Flying to New Zealand using Virgin Velocity points? You can save thousands of points by transferring them to the KrisFlyer frequent flyer program and redeeming for flights on Air New Zealand or Singapore Airlines instead.
Update: From 7 December 2017, the cost of this award will increase from 17,500 KrisFlyer miles to 28,000 KrisFlyer miles, one-way.
Planning a trip to New Zealand? If you’re considering booking a flight using Virgin Australia Velocity points, then think again. You may be able to save thousands of points by transferring your Velocity points to the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program!
Virgin Australia charges 17,800 Velocity points, one-way, for an Economy flight from the east coast of Australia to anywhere in New Zealand. For Business class, Velocity charges 35,500 points. For Trans-Tasman flights over 2,400 miles in length – such as Perth to Auckland – Virgin charges 22,300 points and 49,500 points for Economy and Business class, respectively.
But did you know that Singapore Airlines charges 12,500 KrisFlyer miles for Economy trans-Tasman flights and just 17,500 miles for Business class? This price applies to any trans-Tasman routing booked as a Star Alliance award, including Auckland-Perth.
Virgin Velocity points can be converted to KrisFlyer miles at a rate of 1.35:1. So, those rates are equivalent to 16,875 Velocity points for Economy or just 23,625 Velocity points for Business class! That’s a significant saving, especially for Business class and longer Economy flights.
You’re even allowed a free stopover on any KrisFlyer round-trip award. So for example, you could book Perth-Auckland-Queenstown as a return trip with a stopover in Auckland in one direction.
There are just a few catches to be aware of…
Firstly, these rates only apply for “Star Alliance” award bookings. For trans-Tasman bookings, this means that your flight will need to be operated by Air New Zealand. You may also use Singapore Airlines’ Canberra-Wellington service (in fact, there is very good award availability on this flight) but to access these prices you will need to add a domestic connection from Wellington to elsewhere in New Zealand with Air New Zealand. The domestic connection will be in Economy class as Air New Zealand does not offer Business class on domestic flights. If booking the Singapore Airlines flight in isolation, you’ll need to pay the higher “Singapore Airlines” award rate.
These rates do not apply for flights operated by Virgin Australia. If you wish to fly across the Tasman on Virgin Australia, you’re better off booking directly through the Velocity program.
The final obstacle is Air New Zealand’s patchy award availability. Air New Zealand releases Economy award availability on many of their trans-Tasman flights, but Business class seats are difficult to find. Some premium seats are generally available on the Sydney-Auckland, Melbourne-Auckland and Brisbane-Auckland routes, but only during off-peak periods.
As Air New Zealand award seats are not plentiful, you should always call KrisFlyer to confirm the flight you want is available before transferring your points across from Velocity.
But if you don’t mind putting in the extra effort, there are some serious savings to be had on award flights across the Tasman!
- Currency: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles
- Airlines: Air New Zealand & Singapore Airlines
- Routes: Any Trans-Tasman route, e.g. Sydney-Auckland
- Class of travel: Economy and Business
- Cost: 17,500 KrisFlyer miles + taxes (Business class, one-way)
- Availability: Air New Zealand award availability is generally patchy, but there are plenty of seats on Singapore Airlines' Canberra-Wellington service.
- How to book: Call KrisFlyer on (02) 8228 1188.
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