Using Velocity points to book Hainan, Hong Kong, Capital Airlines

By Chris Chamberlin, September 25 2017

Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer members can now book Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and Beijing Capital Airlines flights using their Velocity points.

Among routes further afield, that opens the door to booking Hainan Airlines’ flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Changsha and Xi’an using Velocity points, along with flights from Brisbane and Cairns to Shenzhen.

Also now open for points-based bookings are Beijing Capital Airlines’ flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Qingdao and from Melbourne to Shenyang; and Hong Kong Airlines’ routes from the Gold Coast and Cairns to Hong Kong.

How many Velocity points do you need?

The distance of each flight determines the number of Velocity points required to book it, with these airlines falling under Velocity Frequent Flyer’s ‘Table 2’ rates: the same as when using points to secure flights with partners such as Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.

As most of these Chinese routes are similar in length, all non-stop flights with Hainan Airlines and Beijing Capital Airlines from Sydney and Melbourne command 78,000 Velocity points for a one-way business class ticket, and 42,000 Velocity points for a one-way economy flight.

Further north in Queensland, flights from Brisbane and the Gold Coast require a lower 65,000 Velocity points in business class and 35,000 Velocity points in economy, one-way, while Cairns residents will part with 53,000 Velocity points for business class or 28,000 Velocity points for economy to either Hong Kong or Shenzhen.

Use Velocity points to fly to Hong Kong with Hong Kong Airlines
Use Velocity points to fly to Hong Kong with Hong Kong Airlines

How to book your Hainan, Hong Kong Airlines or Beijing Capital Airlines flight

Online reward bookings for these airlines aren’t yet possible via the Velocity Frequent Flyer website, so you’ll need to call 13 18 75 between 7:30am and 10:30pm (Sydney time), seven days a week, to secure your ticket.

Australian Business Traveller understands that Virgin Australia plans to enable online bookings for these airlines at a later date, but if the flight you want to book is with Hainan Airlines, there’s a way you can check whether you can use your frequent flyer points before making that call.

(This trick unfortunately doesn’t work with Hong Kong Airlines or Beijing Capital Airlines: only Hainan Airlines.)

Enter subscription-based website ExpertFlyer, which can search for Hainan Airlines reward availability on any flight and date of your choosing.

Existing ExpertFlyer users can get things started by logging in to their account and heading to the ‘Awards & Upgrades’ tab. New users can instead sign-up for a no-obligation five-day trial, or could take out a paid membership from US$5/month (A$6.20) for access to the same search tools.

Select ‘Hainan Airlines - HU’ from the list on that Awards & Upgrades page, enter where you’d like to fly from and fly to, and your preferred travel dates. Complete the ‘return date’ box for a round-trip search, or leave it empty if flying one-way.

For example, we’re going to search for a reward flight on Hainan Airlines’ new Brisbane-Shenzhen route which commenced earlier this month, for travel in business class or economy in mid-October. We’re also going to select ‘+/- 3 days’ next to the ‘date’ box to get results over an entire week:

After clicking ‘search’, the next page reveals that on October 16 2017, the airline’s Brisbane-Shenzhen flight has four business class reward seats and eight economy class reward seats available, which travellers can book using their Velocity points:

If no reward seats were available on that flight, a zero would appear next to the appropriate cabin class, rather than a positive number, which indicates how many of those particular reward seats are open for booking.

This helps to make planning easier when travelling as a group, as you can research flights that have points-based seats available and get everybody’s final approval, before then calling Velocity to secure your reservation.

Extra reciprocal frequent flyer benefits

From today, Fortune Wings Club frequent flyer members can also use their miles to book Virgin Australia flights, although Velocity points cannot yet be used to book flights with Tianjin Airlines: Virgin’s other new Chinese partner airline.

Read: Earning Velocity points with Hainan, Hong Kong Airlines, Beijing Capital, Tianjin Airlines

A future phase of the partnership will also introduce reciprocal frequent flyer perks such as airport lounge access and priority check-in for Velocity Gold and Platinum members, as these benefits are not yet available to Velocity members flying with these carriers.

To celebrate this phase of the tie-up, Velocity Frequent Flyer is offering members double points on all direct international flights operated by Virgin Australia, Hainan Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines and Hong Kong Airlines between Australia/New Zealand and China/Hong Kong, when flying on a paid, points-earning fare between September 25 and December 15 2017.

(As reward flights don’t earn frequent flyer points, this promotion only helps those who purchase their flight with money, rather than Velocity points.)

Fortune Wings Club members can also pick up double points on Virgin Australia’s Melbourne-Hong Kong flights, all Virgin Australia-operated trans-Tasman flights and ‘selected’ Virgin Australia domestic flights during the same dates.

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!

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

17 Nov 2014

Total posts 95

Nice that they are giving away double points for flights to Hong Kong, so more free flights to redeem for my parents' next visit to Australia next month then!

I wish they can provide double status credits though.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 May 2017

Total posts 15

I feel the same way.

Double points is nice, however double status credits would be my preference.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

25 Sep 2017

Total posts 4

I am interested if it would be possible to use Velocity points to book a Hainan flight to Eur
Yes, subject to reward availability, payment of the relevant taxes and fees, and your ability to enter China in between flights (Australian passport holders need a visa even if transiting, or to be eligible for the hour-based visa waiver system in place in selected Chinese cities (in which case you usually can't leave that city and explore more of China), or to have an APEC Card with a China endorsement).

Also realise that for the same number of points, you could instead fly with Singapore Airlines or Etihad Airways to Europe, although the taxes/fees may vary (especially with Etihad which will require a lot more cash on the side in addition to your points).

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

25 Sep 2017

Total posts 4

Thanks for your reply Chris, my interest is actually directed more specifically towards Hainan flights to Tel Aviv since it is possibly my only option to get an award ticket to Israel using my Velocity points. So if indeed I am able to use those points to book the Hainan PEK-TLV leg I will be very happy

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

17 Mar 2016

Total posts 42

You can use Velocity points, on a Virgin Australia marketed flight and have a VA flight number, yet you are not allowed to use VA lounges with HNA airline travel. Australia-China flights are good but onwards to Europe or North America are not. This drawn out drip fed approach and phased introduction of benefits is so frustrating.

06 Jun 2017

Total posts 26

For those interested, I was able to access the Hainan Domestic lounge in Beijing with my VA Gold card a few weeks ago. For priority checkin I had to show them that my number was actually already on the booking (and thus in their system). Though the lounge access had no problems.

28 Sep 2017

Total posts 1

Hey, can you share a bit more what the process like for Hainan airline's lounge access and priority check-in? I'm a VA Gold as well flying to Xi'an from Melbourne. And when I called Hainan and asked them they said no such partnership is available at this stage.
Hi Ziqiao, user jeppetto367 appears to have been lucky as those benefits haven't actually been introduced yet. From our article: "A future phase of the partnership will also introduce reciprocal frequent flyer perks such as airport lounge access and priority check-in for Velocity Gold and Platinum members, as these benefits are not yet available to Velocity members flying with these carriers."

03 Aug 2015

Total posts 7

Hi Chris, we have purchased return economy flights from Sydney to Changsha, with HU, do you know if it is possible to use velocity points to upgrade to business class on HU?
Hi wlee, this isn't possible.

03 Aug 2015

Total posts 7

Ok, great, thank you for answering my query Chris. Much appreciated. Cheers

12 Aug 2014

Total posts 9

Is there any indication on when this 'future phase' might occur?

Hi theworld2, if we had that information to share, we'd have published it in the article. :)

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