Virgin Australia wins big at international frequent flyer awards

By David Flynn, April 28 2014

Virgin Australia aced the 2014 Annual Freddie Awards for frequent flyer programs, hoovering up a full tally of five wins out of five categories.

Virgin's Velocity Frequent Flyer scheme was gonged as Program of the Year in the far-reaching Middle East & Asia/Oceania region, in addition to Best Elite Program for its Platinum tier, Best Redemption Ability, Best Promotion and Best Customer Service.

The Freddies, named for British airline pioneer Sir Freddie Laker, are awarded based on a popular vote, which is in turn spurred on by extensive promotion by airlines and hotels to gather votes in their favour.

(It's worth noting that Virgin Australia enticed travellers to vote for Velocity through online and email promotions while Qantas made barely a peep about the Freddies.)

The organisers claim that "nearly 3 million ballots are cast annually" in the awards and that Virgin Australia's Velocity scheme increased its 'value ranking' over the 2013 results, "from 8.76 last year to an admirable 9.04 this year."

The best hotel loyalty scheme across the Middle East & Asia/Oceania was judged to be Hyatt's Gold Passport as Program of the Year and Best Elite Program, while Starwood Preferred Guest was recognised for Best Redemption Ability and Best Customer Service and IHG Rewards Club for Best Promotion.

Air France/KLM's Flying Blue took out top honours across Europe and Africa, with nods to Lufthansa's Miles & More and SAS' EuroBonus, while American Airlines AAdvantage and Avianca's LifeMiles picked up an equal tally of trophies for North and South America.

For full details of all the winners, click through to FreddieAwards.com.

The Freddie folk have had their say, but how do you rate Virgin Australia's Velocity against Qantas Frequent Flyer in terms of the value and perks for top-tier elite members, redeeming points on flights and overall customer service?

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

i noticed VAs blatant 'vote for us' campaign.. if that wasnt there, im willing to bet that most people would not even have known about the 'Freddies' (or even known what the 'Freddies' are!!)

when i saw this campaign on VAs website...i just laughed.. slightly akin to someone desperate for other peoples 'approval'... 'please like me'!!  looked/sounded like they were a 'Logie' nominee..lol

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 531

Have to agree... I had never heard of the Freddies until I saw it on Virgin emails. It's not exactly something I rushed to vote in either.

Virgin has a better program than Qantas but when it comes down to it, for me it is about getting the best opportunities to use them and the Qantas program offers me more options to redeem on more airlines than the Virgin program does.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 47

Given it's a popular vote I don't really see the issue trying to get people to vote. It's about as much of a marketing exercise than anything else.

IMO I prefer velocity as you can get more for your points, and not have to pay the huge taxes and surcharges bill at the end too.  That being said the fact that I have to call to upgrade my flight using points, or call to book a partner airline or codeshare flight is really frustrating.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

This rock throwing is a little silly. Never heard of Freddies? It's been around a while (since 1988, although it concentrated on the Americas until 2001), and over the years I've often had emails from multiple airlines and major hotel chains letting me know I can vote for them in the Freddies if I like.

Nothing stopped Qantas from doing the same this year (it got a nod in 2001, for best affinity program), but I suspect with all the people that are griping about recent changes to their FF program/enhancements perhaps they didn't see it in their interests to promote it. Either way, don't think it matters much. The Freddies are no different from other popular vote programs like Skytrax's World Airline Awards (which Qantas has featured in too) - neither are definitive but neither are rubbish either.

I say good on Virgin Australia for winning a few regional categories - it might tempt some overseas tourists to fly to Australia, using one of our Australian airlines (which is great for our economy). Why not be glad that Australia even got a mention, even if it isn't a win for Qantas.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Mar 2013

Total posts 66

Rock throwing?? Flown into many regionals of late....Townsville is the second capital of Queensland yet Virgin holds the city in contempt whilst happy to collect good revenue. Never let a little subjectivity get in the way of the facts.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Knocking that an Australian airline won a Freddie in the Middle East, Asia and Oceania category, when up against all the carriers servicing the region - which has little to do with your complaint (founded or unfounded) about services to Townsville (they don't give awards on just a sector basis - surely you understand that?).

Or are you so blind in your hatred that you'd rather CX or SQ or one of the other foreign based carriers won instead, rather than an Australian airline getting recognition for its frequent flyer scheme? Either way, carrying a chip on your shoulder about their award wins doesn't change the results of the Freddies. Just seems graceless to carry on like a sore loser.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Mar 2013

Total posts 66

I dont think QANTAS is making any statement how can they be sore losers?

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

I'm not sure that "best service to Townsville" is a Freddie category.

Furthermore I'm not even sure what you're talking about. At first I thought you were complaining that Virgin only flies turboprops to Townsville or something. But nope, I checked and there's at least six planes a day, all 737s, going to BNE and SYD. Qantas has the same number. What kind of service are you expecting to a city of 170,000 anyway?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Mar 2013

Total posts 66

Hi Hugo I'm not certain what your point is either, suffice to say I hope your accountant is better with numbers.

https://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012/04/04/3470834.htm

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Townsville

https://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/townsvilles-population-set-to-overtake-geelong/story-fnjfzs4b-1226789807834

am
am

15 Apr 2011

Total posts 586

The idea of having a popular vote to judge something like this is absurd. The vast majority of Velocity members won't have active memberships in any other airline's programme, which makes it impossible for them to compare things like award availability or customer service. 

"Most Popular" would be a better descriptor. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Well given Qantas' heavy promotion (currently) of its TripAdvisor award as "Australia's 'Best' Airline" - a site that's geared toward hotel and tourist venue reviews - you can very much say the same thing. It's the first year that TripAdvisor have started giving out certificates to airlines, and appears to be based on only 490 ratings (of which only 68% recommended the airline).

As always in marketing, it pays to take it with a grain of salt (and check the background).

26 Mar 2013

Total posts 2

VA have to fix their international redemption to be a serious FF program competitor to QF. I just flew return to SIngapore in Business on QF on points. Lots of availability and I think from memory about 120k points. I checked with VA via SQ. No availability over the entire month I wanted and even if there was availability it was 200k points.

If VA want serious domestic business from people that also fly a lot internationally, they need to make it cheaper and easier to redeem on SQ and EY.


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