New Etihad earn rate for Virgin Australia Velocity points

By John Walton, June 20 2012
New Etihad earn rate for Virgin Australia Velocity points

If you're flying on Etihad but funneling those frequent flyer points towards your Virgin Australia Velocity balance, get ready for a few changes in how much you earn for each flight as Etihad shifts towards a more complex (and more complicated) system.

The new scheme, which kicked in at 1 June, now rates the number of points based on the price bracket and type of your fare.

You'll earn gives fewer Velocity points on cheaper Etihad fares, but rack up extra points for the more expensive fares.

Things are split out by booking class, which is the single letter code that tells you which "fare type" your ticket falls into. (If you're not familiar with how that's different from the more usual first, business or economy split, we've got a handy guide demystifying ticket booking classes and fare types.)

The new numbers

Here's the revised Etihad-Velocity earnings table.

Gold and Platinum frequent flyers earn an extra 50 percent on top of the basic points rate, with Silver taking 25 percent above the base level.

Previously, you'd earn 1 Velocity point per mile for flying economy, 1.5 in business and 2 in first.

You'll still earn at this rate if you make a retrospective claim for points up to and including 31 May.

The winners in the change are people booking Etihad's first class, who get an extra 0.5 Velocity point per mile.

The losers? Travellers on non-flexible tickets in business and economy -- but the Etihad earn rates are still lower than if you book through Virgin Australia's booking engine, even for the exact same flights.

8,400 fewer points Sydney-Heathrow when booking with Etihad

For example, booking a flexible business class ticket to London on Virgin Australia's site will net you 2 Velocity points per mile -- but book through Etihad and it's just 1.75 points.

(By "booking with Virgin Australia" we mean your ticket's for a flight with a Virgin Australia VA or DJ flight code, which you'd usually get by booking with Virgin Australia directly rather than by booking with Etihad, where you'd normally see an EY flight code.) 

A Velocity Gold member flying Sydney-London return (21,848 miles) would net 43,896 base points and a 21,848 point Gold bonus when booking with Virgin Australia.

However, if that person booked with Etihad, they'd only get 38,234 base points and a 19,117 point Gold bonus.

That's 8,393 points difference for our hypothetical Gold member, which is fairly sizeable given that you can get a Perth-Sydney flexi-to-business class upgrade for 10,000 points.

The earning levels for status credits remain unchanged.

For the latest news for business travellers and how it affects your frequent flyer point stash, follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

These changes are really complex, the old system was better. IF you flew economy, you made sure you had an etihad flight number and earn 1 point regardless of discount, sale, or full economy. but now you have to look closely at the codes and sometimes the Virgin Australia booking system doesn't exactly give you the booking class code, so you have to figure it out on a third party website or call the velocity center.


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 670

I can see where they are coming from the more you pay the more points you earn, but yes it's a lot more complex!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2012

Total posts 268

It is much more complex and I really dislike how there are so many differences in earning points on airlines in Virgin's Velocity FF. Compare this: Singapore Airlines First Class would earn you 1.5 Velocity Points per mile but Virgin Australia Business Class will get you 2 Velocity Points per mile.

I think they should simplify stuff and have a combined earning rate per travel class that applies to all airlines in the program. Such as Discount Economy (0.5), Economy (1), Premium Economy (1.5), Business (2), First/Suites (2.5). Similar to the current Status Credits Virgin uses.

On top of this, they haven't really implemented a system to tell you what fare type you have purchased, i.e O, Y, K, L, M etc etc etc

A reader on a frequent flyer forum recently said he had to use checkmytrip to find out the code. He had booked a mixed business/economy fare and they couldn't find out the code. He called velocity and they couldn't tell him either.

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