Virgin Australia is now rolling out its new form of travel credits, dubbed Future Flight Credits, which can be used to make a booking on Virgin flights through to June 2023.
Passengers who held bookings on cancelled Virgin or Tigerair flights, which were subsequently converted into travel credit or 'conditional credits, will see that same dollar-value converted into a Future Flight Credit.
That credit can be used to book economy or business class travel on flights operated by Virgin Australia, ruling out codeshare flights with partners such as Alliance Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways.
Future Flight Credits have a use-by date of 31 July 2022 – that's the latest you can 'spend' them to make a booking – for travel until 30 June 2023.
The fine print on Future Flight Credits
That said: when it comes to booking a Virgin flight with your Future Flight Credit, there's a catch.
Only a certain number of seats on any given flight will be set aside for purchasing with Future Flight Credits, meaning there's no guarantee you'll even be able to get on the flight you want.
This is at odds with the usual way that airlines deal with travel credits by allowing them to 'buy' any seat on a flight, at that seat's market price.
Instead, Future Flight Credits can be used only to book some Economy Getaway, Economy Elevate and Economy Freedom fares, as well as some Business Saver fares, all without blackout periods. However, they aren't valid for full-fare business class travel.
"Bookings using your Future Flight credits are subject to seat availability within the fare class available for Future Flight credits on your selected flight," the airline's Future Flight Credits website advises.
That means you may not be able to fly when you want "as it’s possible that the seats reserved for Future Flight credits may be sold out for the flight you’ve chosen."
Executive Traveller understands that Virgin won't be applying a choke-hold on the number of available Future Flight Credit seats, and has the option to adjust the mix for each flight and add more seats to cater for high demand for a particular fare class.
An alternative way to spend those credits is to combine them with cash, although not with Velocity Frequent Flyer points, for a booking; they can also be used for upgrades and cost-extra items such as Economy X seating, pre-paid checked baggage, lounge access and even change fees.