What is a Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer point worth?

What is a Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer point worth?

With so many ways to redeem your Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer points, working out what each point is actually worth is a tough nut to crack.

Believe it or not, your points take on a value of just half a cent each when redeeming for a gift card, but can be over 13 times more valuable when swapped for a business class flight!

Book a business class ticket from Sydney to Perth or Los Angeles and you’re looking at 5-7c a pop.

Take them shopping in the Velocity Rewards Store and they fetch as low as 0.54c each.

We compare the cash price of a number of goods and flights against how many frequent flyer points you’ll need for the same: determining exactly how much each Virgin Australia Velocity point is worth.

Redeeming points in the Velocity Rewards Store

Redeeming Velocity points in the airline’s own Velocity Rewards Store isn’t the greatest way to squeeze value from your points, but it’s a start.

A $100 gift voucher with the likes of Myer, Target, David Jones and Westfield sets you back 18,000 Velocity points, giving them a value of just 0.55c each.

Similarly, a Russell Hobbs Heritage four slice toaster can be had for 17,500 Velocity points – but with the same product available for $94.95 through Harvey Norman including delivery, you’re getting only 0.54c back from each point.

Going for something more expensive, Bose SoundLink on-ear headphones retail for $349 or can be grabbed for 51,300 points at 0.64c per point.

It’s a slightly-higher 0.65c on paper for those redeeming a single-entry pass to Virgin Australia’s domestic lounges: yours for 10,000 points online or $65 at the door.

But when the same 10,000 points can buy an upgrade from Saver economy to business class on a Sydney-Melbourne flight or just 9,900 points moves you from Flexi economy to business class on a Sydney-Perth journey, those points are better spent on an upgrade which gives free lounge access as a by-product.

Want the latest iPhone or iPad? You can swap points for those too – 109,000 points nabs an iPad Air 2 64GB WiFi model (RRP A$739), while a very precise 145,300 points is enough for an iPhone 6 Plus 16GB (RRP $1,149).

In that instance you’d be looking at 0.677c per point on the iPad and 0.79c per point on the iPhone: a vast improvement over what you’d get from a gift card to stores that sell the same products.

Redeeming points for Virgin Australia economy flights

Being a frequent flyer program, you’re sure to get better value from your points when taking to the skies.

A simple Sydney-Melbourne flight in economy comes in at 6,900 points + $21.11 in taxes and fees, while a real ticket can be had for around $149 all-inclusive. With an actual cash saving of $127.89, your points take on a value of 1.85c each.

On longer flights from Sydney to Perth – often for sale at $299 each way – you’ll burn 16,900 points plus $17.47 in taxes and fees, squeezing a return of 1.67c from every point.

That climbs even higher on a Sydney-Los Angeles trek where 47,000 points and $105 buy the same seat as a $997.92 one-way airfare for an impressive 1.90c per point.

Redeeming points for Virgin Australia business class

There’s clearly a second reason business class is often dubbed ‘the pointy end’ – while paid business class fares are often four to six times the cost of an economy ticket, business class award seats command just twice the number of frequent flyer points as in economy.

Take a Sydney-Melbourne flight in business class, for example. A seat that normally retails for $699 is yours for 13,800 Velocity points plus $21.11 in taxes and fees, jumping the value per point to a staggering 4.91c – that’s over nine times the value you’d get from a gift card.

Don't burn your points on an iPad: save them for a business class seat!

The value grows even higher from Sydney to Perth where 33,800 Velocity points and $17.47 get you the same business class seat as a $1,899 one-way airfare: here it’s 5.56c per point.

Maxing out the charts is a one-way business class ticket from Sydney to Los Angeles: selling for $7,112.92 this month or yours for 94,000 points + $105. Crunching the numbers, that’s 7.45c of value for each and every point you redeem.

So wherever your travels take you, you’ll still get much better value from your frequent flyer points by using them to fly than to shop.

Also read: What is a Qantas frequent flyer point worth?

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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!
 

19 comments

  • riley

    riley

    15 May, 2015 10:07 am

    Great!

    Would love to see analysis on spending for upgrades, factoring in the earn on the purchased component for te next time you redeem.

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 May, 2015 10:31 am

    Do you mean a comparison of Saver + more points vs. Flexi + fewer points when upgrading from economy?

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  • riley

    riley

    15 May, 2015 11:02 am

    More so a value on the points when spent on upgrading from flexi to business. When I look, it seems to be the best value (as in least amount of points spent) to upgrade but it does lock you into buying a Flexi fare rather than a sale fare, which can differ by up to 50%. Am I making sense?

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 May, 2015 12:57 pm

    Perfect sense – this is something we touched on when Virgin Australia introduced upgrades from Saver fares, noting that the number of points required to upgrade on some routes was practically the same as the cost of booking a business class reward seat outright.

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  • Hugo

    Hugo

    15 May, 2015 01:14 pm

    The appropriate dollar value to use is, I think, the price you'd otherwise be willing to pay, not the asking price.

    So you're only getting your 4.91 cents per point on that business class SYD-MEL if you'd otherwise actualy be willing to pay that $699 for that business-class seat. I sure as hell wouldn't, that's a helluva price for an hour's worth of sitting in a slightly more comfortable chair.

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  • kureus

    kureus

    15 May, 2015 01:20 pm

    Those 94000 business class seats are virtually non-existent now.  I was looking for one for almost 12 months from now.  None!

    E.g. pick a date, say 15 March 2016.  None! Not one business reward seats available any dates around that.   Only seats are over 1 million points! (1,094,400 to be exact!)

    It's a joke, Velocity have become just as impossible as Qantas to use the points for good value tickets, no matter how far ahead you are willing to book.  Those 94000 point seats used to be common, I presume the new part-owners of Virgin's loyalty scheme have put paid to those, despite all the bullshit assurances that Virgin gave before they sold part of it off.

     

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  • S

    S

    15 May, 2015 02:01 pm

    It's true!

    Not just the LA flights, but Etihad and VA flights via Abu Dhabi are pretty much non-existant in the search engine.

    I've been wanted to use some points for 2 of us in J to head to LA, but it's a no go. Can really only spend them on transcontinental J flights.

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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    15 May, 2015 04:18 pm

    You don't search EY seats on VA website, but on Etihad's website. Whatever "Etihad Guest Seat" that's available there is available to VA. 

    The way you search is not just from your origin to destination, sometimes it won't show. What you gotta do is search segment by segment. I got myself GRU-BNE via AUH for 125K miles in J. If you search GRU-BNE on both VA and EY site, it will show zilch. But in EY's site, I searched GRU-AUH, and AUH-BNE, both available with 2hr connection time. So I recorded the flight number and date and time, called VA agent and feed those info, I got it booked. 

    VA is a distance based program so the ultra long flights actually is good value. They don't care whether you route through ME or US, as long as you hit >10000 miles, it all cost the same. Take another example, if you try to go SYD-JFK, on VA site it will probably show nothing as it will try to connect you at LAX with a DL flight. DL is quite stingy to VA so you probably can't find any seat. But if you search EY's site, there will probably be seats available SYD-AUH-JFK (why not try the apartment on A380?). Call velocity, they will book it for you at 125k in J and 187.5k in F (apartment!). I have done a dummy bookin myself and it works! 

    Thats why now VA is one of my most valuable FFP currency now. It can get me anywhere whenever I want. It's shortcoming used to be Asia, but after it can convert to KF points, that has been covered! 

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  • Peter  Burr

    PBC

    15 May, 2015 03:35 pm

    I've always had more luck calling the contact centre. In fact, we always seem to manage to get dates that we can work with. We're flying first class to Paris next month on Eithad 787-9 out of Brisbane (can't remember how many - but it was the lower tier reward points - i wouldn't select full whack). Sure we booked last year, but with the points value of a first class suite, i expect that these need to be booked well in advance.

    Just lucky I guess. 

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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    15 May, 2015 03:54 pm

    That's because you were too slow, not because VA didn't release the seat. Unlike QF, VA faithfully release 2 seats per flight even at peak seasons. Mar - Apr next year you are looking at Easter school holiday. At the current promotion at 15% off, it's only 79990 SYD/BNE-LAX one way. People literally sit in front of computer to grab the seat as soon as it's released. How do I know that? Because I am one of them! I was looking at traveling on Mar 31 and I've been checking everyday at the beginning of this month monitoring when my seat gets released. I could see that VA has been releasing seats faithfully everyday, but within 24 hours, those seats are taken. As soon as seats on 31 Mar got released, (it's about 2pm, 331 days ahead) I grabbed it! So I got myself business class BNE-LAX for 79990 points + $104 in tax!

    Not everyone would eventually fly those seats tho. AFAIK, there are people just grabbing those seats at the discounted rate (ie. 79990 miles) and looking to change the seats at a later date if plan changes, the cancelation/change fee is only $60, and no additional miles will be needed even after the promotion. Etihad is pretty much the same as AA have been running promotions lately and people have been grabbing their seats like crazy. So keep your eyes open and keep on checking. Some people will cancel their seats and they should go back to the award inventory. 

    To be fair, VA/EY are 2 of the most generous airlines in the world in releasing award seats, it's just unfortunate there is a lot of competition out there. AUS-USA is the hardest route to redeem in the world as agreed by all mileage game players. VA is actually considered "wide open" by everyone! My advice is, grab the seat as soon as they release it and change/cancel if needed. I plan my trip one year ahead and I have never missed the seat I wanted on VA/EY! In the exact date/route that I needed. However, once the promotion is over, the seats will be easier to redeem.

    Unlike Qantas, even if you seat in front of the computer, there are certain flights they don't release seats at all. Mostly international flights on weekends, and definitely during school holidays. This makes VA points a lot more valuable than QF points. 

    The other value with VA point is the ability to transfer to KF points. If you can't find VA flight, why not try SQ flights? Although bear in mind, seats to US is equally as bad, if not worse, on SQ.

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  • eight10man

    eight10man

    15 May, 2015 11:12 pm

    79,990 points to the US. Not bad at around 8.89ct per point (using the $-figure from the article)..!

    Off-topic: Do you know when (T-xxx days) Etihad releases award seats when redeeming through AA?

    And do you know how or where to check award availability for redeeming AA-miles on Jet Airways..?

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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    16 May, 2015 12:25 pm

    The questions above don't relate to the article and are best asked in our Q&A area.

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  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    15 May, 2015 01:30 pm

    Good to know article, I just spent a week in Fiji on 300,000 Qantas points. Virgin points are easier to come by with less taxes when booking a flight.

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  • marauder vic

    maraudervic

    15 May, 2015 03:06 pm

    Being a very regular traveller and racking up lots of points I never understand why people would use them for anything other than an upgrade or a ticket. There is a big difference between Qantas and Velocity though in how they handle redemptions. Domestic redemptions are easy with both, its international where the frustration happens. On Qantas despite being Platinum One getting a redemption seat is never easy, in fact its downright frustrating. Whilst on Virgin I have never had a problem getting a business class  redemption seat via The Club. Its flights and upgrades that you should use your points for, buy the toaster dont redeem it.

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  • Brian Williams

    evilbrian

    15 May, 2015 03:26 pm

    It's very similar at EK as well. If you're silly enough to use your points to buy goods from 'Emirates High Street', then you're getting about 10% of the value that you get from the best option, which is using your points to upgrade from Y to J. Second best option is to buy J outright using points.

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  • ozmouse

    ozmouse

    15 May, 2015 07:30 pm

    And i wonder how the math work out on virgin point conversion to krisflyer and a first suite award on singapore air!?  ;-)

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  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    15 May, 2015 08:39 pm

    Just watch a segment on The Wall Street Journal where they stated Virgin Australia has one of the best reward redemptions out of all the frequent flyer programs globally

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  • UpUpAndAway

    UpUpAndAway

    15 May, 2015 08:43 pm

    They actually rate Air Berlin , Southwest and then Virgin Australia as the top three globally and Qantas at number 13

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  • eight10man

    eight10man

    15 May, 2015 10:43 pm

    Just redeemed points for flights on Delta Airlines in Business class in October from Europe to USA/Canada. Outbound BRU-JFK-YUL, and back EWR-AMS. 2 adults, plus one lap-infant.

    According to the 'Reward seat points tables' for partners airlines this would either cost 47,800 points (2,401-3,600 actual miles), or 57,800 points (3,601-4,800 miles), plus taxes, depending on the distance. Whether this is calculated per leg, or per total sector, I'm not sure about, but GCmap.com shows the outbound to Montreal via JFK to be 4,000 miles total, and the return 3,656 miles total. This would put both flights squarely inside the latter bracket of 57,800 points.

    But.. quite bizarrely I've been quoted a more generous 49,100 points for both the outbound as the return. Although baffled where they get this number from, you don't hear me complaining..

    For 2 adults and 1 infant ITA-Matrix quotes the trip for about AU$ 7,420 all-up. I ended up needing to pay 196,400 points (2 adults, 2 one-ways each at 49,100), and unfortunately got stung (mildly) with over $500 YR fuel charges per person (AU$1,192 taxes all-up).

    This results in 3.17ct per point, which - although not as good as sometimes possible through some of loopholes in region-based FF-programs - I'm pretty happy about. I find accumulating VA points in Australia to be much easier than to amass a good portion of, for example, Miles&More miles or FlyingBlue Miles in Belgium and The Netherlands, respectively.

    Note: I reckon VA has pretty good T&Cs for infants travelling as lap-childs, as they don't pay points, nor do they pay a percentage of the fare (of the J-fare..), just taxes. And domestic they don't even pay taxes..! I believe - reading around the interwebs - that there is almost no common rule between different airlines and FF-programs for redeeming flights for infants, and at some FF-programs you might end up having to pay 10% of the the full-fare J-ticket - ouch - or full number of points just like adults..!

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