Use Virgin Australia Velocity points to pay for Tigerair flights

By Chris C., April 7 2016
Use Virgin Australia Velocity points to pay for Tigerair flights

Virgin Australia frequent flyers can now use their Velocity points to book any seat on Tigerair Australia flights.

It's a new wrinkle to the relationship between Virgin and its low-cost sibling, and covers almost all aspects of a Tigerair booking including inflight meals, additional baggage and seat selection, although not travel insurance.

After visiting the Tigerair website and browsing for flights as usual, when it comes time to pay there’s now an option to use Velocity points in lieu of 'real' money, or in combination with a credit card payment or bank transfer (with a minimum payment of 3,100 points).

(Tigerair bookings using Velocity points can also be made by calling the Virgin Australia Membership Contact Centre, although additional booking fees may apply.)

The scheme sees each Velocity point valued at an equivalent of 0.65 cents, and is intended to offer an additional way for Virgin's frequent flyers to burn their points – either converting a low points balance into a single Tigerair flight, or taking the entire family on an affordable holiday.

Tigerair vs Velocity: how the fares compare

In many cases, the number of points you'll part with to book a Tigerair flight is actually higher than that needed for a comparable journey with Virgin Australia.

Pitted head-to-head on the popular Sydney-Melbourne route, Velocity members can currently book a Virgin Australia economy reward flight for either 10,200 points all-inclusive or 6,900 points plus $21.11 in taxes, fees and charges.

On the other hand, a $65 Tigerair 'Light' flight with only carry-on baggage converts to an even 10,000 Velocity points, while including 20kg of checked baggage and selecting a standard seat pushes that to 13,231 Velocity points.

When Tigerair fares are higher – typically closer to departure – a $175 one-way Light fare on the same route becomes 26,924 Velocity points, or 30,154 points with a 20kg checked bag and a standard seat.

At that level, we'd instead suggest using 27,600 Velocity points with a payment of $42.22 to fly return in Virgin Australia business class, rather than one-way in Tigerair economy.

Obviously, the earlier ahead you book a Tigerair fare the cheaper it'll be and so the fewer Velocity points it'll cost you, while pouncing on special sale fares will also deliver better value in the points-per-ticket ratio.

Virgin Australia + Tigerair

The new tie-up brings Virgin Australia and its low-cost sidekick one step closer while remaining at arm’s length, as Velocity members cannot earn points on Tigerair flights nor can eligible guests use Virgin Australia lounges when flying with Tigerair.

Qantas takes a different approach with its own low-cost airline Jetstar by allowing travellers to earn points on eligible Jetstar Plus and Max fares and to redeem them with the airline at rates lower than when flying with Qantas proper.

Gold and Platinum frequent flyers plus Qantas Club members are also provided with lounge access prior to Jetstar flights, although in airports like Sydney and Melbourne, passengers much switch between terminals to make use of this benefit.

Virgin Australia bought Tigerair Australia for the princely sum of $1 in 2014 when the airline was incurring heavy losses and has begun using its new wings to better-compete on leisure routes in place of Virgin Australia, such as from Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth to Bali (Denpasar).

Also read: The best credit cards for earning Velocity points

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 376

I wonder the reason behind needing so many points to claim on Tiger. Almost seems like a disincentive than anything

04 May 2015

Total posts 268

Tiger is such an unappealing airline for business travel.

They don't take AMEX (or Diners) presumably due to 'high fees', but in return they're happy to levy an $8.50 fee per passenger per flight to pay by Visa or MasterCard. If the fare is $65 each way that's about a 13% credit card surcharge - yuck.

You want a bag, assigned seat and meal/snack? Add them to your fare and it's about the same cost as booking with Virgin or Qantas, but you're still flying with Tiger.

Your flight is cancelled? That's OK, Tiger has just one or two other flights today to squeeze you onto, so you're sure to miss your meeting.

Want to fly using Velocity points? Great! Spend more points to fly in Tiger economy than in VA business. Great deal if there ever was one.

Jetstar has Tiger beat something chronic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 232

I beg to differ. My experience with Tiger has always beat Jetstar hands-down. Whilst I usually fly with QF or VA, Tiger have come leaps and bounds in the past couple years. Flights are more on time, service is better and fares cheaper than jq. It was never designed for a business traveller 


17 Dec 2013

Total posts 49

I use Tiger sometimes on their morning flight out of OOL and they are okay. When they are $45 and everyone else starts at $129' it's a no brainer for a 1 hr flight. The trick, as far am I'm concerned, is to avoid them later into theday when things start to back up a bit. 

Being able to use the VA lounge when travelling on Tiger would be nice, like you can use the QP when on JQ. That would see me on them more often

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Feb 2016

Total posts 97

Unlikely in Melbourne for Tiger to share VA's lounge since they operate in different terminal buildings.

Also, each lounge access seems to cost ~$15 to VA (1 or 2 beers, some finger food or VA stew, and also the premium location). I doubt if Tiger can make $15 from an average flight.

18 Mar 2016

Total posts 10

I can't see why people would use this, which is further compounded by the fact that you cannot use the VA lounges even if you are Plat/Gold

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