What if we told you that just four return business class trips to London could unlock elite status in not just one, but five frequent flyer, hotel loyalty and car hire rewards programs?
It works like this: there’s a sneaky way that you can build frequent flyer status with both Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia simultaneously – and once you have that status, you can use it unlock even more elite memberships for benefits both in the air and on the ground.
Follow our guide to the letter, and by the time you’ve finished, your passport wallet will be bursting with the following top-level cards:
- Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer Platinum status
- Singapore Airlines PPS Club membership, also being Star Alliance Gold
- Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade status
- Your choice of Hilton Honors Diamond or IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite
- Europcar Privilege Elite, or if you prefer, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle
Earning Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines status simultaneously
When you take a flight, most airlines will only allow you to build status in one frequent flyer program, forcing you to choose which frequent flyer number you attach to your ticket – but Singapore Airlines does things a little differently.
You still need to choose where your frequent flyer points and status credits (or tier miles) will be credited, but regardless of the program you select, you can still accrue ‘PPS Club value’ with Singapore Airlines, which is how you qualify for that elite PPS Club membership.
For example, Australian travellers may choose to earn Velocity Frequent Flyer points and status credits on their Singapore Airlines flights by linking their Virgin Australia frequent flyer number to their Singapore Airlines booking.
In addition to those Velocity points and status credits, the traveller can also build ‘PPS Club value’ with Singapore Airlines – but can’t earn KrisFlyer miles as well, as frequent flyer points are already being awarded through Velocity (that’d be too generous!).
That means you can earn both Virgin Australia Velocity status credits – used to build frequent flyer status with Virgin Australia – and Singapore Airlines PPS Club value, for unlocking Singapore Airlines PPS Club status, from the same flight.
Linking your Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines accounts
For this, you’ll need to have a Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer account (join here for free if you’re not already a member), and to then link that KrisFlyer account to your other frequent flyer profiles, such as Velocity.
Get things started by visiting the KrisFlyer website, logging into your KrisFlyer account, and then clicking ‘profile’ at the top, followed by ‘partner programmes’:
Next, be sure ‘airline partner’ is selected in the ‘category’ box, then choose your ‘other’ frequent flyer program (for most Aussies, that’d be ‘Virgin Australia - Velocity’ towards the bottom), key in your frequent flyer number with that program, and then click ‘add’:
You can link several frequent flyer profiles here too, so if you normally credit your flights to Velocity but occasionally earn points in United MileagePlus instead (or any other partner frequent flyer program) when flying Singapore Airlines or SilkAir, you can add those details here to ensure you earn PPS Club value on all your travels:
When it comes time to fly, attach your ‘other’ frequent flyer details to the ticket as usual, such as your Velocity Frequent Flyer number, to continue earning points and status credits as you normally would.
But because you now have a Singapore Airlines travel profile as well, and Singapore Airlines knows which flights you’re taking because you’ve provided them with your other frequent flyer numbers, you’ll now automatically accrue PPS Club value on those flights too.
So, what does it take to earn PPS Club status?
Every time you take a Singapore Airlines business class, first class or Suites Class flight – or a SilkAir business class flight – you’ll earn PPS Club value based on the cost of your fare, excluding any taxes and fees paid as part of the itinerary.
Amass SGD$25,000 of PPS Club value (or the equivalent spend in foreign currencies) in any consecutive 12-month period and you’ll fetch a shiny PPS Club card.
On a typical return business class jaunt from Sydney to London where the total ticket price is A$7,436 – of which A$6,994 (SGD$7,509) represents the fare with the remainder as taxes and fees – you’d build up approximately SGD$7,509 in PPS Club value.
Assuming each trip you take attracts a similar fare price, you’d have surpassed the SGD$25,000 threshold for PPS Club membership by the time you’ve completed your fourth return trip: getting you that PPS Club card, which is also Star Alliance Gold.
However, note that PPS Club value is not earned on premium economy or economy flights, or on any flights taken with airlines other than Singapore Airlines and SilkAir.
But what about my Velocity status credits?
While accruing that PPS Club value in the background, you’ll also be earning Virgin Australia Velocity status credits, too.
On all paid Singapore Airlines business class fares, Velocity awards 120 status credits between Sydney and Singapore and 160 status credits between Singapore and London in each direction, for a total of 280 status credits each way or 560 status credits from a return trip.
Assuming you’ve also taken four VA-coded flights (or ‘eligible sectors’) within your Velocity membership year, that single return trip is enough to qualify for or retain an existing Velocity Gold membership, with a second round trip bumping that up to Velocity Platinum (provided you’ve also notched up eight ‘eligible sectors’).
Those ‘eligible sectors’ are any flights taken with a Virgin Australia VA flight number: whether operated by Virgin Australia or served by partners such as Singapore Airlines on a codeshare basis – with two return trips to Europe on VA codeshare flights (operated by Singapore Airlines) taking care of that requirement.
You’ll continue to accrue PPS Club value even when travelling on codeshare flights, which can help you meet Velocity’s ‘eligible sector’ rules, provided that the flight itself is operated by Singapore Airlines or SilkAir.
No PPS Club value is earned when flying on airlines other than Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, even if booked on an SQ or MI flight number.
Your third and fourth return trip won’t take you any higher than Velocity Platinum status, but will fetch your PPS Club card from Singapore Airlines – giving you Star Alliance Gold status and access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide, including when flying with airlines such as Air Canada, ANA, EVA Air, Lufthansa, Thai Airways, United and more.
That means you'll enjoy the full privileges of Velocity Platinum – including four complimentary Virgin Australia flight upgrades each year among other perks – plus the benefits of PPS Club status and Star Alliance Gold for full coverage wherever you fly!
Now for your hotel and car hire status boosts
Have both PPS Club and Velocity Platinum frequent flyer status in the bag? Now it’s time to get your shiny hotel cards to match!
We’ll start with Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade status – normally earned after 10 stays or spending 20 nights in Shangri-La, Kerry, Traders and Hotel Jen properties, but for PPS Club members, is promptly awarded after your very first night with any of those hotels.
Return to the KrisFlyer website and browse once more to the ‘partner programmes’ page:
Then, simply choose ‘non-airline partner’ and ‘Shangri-La Golden Circle’ from the list, and enter your Golden Circle membership number in the box beside before clicking ‘add’:
(If you’re not already a Shangri-La Golden Circle member, join for free here.)
Once your Golden Circle number appears in the list below this box, click ‘link’ next to it, and then click ‘register’. After your first (or next) Shangri-La hotel stay, you’ll be bumped up to the Golden Circle Jade tier, offering free daily breakfast with every stay, hotel room upgrades, welcome amenities and more.
Next, using your Velocity Platinum status, you can choose between one year of Hilton Honors Diamond or IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite perks by logging into your Velocity account, looking under the ‘My Benefits’ tab on the main account screen, and clicking ‘more details’ next to the ‘hotels’ option:
Make your selection, provide your hotel loyalty membership number and wait patiently, and your status will normally be bumped up within a few weeks – no stays required.
The approach is similar when choosing between Europcar Privilege Elite and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle memberships, also given to Velocity Platinum members, and which can be accessed from the same ‘My Benefits section of the Velocity website.
As with your complimentary hotel status, wait patiently and your car hire status should tick over in no time!
And there you have it: Singapore Airlines PPS Club (Star Alliance Gold), Virgin Australia Velocity Platinum, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade, Hilton Honors Diamond/IHG Platinum Elite and Europcar Privilege Elite/Hertz President’s Circle status, all from four return business class trips to London!
All that's left is to enjoy the benefits – you’ve earned them.