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Message from Virgin Blue

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crazydave98

Active Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2005
Messages
603
Hello forum members,

I'm a Virgin Blue staffer who has been involved in Velocity from its inception. As you may have gathered, we have been lurking in the chat rooms for quite a while, although not previously posted anything. We don't have any employees or agents planting seeds in any forum - we like to deal straight. Having "come out", I would like to make just a few points.

First, this is not going to be a regular occurrence. Sorry. We are a very lean group of very slow typists. We read everything, but will speak with actions rather than words. However, if we see themes emerging, from time to time we may drop a line such as this one. You know your programs and will work out what's best for you, so we'll not waste space pointing out features/benefits etc. unless we feel there has been a misunderstanding (only one in this post I promise).

The lack of tiers seems to be the number one topic of discussion, with many questioning why we didn't launch with tiers. Not wanting to give too much away to Jenny Chamberlain's minions, I'll just say that from reading your forums we're very well aware of the importance attached to tiers and we will be treating our most valuable guests with very special care. We appreciate that there is a chicken and egg issue with getting high-tier Qantas FFs on board with us in the first place, and the fact is some never will, but we're working on it.

Someone speculated on whether we have left anything up our sleeves in case of a Qantas response. We would be naive not to anticipate that Qantas is going to react and have additional features and improvements mapped out. Some may just take time to get in place, and others certain triggers. Please also bear in mind this is very much phase 1 and not the mature program. You can reasonably expect more partners and you can probably take a good guess at who might be among them.

A few comments have been on trading-off between number of points to redeem and seat availability, and this is where I feel there may have been a misunderstanding. Our points calculator shows the range of points needed to redeem everything from our lowest Blue Saver fare up to our Blue Plus. For example 7,000-23,900 for SYD-MEL. Note that when you redeem, it is for a regular fare. We set it up so our revenue management people cannot tell whether you are paying points or cash. In our example 7,000 lets you redeem the lowest Blue Saver fare. So far this year 40% of our seats have been sold at this lowest Blue Saver level, or even cheaper on promotional fares which you can also redeem for. Continuing with the SYD-MEL example it will take 4,300 to redeem a Mid Week Mini fare which we haven't shown on the calculator only because it is not available every day. Sale fares may go for even fewer points.

Qantas, in their 2004 Financial Report claimed that 7.8% of ASKs were used by frequent flyer redemptions, but of course no indication of how many people couldn't get the seats they wanted and most seats that flew empty were probably not offered for redemption (they won't tell us). Interestingly they didn't publish the figure this year - maybe it has gone backwards at the same rate as their on time performance? Sorry I just couldn't resist - but check the official statistics at the Department of Transport's web site, http://www.btre.gov.au/statistics/aviation/otphome.aspx Anyway, flogging all those credit card points before June 30 this year to beat the change in accounting standards means the backlog for seat redemption grew again like Pinocchio's nose. So yes there is some trade off between number of points and availability on us, but this year 40% of our seats would have been available for the minimum number of points, while maybe less than 10% of Qantas seats were offered and at a higher number of points.

That's it from me, thanks for reading. We'll keep monitoring the forums and would love to hear your views, but please don't expect a rash of posts from us.

crazydave98
 

Kiwi Flyer

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2004
Messages
5,453
Welcome to AFF crazydave98 :)

Its always nice to have someone from airline/FFP on the board, even if only in unofficial capacity (I presume). I hope you'll stick around to share ideas and information.
 

QF WP

Moderator
Joined
Jun 20, 2002
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15,594
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As I have had the pleasure to talk with crazydave98 on Friday PM, I can assure members that he really does work for VB - he rang me on my mobile (the number of which Brett Godfrey gave him).

We look forward to sharing our ideas and helping Velocity to grow....
 

Yada Yada

Established Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Messages
1,872
It's GREAT to see a message directly from Virgin. I am pleased to hear that the Velocity program will be expanded over time.

Thanks crazydave98 for posting and for letting us know that you are listening. :D

- Peter
 
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