It’s once again possible to redeem Velocity points for Virgin Australia flights, almost four weeks after redemptions were temporarily paused due to Virgin Australia entering voluntary administration. Both Velocity Reward Seat and Any Seat bookings are now available. But it’s not all good news…
Before you get too excited, redemptions are now only possible on a limited range of domestic Virgin Australia routes within Australia… and only for travel beyond September 2020. All other Velocity Frequent Flyer redemption opportunities remain paused, including transfers to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and the Velocity rewards store remains closed.
When Virgin Australia entered administration, Velocity announced an initial 4-week “pause” on redemptions. This period is due to expire early next week, but will almost certainly be extended as the process of selling the airline continues.
Virgin Australia routes now available for redemption
Virgin Australia has made 20 domestic routes available for Velocity reward seat bookings, for travel on or after 1 September 2020. Here are the routes:
Notably, cities like Darwin, Hobart and Newcastle appear to be excluded from the list of available routes! Velocity Frequent Flyer says that the included destinations “are amongst some of our most popular domestic redemption destinations”, and that it expects to make more routes available for reward bookings at a later time.
You can redeem Velocity points for these domestic flights on the Virgin Australia website. As you would expect, there does not appear to be any shortage of reward seat availability!
Velocity reward booking changes & cancellation fees
Velocity says that it will waive all change and cancellation fees – regardless of whether the passenger or Virgin Australia cancels the flight – for new reward seat bookings made between 15 May & 31 August 2020, for travel after 1 September 2020. The points/cash used to make the booking will be refunded in full, excluding credit card or booking fees.
That’s important because at this point it’s unclear whether all (or any) of the flights currently being sold for travel beyond September will actually operate. Virgin Australia is still currently selling its normal schedule of flights that would have operated before COVID-19. The airline may cancel some or all of those flights at a later date. And depending on the outcome of the voluntary administration process, there is a possibility that Virgin will be a completely different airline – or no longer exist at all – after September 2020.
Unfortunately for Velocity members with existing Virgin Australia reward flights that have been cancelled – by either the passenger or the airline – Virgin will no longer refund the points and taxes paid. This policy is now being retroactively applied to bookings made before 15 May 2020, despite Velocity previously telling its members that full refunds would be given for cancelled reward flights up to 30 September 2020.
There is a list of Frequently Asked Questions on the Velocity website with more information about domestic flight redemptions coming back.
There is some discussion about this here: VA no longer issuing credits to travelbank (or anywhere else)
Velocity points can now expire again
When Velocity Frequent Flyer paused redemptions on 21 April, it announced that it would pause the expiry of Velocity points and extend the validity of points by the length of the “redemption pause” period. Now that Velocity has re-opened redemptions on a few domestic routes, for travel from September, it’s decided to reinstate the expiration of points. This means that the validity of expiring points has only been extended by 24 days.
We find this very poor indeed, considering the vast majority of redemptions are still unavailable and you can’t even redeem points to fly before September at the moment. At the very least, Velocity points should not be allowed to expire until September.
The Velocity Frequent Flyer website is full of fluff words like “committed”. But these words are meaningless when policies keep getting changed on the fly – to the detriment of members – with no warning or notice to members.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Is it Time to transfer/withdraw points from Velocity?
This article was originally published on 15 May 2020 and updated on 17 May 2020.