on SQ - both in J: it's 110,000 VA points vs. 59,500 KF miles. So with the 1.35 factor that's 81,481 on EY without YQ vs 59,500 on SQ with YQ.

In F it's 165,000 VA points for EY vs. 85,000 KF miles. So with the 1.35 factor that's 122,222 on EY without YQ vs 85,000 on SQ with YQ.

Looking at these numbers and knowing how much points I have with VA I'll probably will have to settle with SQ and being charged YQ if I want to have any chance to get 2 J tickets anytime soon.. :-)

Michael Kao

Michael Kao

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 339

Sorry! Didn't see that you were going to AMS. Yes, if you can find J seat to AMS, grab it, no second thought! For some reason AMS is categorized as Europe zone 2 and miles needed is a lot less and is the sweet spot for KF program (some people says it's cuz different aircraft. I disagree with that. SQ service crappy A330 regional J's to BNE, which is way worse than the refitted 777 that service AMS, BNE is zoned the same as SYD/MEL who gets A380 or the new 77W J cabin).

If you are heading LHR, CDG or FRA, then the difference between VA and KF is not that much, especially after factoring in the 1.35:1 exchange rate. 

But I don't think there is F available for AMS on SQ. Have they recently changed it?

eight10man

eight10man

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Apr 2014

Total posts 37

As I've never booked with SQ before I just recently found out that almost all there award availability is initially put on a waitlist..! If I'm after two tickets one-way in Business PER-SIN-AMS, will it ever clear before June??

On the other hand, calling with Velocity to check availability with Etihad in June on PER-AUH-BRU, and there seems heaps.. more expensive mileage-wise, but confirmed right away and without any fuel charges.

But, could I buy the Etihad itinerary through Velocity, whilst being waitlisted on SQ, and if the waitlist clears on SQ to cancel the Etihad booking and transfer miles across to KF?? Will this happen quick enough without loosing the waitlist opening????

Jono

Jono

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Jan 2013

Total posts 245

So just to confirm, this means I can convert SQ points to VA points at a ration of 1:1.35?

Thats great and finally answers the biggest query I'vwe been having when it comes to frequent flyer programs: which Star Alliance program is the best for earn and burn.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2939

From the top: "Using the 1.35:1 conversion rate, 10,000 Velocity points become 7,407 KrisFlyer miles; while 10,000 KrisFlyer miles ship across to Virgin Australia as 7,407 Velocity points."

It's a 1.35:1 ratio in both directions, so 1.35 SQ miles = 1 Velocity point, or when converting the other way, 1.35 Velocity points = 1 SQ mile.


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