Virgin Australia unfreezes Velocity Frequent Flyer points

The program's four-week ban on members using their points is starting to lift, with domestic flights the first cab off the rank.

By Chris Chamberlin, May 15 2020
Virgin Australia unfreezes Velocity Frequent Flyer points

Velocity Frequent Flyer members can once again spend their hard-earned Velocity Points on Virgin Australia domestic flights, after a previous four-week ban.

With these bookings back online, reward seats are now available on some of Virgin Australia’s “most popular domestic routes” for travel on and from September 1 2020 – in time for the school holiday break between terms 3 and 4.

These include around 20 return routes between most Australian capital cities and several regional destinations in Queensland and Western Australia, although all reward flights to and from the Northern Territory and Tasmania remain unavailable for now.

“We’re hopeful that domestic travel restrictions and State and Territory border lockdowns ease by September and for many of us, a local holiday and catching up with interstate family and friends will be well over-due,” a Velocity spokesperson tells Executive Traveller.

“We look forward to sharing more offers with our members as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis and travel resumes more broadly,” the spokesperson added.

The move marks the first stage of the program’s ‘unfreezing’, after a blanket four-week ban on members using points in any way, although many of those restrictions are still in effect.

Read: Virgin Australia freezes Velocity Frequent Flyer points

Velocity eyes more routes, earlier travel dates

As domestic travel restrictions ease over time and flight schedules become more certain, Velocity Frequent Flyer will grow the list of domestic routes on which members can spend their points.

"As more redemption destinations become available, we’ll let you know," Velocity confirms.

Reward seats may also be unlocked on flights departing before September, if those same restrictions are lifted earlier than expected.

"We’ll continue to review the timing for redemption bookings and let you know if we are able to resume these for travel prior to 1 September 2020," says Velocity.

In any case, the number of Velocity Points needed to book a flight has not changed.

One-way domestic reward flights begin at 7,800 Velocity Points in economy class and 15,500 Velocity Points in business class, plus taxes, fees and charges.

These rates apply to short hops like Sydney to Melbourne, Brisbane or the Gold Coast; Melbourne to Adelaide or Canberra; Brisbane to Mackay or Rockhampton, and more – all routes that are currently open for reward bookings.

As before, longer flights such as between Melbourne and Brisbane, or from the east coast across to Perth, require more points.

For a full list of available routes, visit the Velocity website.

Free flight changes and cancellations on reward bookings

Even though many Australian states and territories are outlining their plans to unwind various community and travel restrictions over the coming months, those plans rely on keeping the coronavirus under control, and may be delayed if issues arise.

As such, Velocity Frequent Flyer confirms it will waive all change fees and cancellation fees on Virgin Australia reward bookings made before September 1 2020 for travel after that date, to provide increased flexibility.

This includes changes and cancellations made voluntarily by the passenger, for any reason – even if borders are open and travel restrictions don’t present an issue – provided that change or cancellation is processed before September 1 2020.

Where travel plans are cancelled before that date, either by the passenger or by Virgin Australia, the traveller will receive a full refund of the Velocity Points used towards the affected flight, without being charged a cancellation fee.

A refund will also be given for the taxes, fees and charges paid for the ticket, except for any booking fees or credit card fees, which are normally non-refundable.

Cancellations usually attract a fee of $35 or 4,500 Velocity Points per passenger per booking on domestic itineraries booked using points.

Other uses for Velocity Points remain frozen

For the time being, upgrades to business class on Virgin Australia flights are not available using Velocity Points, even for travel from September 2020, Velocity has confirmed to Executive Traveller.

Reward bookings on Virgin Australia international flights and with partner airlines also remain suspended, as does the ability to convert Velocity Points into Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles.

These transfers were restricted in early April – weeks before the broader Velocity program was locked down – which Velocity expects to the case until "flight schedules return to normal".

The ability to exchange Velocity Points for merchandise via the Velocity Store similarly remains blocked, but Executive Traveller understands that plans are in place to bring this back online soon.

At the time of publishing, the ability to convert credit card points into Velocity Frequent Flyer points remained unavailable, but this may change as Velocity ramps up reward options for members.

Read: Banks pull down the shutters on Virgin Australia Velocity

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 165

Great positive news, things must be progressing well. Hopefully tonight's news contains some details of the new owners intentions. This is great for a competitive industry and a strong second Airline group based in Australia.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Aug 2013

Total posts 107

Its a start, but I'll be more comfortable about my points once the banks and other partners start reopening velocity - it'll show their confidence with Velocity too.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 10

@ Dan22

Totally agree with that sentiment.

At the moment no one is even sure if VA will fly again (or as VA banner) and frankly the move is more to do with regaining the value of Velocity FFP than reflecting the chances of VA getting some of their network up.

As per other FFP, the best value for point redemption is with flights and anything else will be too expensive in points per dollar exchange.

The next interesting VA move is what comes through the EOI dateline at 6pm today

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

08 May 2020

Total posts 8

It didn't take too long for BP to strap on the parachute and jump out the rear door in regards to their association with the Velocity program. Within 2 weeks of Virgin announcing going in Administration there were new BP ads. on the telly announcing their new 'BP Rewards' program in which you can convert points to QANTAS FF - they didn't wait around, the 737's engines were probably still warm .... ( :

30 Aug 2019

Total posts 7

BP Rewards / Qantas partnership launched 1st February. Virgin Australia went into administration on 20th April.

Nice try though.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

08 May 2020

Total posts 8

Whoops ! Shows how much TV I WASN'T watching ( and therefore didn't see any TV ads. ) in Feb./ Mar. when I was still working !

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 165

Who would pay an extra 10-15c per litre at BP for less than a score of FF points anyway.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 296

Agree, BP are generally 5-15c per litre more than most. I am loyal to QF, but will not be conned by a few extra points.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 10

@ Mightyreds

Agree with the comment about extra cost of fuel nor worth the point.

Frankly cant remember when I last drove into a BP station

Mind you it can be quite regional; I think RACQ says Shell (including Coles branded) in QLD is generally priced above

average for the area, even though they actually have a significant presence in SE Qld

so what does this actually mean if V2 doesn't happen ?

Reports of administrator doing very little in way of getting rid of old Virgin debt, means probably no one will want virgin

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 165

Regular flyer can you quote your source?

The indications to date are that V2 has 20 interested parties. 8 entered the data room, 4 more are waiting in wings (Virgin, QIC, Macquarie, westfarmers) and the articles suggest 3-4 consortium bids by 6pm. Rex's interest was singular and internal from the info so far, ASX was required because of all the talk and realising ASX rules must be followed.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 10

@ DownSouth

Well, we wouldnt have long to wait to find out how many bids in a few hours time, but the devil is always in the detail at the end

It depends on how much the creditors want the (less) money now as opposed to potential future (more) return, just like any fire sale, no matter how the polies and the writers spin it

https://www.couriermail.com.au/business/velocity-points-unfrozen-as-virgin-deadline-looms/news-story/bf1951955ea51a983855a02c33047fad

down to 4 or 5 & I think even less than that. Administrator doing a hopeless job getting rid of debt. That's his job.

regular flyer: To help prevent spam, some posts with outside links require admin approval before being published. Please post comments once only, and if necessary, somebody from the admin or moderator team will attend to any flagged posts as soon as possible.

ok

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

08 Jun 2018

Total posts 90

er, the administrators job is not to "get rid of debt", not quite sure what makes you think it is!!! Much of the comment on this site would benefit from a significantly greater understanding of what an administrators legal obligations actually are. There has been an awful lot of emotive language, much of it having absolutely no basis in fact. There also seem to be an awful lot of frustrated airline CEO's. Though I have to say I do wish one of them gets the eventual gig at whatever emerges from VA, because pretty much universally the only business priority would be to protect Velocity points.

A cynic may suggest that the reason they have allowed bookings to be made using Velocity points is that it allows cash to be transferred from the Velocity program to the Airline, thus providing liquidity to keep the business going (seeing as we've been told by regular flyer, above, that apparently the administrators job is to reduce the debt burden it's unlikely any lender is going to tip in any more cash!!!). But hey, I'm sure it's just to develop some goodwill to all those frustrated Velocity points holders!!

disagree.

Think about it. If administrator doesn't get rid of huge amount of debt, who would be stupid enough to take on that debt ?

His sole job is to get rid of debt, making buying Virgin or 1 of 3 parts, VAH, VARA or VA Int a viable option.

Think administrator can apart from getting rid of all leases, get rid of redundancy payments, but again, might be getting confused with chapter 11 in USA.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

08 May 2020

Total posts 8

↑↑ I take it you mean WA based , Rob Scott helmed conglomerate "Wesfarmers" ? ( :

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 41

I suspect there is more to this than meets the eye, and that with Velocity members being able to redeem points for Virgin Australia flights means that Virgin Australia can now 'bill' Velocity for the cost of those flights, potentially unlocked a LOT of extra cash which Virgin apparently needs right just to make it through the administration period.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 289

shame they got rid of the deal with bp on petrol.i have since switched to woolies/caltex and earn qantas points there and it's not the same.what they should do is make velocity a coles and associates partner(they ditch the rubbish that is known as flybuys)meaning whatever you spend at coles,myer,kmart or target or shell earns say 5 points per dollar.

17 May 2020

Total posts 1

Flybuys 2,000 point = $2,000 Spend at Coles/Kmart/Target/Liquorland/First Choice Liquor/Mycar = $10 Flybuys Dollars.

Flybuys 2,000 point = $4,000 Spend at Coles Express Branded Shell Petrol Station = $10 Flybuys Dollars.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Mar 2020

Total posts 6

I think this is quite a cynical ploy to release some of the cash into VA administration.

They are effectively 'selling' seats on an airline that will have a new ownership structure (if it survives) and the new owners would have no obligation to honour the issued VA administration tickets. Time will tell, but lets see if they open up non-VA options such as transfer to SQ or vouchers - I think not...

Rxm
Rxm

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Jan 2017

Total posts 37

I wouldn't be rushing to redeem points for flights on an airline in administration for 4 months down the track when they don't even know if 1. they will be around and 2. where they would be flying if they are. And if things are so rosy is velocity allowing other redemptions? I also wonder if they are offering business seats when they might be going back to an all economy model? In reality until a deal is done no one knows anything about the future.


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