Australian Flying Club Members to be grounded?

With the sad news this week that another airline, Virgin Atlantic, will be ceasing service to Australia with their own aircraft, our members are left with some questions.  Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club has been a little known frequent flyer program to most Australians, but our members have seen significant value in earning and enjoying the perks of membership in many areas.

Anyone hiring a car for short periods would often be frustrated at the lack of points on offer. But with Flying Club cars hired with Avis and Hertz credit points to the scheme on a per hire basis – often to the tune of 1,000 or more Flying Club points.  To put that into perspective, if you hired a car 80 times you would have had enough for a Business Class flight Sydney to Hong Kong – worth at least $5,000.

Another popular benefit has been “Clubhouse” access for members with status or travelling in Business.  While we never saw one on Australian soil, the popular lounges did feature a Hong Kong version with food cook to order and generous drink services at times.  If you were travelling the long haul to/from Heathrow they were also popular for their showers and comfortable seating, especially if you travelled in economy.

One member who has been diligently saving points for a future trip to Hong Kong asks

Now what with the VS miles? No desire to go to LHR.

While another fears Australian members may be stopped from continuing their membership once flights cease and could lose thousands of accumulated points

Hmm, does this mean any AU Flying club members with miles left in the account that come a time they will just delete the account and have all miles forfeited?  Or can I still keep them and spend them later on? e.g. LHR-JFK etc?

Our members have already come up with alternatives when it comes to burning those points with some suggesting moving them to Hilton Honors.  Coincidently a day after the announcement, Flying Club changed the conversion ratio – going from 1 Flying Club point to 2 HHonors Points to 2 Flying Club Points for 3 HHonors points.

Another suggestion was to use the points to book a flight with Malaysian Airlines in Business Class to Kuala Lumpur.  While costing the same points as an equivalent Virgin Atlantic redemption to Hong Kong, there is some question over the extras costs such as fuel levies etc which remain unresolved, so that may not be an exact replacement for the lost opportunities.

Are you sad to see the big four engined A340s from Virgin Atlantic leave Australia for the last time, are you sitting on lots of Flying Club points or have you found a good value redemption?

Have your say HERE.


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