Virgin to reopen points bookings on international partner airlines

Get ready to turn your mountain of Velocity points into an overseas flight.

By David Flynn, September 17 2021
Virgin to reopen points bookings on international partner airlines

Virgin Australia's frequent flyers will once again be able to use their Velocity points on partner airlines as the airline readies redemption bookings across a series of airlines believed to include Singapore Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Air Canada and Etihad Airways.

It's been a long and bumpy road for Virgin since partner bookings were put on hold in March 2020 as Australia's international borders slammed shut.

The airline was forced to pull the plug on its overseas flights – including a new Brisbane-Tokyo route which was just weeks away from launch – and then collapsed into administration, which immediately sparked concerns among frequent flyers over the fate of their Velocity points.

Happily, those points remained protected – and eventually even the points used for forward bookings found their way back into member's accounts. That included many business class trips booked with Velocity points by ET readers on Virgin's Boeing 777 flights to Los Angeles.

Now overseas travel is coming back into the frame, with December 2021 earmarked by several airlines for the resumption of flights to a number of popular international destinations.

Velocity partner redemptions coming back

While Virgin's own return to Los Angeles and Tokyo remains some years into an uncertain future, the airline will soon flick the switch for Velocity redemptions for its international partners.

"Velocity Frequent Flyer is gearing up to re-open international redemption bookings on their partner airlines," the airline confirmed this morning.

"It's anticipated that Velocity members who have accumulated a healthy Points balance during the pandemic, will be able to make redemption bookings directly at the Velocity website on a host of international carriers to be announced soon."

Virgin Australia wasn't able to confirm to Executive Traveller which of its partners would be the first to come back online for Velocity points-based bookings.

Virgin's portfolio of international partners was headlined by Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways and Delta Air Lines, each of which enjoyed solid patronage by Velocity members in years past.

ANA joined the roster in the lead-up to Virgin's Tokyo flights, and Air Canada has already announced it will resume flying between Sydney and Vancouver from December 17.

Also on the partner portfolio and eyeing a December return is Hawaiian Airlines, although question marks hang over the fate of Alitalia, which is set to officially shut down on October 15 ahead of being reborn as a new state-backed flag carrier.

Also read: Virgin thrown a lifeline for delayed launch of Tokyo flights

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 697

Wonder if VA does a similar travel insurance as Qantas on these flights as well.

Good news.

SIA to Europe in mid-22 here we go. Some ANA action wouldn't go amiss either.

However can't think there are that many people with a hefty velocity balance. There was the rush to move to Kris, then the rush to cash in, then for most of 20/21 very few opps to earn esp with sign up bonus.

I'm doing OKish as I HODL during the times when the program could of gone either way. But my QFF balance is 3x as much.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 May 2013

Total posts 61

This is great news. I have a wad of points awaiting to be used on 2 return business flights to Europe (maybe even first) as well as 2 return business flights to Canada.

12 Aug 2014

Total posts 12

A topic that we are all interested in but Virgin haven't really said anything at all here. No rough timeframes on when this will happen or which partner airlines you'll be able to book on.

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 214

Well apart from this being a welcome dose of good news because finally something is happening on this front after months and months of 'radio silience', this website has a very good track record so when it says it expects those airlines to be SQ, Etihad, Delta and Air Canada, you can pretty much bet those will be the ones!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 May 2013

Total posts 61

I agree with you Gold4Life. I think David must have been having a few lychee martinis with Jane ( whilst socially distancing of course via zoom) :)

Really good news, very happy to once again be able to spend my Velocity Points with SQ, just a shame if ANA isn't part of this, maybe it'll come later.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2015

Total posts 51

I've cashed most of mine on domestic business class flights over the last 9 months. I felt holding them was and is still far too risky. Ceasing the flights to LAX was also another reason. Definitely not transferring into Velocity either at the moment. Need to figure out my next move!

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

29 Jan 2011

Total posts 161

What also will be a factor is airlines such as Singapore & Etihad reinstating flight capacity existing prior to the pandemic or increasing the capacity that they presently operate with.

04 Feb 2016

Total posts 5

Now if they just relaunch the points transfer to SQ …..  Shut up - don’t say it ;)

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 186

Great, I have to return to Singapore again in a couple of weeks. Probably too soon for this trip, but bring it on! I have travelled internationally a few times in the last year (amazing how many people I travelled with), but this will bring even more out with me.

11 Nov 2020

Total posts 5

..which goes to show, those who held their nerve & didn't cash out the points on gift cards etc, will benefit... 

16 Aug 2017

Total posts 22

Great, I still have a bunch I wasn't able to move to Kris as they were a refund.

Any sign we can also use Future Flight Credit? 

I was stranded in Europe early-Covid and had both points and FFC returned to me, struggling to use it all. 

It's great to see so much 'good news' lately after what we have been through since March last year! This is really something to look forward to, the list of airlines ET has tipped are really good ones, especially SQ for both Singapore and the rest of the world, and Air Canada adds Vancouver and other parts of Canada as a great new way to not only use current Velocity points but a solid incentive to keep earning them here in Australia.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Aug 2013

Total posts 4

Good news hope they don’t hike up the points required for overseas flights compared to what they were pre Covid

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2017

Total posts 80

What about point transfer to SQ.  Chances of redeeming via VA was very limited.  Best way was transferring to SQ and redeem via Kris Flyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 307

Chances of KF transfers resuming is extremely low.   The program was a reported money loser under the old VA.

Bain won't be keen on paying KF/SQ $$ for points unless if "there's something in it for them" - they are a PE investment firm first and foremost.

couldn't see a date when we can start booking using virgin points on USA domestic sectors.

08 May 2020

Total posts 69

Looking forward to it to travel again Melbourne-Singapore to Europe under my Virgin PL card privileges. 

Not interested in these non stop trips to London. which are most-likely to stop in Darwin,Perth anyway and diminish the saving time.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Jun 2011

Total posts 82

It looks like the ties have been severed with Alitalia after their "re-birth".  They're no longer listed as a partner airline.

16 Oct 2021

Total posts 1

any updates on this? Hoping to use VA points to fly to Europe in May 22. What would be the best options?


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