Virgin Australia reveals new Velocity status credit earning rates

By Chris Chamberlin, September 6 2016
Virgin Australia reveals new Velocity status credit earning rates

EXCLUSIVE | Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer members will earn status credits at new rates from early next year in changes favouring flyers on the more expensive fares, but which cut status credits on the lowest-priced tickets by up to 50%.

On some domestic routes, passengers on flexible business class journeys will now earn more than 11 times as many status credits as those on the cheapest fares, who’ll pick up as few as five status credits on some flights.

Here’s what you need to know about these new rates, based on how far you usually fly.

Flights up to 750 miles, such as Sydney-Melbourne

On Virgin Australia’s shortest domestic flights, passengers currently earn 40 status credits on all business class fares, 20 status credits on flexible economy tickets and 10 status credits on all discount economy bookings.

Come January 30 2017, business class earnings are boosted to 50 status credits on Business Saver fares and a higher 55 status credits on all other business class tickets, while flexible economy earn rates also improve from 20 to 25 status credits on the airline’s new Freedom fares.

But rather than one earning rate for ‘discount economy’ tickets, Virgin Australia is splitting this into two different rates – one for the mid-range Elevate fares and another for the lowest Getaway tickets.

Book an Elevate fare on these routes and you’ll pull in 15 status credits, up from 10 at present, but book a Getaway ticket instead and you’ll earn a measly 5 status credits.

For passengers in the cheap seats, that cuts your status credit haul in half compared to today's figures.

Flights of 751-1,500 miles, such as Brisbane-Melbourne

Book a business class ticket on these journeys and you’ll currently earn 60 status credits, with flexible economy returning 30 status credits and discount economy serving up 15 status credits.

Come late January, passengers on Business Saver fares continue to earn 60 status credits: but pay for a higher-priced business class journey and you’ll earn a higher 70 status credits instead.

Down the back, flexible economy (Freedom) continues to deliver 30 status credits, while an Elevate fare will now net you 20 status credits, also an improvement.

But  book the lowest-cost Getaway tickets and you’ll earn only 10 status credits.

Flights over 1,500 miles, such as Sydney-Perth

Flying east-to-west or on some of Virgin Australia’s other long flights like Brisbane-Darwin currently returns 80 status credits in business class, 40 status credits in flexible economy and 20 status credits in discount economy.

Under the new system, earn rates on Business Saver fares improve to 90 status credits, while higher Business tickets deliver an even-higher 105 status credits.

Freedom flexible economy fares see a similar increase to 45 status credits, with Elevate fares promising 30 status credits.

Following the trend, Getaway fares will earn fewer status credits than today’s most heavily-discounted tickets, offering just 15 status credits as opposed to 20.

[Click the table above to enlarge it.]

There’s no change to the number of status credits earned on Virgin Australia international flights which retain the current system and earning rates, except on L-type fares which drop from flexible economy to discount economy on Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi flights.

Flights taken on partner airlines are also unaffected and will continue to earn status credits at the current rates.

What it means for Silver, Gold, Platinum flyers

As status credits are used to achieve (or retain) Silver, Gold and Platinum status in the Velocity Frequent Flyer program, these changes make that chase considerably easier for passengers who spend more, and considerably harder for those who spend less.

For example, a Velocity Gold member could secure their status for another year simply by taking two return business class trips from Sydney to Perth on the higher-level Business tickets, with no other flying necessary.

But for travellers shuttling around the country on short flights and the least-expensive fares, it would now take 100 flights in a 12-month period to reach Velocity Gold for the first time, as opposed to 50 flights under today’s rates.

That’s the difference between taking one return trip every fortnight (or around four flights a month) and needing to take one return trip every week in order to secure Gold frequent flyer status and perks such as lounge access and priority boarding.

On longer international flights, moving L fares from flexible to discount economy also means Velocity Gold and Platinum members won’t be able to use points to upgrade from the same – instead only being possible from tickets in the highest-priced Y, B, H and K tickets.

Also read: Virgin Australia drops seat selection fee for Velocity Platinum, Gold frequent flyers

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 777

Well... at least the lounges will become quieter.

04 May 2015

Total posts 266

At least they also didn't take a leaf from the Qantas book and try to label this as simpler and fairer!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1390

Introducing a $ spend criteria by stealth with these changes.

Will be interesting to see if these changes put pressure on QF to respond

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

This'll sort the men out from the boys!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Apr 2013

Total posts 147

So basically anyone flying for work who's travel policy requires a booking in 'cheapest fare' or 'best cost-logical' are screwed (which I assume would be 50-75% of their Velocity members holding Gold/Plat status)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Nov 2011

Total posts 132

I'm in the same boat on this one ... work policy states I have to book on the cheapest flight of the day, and even booking only a few days before most flights on busy routes still have saver fares. 

02 Jun 2013

Total posts 49

Remember that most of the current Saver fares actually fall into the new Elevate category with the higher status credit earn. It's just the cheapest available fares, including sale fares (T,S,M class), that fall under the new Getaway category. So if you previously booked Saver fares, you may actually find you're better off quite a bit of the time.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Feb 2012

Total posts 31

this kind of fare tweeking is why I stopped fliying QANTAS.

having said that i think this could actually be a good thing for a lot of people. especiually when work ponies up for a flexi on the return flight.

Correct me if i am wrong but dont the new getaway fares take the place of the sale fares? if thats the case they will hardly be availavle most of the time anyway so the standard fares remain the same earn and should balance out with a few higher fare bookings.

At very least it makes status runs easier.

Qantas

30 May 2014

Total posts 1

The main advantage on VA for my company was that Gold membership allowed us to change to an earlier flight with ease.

Return interstate flights 2-3 times a month will most probably reduce me to a lower level.

Therefore, will now look at other airlines as options instead of reqesting VA only.

 

23 Feb 2016

Total posts 34

You'll only get that option with VA, QF you'd have an even harder time attaining status and flying ahead.

If you fly on the new elevate fares, which won't be much more than you pay for savers now, you'll significantly increase your SC earn if flying within the golden triangle.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 255

Only 3 zones?

For domestic flights, yes - same number as at present (longer zones are for international flights and are unchanged under this new system).

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Feb 2012

Total posts 31

australia is only so wide....

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 255

I mistook the Table and thought it included International SC earnings too. My bad.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Aug 2016

Total posts 7

What happens in regards to codeshare flights, eg SQ. And what about people who have already booked and paid for VA flights prior to the changes, will you still earn the old rates?

23 Aug 2016

Total posts 13

My thoughts exactly Thomas. Booked flights up until my early May review date to maintain Platinum, but the rules have changed - not sure where pre-Sept 7 booking stand for flights post late Jan 2017. Will a call to the Platinum desk to clarify now cost $35?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Aug 2016

Total posts 7

Yeah I am done to Feb. maintained gold for this year and already started the bookings again to maintain again

23 Aug 2016

Total posts 13

Bookings made pre Sept 7 were made in accordance to the stated Virgin terms and conditions - can't see how they can legally dishonour the anticipated SC earn level they were booked under just because they introduced a new earn scale after those pre Sept 7 bookings were made.

Irrelevant to those on company accounts than swagger around applauding this change, but to others that use their own cold hard cash (and complied to the t & c's) - it makes a difference.

27 Jan 2016

Total posts 54

Well played VA - still a lower threshold to achieve status, but at least a proposition and offering between the Saver/Flexi proposition which had no value proposition. 

Does the elevate fare have any other tangible benefits? It will be interesting to see what this does to their tier base. If the proposition is good enough, it could lead to even more gold/plats.

Virgin Australia Platinum

09 Sep 2014

Total posts 69

I also noticed no elite bonus points on the "getaway" fares either. SO not only do the getaway fares get less status credits, but no 100 percent bonus points for Platinums etc. Consequently, it makes anyone that cares about point accrual and status retention to go ahead and book the "elevate" fares and above!

QF Plat

14 Jul 2014

Total posts 24

Virgin needs to fix there corporate portal before worry about this stuff, you can't make multi city bookings, car hire, accomodation etc. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Mar 2014

Total posts 221

does virgin offer lifetime status such as lifetime silver/gold at qantas?

27 Jan 2016

Total posts 54

No

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Mar 2014

Total posts 221

really its a no brainer if you doin this alot long term at least you get the gold out of qf. just a bit more flying these days

06 Jul 2016

Total posts 1

The changes do nothing positive for frequent fliers when purchasing the best available fares (which is in many cases the cheapest) for coproate travel. Most companies expect you use the cheapeast available and if thats what is expected then virgin is going to alienate many of these people. Status credits using the cheapest option would make it almost impossible to achieve platinum if you are flying from Sydney to Melbourne regularly for example (at 5 status credits a flight). Adding to that the bonus points are cut too. "From 30 January 2017, you will continue to earn your Platinum member 100% Points bonus when flying with Virgin Australia on all fare types except a Domestic Getaway fare, where no bonus will apply". I am going to start flying Qantas every chance i can get.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Feb 2016

Total posts 101

Hope VA can soon include HNA and Qingdao airlines into the credit-earning list. This gives much more value to the VFF programme.

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 448

I think this is reasonably fair. The very cheapest seats will earn less SC, all others will earn more. Elite status on VA is VERY easy to earn (their thresholds are far lower than QF). Its extremely difficult to earn Gold of Platinum on MEL-SYD sale fares anyway - that wont change.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Feb 2016

Total posts 101

Okay the VFF website has just been updated and the new tables are there now.

https://www.velocityfrequentflyer.com/content/Earn/StatusCredits/

Looks like the rules on the internation flights are unchanged after Jan 2017. Would this be fair? The current rules already give advantages to PAX who fly more int'l flights (2 full fare or 4 discounted return flights to NE Asia = 20 low-fare MEL-SYD return = 400 SC). Two full fare return flights to NE Asia cost around $2500-$3000, 4 discounted return cost around $4000-$5000, but 20 low-fare MEL-SYD return cost around $5000-$6000. The new rules will actually widen this gap.

22 Apr 2012

Total posts 5

So the new earn rates don't kick in until Jan, but the new fares are live now. Does this mean that flights booked and taken between now and then are on 'new' fare types but 'old' earn rates? Ie: short 'getaway' flights will still earn 10 credits until Jan? Does anyone know the score there?

Correct: Freedom earns as flexible economy, Getaway/Elevate as discount economy on flights taken until late January.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Aug 2016

Total posts 7

Just recieved an email from Virgin Australia saying all bookings made prior to 7th December, all existing fare rules will apply

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Aug 2013

Total posts 8

Hi Chris, 

Has Virgin given an explaination as to why they will only have 3 Zones for Domestic? Is it time to move to VA to QF? 

23 Feb 2016

Total posts 34

Why would they need more than 3 zones? Australia is only so big.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Feb 2016

Total posts 101

The old rule has 0~750, 751~1500, 1501~3000, 3001~****

Unless VA operates direct flights from the east coast to Christmas Island, there is no difference between 1501 ~ oo and 1501 ~ 3000.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Nov 2011

Total posts 132

Been playing with the trip management system this morning. Getaway fares are all coming up as the cheapest option, with the Elevate fares being roughly 30 bucks more than the Getaway ones. Red-e Deals are almost all cheaper than the Elevate fares, so I'm going to be pushed (by our policy) on to QF alot of the time.


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