Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent flyer program has the most seats available for award redemption across all Asia Pacific airlines, according to an independent survey.
Virgin makes all seats on its planes available in exchange for variable quantities of reward points, similar to Qantas' Any Seat Awards.
According to the annual ezRez Reward Seat Availability Survey, Virgin Australia achieved a survey result of 91.4 percent reward seat availability, putting it ahead of all Asia Pacific airlines including Qantas, with an overall ranking of fourth worldwide – behind Brazilian airline GOL, America's Southwest and Air Berlin but ahead of Singapore Airlines (in fifth place), Lufthansa (in sixth) and Qantas (in tenth spot).
“This is an outstanding result for our Velocity program and a true testament to the value it provides members. We know that being able to secure a reward seat to the right destination at the right time is one of the most important factors for our members”, said Virgin Australia General Manager of Velocity Phil Gunter.
“In developing the Velocity program over the last five years, we have changed the way people think about airline rewards. We have cut the red tape of blackouts and restrictions so that if there’s a seat available on any flight, you can buy it using Velocity Points. It’s also free to join Velocity online and our points will never expire for active Members."
Qantas charges $82.50 for members of the public to join its program, though it has many special offers that make it available free of charge (through Woolworths Everyday Rewards membership, for example.)
However, despite getting the gong for best seat availability, Virgin says it is pressing on with launching an entirely new frequent flyer scheme.
“We want to ensure that our Velocity program is one of the best frequent flyer programs in the world and later this year, we will re-launch the program to offer members more options to get the best value out of their points, more personalised service and more rewards for loyalty”, Mr Gunter said.
The ezRez Reward Seat Availability Survey is based upon 6,720 booking queries made by IdeaWorks at the websites of 24 frequent flyer programs during March and early April 2011. Travel dates spanned June through October 2011; with 20 top routes checked to assess reward seat availability.