Virgin’s boosted Air Canada partnership is a win for Velocity flyers

It’s all good news with boosted Velocity points, status credits and eligible sectors now on the cards.

By Staff Writers, May 11 2022
Virgin’s boosted Air Canada partnership is a win for Velocity flyers

Virgin Australia flyers can now travel deeper within Canada on a single ticket as the airline’s Air Canada partnership – in place since 2021 – expands this week to include codeshare flights for the first time. And it has the potential to springboard you up the status ladder.

On top of the ability to book Air Canada flights to cities such as Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto through, Velocity members on VA-coded flights can now rake in higher Points and Status Credits on select fares, versus direct with Air Canada.

For example, if you were to book AC34 from Sydney to Vancouver in business class you’d earn 1.5 Points per mile. At 7,757 miles, that equates to 11,635 Points.

However, if you were to book that same flight and class as VA5150 operated by Air Canada, you would earn 2 Points per mile and nab yourself a tidy 15,514 Points in the process. That’s enough for an economy reward flight from Sydney to Melbourne.

Air Canada's International Signature Class cabin.
Air Canada's International Signature Class cabin.

Virgin Australia has long-running partnerships with numerous carriers including Hawaiian Airlines and ANA, though only a select few are codeshare partners. This elite stable includes Singapore Airlines, United Airlines and Qatar Airways – and now Air Canada.

Here’s what the Virgin Australia-Air Canada partnership means for travellers.

Velocity Points on Air Canada flights

Earning and redeeming Velocity on Air Canada flights is a perk that’s been in place since 2021, when Virgin Australia and the Canadian carrier ramped up their 2017 “strategic cooperation agreement” to partnership status. However, it wasn’t a full partnership. It is now.

From May 2023, Velocity frequent flyers can enjoy an additional helping of Velocity Points and Status Credits when flying a VA-coded departure on Air Canada, compared to a native AC-marketed flight.

As is the norm, the number of Velocity Points earned on an Air Canada flight is based on the fare class and the number of miles flown, though the exact number differs on whether you book the flight as a codeshare.

Here's the earning table for hoovering up Velocity Points on a VA flight number.

Fare Type Fare Class Points Earn Rate Per Mile
Business J, C, D 2
Flex Y, B, W, H, K, L 1
Choice R, E, O, N ,V, P, Q, T, I, S 0.5

For comparison, this is how many points you’ll earn on an AC flight number:  

Fare Type Fare Class Points Earn Rate Per Mile
Business J 1.5
Business C, D, Z, P 1.25
Premium Economy O, E 1.10
Premium Econom A 1
Economy Y, B, M, U, H, Q, V 1
Economy W 0.5
Economy S, T, L, K, G 0

In addition, Velocity Silver, Gold and Platinum members will be able to earn 50, 75 and 100 per cent Bonus Points respectively on miles flown on VA-marketed, AC-operated flights (except for the portion of the flight operated internally within Canada in fare classes P,Q,T,I,S).

Velocity Points can be redeemed against an Air Canada booking at the rates of Velocity’s standard partner award pricing chart, plus any applicable fees or charges.

For example, a one-way flight between Vancouver and Brisbane – a distance of 7367 miles – will cost 104,000 Velocity Points in business class or 84,000 in premium economy.

Velocity Status Credits and eligible sectors on Air Canada flights

Looking to bolster your Status Credits tally on an Air Canada-operated flight? You’re now well placed to rake them in, with VA-coded flights attracting a higher earn on select fares.

On top of earning Status Credits, paid flights (not those booked as rewards) also count towards your Eligible Sectors – an essential requirement for maintaining and catapulting your way up the status ladder. This is the new perk of the partnership.

While those in business class will see no difference in Status Credits, those on Choice Fares (Virgin’s Discount Economy equivalent) are the winners here, with Velocity members enjoying a higher earning rate compared to those flying on the same airfare on a native flight.

For the full picture, Velocity members jetting off on VA-coded flights earn the following:

One-way Miles (zone) Choice Flex Business
0 - 750 (1) 15 20 40
751 - 1,500 (2) 20 30 60
1,501 - 3,000 (3) 25 50 80
3,001 - 5,000 (4) 35 60 120
5,001 - 8,000 (5) 45 80 160
8,001+ (6) 55 100 200

For comparison, jetting off domestically or internationally on an AC flight number earns:

One-way Miles (zone) Discount Economy Economy Premium Economy Business
0 - 750 (1) 10 20 30 40
751 - 1,500 (2) 15 30 45 60
1,501 - 3,000 (3) 20 40 60 80
3,001 - 5,000 (4) 30 60 90 120
5,001 - 8,000 (5) 40 80 120 160
8,001+ (6) 50 100 150 200

Virgin notes that Discount Economy fare classes S, T, L, A and K “are ineligible for Status Credit earn”.

Air Canada codeshares: which cities are on the list

Virgin Australia is now selling codeshares on AC-operated flights from Sydney and BRisbane to Vancouver, as well as Vancouver to Toronto, Calgary, and Edmonton.

Air Canada flights open for codeshare bookings include:

  • Sydney - Vancouver
  • Brisbane - Vancouver
  • Vancouver - Calgary
  • Vancouver - Edmonton
  • Vancouver - Kelowna
  • Vancouver - Montreal
  • Vancouver - Ottawa
  • Vancouver - Toronto
  • Vancouver - Winnipeg

Velocity access to Air Canada lounges

Velocity Gold and Platinum members also enjoy access to Air Canada's network of domestic and international Maple Leaf airport lounges, though this excludes the more upmarket Signature Suite lounges which are reserved for business class passengers-only.

Both Gold and Platinum frequent flyers can bring one guest into the lounge with them.

Aeroplan Miles on Virgin Australia flights

From an Air Canada perspective, Aeroplan members will be able to earn Aeroplan Miles and Status Qualifying Miles on all Virgin Australia flights, based on the type of ticket and the distance flown: ranging from 25% of miles flown for the cheapest economy fare to 150% in fully-flexible business class.

Fare Type Fare Class Aeroplan Points (% of miles flown) SQM (% of miles flown) - domestic only
Business Class J 150% 150%
" C, D 125% 125%
Flex V, B, W, H, K, L, A 100% 100%
Choice R, E, O, N, V, P, Q, T, I, S 50% 50%
Lite M 25% 25%
Groups G 50% 50%

The same earning rate applies for international flights, though it’s important to note Aeroplan Status Qualifying Miles are only received when on domestic Virgin Australia flights.

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