Virgin Australia does not operate its own flights to Europe. Instead, Virgin’s frequent flyers can choose to fly on a range of partners that do. Of Virgin Australia’s 12 partner airlines, Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines both offer convenient, one-stop connections between Australia and a range of European destinations. So, which airline is best for someone looking to earn or burn Velocity Frequent Flyer points?

Velocity Platinum member travelling to Europe next month for work in Y. I have the option of SQ or EY. Although I feel the Economy product in SQ is far superior, does the F Lounge in Abu Dhabi trump travelling SQ? Would a 1 45min connection even give me enough time to visit the lounge?

Any better chances of an upgrade with either airline? Any difference in benefits for a VA Platinum member?

Velocity Frequent Flyer members receive reciprocal status benefits, including lounge access, when flying with Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways. Velocity points and status credits are also earned with both carriers. And both airlines offer convenient one-stop connections with short layover times in their respective hubs of Singapore and Abu Dhabi. So, the decision comes down to a few key differentiating factors: the quality of the on-board products and lounges.

Etihad wins hands down for its Abu Dhabi First class lounge, which Velocity Platinum members can access. It is far better than Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer Gold lounge, which Platinum members are sent to in Singapore.

With respect to lounge access, EY wins hands down – in every airport along the way, and especially the AUH F lounge vs Changi KF Gold lounge. Additionally, you certainly have a better chance of an upgrade with EY – your chances with SQ are virtually zero. I’ve had three op-ups from EY – one from Y to J, and two from J to F.

Etihad Airways is also more likely to offer an upgrade to Business class than Singapore Airlines. Etihad Airways does occasionally upgrade top-tier Velocity members. The airline also provides the option to bid for an upgrade. Singapore Airlines, on the other hand, virtually never gives out free upgrades.

But Singapore is considered a much more pleasant airport to transit through than Abu Dhabi.

AUH is generally painful to transit through, unlike Changi. With a 1hr 45min transit in AUH, you would be very lucky to spend any more than a few minutes in the lounge

In terms of on-board product, Singapore Airlines comes out in front as well. Economy class on Singapore Airlines is spacious, and the service is consistently good. Etihad also offers reasonable on-board comfort, but it depends on the aircraft type. The on-board service can be hit-and-miss.

For these reasons, several members say they prefer Singapore Airlines.

I am a bit biased as I really like SQ and have never done Etihad in Y, but I would be going via Singapore. SQ Y is just about as good as it gets IMHO, and it sounds like the layover time isn’t long enough for the better lounge to make a difference. The KF Gold lounge isn’t terrible, and all the Changi terminals have pretty decent pay-for-shower lounge options.

What’s your preferred route to Europe? Share your experience HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]