When it comes to booking flights using your hard-earned Virgin Australia Velocity points, one option to consider for your next journey abroad is Delta.
Offering flights from Sydney along with a broader international and US domestic network, Delta reward flights can be booked with minimal taxes and fees to pay, and require no more points than to book Virgin Australia flights of the same length.
Here's how to put those Velocity points to work when flying with Delta.
Booking Delta Air Lines flights with Velocity points: key routes
Delta's daily Sydney-Los Angeles flight will be in the crosshairs of most Australian travellers booking trans-Pacific flights using Velocity points, given the airline doesn't serve Melbourne, Brisbane or Auckland.
However, there's more to Delta's network than merely Sydney-LA – Velocity points can be used to book any Delta flight as availability permits, including domestic and international services across North America and beyond, covering biggies like Los Angeles to New York, New York to London, and even flights from LA to places like Amsterdam and Paris.
Those points equally come in handy on shorter flights too, such as Los Angeles to San Diego and New York to Boston: handy if you're in one city on business and want to explore a destination close by in your spare time, without venturing too far from your working base.
Booking Delta Air Lines flights with Velocity points: how many points you'll need
As one of Virgin Australia's biggest airline partners, the number of points needed to book flights with Delta is the same as for Virgin Australia flights of the same length, beginning at just 7,800 Velocity points for a one-way journey.
Here's what that looks like across a range of Delta routes. "Business class" includes both Delta One flagship services and US two-class domestic flights where seats up the front are sold as "first class", although Velocity points can't be used to book tickets in "Delta Premium Select" premium economy.
|Routes (one-way)||Business class
||95,500 Velocity points||44,800 Velocity points|
|Los Angeles-New York, or
|49,500 Velocity points||22,300 Velocity points|
|Short flights such as
Los Angeles-San Diego;
|15,500 Velocity points||7,800 Velocity points|
If you book a series of connecting flights, however, the pricing can change – for example, booking Delta from Sydney to New York via Los Angeles as a single journey without a stopover costs 127,500 Velocity points in business class and 59.800 Velocity points in economy, when booked on the one ticket.
For flights on other routes, consult 'Table 1' in the Velocity program to see how many points you'd need, but again, ignore the premium economy column, as this doesn't apply to Delta:
As another tip for those jetting to the UK, don't forget that Virgin Australia partner Virgin Atlantic flies many of the same international routes as Delta – New York to London, for example – and booking Virgin Atlantic flights can be done for the same number of points as for Delta: you just need to call Velocity to make those bookings.
Booking Delta Air Lines flights with Velocity points: making that reservation
Where availability permits, most domestic and international Delta flights can be booked online via the Velocity website: there's no need to call, unless the website won't let you enter your preferred city pairs.
As you would when booking a Virgin Australia reward flight, simply tick the "Points + Pay" box when keying in your flights, and if there's a Delta flight open for booking using Velocity points, you'll see it pop up.
For instance, if you're looking to fly business class from Sydney to Los Angeles with Delta, keep your eyes open for "Business Reward", allowing you to jet Stateside for 95,500 Velocity points plus $114.78 in taxes, fees and charges:
The process is the same on shorter flights such as Los Angeles to San Francisco, where you could fly one-way from just $14.20 + 7,800 Velocity points (or double points for business class):
As when using points to fly with any airline, availability can vary from flight to flight. On journeys we've searched, Sydney-Los Angeles can be easier to book in the week before departure than further in advance, but conversely, US domestic flights tend to have better availability when booking ahead of time.
Very popular routes like Los Angeles-New York also fill up fast and may have limited reward availability at the best of times, so you might also consider flying indirect or trying your search again another time to see if things have changed.
You can also search for Delta reward flights using ExpertFlyer – if the flight you want has a "Saver Level 1/Partner Award" available in your chosen cabin, that means you're clear to book it using Velocity points:
Booking Delta Air Lines flights with Velocity points: selecting your seat
Once you've locked-in your flight, you'll want to select your seat – so here's a little tip for when you receive that all-important booking confirmation email.
Open the PDF attachment called "Travel Reservation", and right at the top, you'll see two booking codes: one labelled "reservation code", which is your Virgin Australia confirmation code, and the other labelled "airline reservation code (DL)":
You'll notice the two reservation codes are different – but you can use the latter, together with your first and last names, to open your booking on the Delta website and select your seats.
From previous experience, I've found that if you quickly select your seat on the Delta website just moments after making your Velocity booking, your seat selection won't 'stick' – so it's best to wait for a day or two before locking in your preferred spot, to give the booking time to finish any background processing that takes place between the two airlines.
While you're there on the Delta site, also check to make sure that your Virgin Australia Velocity number appears in Delta's systems, and if not, add it in. While you won't earn points on these reward flights and aren't eligible for complimentary upgrades as would sometimes be possible on paid fares, you'll still enjoy most of your other Velocity benefits as though you'd purchased a paid ticket.
This includes access to Delta Sky Club lounges for Velocity Gold and Platinum cardholders, and perks like priority check-in and boarding depending on your Velocity tier.