How to plan and book free Virgin Australia flights via AMEX, ANZ

How to plan and book free Virgin Australia flights via AMEX, ANZ

Both the AMEX Velocity Platinum Card and the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures Visa include a complimentary return Virgin Australia flight every year to help offset their annual fees – and it’s a great perk, provided you put it to good use.

Here’s how you can plan and book that free trip with each card.

American Express Velocity Platinum Card: free Virgin Australia flight

Slip an American Express Velocity Platinum credit card into your wallet and you’ll be entitled to a complimentary return domestic flight every year with Virgin Australia, once the card’s annual fee of $375 has been charged to your account and you’ve used your card to make at least one purchase after that.

Where you can travel depends on where you live. Here’s where you could fly to from Sydney…

… while from Melbourne, you can travel as far north as Hamilton Island:

Brisbane’s central location on the east coast sees flights to Cairns, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin available…

… and if you live in Perth, your free return flight can take you across to Sydney and back – but note that if you live in Sydney, you can’t book a return ticket to Perth – only the cities mapped above.

For journeys beginning in other cities, use the interactive map on the AMEX website to see where you could travel.

Flights can only be booked in economy class, don’t normally earn points or status credits, and can’t be upgraded using Velocity points or cash. However, you can book your complimentary flight in another person’s name, such as for your partner to join you on a business trip, or as a gift.

Just keep track of when your credit card annual fee falls due every year, because the free flight credit doesn’t carry forward into your next AMEX ‘membership year’ if you haven’t used it, and when your annual fee hits your account, that signals the start of your next AMEX ‘membership year’.

You can normally book flights for travel up to 11 months in advance, however, so you do have the option of travelling during your next membership year – you just need to make that booking this membership year to avoid this year’s free flight going to waste.

To book, head to this page on the Virgin Australia website, login with your Velocity details and follow the prompts. That is, unless you're wanting to fly from Perth to Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide; or from Darwin to Sydney or Brisbane, for which you'll need to call 1300 153 006 instead.

Don’t already have the AMEX Velocity Platinum Card? Eligible new customers who apply, are approved and spend $3,000 on the card within the first three months can earn 50,000 bonus Velocity points, with other perks included too such as AMEX and Virgin Australia lounge access.

ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures Visa: free Virgin Australia flight

With ANZ, the ‘free flight’ concept is very similar to American Express, except that ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures cardholders can travel on a wider variety of routes, including cross-country flights to Perth originating on the east coast, and journeys to Darwin.

Here’s where you could fly from Sydney…

… from Melbourne…

… from Brisbane…

… and from Perth, for example:

Visit the ANZ website to see where you could travel from other cities, by expanding the blue "plan your next adventure" box on the card information page.

However, in return for access to a broader flight network, these tickets must be booked through ANZ at least 60 days before departure on flights which have T-class (Getaway) fares available, and can only be taken by the primary cardholder – not used by somebody else.

Just like AMEX, these flights won't ordinarily earn any Velocity points or status credits, and can't be upgraded using money or Velocity points.

You’ll unlock the free return flight after spending $500 on eligible purchases using the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card within the first three months and paying the card’s $225 annual fee, with the free flight benefit recurring every year until the card is cancelled.

To confirm and book, call ANZ on 1300 367 763 (+61 2 9352 3254 from overseas) between 8am and 8pm AEST, Monday-Friday. The same number can be used to change your flights, but only between 9am and 5pm AEST, and may incur a fee. Once booked, your flight credit cannot be reused if you cancel your ticket or miss your flight.

New ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures cardholders can also earn 40,000 bonus Velocity points after spending $500 on eligible purchases within the first three months, with some of the card’s other benefits including two Virgin Australia lounge passes each year, and no international transaction fees on overseas purchases.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

15 comments

  • bl5965

    bl5965

    27 Apr, 2018 05:52 am

    The AMEX Velocity Platinum free return flight can now be booked online at compflight.virginaustralia.com!

    It directs you to login to your Velocity account, and if it detects you are eligible, leads you to a simple mobile-site interface where you can search for a free return flight.

    Flights with availability are automatically displayed and once selected, you just checkout with the detail of the traveller.
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    27 Apr, 2018 05:45 pm

    Hi bl5965, thanks for your comment. At the time our article was written (only the other day, in fact), the only option was to call, but AMEX has just enabled online bookings for this (yesterday, I'm told), so we've updated our article to reflect this. Have a great weekend!
    No member give thanks

  • bcworld

    bcworld

    1 May, 2018 08:34 pm

    The online booking for AMEX Velocity Plat started on 10th April.
    No member give thanks

  • Colin Steven

    colin5353

    27 Apr, 2018 09:19 am

    Hmm, I booked a "comp" flight using ANZ Travel Rewards ADL-SYD-ADL for the beginning of April 2018 and receives the VA email "upgrade your flight" So I put in the lowest bid and flew up the front for $280 return. Checking my activity statement I've recd both status credits, base and bonus points.
    No member give thanks

  • Bigbird

    Bigbird

    27 Apr, 2018 09:31 am

    I booked my complementary flight 2 weeks ago and had no issues upgrading to Business class with points. I first had to call Virgin directly to add my FF number and then could do the upgrade online.
    No member give thanks

  • Jonathan McFeat

    jsm2090

    27 Apr, 2018 04:33 pm

    Can also confirm these flights are upgradable- phoned VA to merge booking with partner already on the same flight, then upgraded both seats.
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    27 Apr, 2018 05:57 pm

    Hi all, just on earning points and status credits, and upgrades on these flights: technically, none of these are supposed to be possible - both the AMEX and ANZ T&Cs for this explicitly state that points and status credits can't be earned, and that flights aren't upgradeable using points or cash... so it's one of those things where you shouldn't expect any of this, but be happy if the system is nice to you and gives you some or all of the above!
    No member give thanks

  • Colin Steven

    colin5353

    28 Apr, 2018 10:37 am

    Thanks Chris, I certainly wasnt expecting to get anything when I booked. Bit like being awarded QF points on a flight that never went anywhere, and then points when it finally did two days later. A nice surprise.
    No member give thanks

  • chris_melbourne

    chris_melbourne

    28 Apr, 2018 01:48 pm

    Great article. In my experience booking complimentary flights using my Velocity Amex, it doesn’t seem to matter where you LIVE, as long as the return flight is from and to a destination allowed on the map. For example, I live in Melbourne but use my ‘free’ flight to travel from Perth to Broome return each year, if I’m going to be in Perth anyway. I do this because this because PER-BME-PER is quite expensive (when paying cash), but from Melbourne the ‘free’ destinations on offer are often relatively cheap anyway. This may not be strictly guaranteed in the fine print, but I’ve never had any issues for 5 years straight.
    No member give thanks

  • hangry.lee

    hangry.lee

    29 Apr, 2018 04:16 pm

    anyone having trouble seeing available flights using this platform? I've put all sorts of different dates and cities from Perth and they all come back with no flights available..
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    10 May, 2018 09:49 am

    Flights from Perth to Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide can only be booked over the phone, as covered in the article. If you were trying the other Perth routes without much success, perhaps just give them a call anyway to try.
    No member give thanks

  • Jon W

    Jon W

    30 Apr, 2018 10:55 am

    AMEX need to update their map. MKY is still listed as a destination from SYD, but there is no longer a direct flight. It used to be my preferred route, but now I can't do it anymore!
    No member give thanks

  • tartan_penguin

    tartan_penguin

    9 May, 2018 05:18 pm

    I was just on to AMEX to check on when my anniversary date was. I was told that the date that the flights "reset" is your date of joining and not the date that your annual fee hits the account. For me the join date was a month earlier so watch for this or it could mean you miss a chance to redeem.
    No member give thanks

  • Penny

    Penny

    9 May, 2018 09:20 pm

    Are there any blackout periods for either the AMEX or ANZ complimentary flights, or is first in best dressed any time?
    I vaguely recall reading about blackouts for ANZ, but am keen to know how "real" that is in people's experience. Thanks
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    10 May, 2018 09:48 am

    The biggest 'problem' with ANZ is that you have to book at least 60 days in advance: but other than that, there are no set dates you can't fly, it just depends on the commercial availability and loadings on each flight (so the earlier you call, the better).

    With AMEX, if you do the online booking, any of the options presented to you via that portal are bookable, and anything that isn't, isn't (except for the few routes for which you always need to call, namely Perth and Darwin).
    No member give thanks

Guest

22 Jul, 2019 08:23 pm

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