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VA reward flights to Europe

jaybo

Newbie
Joined
Sep 17, 2019
Messages
8
Hi all, thought I'd post a bunch of info while it's fresh in my mind, I'm a new member here but feel like I've been around for years and hopefully it's helpful info to someone in my position who's looking for confirmation that you can infact book reward flights from AU to EU~! (excuse the lack of proper terms like J class etc though!)

I'd amassed almost 700k points over a few years of domestic flights for work, and our goal (my wife and I) was to book return tickets to europe in business class, we honestly didn't care much where the destination was, and we're super flexible with times & dates but just wanted that elusive business class seat.

i finally managed to book MEL-ZRH return tonight, but it cost me the better part of an hour on the phone with the callcentre.

things i've learned over the last ~6 weeks, and specifically tonight:

- the VA flight search on their website is seriously flawed
- flight availability varies *wildly*
- it's seemingly impossible to book a legit "return" fare using the website
- the helpdesk don't necessarily want to help you
- a calm persistence with the helpdesk and a request to speak to a supervisor (even if you don't) seems to get you further than anything else.

i had to search for the individual flight legs, searching for a MEL-ZRH ticket showed up VA flight numbers and no availability, regardless of dates. but searching for MEL-SIN and SIN-ZRH gave me heaps more results... same story for the return leg.

i'd initially thought that booking flights at the maximum time out (330 days) as they became available was the best way to do it, but there seemed to be more availability a little closer in. I tried about 1000 different combinations with date ranges from May through to August, at Munich, Rome, Milan, Barcelona, Zurich, even Paris & Amsterdam.
My suspicion is that SQ don't release business reward seats to VA for at least a few weeks after they release PE/Econ but there's no real way to prove it i guess.

once i'd found the 4 individual legs i wanted and got the flight numbers & times all sorted, i rang the helpdesk and was effectively told that they could book the individual legs (the same ones i could book online) but they'd also charge me the callcentre fee, i explained that i wanted to book them as a single booking (the excuse i used was that i didnt want to have to pick up my luggage in SIN and re-check it) and because i wanted the single booking but the website wouldnt let me i didn't think i should have to pay the fee.

after a couple of requests to speak to a supervisor and a few more times explaining that i wanted the 4 legs combined into 1 booking and explaining that i couldnt do this on the website, she finally seemed to grasp what i wanted. went away for about 10 mins and came back and bundled all the flights up into a single booking and charged me the right amount of points for a single booking.

net result was:

MEL-SIN Jul 12 SQ 228 3:40pm -> 9:30pm 79400 / 65000 $86.29
SIN-ZRH Jul 13 SQ 346 1:25am -> 8:15am 101400 / 92000 $56.40

ZRH-SIN Aug 5 SQ 345 11:45am -> 5:55am 100700 / 92000 $52.10
SIN-MEL Aug 6 SQ 207 7:45am -> 5:10pm 78100 / 65000 $78.24

the points / points + pay are listed above for the individual legs, individually through the website that should've been 719200 / 628000 $546.06, but once it was all combined it was 616200 points (or 556k + $359)
handily enough i didn't have to debate the final price after it was combined, and she also waived the callcentre fee.

i'm *very* happy right now and looking forward to this trip, now i get to start planning trains and hotels :D

let me know if i can help anyone else out (or if i missed anything glaringly obvious, i've had a few beers since the end of that phonecall!)
 

ozstamps

Active Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2003
Messages
632
Virgin
Platinum
Never tried to book awards to Europe but that sounds like a nightmare.
 

Stealthflyer

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
104
Wow! Well done, jaybo! It doesn’t inspire me to want to attempt it myself, but I admire you for your persistence and work. Enjoy your beers, you’ve earned them.
 

henleybeach

Active Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2015
Messages
608
Flights
My Map
Yes it’s been a problem for a while now with Singapore airlines on velocity website. I find it easier to search KrisFlyer and then just ring up and ask for that flight. Example recently for my parents was Melbourne-Düsseldorf was showing on Va flight numbers on velocity and sold out but was available on KrisFlyer. I rang call centre and told them to check but not individual sectors just MEL-DUS and straight away it was there and booked with no fee.
 
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jaybo

Newbie
Joined
Sep 17, 2019
Messages
8
Yes it’s been a problem for a while now with Singapore airlines on velocity website. I find it easier to search KrisFlyer and then just ring up and ask for that flight. Example recently for my parents was Melbourne-Düsseldorf was showing on Va flight numbers on velocity and sold out but was available on KrisFlyer. I rang call centre and told them to check but not individual sectors just MEL-DUS and straight away it was there and booked with no fee.
i suspect whatever they use as a search engine internally actually displays the SQ numbers as well as the VA numbers which is how they seem to be able to book things that us mere mortals can't. you might find that the ones on the krisflyer site actually show up on the VA site if you search for the individual legs.

for whatever reason, the algorithm on the VA page wants to convert multiple SQ flights into 1x VA flight but then give it a 0 availability anyway despite there being underlying availability on the SQ flights.

Wow! Well done, jaybo! It doesn’t inspire me to want to attempt it myself, but I admire you for your persistence and work. Enjoy your beers, you’ve earned them.
i most definitely will! :D

i always figured it'd be hard to book these things and in the best interests of the carriers to make it deliberately hard/obscure so you just cash points in for coles gift cards instead but i wasn't expecting such a puzzle.... good thing i like puzzles! :)
 

stig_aus

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2018
Messages
23
Qantas
Bronze
Virgin
Gold
You probably would have had a much better time just shooting those points across to KrisFlyer and booking from there - availability tends to be much better and the booking process is very simple.

Transferring to KrisFlyer at 1 Velocity point to 0.6452 KF would have been roughly the same cost too.
 

Blinky

Active Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
600
It’s been about 5 years since I redeemed about 500k VA points for two business class fares from MEL-LHR and FRA-MEL return on Etihad, but I found the call centre to be wonderfully helpful and we got exactly the flights we were after. I was Platinum then, as I am now, so that may have helped as I think there was a line dedicated to Plats
 

stig_aus

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2018
Messages
23
Qantas
Bronze
Virgin
Gold
I was Platinum then, as I am now, so that may have helped as I think there was a line dedicated to Plats
I have had great service moving paid flights through the Gold line too. Really impressive!
 

jaybo

Newbie
Joined
Sep 17, 2019
Messages
8
You probably would have had a much better time just shooting those points across to KrisFlyer and booking from there - availability tends to be much better and the booking process is very simple.

Transferring to KrisFlyer at 1 Velocity point to 0.6452 KF would have been roughly the same cost too.
i did the maths on that and was going to come up short unfortunately, lost just a little too much in the transfer but otherwise yeah I agree that the KF booking system seemed a heap better for availability and options and ease of use.

i think i had ~670k in total, flights booked via VA direct came in at 605k but transferring to KF was going to cost the equivalent of 690k i think... i was going to be in a similar situation if i had to book the 4 legs independently (719k) so i really needed to get them bundled as a single booking.

I have had great service moving paid flights through the Gold line too. Really impressive!
i've had excellent service in the past as well, my experience in the last week or so hasn't been overly inspiring but we got there in the end :)
 

stig_aus

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2018
Messages
23
Qantas
Bronze
Virgin
Gold
my experience in the last week or so hasn't been overly inspiring but we got there in the end :)
Having said that I've never had to do a points booking over the phone...
 

MooTime

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2019
Messages
14
Qantas
Bronze
Virgin
Gold
Hi all, thought I'd post a bunch of info while it's fresh in my mind, I'm a new member here but feel like I've been around for years and hopefully it's helpful info to someone in my position who's looking for confirmation that you can infact book reward flights from AU to EU~! (excuse the lack of proper terms like J class etc though!)

I'd amassed almost 700k points over a few years of domestic flights for work, and our goal (my wife and I) was to book return tickets to europe in business class, we honestly didn't care much where the destination was, and we're super flexible with times & dates but just wanted that elusive business class seat.

i finally managed to book MEL-ZRH return tonight, but it cost me the better part of an hour on the phone with the callcentre.

things i've learned over the last ~6 weeks, and specifically tonight:

- the VA flight search on their website is seriously flawed
- flight availability varies *wildly*
- it's seemingly impossible to book a legit "return" fare using the website
- the helpdesk don't necessarily want to help you
- a calm persistence with the helpdesk and a request to speak to a supervisor (even if you don't) seems to get you further than anything else.

i had to search for the individual flight legs, searching for a MEL-ZRH ticket showed up VA flight numbers and no availability, regardless of dates. but searching for MEL-SIN and SIN-ZRH gave me heaps more results... same story for the return leg.

i'd initially thought that booking flights at the maximum time out (330 days) as they became available was the best way to do it, but there seemed to be more availability a little closer in. I tried about 1000 different combinations with date ranges from May through to August, at Munich, Rome, Milan, Barcelona, Zurich, even Paris & Amsterdam.
My suspicion is that SQ don't release business reward seats to VA for at least a few weeks after they release PE/Econ but there's no real way to prove it i guess.

once i'd found the 4 individual legs i wanted and got the flight numbers & times all sorted, i rang the helpdesk and was effectively told that they could book the individual legs (the same ones i could book online) but they'd also charge me the callcentre fee, i explained that i wanted to book them as a single booking (the excuse i used was that i didnt want to have to pick up my luggage in SIN and re-check it) and because i wanted the single booking but the website wouldnt let me i didn't think i should have to pay the fee.

after a couple of requests to speak to a supervisor and a few more times explaining that i wanted the 4 legs combined into 1 booking and explaining that i couldnt do this on the website, she finally seemed to grasp what i wanted. went away for about 10 mins and came back and bundled all the flights up into a single booking and charged me the right amount of points for a single booking.

net result was:

MEL-SIN Jul 12 SQ 228 3:40pm -> 9:30pm 79400 / 65000 $86.29
SIN-ZRH Jul 13 SQ 346 1:25am -> 8:15am 101400 / 92000 $56.40

ZRH-SIN Aug 5 SQ 345 11:45am -> 5:55am 100700 / 92000 $52.10
SIN-MEL Aug 6 SQ 207 7:45am -> 5:10pm 78100 / 65000 $78.24

the points / points + pay are listed above for the individual legs, individually through the website that should've been 719200 / 628000 $546.06, but once it was all combined it was 616200 points (or 556k + $359)
handily enough i didn't have to debate the final price after it was combined, and she also waived the callcentre fee.

i'm *very* happy right now and looking forward to this trip, now i get to start planning trains and hotels :D

let me know if i can help anyone else out (or if i missed anything glaringly obvious, i've had a few beers since the end of that phonecall!)
Good to read your succeeded in the end Jaybo.

I've looked for MEL to EURO flights previously with SQ & come across a few combinations on VA website. Hasn't been an issue, just need to search lot of dates.

Good you get a few hours in Singapore to see the brilliant Changi airport their & some lounge time.

It is a tedious process at times as recently I booked over phone Hawaiian Airlines flights as must do that over phone, have to see availability 1st then call. All worth it in the end to use our points for J Class on long flight.
 

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