There are many ways to measure the ‘strength’ of a currency, be it coin of the realm or airline points – but as it stands, Virgin Australia’s Velocity points have muscled up to Schwarzenegger-esque proportions.
Frequent flyers will soon be able to spend their Velocity points across all three of the world’s airline alliances, following Virgin Atlantic’s imminent entry into the SkyTeam alliance, or of course earn points and miles on Virgin Australia flights by dint of a membership in a partner airline’s rewards program.
Velocity points can already be used to snare reward seats on partner Singapore Airlines – but through a unique mechanism, Velocity points can be converted into KrisFlyer mies (at an ‘exchange rate’ of 1.55 points per mile).
This not only opens up additional seats on Singapore Airlines – especially in business class and first class – but once you’re working with KrisFlyer miles, you can tap into the broader Star Alliance network of over 20 airlines to book points-based seats on the likes of Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Lufthansa, SAS, Swiss, Thai, Turkish Airlines and United Airlines.
(That’s on top of the Velocity redemption options through Virgin’s existing partnerships with Air Canada and United, for example.)
Then there’s the Virgin Australia + Qatar Airways partnership, which provides Velocity members with an entre into Oneworld.
On their own, Velocity points can be used to book Qatar Airways flights (and typically ahead of when those seats become available to Qantas frequent flyers), along with scores of British Airways routes through their expanded joint business platform.
But by putting your Qatar Airways Privilege Club membership number against your Virgin Australia flight booking, you’ll earn Avios rather than Velocity Points – which can then be used directly on the websites of Qatar Airways and British Airways and enable bookings across all Oneworld airlines (even Qantas).
The final piece of the puzzle is SkyTeam, which is where Virgin Australia partner and brand sibling Virgin Atlantic comes into play.
SkyTeam is developing a new alliance-wide technology platform which will let travellers book flights on any SkyTeam airline through any member airline’s website, such as purchasing Delta Air Lines, KLM or Korean Air tickets via Virgin Atlantic.
“You will have a similar seamless experience as Oneworld,” SkyTeam CEO Kristin Colvile noted during the London press conference where Virgin Atlantic’s membership was announced.