Using Velocity frequent flyer points to book Virgin Atlantic flights

By Chris C., April 9 2018
Using Velocity frequent flyer points to book Virgin Atlantic flights

A hidden gem of the Velocity Frequent Flyer scheme is being able to book flights with Virgin Australia's sister airline, Virgin Atlantic, especially on journeys between Hong Kong and London.

That's because unlike many of Velocity's other airline partners including Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines, the number of points needed to book with Virgin Atlantic is on the lower side – and in fact, is no more than you'd need to book a Virgin Australia flight of the same length.

While Virgin Atlantic doesn't fly Down Under, Velocity members could fly from Melbourne to Hong Kong with Virgin Australia (and soon, from Sydney to Hong Kong), before jumping on a Virgin Atlantic flight to the UK.

Better yet, booking a ticket in Upper Class – 'Virgin Atlantic' parlance for business class – also includes access to the airline's inflight bars (such as on Boeing 787 flights), and the Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge at Heathrow after your flight for a shower, a spot of breakfast and perhaps even a spa treatment.

AusBT review: Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Upper Class, Hong Kong to London

Here's what you need to know to find and book your Virgin Atlantic reward flight.

Booking Virgin Atlantic flights with Velocity points: key routes

Along with Hong Kong, Virgin Atlantic serves London from Shanghai, Delhi and Dubai in Asia and the Middle East – so if you're heading to one of these cities on business, you may be able to squeeze in a side trip for some personal time, or dart to London to pursue your next venture.

Visiting the United States instead? Virgin Atlantic offers flights to London Heathrow from Los Angeles – a city also served by Virgin Australia from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – along with San Francisco, Seattle, New York (JFK and Newark), Boston, Washington, Atlanta (hub of Delta Air Lines, another Velocity partner) and Miami.

Finally, Virgin Atlantic flies between London's Gatwick Airport and both Las Vegas and Orlando, among other routes.

Booking Virgin Atlantic flights with Velocity points: how many points you'll need

Wherever you're beginning your Virgin Atlantic journey, here's how many Velocity points you'd need to fly to London – for return bookings, double these figures:

To/from London (one-way)

Upper Class

Premium economy


Hong Kong

83,500 Velocity points

62,700 Velocity points

39,800 Velocity points

Los Angeles
San Francisco
Las Vegas

71,500 Velocity points

53,700 Velocity points

34,800 Velocity points


59,500 Velocity points

44,700 Velocity points

27,800 Velocity points

New York (Newark & JFK)

49,500 Velocity points

36,700 Velocity points

22,300 Velocity points

Because Virgin Australia and Virgin Atlantic are both on the same Velocity 'reward table', you can also book a journey from Sydney to London or from Melbourne to London for a total of 127,500 Velocity points in business class, 95,700 Velocity points in premium economy or 59,800 Velocity points in economy, one way.

Booking Virgin Atlantic flights with Velocity points: making that reservation

To secure a Virgin Atlantic reward flight, you'll need to call Velocity Frequent Flyer on 13 18 75 between 7:30am and 10:30pm Sydney time, seven days a week – or +61 2 8667 5924 during the same hours if dialling from overseas.

This means you won't be able to check whether a particular Virgin Atlantic flight is open for points bookings by researching on the Velocity website.

Further, calling Velocity to book Virgin Atlantic flights can be quite time-consuming, because the telephone agent can't simply bring up a list of available Virgin Atlantic travel options – they have to create a 'pretend' booking on your behalf including full passenger names, contact details and flight numbers, which is sent across to Virgin Atlantic and returning a 'yes' or a 'no' to the operator.

If it's a 'yes', you're in luck! The agent will confirm how many points you need and how much you'll have to pay on the side to cover any taxes, fees and surcharges, so have your credit card handy to complete your booking.

Relax: you're flying in Upper Class now...
Relax: you're flying in Upper Class now...

Otherwise, if it's a 'no', you can try requesting another flight, or may need to consider a different airline.

If you're travelling from Australia to London by combining a Virgin Australia flight with a Virgin Atlantic flight, you may also need to remind the operator that such bookings are permitted by the Velocity T&Cs, and that you should only be charged for a single "Table 1, Zone 10" reward fare, not the points cost for two separate flights.

Booking Virgin Atlantic flights with Velocity points: finding availability

Let's be honest: you probably don't want to waste time calling up, waiting on hold and working through the details of your preferred flight, only to find that it can't be booked using Velocity points – so take note of these two time-saving tricks.

If you have an ExpertFlyer subscription, this gets much easier. Simply login to your ExpertFlyer account, venture to the 'Awards & Upgrades' tab, select "Virgin Atlantic Airways - VS" from the list of available airlines, and plug in your ideal trip.

Read: ExpertFlyer: your secret weapon for finding frequent flyer award flights

I'm going to search for a one-way flight from Hong Kong to London for one passenger, in Upper Class, premium economy and economy. I'll also change 'exact date' to '+/- 3 Days' to see my options across an entire week:

On the next screen, I'm looking for the word "yes", which indicates that a reward booking would be possible as entered. For example, on November 15 2018, I can see that reward seats are available in both premium economy and economy, but not in Upper Class:

The results page also shows me the flight number (VS207) and the aircraft type – in this case, '789', which is shorthand for the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner – on the same screen.

But let's assume I want an Upper Class seat, to take advantage of the full Virgin Atlantic experience including the inflight bar and the Revivals Lounge in London for the complimentary post-flight massage.

If I were willing to take the same flight one day later, on November 16, this would become possible, as "yes" appears next to "Upper Class - Award":

If you don't have an ExpertFlyer subscription, you could instead try searching for flights through the Virgin Atlantic website (not the Velocity website) to get an idea of what's available, before calling Velocity to secure your seat.

The process is similar – key in the same details as you would for ExpertFlyer, but on the Payment line, be sure to tick "pay with miles", rather than "pay with card" or "pay with miles plus money":

The next screen shows a calendar of what's available, which matches what we saw in ExpertFlyer earlier: that an Upper Class reward flight isn't available on November 15, but that November 16 is fine.

Importantly, ignore the number of miles you see above, and the payment amount. These rates apply to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members booking flights with their Flying Club miles, and are irrelevant for Velocity members booking flights using Velocity points.

Once you've confirmed that a suitable flight is available for booking, you'll be able to call Velocity Frequent Flyer with confidence, spending minimal time on the phone to secure your seat to London.

One final tip: If you normally earn Velocity points through your credit card by converting them across from AMEX Membership Rewards, such as from the American Express Platinum Charge Card, you might consider sending them to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club instead of Velocity.

As hinted above, that's because Flying Club requires fewer points than Velocity to book these flights, yet the conversion rate from Membership Rewards to both Velocity and Flying Club is the same (except for Membership Rewards Gateway cards, like AMEX Explorer, where Flying Club isn't an option).

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 96

Good article.

Like everything to do with international reward seats and Velocity, I'm less worried about availability on Virgin Atlantic, and more concerned about availability on VA.

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 96

I spent some time last night testing my 'theory' on this. Heaps of Virgin Atlantic FF options from HK to London. None from MEL or SYD to HKG with Virgin Australia.... I chose dates in October, November and late December and Jan. Maybe I was unlucky....

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Jun 2011

Total posts 78

Chris, is the Revivals Lounge available to Gold/Platinum Velocity members, or only Upper Class pax?

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2453

Only for Upper Class.


23 May 2014

Total posts 120

Great article - 127,500 points to London in biz is excellent value, especially as there are no “carrier charges” to pay. Going the other way you’d have access to the excellent Virgin Clubhouse in London, has been a few years but if it hasn’t changed I’d say the business class lounge in the world (although you have to pay APD - it’s actually cheaper to take the Eurostar to Paris + have an amazing lunch and fly out of CDG on eg SQ or EY).

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Jul 2017

Total posts 1

Am I wrong in saying you still need to pay the exorbitant fees & taxes that VS charge for reward flights when you book the flight through VA? It makes it very unappealing to use your points with them when you have to pay so much cash in addition

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

29 Jan 2011

Total posts 157

What's the likelihood of being able to redeem a SYD-LHR flght with VA points rather than having to make two separate bookings, SYD-HKG and HKG-LHR. Would the VA points needed for a single booking covering both sectors be more or less that redeeming for two separate sectors?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Feb 2017

Total posts 14

Good luck trying to find reward seats out of Oz on VA. As Jazzop states above "Heaps of Virgin Atlantic options from HK to London. None from MEL or SYD".

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

21 Mar 2012

Total posts 5

Managed to find two reward seats in biz out of SYD - HKG, which was a slight challenge, but eco appears to have good availability since the announcement of the route. Sense this wont last long though.

Now the sheer luck that it was, biz out of HKG - LHR matched my itinerary dates so that worked out well and availability was sparsely but good.
Article is spot on. The manual input of VA agent making the booking took them a good 30 mins to do so even after researching reward seat availability on VS' website ahead of time, so worthwhile planning ahead and signing up to VS loyalty program to see availability.

After an hour on the phone with the helpful VA FF consultant, we confirmed these are the available flights in J HKG-LHR with VS.... but nothing available from MEL or SYD with VA to HKG in December;

Sunday 9 December

Tuesday 11 December

Saturday 15 December

Sunday 16 December

Monday 17 December

Tuesday 18 December

Wednesday 19 December

Thursday 20 December


24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2453

That's Australian school holiday time (and general holiday time) so that's to be expected, unless you plan a year or so in advance or happen to be lucky in finding a seat.

However, perhaps see if you can find a seat on Hong Kong Airlines from the Gold Coast or Cairns to Hong Kong to get you half way? It'll require more points because Hong Kong Airlines is on Table 2 in Velocity, but because HKA doesn't have many airline frequent flyer partnerships, there's a lot less competition for those seats, especially from the smaller Australian cities it serves.

Thanks Chris. I'm based in NZ atm.. there's good availability with HKA from AKL - so thanks :)

Sorry to be a pain: can you refer me to exactly where in the T&C i can direct the call centre to justify: "that such bookings are permitted by the Velocity T&Cs, and that you should only be charged for a single "Table 1, Zone 10" reward fare, not the points cost for two separate flights." Had an issue already.

Thanks very much

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Jun 2018

Total posts 3

Having the issue now that ExpertFlyer and the VS website show me availability, but calling VA and they come back with a no. For example, LHR to JFK on July 25, everywhere says its available for a points booking, VA keep saying no.

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2453

Did the telephone agent take your full name etc before submitting the request? In my experience, some agents aren't as familiar with the Virgin Atlantic booking process as others, so if they try to 'book' the flight as they would for a different airline, it won't work: they have to go to a different system to make a 'request', and essentially complete your booking with all the details needed, in order to get a 'yes' or 'no' back from Virgin Atlantic.

(The other obvious solution is to hang up and try again, of course.)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Jun 2018

Total posts 3

Tried three times, but will continue trying. Yes, they seem to do it. I am normally on hold for about 10 minutes until they come back and tell me that they got a NOT CONFIRMED result from Virgin Atlantic. I am posting to let others know that the ExpertFlyer and VS Website trick that used to work is for some reason failing. Very odd.

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2453

Thanks for sharing - that trick usually works quite well. The only other thing I can think of is that the booking system Velocity uses can only reserve flights approximately 331 days in advance, whereas Virgin Atlantic releases flights about a month earlier than that (so you can see awards available on the Flying Club site and through ExpertFlyer, but Velocity can't book them until T-331) - Velocity will normally tell you pretty quickly though if you're trying to request a flight too far in advance as their system won't support the request.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Jun 2018

Total posts 3

Thanks Chris. It is weird. This is only for next month, so I dont think the dates are the issue.

09 Jun 2017

Total posts 1

Just tried. Availability on VS website but when I called VA they told me they are allocated a different inventory so they don't match availability.

18 Sep 2013

Total posts 4

Similarly to thehaloboy above, I tried three different flights from the US to London with VA today for May next year, all of which showed available on expertflyer and the VS website but for which the Velocity agent got a 'Not Confirmed' result.

I guess there is either an inventory mismatch or a some kind of system error.

18 Sep 2013

Total posts 4

Actually this is a pertinent lesson in hang up and call again. A second agent asked for extra detail (email address etc) and was able to confirm availability. So it does seem some phone agents are better informed than others.

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2453

Yes, as a rule, if the telephone agent hasn't asked for the full passenger details before trying to make a Virgin Atlantic flight booking, they're doing it wrong, as for Virgin Atlantic, they need to "long sell" the reservation. That means they basically need to enter everything, send it to Virgin Atlantic and hope they send back an 'OK', rather than browsing to see what's available, selecting a flight with reward availability and doing it the usual way as with most other partners.

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