Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines are expected to reveal the ‘exchange rate’ for converting between Velocity points and KrisFlyer miles early next month as part of a November kick-off for the innovative scheme.
Frequent flyers of both airlines are eagerly awaiting details such as the conversion formula – which is not expected to be at a straight 1:1 parity rate – along with any associated costs and annual limits on the number of points swapped between each airline’s reward program.
“The volume of transfers, fees, maximum or minimum numbers, the exact terms and conditions – we’re going to announce all of that” Neil Thompson, CEO of Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer business, tells Australian Business Traveller, adding that he believes the conversion rate “will be a very good value proposition.”
“We’ve got a lot of travellers who are members of both (Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines) programs or who fly on both networks” Thompson says, “but what can happen is that you end up with a points balance spread across several programs.”
“Members are often telling us they have points here and points there, and they wish they could put them all together” Thompson explains.
“There’s real value if you have points orphaned in a program, because this lets people consolidate all their points to where it makes the most sense, based on their travel.”
“I think this is going to be very popular in WA, for example”
Australia is said to hold the highest number of KrisFlyer members outside of Singapore, and Thompson says that Virgin Australia has “a very complementary network with Singapore Airlines. Our network is predominately domestic while theirs is totally international.”
One advantage that Virgin Australia Velocity members will have over their KrisFlyer counterparts is family pooling, which can funnel the points earned by several family members into a single account.
Savvy shoppers will also look to both the Velocity eStore and the KrisFlyer Spree online shopping mall to earn more points in each airline's respective currency in order to top up their account balance before a transfer – especially in cases where the same purchase can earn more points in the 'stronger' currency.
The unique points-conversion deal is the first initiative in Virgin Australia’s campaign to drive Velocity to 7 million members by 2017, winning over an increasing number of Qantas frequent flyer in the process.
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