Virgin Australia will kick off codeshares on South African Airways’ daily Perth-Johannesburg flights later this month, allowing Velocity members to earn both frequent flyer points and status credits on their trek to South Africa.
Residents living outside of the mining capital – including in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – will also be able to join the Perth-Johannesburg flight after connecting domestically with Virgin Australia.
Codeshare bookings can be made via the Virgin Australia website from Tuesday October 14 2014 for travel from Tuesday October 21.
Operated by South African Airways' Airbus A340-300 and A340-600 aircraft, passengers in business class enjoy lie-flat beds, personal 12 inch LED inflight entertainment screens and exclusive access to kerbside check-in facilities at Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo Airport.
That's similar to kerbside check-in at Virgin Australia's Sydney lounge, although travellers departing Johannesburg will still need to pass through the terminal to clear security and outbound passport control.
Food and beverages are included for economy flyers, who also receive an amenity kit and each have a personal on-demand in-seat entertainment system.
Virgin Australia's South African hook-up
While SAA began codesharing on Virgin Australia’s domestic services between Perth and Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney earlier this year, Velocity points on SAA flights weren't part of the deal.
Instead, travellers hunting Virgin Australia frequent flyer points are were ushered via Singapore with Singapore Airlines, either on SQ flight numbers or a VA codeshare.
At present, Gold and Platinum Velocity members who fly with Singapore Airlines via Singapore enjoy priority check-in and boarding, a boosted baggage allowance with priority handling and lounge access in Australia and Singapore – although not in Johannesburg.
While these travellers – and indeed, all Velocity members – can earn points and status credits on Virgin Australia's SAA codeshares, the same status perks don't apply on these flights.
The closer tie-up with SAA comes as Qantas today winds down its frequent flyer partnership with South African Airways after axing reciprocal codesharing with SAA between Johannesburg and both Sydney and Perth.
Members of Qantas Frequent Flyer can continue to earn Qantas Points on the Red Roo's daily Sydney-Johannesburg flights, or when flying via Dubai with its codeshare partner Emirates.
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