Using your Velocity Frequent Flyer points to book a seat on a Virgin Australia flight is set to become a more expensive proposition, with an increase in the unavoidable 'carrier charges' now adding up to $100 to the cost of a points-based ticket.
The sole exception to these increases are flights to Los Angeles, which remain pegged at the current carrier surcharge rates.
The new levies take effect for bookings made from Wednesday 8 January 2020, with Velocity overnight providing members with the obligatory 90 days' notice of the changes.
Carrier charges go directly to the airline and are separate from government and airport-imposed taxes.
"These changes are necessary to cover increased airline operating costs," says Karl Schuster, CEO of Virgin's Velocity Frequent Flyer program, who also notes that Velocity is "committed to continually providing a competitive and compelling offering for our members."
Here's how the current Velocity carrier surcharges compare to what you'll be facing from January 2020.
|Current VA Charges||2020 VA Charges|
|Short International (e.g. Denpasar)||$25||$50||$35||$70|
In some cases the revised fees bring Virgin and Velocity in line with Qantas' own carrier charges, and even exceed the Qantas levy, most noticeably on flights to Hong Kong – where a points-based booking in Virgin Australia business class will carry a $98 carrier charge compared to $55 for the Qantas equivalent.
However, the number of Velocity points required to book a business class seat with Virgin Australia remain less than those required by Qantas.
|2020 VA Charges||Current QF Charges|
|Short International (e.g. Denpasar)||$35||$70||$35||$105|
Although carrier fees have been a long-standing fare component at Qantas, Virgin and Velocity began imposing a carrier charge on points-based 'reward' bookings in January 2019.