Velocity Frequent Flyer will finally refund Virgin Australia reward seat bookings that have been cancelled, for travel booked until 30 September 2020.
This had already been Velocity’s policy prior to Virgin Australia entering voluntary administration. Throughout April and the first half of May, Velocity always said that it would refund the Velocity points & taxes paid for reward flights cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions for travel up to 30 September 2020.
But in mid-May, Velocity retrospectively changed its policy and said it would no longer refund the points & taxes paid on cancelled Virgin Australia reward seat bookings made prior to 21 April – even if the flights were cancelled by the airline. At the time, Australian Frequent Flyer questioned how this could be legal given Velocity Frequent Flyer was not in administration.
The Velocity Frequent Flyer website now contains this updated notice:
If you bookedon or before 21 April 2020 for travel before 30 September 2020, we’ll waive any applicable change or cancellation fees.
If you or Virgin Australia cancel your flight before 30 September 2020, we’ll refund your Points or cash in full to the original form of payment.
If you booked on or before 21 April 2020 but were scheduled to travel after 30 September 2020, our standard Terms and Conditions regarding changes will apply. However, members who would typically receive a refund to Travel Bank will now receive a refund to original form of payment until Travel Bank (or a suitable alternative) is available.
Cancellation fees will be waived if you contact Velocity Frequent Flyer to request a refund before your travel date, or by 30 September 2020. Velocity members that have already requested a refund for affected bookings are being contacted by email.
Following months of uncertainty, this is good news for Velocity members with reward seat bookings. Officially, Velocity has been telling its members that refunds of Velocity points, taxes & carrier charges paid are expected to be processed within 21 business days. However, AFF members have been told by the Velocity call centre that it could take closer to 13 weeks. Refunds of any money paid will be processed to the original form of payment.
Velocity Frequent Flyer continues to say that it will waive change & cancellation fees until 31 August, for new bookings made on or after 15 May 2020.
Velocity redemptions were unavailable between 21 April and 15 May, during the initial period of Virgin’s administration. They are now only available on a limited selection of domestic flights, for travel beyond September.
Virgin Australia is still not offering refunds for cancelled revenue bookings (i.e. bookings not made using frequent flyer points), with customers being offered “conditional credits” instead.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: VA no longer issuing credits to travelbank (or anywhere else)
Virgin Australia sale process continues
Final bids from Cyrus Capital Partners and Bain Capital, the two potential new Virgin Australia owners, were received on Monday. The Virgin Australia administrators are expected to decide on a preferred bidder by early next week, and will then take its proposal to a meeting of creditors in mid-August.
Both bidders plan to retain Paul Scurrah as Virgin Australia’s CEO and focus on flying profitable domestic routes with a fleet of Boeing 737s. Other aircraft types including A320s and ATR72s would be dumped, as would the Tigerair brand, but Virgin would not be turned into a low-cost carrier.
Both Cyrus and Bain also say that they would honour members’ Velocity points and travel credits. But it’s not yet clear what the Velocity Frequent Flyer program would look like going forward, and whether the points would retain their full value.
There were also reports of a last-minute pitch on Monday from Virgin Australia bondholders to take control of the airline.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Virgin Australia Financially Secure? [Now in Voluntary Administration]