Virgin Money’s Velocity Flyer and High Flyer cards will soon become much less valuable. From 1 April 2016, the rate at which Velocity Frequent Flyer points are earned will be reduced by up to 33%. The popular two-for-one flight deal is also being removed, to be replaced by flight vouchers and lounge passes.
High Flyer cards see the earn rate cut by 20%, whilst the Flyer card sees the earn rate cut by 33%. Of course, the annual fees have not budged.
While points earned at the full rate on the Velocity Flyer card remain capped at just $1,500 per month, the full earn rate drops from one point per dollar to just 0.66 points per dollar.
It’s similarly bad news for Velocity High Flyer cardholders. The full earn rate will fall from 1.25 to one point per dollar, and a new points cap of $10,000 per month will be introduced.
The popular “TWO41” flight deal, which allowed cardholders to book two Saver seats for the price of one on Virgin Australia flights, is also going the way of the dodo. This will be replaced by an annual Virgin Australia voucher of $129 and two annual single-entry Virgin Australia lounge passes. However, there has been no indication when exactly these lounge passes will be sent out. Virgin Money has claimed that the benefit will be introduced from “mid-2016”, but some members are sceptical.
Given the decline in the cards’ benefits, many of our members say they will be cancelling their cards.
The removal of the TWO41 offer is a deal-breaker for me – getting a $129 voucher when the card costs $129 a year is not a benefit IMHO.
Velocity points will also no longer be earned on BPAY payments made with these credit cards.
With the RBA looking to introduce regulations on interchange fees, similar changes to other cards may be likely. Interchange fees are those charged by the banks to businesses for processing credit card payments. With the RBA set to limit the amount of money banks can make from each credit card transaction, it is inevitable that banks may choose to pass this reduction onto customers in the form of fewer points.
Unfortunately the actions of the RBA Payment Systems Board have made this inevitable for no benefit to cardholders, merchants or financial institutions.
There aren’t many Velocity Frequent Flyer direct-earning credit cards. Virgin Money, NAB and American Express are the only card providers in Australia offering Virgin Australia co-branded cards. But there are other options for Velocity point collectors. Velocity Frequent Flyer is a flexible transfer partner of most major Australian banks’ credit card reward programs. American Express Membership Rewards, Diners Club and Citibank rewards points can also be transferred to Velocity.
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