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Members of Virgin Australia's Velocity frequent flyer program can now count a new and prestigious partner in Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
Travellers will be able to earn Velocity points for their stays at Starwood properties including Sheraton, St Regis, Le Meridien, Westin and W Hotels by transferring points from their Starwood Preferred Guest account over to Velocity.
The exchange rate is 1 Starpoint for 1 Velocity point, although transferring 20,000 Starpoints or more in a single transaction nets you an extra 5,000 Velocity points.
"We have talked to many airlines around the world, we have 30 airline partners globally and Qantas isn't one of them," Starwood's regional vice-president Sean Hunt told The Australian. "Virgin, frankly, were faster to the table."
Hunt calls the Virgin partnership "a major milestone" and both companies see it as part of their shared play for business travellers.
"This is a partnership with Starwood and Virgin to drive more corporate and leisure guests into our Australian and Pacific hotels" Hunt said.
Velocity chief executive Neil Thompson echoed Hunt's remarks, adding that "Starwood's loyalty program is one that corporate travellers love.
"It speaks well to the corporate market that has been growing very strongly and it complements the international network that we have been building with our alliance members."
Platinum-grade members of Velocity are currently entitled to free top-tier Hilton HHonors Diamond or IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status.
Virgin Australia's Velocity frequent flyer program now has close to four million members, while Qantas expects to sign up its 10 millionth frequent flyer in the next few months.
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