You may already be aware that point transfers from Virgin Australia Velocity to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer will become more expensive from 1 January 2019. The current transfer rate of 1.35:1, which applies in both directions, will increase to a 1.55:1 rate. Given the upcoming devaluation, you may be tempted to transfer some or all of your Velocity points to KrisFlyer now.
There are definitely some advantages of transferring your Velocity points to KrisFlyer. Some of the benefits are outlined in this article: Should I Transfer Velocity Points to KrisFlyer Now?
But it’s not necessarily a good idea to transfer your Velocity points to KrisFlyer now – at least, not without a specific redemption in mind. It will be costly if you decide to transfer the points back to Velocity down the track. And there are many cases where you’ll get better value for your points by keeping them right where they are – in your Velocity Frequent Flyer account.
We’ve put together a list of 5 reasons NOT to transfer your Velocity points to KrisFlyer, despite the upcoming devaluation…
1. Ability to upgrade on Virgin Australia flights
If you have Velocity points, you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade your Virgin Australia flights. Point upgrades on Virgin Australia can be confirmed in advance, as long as there is Business Reward Seat availability on the flight. Point upgrades are pretty good value, too. If you regularly fly on Virgin Australia domestic and short-haul international flights, this is a great benefit. But upgrading on Virgin Australia flights is something that you can’t do with KrisFlyer miles – only Velocity points.
If you have Gold or Platinum Velocity status, you’ll also have the opportunity to upgrade on Virgin flights to Hong Kong and Los Angeles using Velocity points. But this is only possible with Velocity points (and only if you’ve booked a Freedom fare).
2. Shorter award flights are cheaper using Velocity points
There are some specific cases where it’s cheaper to book award flights using KrisFlyer miles than Velocity points. Routes like Melbourne-Cairns fall into this category. However, equally, there are also many flights that are cheaper when booked using Velocity points. Shorter routes like Sydney-Melbourne and Brisbane-Canberra are better value through the Velocity program, as Velocity redemptions are based on the flight’s distance.
When redeeming points to fly to Singapore with Singapore Airlines or SilkAir, shorter routes like Cairns-Singapore and Adelaide-Singapore are also cheaper if you use Velocity points. So, don’t just assume that KrisFlyer award bookings are always better value!
3. Access to Hawaiian Airlines awards to Hawaii
Want to redeem your points to fly to Hawaii? Singapore Airlines does not partner with any airlines that fly from Australia to Hawaii. The closest partner they have is Air New Zealand, who flies to Honolulu via Auckland. But Air New Zealand almost never releases any award availability. This will leave you needing to fly via Asia or mainland USA – which is far from ideal.
By comparison, you can redeem Velocity points to fly Hawaiian Airlines direct from Sydney or Brisbane to Honolulu. Economy award availability with Hawaiian Airlines is pretty good, and it’s also possible to book Business Class if you’re flexible with your travel dates.
4. Access to Etihad Airways award flights
Another useful Virgin Australia partner airline is Etihad Airways. Etihad flies from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Abu Dhabi, with onward connections available to cities all over the Middle East, Europe and Africa. This is useful because Etihad can often get you where you need to go, and Etihad award availability is usually good. Etihad often has award availability from Australia to Europe when other airlines do not. Plus, the airline has an excellent product (especially Etihad’s First Class apartments).
Singapore Airlines does not have an equivalent partner in the Middle East, as neither Etihad, Emirates or Qatar Airways are part of Star Alliance.
Admittedly, Velocity does impose some rather hefty carrier charges on Etihad Airways reward seat bookings. But this can be a small price to pay for the superior award availability that Etihad Airways often has. (And if you really want to avoid paying Velocity’s Etihad carrier charges, it is possible to do this by booking a flight originating in Manila.)
5. Velocity points do not expire (as long as your account is active)
Finally, it’s important to remember that KrisFlyer miles expire after 3 years. You cannot extend the validity of KrisFlyer miles by keeping your account active.
Velocity points, on the other hand, will not expire as long as you earn or redeem at least one Velocity point every two years. So if you have a large amount of points and don’t think you’ll be able to spend them all within the next 3 years, you’re better off keeping them in your Velocity account.
Don’t forget that you’ll still be able to transfer your Velocity points to KrisFlyer next year. It will just be ~15% more expensive than it is currently.
Will you be transferring your Velocity points across to KrisFlyer before the 1 January devaluation? Why or why not? Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer program: Devalued transfers Velocity / KrisFlyer from 1.35 to 1.55