Am I Right - Virgin FF internationally is well below Qantas ?

By dsz | Apr 24, 2018, 12:02 PM
Hi all;

I recently gained VA Platinum status due to plenty of domestic travel. Also gained a nice points balance.

I also recently booked a family trip to Europe and found it difficult to see how i could cost effectively utilise my VA Platinum status.

It appeared from my searches that flying VA internationally is more expensive than other carriers. I know VA dont fly to Europe, but rather via partner(s).

I am keen to understand how others make VA work for them better, over something like Qantas internationally.

I have recently signed up to Kris Flyer for the transfer option, which to me seems about the best option, as SQ flies to more places than VA.

If an article or thread exists, let me know - otherwise, keen to hear from you all.

Cheers.
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By bl5965 | Apr 24, 2018, 12:08 PM
Yes it's not as good as Qantas' network.

Personally, I just book sale fares on Singapore Airlines or Etihad, and make use of my VA Platinum status for lounge access (best in Australia and Abu Dhabi, worst in Singapore) and other associated benefits.
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By Doubleplatinum | Apr 24, 2018, 12:47 PM
Been platinum for around 7 years now with velocity, you are right the network of quasi alliances is substandard especially in comparison to an alliance like oneworld. The way it works for me is I only redeem points on SQ flights whether it be to singapore, asia or europe. Number 1 airline for multitudes of reasons and still get good value on redemptions (especially with the lack of surcharges on velocity reward bookings) in J. I've used the first lounge in abu dhabi once enroute to europe with etihad but that was a once off, the surcharges on their reward bookings are almost as bad as qantas.
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By dsz | Apr 24, 2018, 02:20 PM
thanks all for the replies.

First World Problems, but nice to see what more experienced travellers are doing.

Cheers.,
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By deegee93 | Apr 24, 2018, 05:33 PM
I’ve recently used a lot of points doing return to LA in business and PE, as many will tell you hard to find availability but I was lucky and even got the dates I wanted. I also do every year return to NZ in business.


I’ve avoided booking to Europe with points due to the higher tier they’re put in with virgins partners but there always seems to be plenty of availability between Singapore and Etihad compared to LA so it’s definitely not off the cards for me.

Last edited by deegee93 at Apr 24, 2018, 05.34 PM.
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By markathome | Apr 24, 2018, 10:18 PM
The Etihad flight to Europe should be a decent offering. As VA Platinum you'll have access to the Etihad First Class Lounge & Spa (Terminal 3) - a huge step-up from the Al Reem Lounge offered to VA Gold. The staff are friendly, the onboard entertainment and food are good. Abu Dhabi has no metro, but it does have the Louvre. I make a big deal about sleeping overnight in the Middle East and not only does Abu Dhabi have a really economical airport hotel (pack your swimming gear) but the timings of flights from MEL/SYD are also ideal (basically a midnight arrival). The destinations are nothing to sneeze at and my only complaint is they've ditched the PER-AUH route I used (as of Oct '18).

My experience compared to Emirates was Etihad slightly better - but each had its benefits and drawbacks. Virgin Platinum is absolutely not Qantas Platinum but Qantas Platinum is a more challenging status to achieve. I have been downvoted before but I would always take a middle east stopover to Europe as opposed to a Singapore one (or London unless I was visiting England). In adapting to timezones, I think United Arab Emirates is much easier ride and it's the setting of Aladdin.
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By Zac | Apr 24, 2018, 11:08 PM
As VA Platinum I convert points to SQ and then redeem for SQ F to Europe. The price has gone up slightly but still reasonable at something like 127k one way SYD-LHR in F - and surcharges very reasonable at about $85 SYD-LHR. SQ F availability seems generally good - you need to waitlist but you can pick a few different options and something has always come through for me.
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By mspcooper | Apr 25, 2018, 08:18 AM
I think almost all aussies would agree that international VA offering is tiny compared to QF. However, it does have a good offering to LAX and now HKG. For anything else, you can use their points which i think is a reasonable alternative compared to QF. I would like to see VA invest in wide bodies to cater for more international routes, but i really doubt if this will happen.

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By BJ01 | Apr 27, 2018, 09:38 AM
VA and International travel is challenging - it's the one main thing I feel they don't do well. The 'virtual' alliance thing kind of fails and it does require an investment in time to figure out what you are entitled too as it is not straight forward and always changing

I use most of my points to upgrade on VA metal to and from LAX from PE to J, 3-4 times a year - the J product is fantastic as is the service. Whenever I have requested an upgrade at the time of booking, I've always got it 24-72 hours prior to departure however trying to book a J class seat outright using points is nigh impossible in my experience.


Have used points a few times on SQ to book a Y seat up to LGK via SIN and have found availability to be good and points required OK. The Gold Kris lounges in SIN are sadly not great, particularly the T2 one (lack of showers and always packed to the rafters) and I don't find that SQ really recognise my VA Platinum status apart from giving me access to an average lounge.


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By Dan22 | Apr 27, 2018, 02:09 PM
I think the compromise you make here is that 1. You can reach platinum status quicker then Qantas and status expires from 1 year on those credits gained not at a set date (I recently lost 90 status credits with QF after only having flown and earned those the week before my review date) 2. Carrier charges, fuel surgachrges are WAY more costly at QF and most of their partners when redeeming reward seats - compare to VA/SQ are succh good value... so it’s not as easy to compare like for like here.
Last edited by Dan22 at Apr 27, 2018, 02.10 PM.
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James C

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