As one of the few 'non-AMEX' cards to award one Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer point per dollar spent, the Virgin Money Velocity High Flyer Card is now Australia's highest-earning Visa card for Velocity points, awarding full points on spends of up to $8,000 per month, and half points with no cap beyond that.
This Citibank-issued card also tempts with perks like airport lounge access, a $129 travel gift card each year, and for new customers, up to 105,000 bonus Velocity points: so here's what's on offer.
Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Card: fast facts
- Grade/tier: Black
- Card type: Visa Signature
- Loyalty program: Velocity Frequent Flyer
- Velocity Points earned per dollar – everyday spend: 1.0 up to $8,000 spent per statement period, 0.5 thereafter
- Velocity Points earned per dollar – all government spend: No points, period.
- Points capping: Uncapped, but tiering applies as above
Fees, charges and interest: 3.5/5
- Annual fee: $289
- Supplementary cardholder fee: $89/year
- Interest rate on purchases: 20.74% p.a.
- Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 44
- Interest rate on cash advances: 20.99% p.a.
- International transaction fee: 3.3%
- Minimum income requirement: $75,000 p.a.
- Minimum credit limit: $15,000
Earning points for free flights: 4/5
With an 'everyday' earn rate of one Velocity point per dollar spent (up to $8,000 per month), every $7,800 spent on the card within this bracket delivers enough points for a one-way economy Sydney-Melbourne flight, plus a small payment on the side to cover taxes and fees.
When earning points at the reduced 0.5/$1 rate after exceeding $8,000 per month, a higher $15,600 of spend would be required to earn enough points to book the same flight.
Unfortunately, bonus points aren't earned when booking Virgin Australia flights with the card, but eligible new customers could earn up to 105,000 bonus Velocity points if they play their cards right.
That's achieved when applying by April 30 2018 and spending $3,000 or more in each of the first three months. Do this and you'll earn 35,000 bonus Velocity points in each of those months, up to a grand total of 105,000 bonus Velocity points at the end of month three.
To help negate the card's $289 annual charge, a $129 Virgin Australia flight voucher is thrown in every year, which can be requested when you've used the card to make an everyday (points-earning) purchase in the two months prior to your request.
On the downside, no points at all are awarded on payments to government bodies or to government-related entities: a roster that includes Australia Post, street parking meters and road tolling providers, along with the more obvious car registration and council rate payments, and of course, payments to the ATO.
Airport lounge access: 2/5
When you first activate your card and every 12 months thereafter, you'll receive two single-use Virgin Australia lounge passes: providing two visits to Virgin Australia domestic lounges when travelling onwards with the airline the same day.
These passes are stored digitally under your frequent flyer account, so to use them, just present your boarding pass and frequent flyer card at the front desk. Gold and Platinum members who already have lounge access can use the passes to bring additional guests into the lounge, over and above their normal allowance.
Unfortunately, passes can't be transferred to other people, and don't provide access to domestic Premium Entry or to any international airport lounges.
Inclusive travel insurance: 4/5
You may be covered by complimentary international travel insurance when using the Velocity High Flyer Card to pay for your return travel ticket before leaving Australia on trips of six months or less, or when travelling on an international one-way fare for the first 31 days of your journey.
However, there's no cover if you use your Velocity points to book a flight rather than using the card to purchase your international airfare, so keep this in mind when planning your travels.
As with many Platinum- and Black-level cards, extended warranty is also provided for up to 12 months when buying selected new appliances, and there's purchase cover for items lost, stolen or accidentally damaged within 90 days of purchase, plus access to a 'guaranteed pricing scheme' where you'll be refunded the cost difference if an item you bought goes on sale within 60 days.
Interstate flight inconvenience insurance and transit accident insurance are thrown in as well, as we'd expect to see, but do read the policy documents to make sure the cover is adequate and meets your needs.
Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer Card: the verdict
Although the number of frequent flyer points you can earn via this card has been lowered in recent years, given all the other changes in the market following the Reserve Bank's caps on credit card interchange fees, the Velocity High Flyer Card still stands strong, awarding full points on monthly spends of up to $8,000.
By comparison, the ANZ Rewards Black Visa provides the equivalent of one Velocity point per dollar spent up to $5,000 per month, and 0.5 Velocity points per $1 spent thereafter: a lower threshold than this card, and with a higher ongoing annual fee of $375 (but waived in the first year).
While the Coles Rewards Mastercard can also be used to earn up to one Velocity point per dollar spent – by providing two Flybuys points per $1, and delaying their conversion into Velocity points until there's a 15% promotion running – a yearly transfer limit from Flybuys to Velocity of 60,030 Velocity points applies, covering not only your credit card points but all points such as those earned at Coles, giving you more freedom to earn points via the Virgin Money Velocity High Flyer Card.
Of course, we'll point out that if you're savvy enough with your points to apply for this card, you might consider also applying for the American Express Velocity Platinum Card: providing 1.5 Velocity points per dollar on your everyday purchases, uncapped, 2.5 Velocity points per $1 on Virgin Australia flight bookings, and 0.5 points per $1 on government charges.
Under this strategy, you'd use your AMEX card wherever it's accepted to earn the most points, and the Virgin Money High Flyer Card everywhere else, while still reeling in points at parity (up to $8,000 per month).