Virgin Australia's South African Airways partnership kicks off

By Chris Chamberlin, April 30 2015
Virgin Australia's South African Airways partnership kicks off

Virgin Australia Velocity members can now earn both frequent flyer points and status credits when booking and travelling with Star Alliance member South African Airways, including on its Perth-Johannesburg flights.

Also part of the tie-up: Velocity Gold and Silver cardholders can make use of priority check-in on SAA flights and can bring an extra 23kg of baggage in economy or 32kg when flying in business class, while Platinum members can also skip the queues with 32kg of baggage on any ticket.

The airline’s nine Baobab Premium Class Lounges await Velocity Gold and Platinums across South Africa including in Johannesburg (domestic and international), Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London, along with Lagos (Nigeria), Harare (Zimbabwe) and Lusaka (Zambia).

And once you’ve snuck in that final lounge drink, Gold and Platinum guests can also use the business class priority boarding lane for ‘first dibs’ on space in the overhead lockers.

There’s no lounge access on offer at Perth Airport for Velocity frequent flyers stuck in economy on SAA’s Johannesburg flights, although business class passengers and Star Alliance Gold members can continue to use Qantas’ international business class lounge in Perth.

Earning and redeeming frequent flyer points with SAA

Velocity members will earn 1.25 frequent flyer points per mile flown in business class with SAA, one point per mile on the higher-priced economy tickets and 0.5 points per mile on the cheaper fares.

On a return journey from Perth to Johannesburg that amounts to roughly 12,932 points earned in business class, 10,346 points in full economy and 5,172 points in discount economy.

And if you’re travelling with South African between May 16 and July 31, be sure to head to the Velocity website by May 9 and register your frequent flyer number to earn double points on all SAA flights during that period.

Velocity points can then be redeemed for flights with the program’s newest partner South African Airways: you’ll need 45,000 points for a one-way flight from Perth to Johannesburg in economy and 95,000 points for the same in business class.

The deal marks a logical extension of the previous codeshare partnership between Virgin Australia and SAA, which allowed members to earn points and status credits only when booking their flights directly through Virgin Australia.

Also read: Qantas nixes frequent flyer partnership with South African

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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.


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