Are Velocity points now Australia’s strongest frequent flyer currency?

Virgin Australia loyalists are seeing more rewards open up across more airlines.

By David Flynn, September 28 2022
Are Velocity points now Australia’s strongest frequent flyer currency?

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.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Aug 2017

Total posts 76

During the pandemic I focused on accumulating Qantas points because it was the safer option with Virgin's future under a cloud. Since then, Emirates has quadrupled its taxes and charges, and Qatar (it seems) is deliberately favouring Velocity over Qantas FF in terms of seat availability. So Qantas' FF currency has become weaker, while Velocity's has become stronger. For someone like me, who wants to use my points for long-haul flights in premium cabins, switching my focus to Velocity has been a no-brainer.

21 Apr 2019

Total posts 26

Very,very rate to find J/c seats available at advertised points. Almost impossible at present.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 356

Without a doubt. Ability to use them at the pointy end is excellent if you book early enough. 

Prior to covid I was all about QF points, but now switching both my company and personal credit cards across to a platform where I can choose which airline I transfer too based on seat availability, and that is rarely Qantas.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 363

I still find velocity quite useless. The biggest issue, is that it's calendar opens at T-330. By then most premium cabin has already been snatched. Eg. For ANA SYD-HND and Air Canada SYD/BNE-YVR, those business class seats usually get snatched within 24hrs let along 1 month later. 

Qantas also has its own Skyteam partners, ie. Air France and KLM, as well as China, China Eastern airlines, which has decent availability in business class. I have recently redeemed 500k Qantas points worth of flights in the last 3 months, but have failed to use a single point using VA.

I wouldn't say VA is useless, but I wouldn't say it's more useful than QF either. 

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 234

So good - happy with my Velocity point and all the options, another win for VA members. Bonus is call the call centre and no 7 hr waits either. 

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

20 Mar 2020

Total posts 4

Easily yes. 

No issue in booking MEL/SIN/YVR in J for next March via Velocity then with Krisflyer return.  A bit roundabout, but given the currently stupid transpacific fares this yields value. Second time I have used this route this year. 

QF FF is a ripoff. All promise with fa delivery.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 870

They (VA) need a simply platform to find reward seats access all partners and is Velocity becoming a currency in its own right? Buy, Earn and Burn Avios and Kris Points?

bsb
bsb

21 Jul 2011

Total posts 91

VA and QF platinum. VA redemptions in premium cabins are useless. 

22 May 2011

Total posts 85

VA - try fly business with them to Fiji for example.  No lounge for business customers 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 459

Who knows what Qantas are up to ?  Before Covid I could easily get J and F seats as classic rewards by booking on release day at the time of release.  I have tried many times over the last weeks and can't see anything out of Perth or Sydney.  Not even PER-SIN.   Even NZ flights are scarce.   Maybe I'll leave my million QFF points where they are and shift my banking points to Velocity.

05 Jan 2021

Total posts 17

Anything has got to be better than Qantas's offering of frequent flier award seats - try and get any business class reward ticket for long distance travel on one world planes. No chance!

To top it off ,Qantas now has made it even harder to get these awards - they have tightened the rules re routings available for rewards - eg only way from london to sydney is on Qantas via Singapore - we cannot used available routings via Hong Kong for example if available - - I am guessing that this is to save them money and not have to pay other oneworld airlines any money!

VA in particular is on real "winner" when it comes to rewards on Qatar - plenty available on VA  virtually no business seats available thru QFF.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 870

I was talking to a guy yesterday who has 20 million Qantas points and 21 million AMEX points, he was trying to find flights and asked for a few tips. Since Covid all these point tickets are hard to find, before Covid I was getting Singapore Air Suites for 162,000 points Sydney to Zurich etc. Try and get an upgrade on VA?, Qantas seemed to be ok 3-6 months out booking using points say Sydney - Townsville etc. Qantas international is nearly impossible. 

I reckon VA will be converting Velocity points to Avois points soon just like they do with Kris points, what someone needs to do is create a platform to find reward flights and then book them with your frequent flyer number, whether it's Qantas, Virgin, Qatar, Singapore etc. That person will be the next Atlassian................

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1175

The simple fact is that, at the moment, there is much more demand for international travel than there is capacity so the airlines have no reason to release many reward seats at all when they can get paying passengers at top dollars.  Barring an international recession, this doesn't look like changing for the next 12 months or so.

As for your suggestion of a global points marketplace, it is unlikely to happen.  The airlines closely guard their algorithms that release seats and how they prioritise their release by status, direct airlines membership, associated alliance membership etc.  Qantas (and every other airline for that matter) has no interest in having a system whereby you can monetise your points to use them on a competitor airline; they are much happier for the points to just sit there being largely unusable unless you are interested in an overpriced toaster.  That is why loyalty schemes are so profitable; people are buying into a system where the supplier absolutely controls the worth of the points and when and if they can be used.

12 Aug 2020

Total posts 8

Under the previous ownership didn't velocity points get exchanged one for one with KrisFlyer?

No, it was never 1:1, when the Velocity-KrisFlyer deal was announced many many years ago in the Borghetti era I think the 'exchange rate' was 1.35:1, then it went up to 1.55:1 a few years later. Bain didn't change the 'exchange rate' when it reactivated the arrangement.

SCM
SCM

28 Sep 2022

Total posts 3

Agree, it's much easier to book J to Europe with SQ or EY, impossible with Qantas/EK

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Apr 2013

Total posts 2

Top tip for actually being able to use Velocity points - never look for a return flight! 

I’ve consistently found the easiest way to use points is looking for two lots of one way flights. For example, I’m flying next year, in business to London, using points, going there with Etihad, coming back with Singapore, no problem with getting flights on the days that I wanted <180 days in advance.

25 Mar 2021

Total posts 3

I have tried booking Singapore with Kris 3 months prior to NYC and LA not possible, try calling Singapore service and they will tell you a redemptions rep will call you because none available. They never do!.

Booked full fare premium economy and tried upgrading still no flights.

Both KrisFlyer and Velocity points have no value in the current market.

24 Jun 2020

Total posts 4

I'm a big Virgin Australia and Velocity fan. I have been either Gold or Platinum for many years. There are many positives about VA & Velocity membership.
However one major problem that I have found across the years is the inability to use Velocity points for an upgrade.

It doesn’t matter how far ahead you book, you can never seem to get a confirmed upgrade from Economy to Business using points. You always seem to be ‘waitlisted’.

And after you are waitlisted, you start to receive email offers to ‘Bid for an Upgrade’. It appears that VA is more interested in selling upgrades for cash, rather than looking after loyal Velocity members who want to use points for an upgrade. Here’s a couple of suggestions:

1.     If a Velocity member lodges an application to use points for an upgrade, then don’t send them email requests to ‘Bid for an Upgrade’

2.     Given how hard it is to get an upgrade using points, maybe VA should consider removing this as a benefit for Velocity members, as it doesn’t have much value if you can never successfully secure an upgrade

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 May 2013

Total posts 65

I haven't been able to find 2x business flights to Halifax NS for May/June 2023 despite starting search immediately the dates became open. Nothing with Air Canada or Singapore (via NY). Thought I'd try looking at Ireland later in the year (August/September 2023) which has just opened up yet the only business redemption available is on Qatar for 2,204,000 velocity (one way). Really?? This hardly makes it Australia's strongest frequent flyer currency. I am finding them just as pathetic as Qantas for international redemptions.


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