Virgin Australia cuts points, status credits earning on AirNZ

Virgin Australia cuts points, status credits earning on AirNZ

Virgin Australia's partnership with Air New Zealand has hit another rocky patch, this time affecting the earn-and-burn points proposition on AirNZ flights.

From 1 November 2017, Virgin travellers will only be able to earn Velocity frequent flyer points and status credits on Air New Zealand's trans-Tasman and domestic flights.

Travel further afield with the Kiwi carrier – such as onwards to Los Angeles, Houston or South America, routes which AirNZ has been eagerly spruiking to Australians – and you'll earn a grand total of zero Velocity points and status credits.

Likewise, your Velocity status won't count for anything on those long-distance Air New Zealand routes – so you can forget about that Gold or Platinum card entitling you to business class check-in, extra baggage and of course lounge access.

The same applies for members of Air New Zealand's Airpoints scheme when it comes to earn Airpoints Dollars and status credits on Virgin Australia's international flights – earnings will be clipped back to Virgin's domestic and trans-Tasman services.

It's a bit of a backflip for Air New Zealand CEO Chris Luxon, who only last year described the alliance as "business as usual" and said "we’re really committed to making that work even further."

Those comments came in the wake of a boardroom bust-up which resulted in Air New Zealand selling its 25.9% stake in Virgin Australia after Luxon reportedly called for (and was denied) the resignation of Virgin CEO John Borghetti.

Air New Zealand was one of Virgin's first partners as the airlines teamed up to take on Qantas for the lucrative trans-Tasman market.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

43 comments

  • Packetman21

    Packetman21

    10 Jul, 2017 09:51 pm

    That is a bit disopointing! 
    Member who gave thanks

    deva22

  • Ian Duncan

    Ianrduncan

    10 Jul, 2017 09:57 pm

    Shock horror. Goodby Air NZ!
    No member give thanks

  • Stephen Gillies

    max_au

    10 Jul, 2017 10:01 pm

    such a pity. two CEOs have a sandpit fight and customers (and the airlines) lose out. Maybe Singapore Airlines will do a status match deal to take every VFF who flies to New Zealand regularly? 
    Member who gave thanks

    Ianrduncan

  • ajobbins

    ajobbins

    10 Jul, 2017 10:06 pm

    I really hope they don't cut it further. I travel to NZ a bit and it's very handy to have Velocity status when flying NZ. Airpoints is much harder to earn status under. My trip next month to NZ on NZ return in discount economy gets me enough Velocity SC to be 10% of my gold renewal (40 SC return). If I booked the same ticket but banked to Airpoints, it's less than 2% of what someone would need to qualify for NZ Gold. (12SP/810)
    No member give thanks

  • AusGirl

    AusGirl

    10 Jul, 2017 10:10 pm

    Hi David,

    This might seem like a silly question but can I please check with you, will I still earn SC on Virgin Australia operated flights to NZ? I found virgin's email wasn't as thorough as I would have liked. Also, do you know if flying domestically in NZ with AirNZ will still earn points/SC?

    Thank you.

    No member give thanks

  • fresh  thoughts

    freshthoughts

    10 Jul, 2017 10:38 pm

    another add in to the mix-mash of virgin lounge access rules. For heavens sake JB just join an alliance or at least make your rules straight forward and consistent.
    No member give thanks

  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    12 Jul, 2017 03:50 pm

    Here come all the armchair CEOs right on cue!
    No member give thanks

  • Andrew

    andyf

    10 Jul, 2017 10:39 pm

    I don't pretend to understand the commercial realities of such things, but what exactly is the point of unwinding this? 

    Would it have been Air NZ that unwound this given they sold out from Virgin (presumably they pay Virgin when a Virgin FF flies on their metal)? Or would it have been Virgin given they provide direct competition to the US and onward via Delta?
    No member give thanks

  • Scott Wilson

    Libertyscott

    11 Jul, 2017 05:15 am

    NZ Airpoints members have never earned status on VA flights except on the Tasman as NZ codeshares in any case.  Very little incentive for NZ Airpoints members to use VA, when the earnings for Oz domestic flights are pitiful
    No member give thanks

  • willvill

    willvill

    11 Jul, 2017 05:48 am

    Those sub $5,000 Business class fares to LAX on NZ dont look quite as attractive now, do they? 
    Member who gave thanks

    emmawork

  • delly

    delly

    11 Jul, 2017 06:41 am

    I wonder if this includes the Dreamliner flights to Perth, it technically is both trans- Tasman (Australia) and international short haul. 

    No member give thanks

  • Mike K

    Mjkcan

    11 Jul, 2017 07:07 am

    The solution: Krisflyer.

    Keep your gold, get your VA perks. ;
    Member who gave thanks

    tjworsley

  • Alpha  Charlie

    AV

    11 Jul, 2017 07:39 am

    The Luxon/Borghetti sandpit fight must have turned nasty. Goodbye Air NZ, I won't ever be using you on my monthly flights to SFO. 
    No member give thanks

  • Jason Masters

    JPMasters

    11 Jul, 2017 09:29 am

    I found the VA/DL routing SYD to SFO very effective earlier in the year
    No member give thanks

  • Jurgen Schaub

    jurgen

    11 Jul, 2017 07:43 am

    This is really disappointing. AirNZ's been my preferred carrier over to YVR for years. Auckland airport is a great place to transfer flights, and the AirNZ lounge there is excellent. I'll really miss their hospitality.

    Seems like the best Velocity-compatible route, avoiding the USA, over to YVR is through HKG on Hong Kong Airlines. Whoever they are.

    Stop screwing around and just join Star Alliance already, Virgin.
    No member give thanks

  • Gary Swift

    Gswift

    11 Jul, 2017 09:22 am

    It would be great if VA were to join Star Alliance, however that would mean dropping Delta
    No member give thanks

  • Jurgen Schaub

    jurgen

    12 Jul, 2017 06:35 am

    And gaining … kind of everybody else. I hear United is pretty rubbish (haven't flown them in years), but they don't seem that much better/worse than Delta.
    No member give thanks

  • Alex

    tm_smile

    12 Jul, 2017 12:47 am

    It would be AC direct from BNE or SYD to YVR
    No member give thanks

  • Jurgen Schaub

    jurgen

    12 Jul, 2017 06:32 am

    AC doesn't earn points/status for Virgin though. If I was fine with not getting Velocity points/status, I'd just keep flying AirNZ, which I really like.

    (and it's AC (eww), and going from domestic to international at SYD and BNE is painful - I'm in MEL).
    No member give thanks

  • Dan

    DanV

    4 Nov, 2017 07:12 pm

    With NZ and VA basically being frenemies now, and "hell freezing over" before VA and UA (a distant no 3 behind DL and AA) work with each other, chances of VA joining star has decreased dramatically.

    In addition to increased involvement from the HNA group and Delta, in addition to SQ being coy over their future with their stake in VA, chances are that VA will likely join SkyTeam over Star Alliance in the future.
    No member give thanks

  • Morgan Judd

    Mjudd

    11 Jul, 2017 08:24 am

    Hey, does anyone know if Krisflyer or Airpoints do status matches?
    No member give thanks

  • Chris McKellar

    krisdude

    11 Jul, 2017 08:49 am

    Interesting situation. It seems these changes take effect 1 November 2017. All reservations made up to 31 October 2017 are not affected.

    I think these changes has something to do with the Nanshan Group and HNA Group shareholding in Virgin Australia.  Airlines owned by HNA Group and Nanshan Group are in direct competition to Air NZ and Singapore Airlines on the Asian routes out of NZ. Air NZ has strong co-share/marketing partnership with Singapore airlines on the Asian routes and I guess they to work its Star Alliance partners.
    No member give thanks

  • Gary Swift

    Gswift

    11 Jul, 2017 09:16 am

    According to Velocity, any ANZ flights taken after November 1st get nothing with VA regardless of when the tickit was purchased
    No member give thanks

  • James Mason

    JPMason

    11 Jul, 2017 10:23 am

    Going by this Velocity page (via the "Find out more" button from the bottom of the email), as long as the booking was made prior to July 10th, both points and SC will still earn (as per bolded below):

    "... from 1 November 2017 Velocity members will not earn or redeem Velocity Points and Status Credits, or receive other benefits when travelling on all other Air New Zealand operated flights. Any bookings made prior to 10 July 2017 for travel after 1 November 2017 will still be eligible for Velocity Points and Status Credit earn."


    No member give thanks

  • mcglynp

    mcglynp

    11 Jul, 2017 09:01 am

    Not good news at all.  NZ PE/J to SFO was a great way to retain status.  Without the earn,  not sure I would bother with the transit.   Without the status,  not sure I will bother with Velocity. 
    No member give thanks

  • Gary Swift

    Gswift

    11 Jul, 2017 09:01 am

    Can we confirm the following:
    Bookings made prior to November 1st still get the benefits or do you simply loose benefits, points and status credits if you fly after November 1st regardless of when you purchased the ticket?
    No member give thanks

  • Gary Swift

    Gswift

    11 Jul, 2017 09:05 am

    I think Velocity is on the way out for me
    No member give thanks

  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    12 Jul, 2017 03:53 pm

    I'm sure they will survive without you
    No member give thanks

  • gardermoen

    gardermoen

    11 Jul, 2017 09:07 am

    This move effectively could kill off Air NZ's push in the Australian market for the Americas. The growing AKL hub could indeed shrink if a whole bunch of Velocity members now look at other options. This is not a good movie, and this negatively impacts NZ more than VA. It was only really Bali that was used a a connection from NZ using VA. A totally price-driven market that really wouldn't give a rats about the changes.
    No member give thanks

  • Jason Masters

    JPMasters

    11 Jul, 2017 09:27 am

    I was looking at NZ for a trip to the USA in January - the routing may have been slightly better, that's off the table now.  Bye Bye NZ
    No member give thanks

  • StuParr

    StuParr

    11 Jul, 2017 09:41 am

    While this is an inconvenience I can't say it will be the end of Air NZ for me. The flights times and the product are perfect for my personal and business travel.

    I feel that it is an example of how hard it is to trust that Velocity is going to be around and with whom they will be partners when something like this happens. A bit of a board room tiff and it is all over. I funneled my flying via VA and NZ due to their tie up. Now I have to look at what I do. I will most probably fly more Star Alliance and maintain Velocity Gold instead of Platinum with companion gold/Plat per year.

    While I am sure there are commercial reasons behind the changes, however it provided that extra option across to the Americas. I not only use the US flights, but also the BA flights with NZ and I prefer to not fly LA.

    I hope that the feedback from this site and others will be funneled back to VA and NZ and that they see the reality of it all. For most of us, our decisions regarding which whom we fly are made in packages of airlines and not based on one airline independently of another. It needs to be made easy for us to choose and this doesn't make it easy as now 4 potential options for flights to the Americas have been taken away from us, within the Velocity program. 
    No member give thanks

  • Neil R

    Neil R

    11 Jul, 2017 09:50 am

    Very disappointing.  I have been VA Platnium for 4 years now.  My confidence with Velocity is getting less and less, especially now my business travel is more international then domestic. The NZ service to the east coast of the US via Houston was a great alternative to LAX, especially while Delta gets its new terminals organised LAX. This means (and correct me if I am wrong) only Eithad will give Status points now unless you are travelling on a VA purchased ticket?  Its always a pain to get seating done when on the code share flights, even when you have the bookings PNR.  Qantas is looking more attractive.... 
    No member give thanks

  • jenko13

    jenko13

    11 Jul, 2017 09:58 am

    seems quite logical to me I would think VA was losing customers to the USA who choose NZ even with the connection in Auckland.  I have used this myself and it was fine although you always have to way up connection times vs direct.   Now of course Air NZ would have to be much cheaper to go with vs QF and VA if status is on your agenda.
    No member give thanks

  • Say Mee

    mspcooper

    11 Jul, 2017 10:21 am

    I agree with @jenko13 VA have an amazing product on their aircrafts and their prices to the U.S are pretty high. Why would they want to lose traffic to AirNZ for USA? It is smart to accept that the relationship works well between Australia-NZ and domestic sectors but not elsewhere. I think Air NZ will probably start selling ex-Aus to USA j fares to mid $4000's to compensate as they have to fill up their aircrafts? It is a big loss for Air NZ to pick a fight with the only airline they could be friends with in australia! 
    No member give thanks

  • James Mason

    JPMason

    11 Jul, 2017 10:28 am

    I had a bit of a panic upon seeing the email update - I have an upcoming booking to SFO returning on November 1st - but according to this page at Velocity, bookings made prior to July 10th are unaffected:

    "from 1 November 2017 Velocity members will not earn or redeem Velocity Points and Status Credits, or receive other benefits when travelling on all other Air New Zealand operated flights. Any bookings made prior to 10 July 2017 for travel after 1 November 2017 will still be eligible for Velocity Points and Status Credit earn."

    No member give thanks

  • mickeyg

    mickeyg

    11 Jul, 2017 10:51 am

    Would've been nice if they ceased earning/redeeming at the end of the calendar year!
    I guess I'll NOW be earning some random Airpoints - MEL-AKL-LAX in November then!
    No member give thanks

  • tjworsley

    tjworsley

    11 Jul, 2017 03:28 pm

    Can someone confirm my interpretation of this is correct?

    Post 1 November you will still earn Velocity points and status points on AUS-NZ and domestic flights operated by Air NZ, but not other flights. 
    No member give thanks

  • Charles

    SteveCF

    11 Jul, 2017 04:45 pm

    Is this another example where Virgin should just focus on domestic only and become a star alliance member and cease international? Be the feeder for all Star Alliance airlines for all domestic travel.

    It feels like every month/week there's a change to international lounges, or routes, or points/SC etc. inconsistency of this scale makes the Qantas proposition stronger, especially with dreamliners and A380 upgrade imminent.
    Focus Virgin!
    No member give thanks

  • Dan

    DanV

    13 Dec, 2017 01:21 am

    You'll likely to see VA become a Skyteam feeder flying domestic & Trans-Tasman (should push come to shove) than a Star Alliance feeder.

    You can thank VA and NZ burning bridges with each other, such as being booted out of the Star lounge in LAX, along with being long-time hostile rivals against UA since the hook-up with DL.
    No member give thanks

  • emmawork

    emmawork

    11 Jul, 2017 06:51 pm

    New update from Velocity - Any bookings made prior to 10 July 2017 for travel after 1 November 2017 will still be eligible for Velocity Points and Status Credit earn.

    No member give thanks

  • pdaniels62

    pdaniels62

    12 Jul, 2017 07:28 am

    I have an Air NZ SYD- YVR late October and a return date Mid November. My VA ff number is linked to the booking. Does anyone know how I could get my UA number attached to the return YYR-AUK segment. 
    No member give thanks

  • Gary Swift

    Gswift

    12 Jul, 2017 08:44 am

    If your ticket was published prior to July 10th you still get Velocity on the return leg - see above
    No member give thanks

  • pdaniels62

    pdaniels62

    12 Jul, 2017 09:16 am

    Thanks. I just read through them. Luckily it was booked in December. 
    No member give thanks

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