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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.
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
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:
- Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer scheme for Aussie travellers
- Using KrisFlyer miles to upgrade to business class
- Singapore Airlines first class and A380 Suites upgrade guide
Then, follow these simple steps to move your points between schemes:
- How to convert Velocity frequent flyer points into KrisFlyer miles
- Transforming KrisFlyer miles into Velocity frequent flyer points
When you're all set, begin planning your Star Alliance travel to earn Velocity points via KrisFlyer:
- Star Alliance: what Australian frequent flyers need to know
- How to plan and book a Star Alliance round-the-world trip
- Air India joins Star Alliance
- Seven one-stop Star Alliance routes to Europe from Australia
- Star Alliance’s hidden gem: the Circle Pacific fare
Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT
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