Velocity Frequent Flyer has reinstated reward seats on 19 more non-stop Virgin Australia domestic routes. That’s around double the previous number. Plus, in even better news, Velocity points can now be redeemed for travel any time – effective immediately.
Velocity points can also be redeemed once again for flight upgrades, hotel bookings and, shortly, car rental bookings.
After suspending all Velocity Frequent Flyer redemptions when Virgin Australia entered voluntary administration on 21 April 2020, Velocity reinstated reward flights on a very limited domestic network in mid-May. But, at that time, points could only be redeemed for travel beyond 1 September 2020. The resumption of Velocity reward travel has now been brought forward to 20 July.
In total, Velocity points can now be redeemed for travel on 152 unique city pairs within Australia (many of these require a connecting flight). However, not all domestic routes are included yet. The following Virgin Australia routes are now available for Velocity reward seat bookings:
Velocity’s policy of allowing free changes & cancellations on new reward seat bookings continues to apply until 31 August 2020. It now covers flights booked for any date beyond 20 July (previously 1 September).
Reward seat availability on the selection of Virgin Australia domestic routes appears generally good, and there are no changes to reward seat pricing. Here’s the number of Velocity points required for a Virgin Australia domestic flight redemption (excluding taxes & charges), based on the total number of miles travelled:
As an example, it would cost 7,800 Velocity points + $42.19 for an Economy reward seat from Canberra to Gold Coast, or 15,500 Velocity points + $42.19 for a Business reward on the same route. This includes a $10 Virgin Australia carrier charge that applies to all domestic reward flight sectors. Taxes & charges can be paid for using either points or money.
Reward flights are not currently available on any international routes, nor flights operated by any of Virgin Australia’s partner airlines.
Upgrades, hotels & car hire redemptions are back too
From today, you can also once again redeem Velocity Frequent Flyer points to upgrade a Virgin Australia flight to Business class. On domestic flights, Business class upgrades are available on all fare types as long as there is Business Reward Seat availability on your flight.
Upgrading an Economy Freedom ticket costs fewer Velocity points than upgrading from a Getaway or Elevate fare. As a reminder, here is the number of points required to upgrade a domestic Virgin flight:
Points can also now be redeemed towards hotel bookings via the Velocity Hotels booking portal (where one Velocity point is worth about 0.68 cents). From 31 July, you’ll be able to redeem points for Europcar rental bookings via Cartrawler, too.
See the Velocity Frequent Flyer website for full details about these new redemption options.
Other redemptions haven’t yet returned
While all of this so far is good news, there are still many Velocity Frequent Flyer redemptions that have not yet returned.
You still can’t redeem points for merchandise or gift cards via the Velocity rewards store, nor for wine from the Velocity Wine Store. Partner and international flight redemptions aren’t back yet either, although that’s not really a huge issue while Australia’s international borders remain shut.
There’s also no sign of the ability to transfer Velocity points to KrisFlyer returning.
While most Velocity redemptions were unavailable, most Australian credit card reward programs suspended point transfers to Velocity Frequent Flyer. It remains to be seen whether the resumption of some Velocity redemptions will be sufficient to reinstate these partnerships.
Amex Membership Rewards and Flybuys already resumed allowing their members to transfer points to Velocity back in May. In fact, Flybuys members can currently earn 15-20% bonus Velocity points by transferring their points until the end of July.
Today marked a grim milestone for Virgin Australia, which has now been in voluntary administration for exactly three months. It will remain so until at least 26 August, when the proposed sale to Bain Capital is set to be voted on at a final creditors’ meeting.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Velocity flight redemptions back from 21 July 2020