Using Velocity frequent flyer points to book Virgin Atlantic flights

Using Velocity frequent flyer points to book Virgin Atlantic flights

A hidden gem of the Velocity Frequent Flyer scheme is being able to book flights with Virgin Australia's sister airline, Virgin Atlantic, especially on journeys between Hong Kong and London.

That's because unlike many of Velocity's other airline partners including Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines, the number of points needed to book with Virgin Atlantic is on the lower side – and in fact, is no more than you'd need to book a Virgin Australia flight of the same length.

While Virgin Atlantic doesn't fly Down Under, Velocity members could fly from Melbourne to Hong Kong with Virgin Australia (and soon, from Sydney to Hong Kong), before jumping on a Virgin Atlantic flight to the UK.

Better yet, booking a ticket in Upper Class – 'Virgin Atlantic' parlance for business class – also includes access to the airline's inflight bars (such as on Boeing 787 flights), and the Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge at Heathrow after your flight for a shower, a spot of breakfast and perhaps even a spa treatment.

AusBT review: Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Upper Class, Hong Kong to London

Here's what you need to know to find and book your Virgin Atlantic reward flight.

Booking Virgin Atlantic flights with Velocity points: key routes

Along with Hong Kong, Virgin Atlantic serves London from Shanghai, Delhi and Dubai in Asia and the Middle East – so if you're heading to one of these cities on business, you may be able to squeeze in a side trip for some personal time, or dart to London to pursue your next venture.

Visiting the United States instead? Virgin Atlantic offers flights to London Heathrow from Los Angeles – a city also served by Virgin Australia from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – along with San Francisco, Seattle, New York (JFK and Newark), Boston, Washington, Atlanta (hub of Delta Air Lines, another Velocity partner) and Miami.

Finally, Virgin Atlantic flies between London's Gatwick Airport and both Las Vegas and Orlando, among other routes.

Booking Virgin Atlantic flights with Velocity points: how many points you'll need

Wherever you're beginning your Virgin Atlantic journey, here's how many Velocity points you'd need to fly to London – for return bookings, double these figures:

To/from London (one-way) Upper Class
Premium economy Economy
Hong Kong
83,500 Velocity points 62,700 Velocity points 39,800 Velocity points
Shanghai
Los Angeles
San Francisco
Las Vegas
71,500 Velocity points 53,700 Velocity points 34,800 Velocity points
Atlanta
Delhi
Miami
Orlando
Seattle
Washington
59,500 Velocity points 44,700 Velocity points 27,800 Velocity points
New York (Newark & JFK)
Boston
Dubai
49,500 Velocity points 36,700 Velocity points 22,300 Velocity points

Because Virgin Australia and Virgin Atlantic are both on the same Velocity 'reward table', you can also book a journey from Sydney to London or from Melbourne to London for a total of 127,500 Velocity points in business class, 95,700 Velocity points in premium economy or 59,800 Velocity points in economy, one way.

Booking Virgin Atlantic flights with Velocity points: making that reservation

To secure a Virgin Atlantic reward flight, you'll need to call Velocity Frequent Flyer on 13 18 75 between 7:30am and 10:30pm Sydney time, seven days a week – or +61 2 8667 5924 during the same hours if dialling from overseas.

This means you won't be able to check whether a particular Virgin Atlantic flight is open for points bookings by researching on the Velocity website.

Further, calling Velocity to book Virgin Atlantic flights can be quite time-consuming, because the telephone agent can't simply bring up a list of available Virgin Atlantic travel options – they have to create a 'pretend' booking on your behalf including full passenger names, contact details and flight numbers, which is sent across to Virgin Atlantic and returning a 'yes' or a 'no' to the operator.

If it's a 'yes', you're in luck! The agent will confirm how many points you need and how much you'll have to pay on the side to cover any taxes, fees and surcharges, so have your credit card handy to complete your booking.

Relax: you're flying in Upper Class now...

Otherwise, if it's a 'no', you can try requesting another flight, or may need to consider a different airline.

If you're travelling from Australia to London by combining a Virgin Australia flight with a Virgin Atlantic flight, you may also need to remind the operator that such bookings are permitted by the Velocity T&Cs, and that you should only be charged for a single "Table 1, Zone 10" reward fare, not the points cost for two separate flights.

Booking Virgin Atlantic flights with Velocity points: finding availability

Let's be honest: you probably don't want to waste time calling up, waiting on hold and working through the details of your preferred flight, only to find that it can't be booked using Velocity points – so take note of these two time-saving tricks.

If you have an ExpertFlyer subscription, this gets much easier. Simply login to your ExpertFlyer account, venture to the 'Awards & Upgrades' tab, select "Virgin Atlantic Airways - VS" from the list of available airlines, and plug in your ideal trip.

Read: ExpertFlyer: your secret weapon for finding frequent flyer award flights

I'm going to search for a one-way flight from Hong Kong to London for one passenger, in Upper Class, premium economy and economy. I'll also change 'exact date' to '+/- 3 Days' to see my options across an entire week:

On the next screen, I'm looking for the word "yes", which indicates that a reward booking would be possible as entered. For example, on November 15 2018, I can see that reward seats are available in both premium economy and economy, but not in Upper Class:

The results page also shows me the flight number (VS207) and the aircraft type – in this case, '789', which is shorthand for the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner – on the same screen.

But let's assume I want an Upper Class seat, to take advantage of the full Virgin Atlantic experience including the inflight bar and the Revivals Lounge in London for the complimentary post-flight massage.

If I were willing to take the same flight one day later, on November 16, this would become possible, as "yes" appears next to "Upper Class - Award":

If you don't have an ExpertFlyer subscription, you could instead try searching for flights through the Virgin Atlantic website (not the Velocity website) to get an idea of what's available, before calling Velocity to secure your seat.

The process is similar – key in the same details as you would for ExpertFlyer, but on the Payment line, be sure to tick "pay with miles", rather than "pay with card" or "pay with miles plus money":

The next screen shows a calendar of what's available, which matches what we saw in ExpertFlyer earlier: that an Upper Class reward flight isn't available on November 15, but that November 16 is fine.

Importantly, ignore the number of miles you see above, and the payment amount. These rates apply to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members booking flights with their Flying Club miles, and are irrelevant for Velocity members booking flights using Velocity points.

Once you've confirmed that a suitable flight is available for booking, you'll be able to call Velocity Frequent Flyer with confidence, spending minimal time on the phone to secure your seat to London.

One final tip: If you normally earn Velocity points through your credit card by converting them across from AMEX Membership Rewards, such as from the American Express Platinum Charge Card, you might consider sending them to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club instead of Velocity.

As hinted above, that's because Flying Club requires fewer points than Velocity to book these flights, yet the conversion rate from Membership Rewards to both Velocity and Flying Club is the same (except for Membership Rewards Gateway cards, like AMEX Explorer, where Flying Club isn't an option).

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin (ChrisCh)

[email protected] / @ChamberlinChris

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!
 

6 Comments

  • Jazzop

    Jazzop

    9 Apr, 2018 10:50 am

    Good article.

    Like everything to do with international reward seats and Velocity, I'm less worried about availability on Virgin Atlantic, and more concerned about availability on VA.
    No member give thanks

  • Jazzop

    Jazzop

    11 Apr, 2018 02:44 pm

    I spent some time last night testing my 'theory' on this. Heaps of Virgin Atlantic FF options from HK to London. None from MEL or SYD to HKG with Virgin Australia.... I chose dates in October, November and late December and Jan. Maybe I was unlucky....
    No member give thanks

  • mickeyg

    mickeyg

    9 Apr, 2018 01:35 pm

    Chris, is the Revivals Lounge available to Gold/Platinum Velocity members, or only Upper Class pax?
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    9 Apr, 2018 04:26 pm

    Only for Upper Class.
    Member who gave thanks

    mickeyg

  • Zac

    Zac

    9 Apr, 2018 08:53 pm

    Great article - 127,500 points to London in biz is excellent value, especially as there are no “carrier charges” to pay. Going the other way you’d have access to the excellent Virgin Clubhouse in London, has been a few years but if it hasn’t changed I’d say the business class lounge in the world (although you have to pay APD - it’s actually cheaper to take the Eurostar to Paris + have an amazing lunch and fly out of CDG on eg SQ or EY).
    No member give thanks

  • John Brasier

    JohnGB

    10 Apr, 2018 01:43 am

    Am I wrong in saying you still need to pay the exorbitant fees & taxes that VS charge for reward flights when you book the flight through VA? It makes it very unappealing to use your points with them when you have to pay so much cash in addition
    No member give thanks

  • cssaus

    cssaus

    11 Apr, 2018 02:23 pm

    What's the likelihood of being able to redeem a SYD-LHR flght with VA points rather than having to make two separate bookings, SYD-HKG and HKG-LHR. Would the VA points needed for a single booking covering both sectors be more or less that redeeming for two separate sectors?
    No member give thanks

  • John Ruming

    jcr737

    11 Apr, 2018 06:25 pm

    Good luck trying to find reward seats out of Oz on VA. As Jazzop states above "Heaps of Virgin Atlantic options from HK to London. None from MEL or SYD".
    No member give thanks

  • flubberghusted

    flubberghusted

    19 Apr, 2018 12:51 am

    Managed to find two reward seats in biz out of SYD - HKG, which was a slight challenge, but eco appears to have good availability since the announcement of the route. Sense this wont last long though.
    Now the sheer luck that it was, biz out of HKG - LHR matched my itinerary dates so that worked out well and availability was sparsely but good.
    Article is spot on. The manual input of VA agent making the booking took them a good 30 mins to do so even after researching reward seat availability on VS' website ahead of time, so worthwhile planning ahead and signing up to VS loyalty program to see availability.
    No member give thanks

Guest

26 Apr, 2018 06:06 am

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