Velocity Carrier Charges on Virgin Australia Reward Flights

When redeeming Velocity Frequent Flyer points for Virgin Australia flights, you’ll need to pay a “carrier charge” in addition to the points required for a reward seat. This surcharge was initially introduced from 1 January 2019, and was recently increased on 8 January 2020.

In addition to Virgin Australia flights, Velocity carrier charges are added to Delta reward seat bookings on the Sydney-Los Angeles route. This means you’ll now pay up to $460 in extra charges on round-trip Virgin Australia Reward Seat bookings.

There is also a Velocity carrier charge applicable to Etihad Airways reward seat bookings. You can avoid paying the Etihad Airways carrier charge by booking Etihad flights that originate in Manila. No carrier charges are applicable when redeeming Velocity points with other Virgin Australia partner airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines or Virgin Atlantic.

Qantas Frequent Flyer already imposes very high surcharges on many award flight bookings. In announcing the new Velocity carrier charges, Virgin cited “local industry practice” and pointed out that “Velocity still remains very competitive and well below the price charged by our competitors”. It’s true that the Velocity carrier charges are lower than Qantas’ surcharges on most (but not all) award bookings. However, Qantas has some of the highest charges in the industry. And Qantas Frequent Flyer is not Velocity’s only competitor. There are many other overseas frequent flyer programs – all of which are accessible to savvy Australian frequent flyers – that still do not add any fuel or carrier surcharges to award bookings.

The Velocity carrier charges are applied to every Virgin Australia flight sector booked using Velocity points. The amount will be based on the route and class of travel.

Carrier charges are not payable when booking Virgin Australia award flights using points in other frequent flyer programs, such as Etihad Guest or Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.

List of Virgin Australia carrier charges

Here is a list of the new Velocity carrier charges from 8 January 2020. By way of comparison, we’ve also listed the Qantas carrier charges that apply on the same routes (as of 18 September 2019).

Route (one-way) Class of travel Virgin Australia Carrier Charge Qantas Carrier Charge
Domestic Australia Economy

Business

$10

$10

$14

$14

Australia to New Zealand Economy

Business

$10

$10

$14

$14

Brisbane to Port Moresby Economy $35 $14
Australia to Denpasar Economy

Business

$35

$70

$35

$105

Australia to Hong Kong Economy

Prem. Eco

Business

$45

$98

$45

$55

$55

Australia to Los Angeles Economy

Prem. Eco

Business

$60

$145

$230

$60

$165

$215

Now that both of Australia’s main frequent flyer programs impose carrier charges on award bookings, Australians would be well-advised to look at overseas frequent flyer programs such as Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer or American Airlines AAdvantage. Neither of these programs impose carrier charges.

If you earn most of your points from credit cards, consider switching to a flexible rewards program such as Amex Membership Rewards. That way, you’ll have the option to transfer your points to a range of different frequent flyer programs. This gives you more options when redeeming your points, and it also means you’re not stuck with points in one program should a devaluation occur.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: New VA carrier charge on reward seats (from 1/1/19)

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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]