Virgin Australia promises fast fix for missing frequent flyer points

By David Flynn, March 7 2013

Virgin Australia says it's working quickly to fix ongoing issues with its new Sabre booking system which are causing travellers to chase up missing points and status credits after their flight.

Almost eight weeks after the airline switched over to the new system, some passengers are finding that despite their Velocity Frequent Flyer number being entered into a booking and appearing on their boarding pass, points earned from that flight are nowhere to be seen.

"There were a few issues with bedding down the system initially, as any major IT transition can entail, but I can confirm that right now 96% of points earned by members are being credited within two days" a Virgin Australia spokeswoman told Australian Business Traveller.

"Less than 4% of points earned have some errors with processing and are being credited within 4-7 days but we are looking to fix this ASAP" she said.

"This small percentage is being managed by a dedicated team and we are working to have these points credited within less than four days."

The airline cites a number of factors, including "errors with details on tickets and general IT system stability", as reasons for the glitch, but cautions of a lengthy wait for claiming points post-flight.

"For retrospective claims, points can take up to 14 days to be awarded for VA flights and six weeks for some Partners flights, which is standard."

In the meantime, it's suggested that travellers keep a close eye on their Velocity account in the days immediately following a flight. If the points don't show up within a week you can lodge an online claim for missing points through your Velocity account.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

25 Feb 2013

Total posts 59

Ha! Looks like someone's been reading the Australian Frequent Flyer Forum. A lot of long-time VA supporters fuming about this issue over there

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

Seriously, Jon? So there's not a chance that AusBT readers have raised this with us? Honestly, mate, that's a pretty clueless observation.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

01 Mar 2012

Total posts 169

Hi David, don't bite when trolls attack. It isn't worth it. It is actually a credit to you as they see you as competition. 

It really is a non-issue. They are working on it and the Velocity staff have been so helpful if something hasn't been credited. I don't find 14 days to be that long. I find this idea of people complaining or as Jon puts it "fuming", as a little bizzare. People really need to get a life.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

I woudn't consider AFF as anything near 'competition', Stu, it's more of a complementary forum for people who want to talk about points, aviation etc (although personally, I find FlyerTalk is a more mature community with a better signal:noise ratio).

25 Feb 2013

Total posts 59

Whoah, never meant to start a flame war, the comment was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek and jovial, apologies if it didn't come across that way. Was simply commenting that this is the first of seen of the issue in the mainstream media whilst it seems to have been pre-occupying the forum for nearly the past two months. Didn't realise the tension between the two communities. I personally like them both, but do agree that some of the current VA bagging on forums is a little overdone.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

Hey Jon - false alarm there, but fret not, there's no 'tension' between AusBT and any forum (indeed, I've vouched for both FT and AFF here and it was nice to see a rep from AFF chime in with kind words futher below).

I just got a bit prickly at the implication that as a professional journalist I suddenly stumbed across this story on a forum.

(We've had readers emailing us on this issue but I wanted to give the issue time to settle post-Sabre rather than pounce on it immediately after the transition.)

AlG
AlG

04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

A handful of obsessives are fuming about not getting their precious points the moment they step off the plane? Oh dear! Wow, that's really 'news'!

07 Mar 2013

Total posts 2

A lot of those AFF forum people are pretty sad really, it's like they have all day and night to do nothing but sit around writing comments, whinging, talking endlessly about planes, how THEY would run Qantas and how much free food and booze they stuffed into their mouth at the Qantas First Class lounge before jumping on a cheap-arse domestic Jetstar flight.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

Hi Ryan, and welcome to AusBT. While we love readers sharing their thoughts, I do request that people respect others, and that extends to people on other sites such as AFF. Forums like AFF might not be everybody's cup of tea, but it has some very knowledgeable members and a lot of people enjoy the site as a social community, just like Whirlpool is for technology for example. So there's no need to sledge them on that score... just remember to "play the ball and not the man", as they say.

07 Mar 2013

Total posts 1

Hello David, on behalf of AFF thank you for your considerate, courteous and supportive words in reply to Ryan. We definitely agree that AFF and AusBT both have their place and each has something unique to offer.

12 Jul 2011

Total posts 76

Why wouldn't they have been reading AFF? I personally would classify AusBT as a trade publication of sorts; not paying attention to forums like AFF when you operate a trade publication is silly.

Personally I think comments like these drag sites like this down into farce. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Agreed. I don't see the point in attacking either ABT or AFF about this. It's apples and oranges - I prefer journalists to properly research their stories, so it makes sense to me for ABT to look into the issue first before releasing a story (and its rather unfair for people to have a go at the journalist for doing his job!). AFF is a community forum that doesn't need or require research - it's just people talking - so if the issue was first discussed there I don't find it all that surprising. Cheap shots are in no-ones interests, so perhaps some calm and common sense would not be out-of-order folks. 

AlG
AlG

04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

I had some issues claiming Velocity points in a flight taken one week after Sabre but my flight last week saw the points turn up in my account the next day.

I actually can't understand people who get so concerned about not seeing points turn up almost immediately after a flight. Don't they have better things to do than checking their account right away, or just waiting for a day or two?

PS Jon W, just because something is mentioned on AFF or some other aviation forum doesn't mean that news media have cribbed it from there and could not have discovered it for themselves. I give AusBT a bit more credit than that!

07 Mar 2013

Total posts 21

Delayed Velocity points is about the most trivial issue faced by VA customers at the moment...albeit it has been a difficult situation to keep track of for very frequent flyers. How about holding VA to account for the great new feature of double charging for reservations that was introduced on Jan 14? Their social media channels are every day full of complaints about this and the time and effort it is taking for people to get their money back. It would be great if VA could comment on when this might stop happening!

I travelled almost 3 months ago, and still haven't received my SC and points and yes i've emailed them, many many many many times.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 736

Considering some of your travel would have been within the realm of the old Navitaire system that's quite odd. You can call them as well to follow it up.

07 Mar 2013

Total posts 21

Calling is, in my opinion, pointless. You can call and email and retro claim all you like but ultimately they will be processed when VA sees fit. Seeing the reports on AFF it was evident that often everyone who was missing flights from a particular day had them processed on a particular day...regardless of whether they had just waited, or called VA on an hourly basis! In the majority of cases anyway.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

I find it hard to believe Virgin Australia is deliberately being spiteful to its customers in delaying resolution of retro claims. 

1) Why? What do they have to gain? 

2) Only a small portion of flyers are affected (namely those with bookings made prior to Sabre introduction) - are you saying Virgin directly targeted certain customers?

I understand some might be frustrated that there is a delay (and that is all there is) with FF credits, but as travel inconveniences go, this is hardly worth the angst displayed (if something were to go wrong, I'd prefer it to be this). 

As one of the affected, I found the process pretty painless. You can claim retro credits on the Velocity website, and for the flight (VA842 18 Feb 2013) that was corrupted on change-over, all it took was a two minute phone call to receive the advice that you emailed [email protected] with a copy of your boarding pass and booking receipt to commence the process. Seemed pretty painless and straightforward to me

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

To follow up on my comments, the VA842 flight on 18 Feb 2013 for which I didn't receive an automatic credit of points due to data corruption on changeover to Sabre, was manually credited by the Retro team at Virgin on 3 Apr 2013 to my account. 

Seems pretty reasonable to me, fixed within little more than a month (I didn't email the Retro team until a couple of weeks after that flight)

07 Mar 2013

Total posts 18

I like both AUSBT and AFF

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 171

I think some people need to chill out! I had some flights from last year on short haul international where the points didn't show up. I called, the staff extremely helpful and everything was good. It was not a pointless exercise as some are saying.

Does the sabre system need some fixes? Yes, but give VA a chance to do this. I can't express how big a project this is. 

If the issues are still the same in a few months I'll be surprised.

Chill out and go AUSBT!

07 Mar 2013

Total posts 1

Had a few Virgin flights last month including Melbourne/Perth in business class, wow, best domestic flight ever! Anyway, points took a few days to come though for all flights but one, which was of course MEL/PER, after a week I called Virgin and they were super helpful, apologetic, had the points credited on the spot. Great service!

06 Feb 2012

Total posts 18

I've been on the phone to Virgin every 2nd day and by phone to try and get a variety of status credits and points fixed since January. Very tired of hearing it will be fixed or we're looking into it. This cannot be good for VA's bottom line. As a loyal Virgin flyer who pays for all my own flights, issues like this shouldn't even be issues.

In respect to AFF. I have gained fantastic information from both there and also here on AUSBT. They are very different forms of information, and we as the consumer should be pleased to have so much knowledge to learn from a variety of media platforms.

QantasFF

16 Nov 2012

Total posts 55

As a QC life member I'm rather stuck with the mangy roo, but when I tried to get velocity points credited after a flight, despite providing a scan of everything they needed, they simply ignored me, so no incentive to start building up an alternative store of points.

Qantas

01 Jun 2011

Total posts 5

I'm still waiting on points for flights taken with them in August 2012,I've submitted claims and emailed boarding passes but still waiting,to say that I am less than impressed is an understatement,this ,along with a rude FA on a SYD-ABX flight recently has me rethinking my decision to move my travel from QF .

19 Jun 2012

Total posts 4

Surely the bigger story is the horrible transition from the old system to the new , especially with regard to bookings prior to Jan 2013.  I often have about 10 bookings and trying to change a booking made on the old system can take about 30 minutes to get through to the right team on the phone as you can't change them on the internet, this despite being a platinum FF.  And to met with the greeting 'did you know you can change this on the internet?' is enough to send me postal.

I had hoped the new system would finally bring some better integration between the VA site and Velocity but for some reason it is possibly worse.  Having to sometimes type in your login and password 3 times to find a booking (am I the only person in the world who doesn't memorise booking references?) is unbelievably annoying.  If anyone from Virgin is listening here's a tip - go use the Qantas site and copy it.  While VA have a fantastic product on the ground and in the air, their online presence is a joke.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Having flown Qantas extensively in the past, and enjoyed flying Virgin Business quite a bit this year, I think the minor issue (and it is minor - after all, nobody is stealing your credits, you just might have to ask for them is all) of FF accruals with Velocity Rewards at the moment is well eclipsed by the friendly service and enhanced product. 

Teething problems with the change-over of booking system are to be expected, and I think Virgin has gone out of its way to help solve these problems as best as anyone can. It certainly won't diminish my joy with flying with this carrier, who I think is really forcing Qantas to lift its domestic socks!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 171

Look I have to agree with Kieran, these are minor issues, and there was always going to be when you undertake a project of this size. And I can only speak highly of any issues I've had and how they have dealt with it.  

Whatever the case is, they have a great product and they are pushing Qantas, and thats a great thing for the industry.

If the website doesn't get cleaned up in the next few months I will be very surprised.

18 Oct 2011

Total posts 11

I have been missing points after the upgrade to Sabre but technical issues do happen after all. I have been in touch with VA Social Media team and they are usually pretty quick in responding to any issues pertaining to the misiing Velocity points. Best of all, they remember me now and they have been writing to me on a weekly basis to ask how am I and thanking me for my continuous loyalty.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Virgin Australia promises fast fix for missing frequent flyer points