The best ways to use your Virgin Australia frequent flyer points

The best ways to use your Virgin Australia frequent flyer points

It’s easy to amass a treasure trove of Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer points, both in the air and also on the ground through partners like BP and Coles Flybuys, plus points-earning credit cards from most major banks.

But how can you best use those Velocity points on your travels? We sum up five of the best ways, whether as part of your next business trip or on a much-deserved holiday abroad.

1. Convert your points into Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles

Surprisingly, we've found that the best use for your Virgin Australia Velocity points is now to convert them into Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, and use those KrisFlyer miles to book flights in business and first class.

That's because the KrisFlyer program commands fewer miles than Velocity to book a comparable flight, and what's more, Singapore Airlines reduces the number of miles needed by 15% when making your booking online.

For instance, you can book Singapore Airlines business class from Australia to Europe for 80,750 KrisFlyer miles, one-way, or the same route in first class for a precise 112,625 KrisFlyer miles, each including that online booking discount.

You can book SQ business class with either Velocity points or KrisFlyer miles...

With points converted from Velocity to SQ at a 1.35:1 ratio, that means you could convert 109,013 Velocity points into 80,750 KrisFlyer miles for that business class flight, or 152,044 Velocity points into 112,625 KrisFlyer miles to fly first class instead.

If you instead used your Velocity points to book Singapore Airlines flights the 'normal' way, you'd need 139,000 Velocity points to fly Australia-Europe: significantly more than the 112,625 Velocity points needed via this conversion trick to secure exactly the same thing.

2. Book Virgin Australia + Alitalia business class to Italy

Virgin Australia's new partnership with Alitalia also provides some great value options for booking business class flights to Europe, particularly when paired with Virgin Australia's flights to the Middle East.

For example, you could fly Virgin Australia business class from Sydney to Abu Dhabi and then Alitalia business class from Abu Dhabi to Rome (pictured) for an impressive 127,500 Velocity points each way.

This is particularly good value, because unlike many of Virgin Australia's other airline partners such as Etihad Airways, the number of points needed to book Alitalia flights is the same as to book with Virgin Australia.

What's more, because both airlines are on the same 'reward table' in the Velocity Frequent Flyer program, you can pair them up to book a single Australia-Europe award at these more favourable rates, rather than at the higher rates as apply to most other partners.

But be quick: this option is only available until February 4 2017, after which Virgin Australia will axe its Sydney-Abu Dhabi flights and replace them with Perth-Abu Dhabi services later during the year.

Other lucrative options for booking Alitalia business class include Seoul-Rome flights for 71,500 Velocity points and Tokyo-Milan journeys for 83,500 Velocity points.

3. Upgrade to 'The Business' on east-west flights

Flying between Perth and either Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane on Virgin Australia’s Airbus A330 aircraft? A mere 9,900 Velocity points could trade your Freedom economy ticket for a sojourn in ‘The Business’: Virgin Australia’s flagship business class cabin.

AusBT review: Virgin Australia 'The Business', Sydney-Perth

That’s where you’ll enjoy direct and uninterrupted aisle access from every seat, plenty of storage space for your kit, fresh Nespresso coffee and a wide and fully-flat bed that’s perfect for those red eye flights.

Upgrades from the less-expensive Elevate and Getaway fares aren’t as attractive on east-west flights, though, commanding 30,000 Velocity points for the same upgrade.

Also read: Virgin Australia business class upgrade guide

4. Upgrade to business class on shorter flights

A mere 4,900 Velocity points is all it takes for a business class upgrade on Virgin Australia’s shorter domestic routes, including those popular with business travellers such as Sydney-Melbourne, Sydney-Brisbane and Melbourne-Adelaide.

Marginally longer flights like Melbourne-Brisbane and Sydney-Adelaide are also ripe for a business class upgrade for just 7,400 Velocity points – and in all cases, these rates again apply to travellers with Freedom economy fares.

Booking a Getaway or Elevate ticket will certainly save at the hip pocket but will draw more points from your Velocity account when it comes time to upgrade: an even 10,000 points on those shorter routes and a higher 17,500 on routes like Melbourne-Brisbane.

5. Fly high in Virgin Atlantic 'Upper Class'

While Virgin Atlantic no longer flies to Australia, the airline remains a Virgin Australia partner and lets you unlock some great-value flights from your Velocity points.

Next time you’re in Hong Kong, extend that trip to London Heathrow in Virgin Atlantic ‘Upper Class’ for just 83,500 Velocity points each way...

...complete with access to the airline’s iconic Clubhouse lounge on the ground and the Boeing 787's in-flight bar after take-off:

Or, fly between London and New York in Upper Class for just 49,500 Velocity points in each direction – an easy option if you’ll already be visiting either city.

Join other business travellers and Velocity Frequent Flyer members in our dedicated Virgin Australia discussion group

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!
 

21 comments

  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    10 Nov, 2016 08:26 am

    Good to Know Chris, I like the idea of doing Sydney - Hong Kong - London - New York - Sydney using points and money
    No member give thanks

  • tonywills

    tonywills

    10 Nov, 2016 08:48 am

    Only issue is .....
    The only offering on the JFK - LHR route is Delta on the VA website. After searching every day for about 3 months! Most of the flights are via Boston on Delta
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    10 Nov, 2016 08:58 am

    Not all airlines can be booked online using Velocity points: Virgin Atlantic, Alitalia and several others can only be booked by phone (but because Virgin Australia doesn't allow you to book these online, there's no telephone assistance fee for doing so).

    Members who gave thanks

    UpUpAndAway, Patricka340

  • joffaa

    joffaa

    10 Nov, 2016 09:04 am

    Be wary of the Fees using Krisflyer. they can be a lot higher than virgin. 
    No member give thanks

  • russell

    russell

    10 Nov, 2016 09:16 am

    Yes that's true, but offset by the less points required.
    No member give thanks

  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    10 Nov, 2016 10:00 am

    Definitely not offset, sure points are slightly less but well outweighed by the vastly cheaper taxes
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    10 Nov, 2016 10:45 am

    We'd suggest it varies based on your own personal circumstances.

    If you have fewer points in your account but more money in the bank, converting via Singapore Airlines could mean the difference between having enough points to book your flight or not being able to travel at all.

    On the other hand, if you have more points in your account but less cash in the bank, you might prefer to use a few more points while paying less cash.

    There's certainly no 'wrong' approach here: both options are considerably better-value than using your points to buy a toaster! ;)
    No member give thanks

  • jbsbah

    jbsbah

    10 Nov, 2016 10:05 am

    SQ airport tax etc are much higher than VA though
    No member give thanks

  • John Robins

    Victor G

    10 Nov, 2016 11:46 am

    Chris, can you confirm that all VA reward bookings made for travel on Etihad metal now incur substantially higher fees than journeys on SQ metal under a VA codeshare?
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    10 Nov, 2016 12:15 pm

    Hi Victor, this isn't something we've covered in the story so isn't something we can can provide advice on or 'confirm', as you've requested, other than to say that amounts payable in taxes and fees vary from airline to airline and from route to route, and that in addition to the usual taxes and fees component, Virgin Australia also applies an extra charge to Etihad reward bookings on a per-flight basis which varies by cabin, as we've covered here.

    If both Singapore Airlines and Etihad offer flights between your chosen city pairs (eg. Sydney-London), you can see how the cash component compares for yourself by searching the Velocity website.
    No member give thanks

  • Jokerowl

    Jokerowl

    10 Nov, 2016 04:32 pm

    Hi, 
    I recently booked flights from SYD to DUS next year in business for two of us. Both options were available, EY and SQ on the same day with very similar travel times. EY asked for approximately $2300, whereas SQ was $444. Easy choice! 
    Member who gave thanks

    1 guest

  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    10 Nov, 2016 12:46 pm

    Hi Chris:

    Are you sure you can mix VA metal with Alitalia on one award? I made a booking on Etihad before the devaluation (i.e. When EY was still in chart 1) in EY F MEL-AUH-JFK. I tried to ask the agent to tag a VA J flight from BNE-MEL (as I live in BNE) and the agent priced as 2 awards. The total distance is definitely within 15000 miles so over the limit was definitely not the reason. 

    I asked the agent and she said no mixed carrier and no mixed cabin is allowed. I called twice and both came back the same. 
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    10 Nov, 2016 01:14 pm

    Hi Michael,

    It's allowed under Velocity's published booking rules, but it's certainly possible that some agents may prove more knowledgeable (or willing) than others. VA's rules below:

    The Points price for a Reward Seat will be based on the total miles for all sectors in a one way journey, except where there is a break in the journey. Where there is a break in the journey, the Points price is calculated on a per sector basis.

    A break in the journey includes: (a) a stopover ... when onward travel does not take place on the same calendar day; or ... when a passenger arrives at an intermediate point and is not scheduled to depart within 24 hours of arrival; (b) a change in class of travel within the journey; or (c) a change in operating airline where the airlines are located in different Reward Seat Points tables.

    With a single Sydney-Abu Dhabi-Rome booking in business class with VA and then Alitalia, you're neither stopping over, changing class of travel or changing between airlines of different points tables (Alitalia and VA use the same table), so as there's no 'break in the journey', the reward should be calculated as per "the total miles for all sectors in a one way journey" from Table 1.

    If you do try booking VA+AZ and agents tell you otherwise, do let us know and we'll take it up with Velocity HQ. :)

    Member who gave thanks

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  • Matt J

    MattJelonek

    10 Nov, 2016 02:43 pm

    So only the Freedom Ticket for East/West or West/East takes 9,900 points to upgrade whilst Elevate and Gateway take 30,000 points. Any ideas on how many points it takes to upgrade from Y to PE and PE to J for SYD to LAX and return?
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    10 Nov, 2016 05:43 pm

    Hi Matt, you'll find these details on the Virgin Australia website. The option is only open to Velocity Gold and Platinum members and only when travelling on a Freedom fare or higher (no upgrades from Getaway or Elevate).
    No member give thanks

  • Matt J

    MattJelonek

    10 Nov, 2016 06:58 pm

    Correct. I am Gold so works for me.
    No member give thanks

  • Jeffrey ONeill

    sydboy007

    11 Nov, 2016 05:27 pm

    Seems so long ago when you could actually use your  velocity miles to book a J international fare.  easier to transfer toSQ  pay the extra tresses but actually be able to book a flight
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Ricks

    The Evil Muppet

    11 Nov, 2016 11:48 pm

    Most excellent article as always Mr Chamerlin - what was your criteria here? By the look of things, I'd speculate that one of them was availability?
    No member give thanks

  • bl812

    bl812

    12 Nov, 2016 02:41 am

    most of next year's flight even in september are waitlist for business and first class on SQ on most routes so it's not the best idea
    No member give thanks

  • Sue Bailey

    SueRose

    12 Nov, 2016 09:33 am

    To be honest, I would never fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class again.  Did it in 2013 when they were flying out of Sydney to LHR via HKK.  With their beds, they use the hard shell of the back of the seats with a very thin quilted mattress (not even as thick as the mattress topper on most beds these days).  So very hard on the body.  I would rather have the seats/beds that extend forward (just a little bit more padding).  The rest of the flight/service was excellent.
    No member give thanks

  • twitch1979

    twitch1979

    27 Nov, 2016 01:28 pm

    Has anyone been able to successfully ticket an award with Alitalia using VA points? I spent over an hour on the phone with multiple VA agents and painfully got them to search random dates over the 6 month period from April to September 2017 and they could not find 1 seat in J. I was searcing AUH to MXP.
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Guest

27 May, 2019 03:44 am

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