Earn double Qantas Points on international flights until 7 May 2018

Qantas is offering double Qantas Points on eligible international Qantas and Emirates operated flights booked with a QF flight number.

Eligible flights include:

  • Qantas operated international flights with a QF flight number* between Australia and New Zealand, Singapore, Bangkok or London, or;
  • Emirates operated international flights with a QF flight number* between Australia and New Zealand, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa or the UK.

To participate in this offer, simply register on the Qantas website and make a booking before midnight on 7 May 2018 for travel between 21 May 2018 and 31 March 2019.

Up to 40% bonus on transfers to Velocity Frequent Flyer throughout May 2018

Velocity Frequent Flyer has strengthened its regular May transfer bonus by giving members up to 40% in bonus points throughout May 2018 on transfers from some credit card programs and 20% on hotel program transfers.

Credit card transfers

Unlike the flat 15% in past years, this year the bonus on qualifying credit card transfers is based on the amount of points being transferred, with transfers under 100k points receiving 15% and over 750k points receiving the full 40%.

The following credit card providers are participating:

  • Australian American Express Card Members, including David Jones American Express Card Members enrolled in the Membership Rewards program (this offer excludes American Express New Zealand Card Members)
  • NAB Rewards
  • Citibank
  • HSBC Rewards (Platinum and Premier credit card holders only)
  • Diners Club Reward
  • Card Services Rewards
  • Bank of Queensland and Q Rewards (Platinum credit card holders only)
  • Suncorp Bank Rewards

Hotel program transfers

Hotel program transfers get a boost this year as well with a flat 20% bonus applied throughout May 2018. This also applies to ANZ card transfers and flybuys:

  • ANZ Rewards
  • ANZ Business Rewards
  • flybuys
  • Shangri-La
  • Accor hotels
  • Hilton
  • SPG Starwood
  • IHG
  • Choice hotels

This is one of the best Velocity transfer bonus’ we’ve seen recently and hence I would recommend taking advantage if you are considering a Velocity redemption in the near future. Obviously you lose flexibility once the points are in Velocity so keep this in mind if your card offers transfers to other airlines.

Virgin Australia launches Australia to London codeshare service

Virgin Australia has launched services from Australia to London via Los Angeles codesharing with Virgin Atlantic. Previously, only Virgin’s partners Singapore Airlines or Etihad could take Velocity Frequent Flyers to London. Now, Virgin will fly customers from Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne to Los Angeles followed by a Virgin Atlantic flight from Los Angeles to London on their Boeing 787 service.

It’s great to see Virgin expanding their long haul network with additional codeshare routes. Unfortunately the flight timings don’t work that well from Brisbane and will result in an 8 hour wait in LAX. A stopover could be added in LAX however to make the trip more appealing.

I would love to see a much more tightly integrated international network under the Virgin Australia and Virgin Atlantic brands. Virgin Australia starts flying to Hong Kong from Sydney shortly and already flies there from Melbourne. This could provide another opportunity to connect onto Virgin Atlantic services.

Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand end trans-Tasman alliance

On 4 April 2018, Air New Zealand announced that its strategic alliance with Virgin Australia on flights across the ditch would come to an end after over 7 years of partnership. This agreement allowed both airlines to codeshare on each other’s flights and offer reciprocal lounge access and status benefits to each other’s frequent flyer program members. So what does this mean for Australian and New Zealand frequent flyers?

Well, it’s still early days so the fallout from this decision is not entirely clear, but it’s unlikely to be positive for Velocity Frequent Flyers. The relationship between Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand had been souring over the last few years as Air New Zealand sold off its share in Virgin Australia and called for a change of management of Virgin Australia citing poor financial performance. In addition, status benefits and lounge access for Velocity Frequent Flyers travelling on non-Tasman Air New Zealand flights was revoked in mid-2017.

So what’s are the downsides for passengers sticking with Velocity Frequent Flyers?

  • Trans-Tasman service frequency and capacity will drop substantially – Previously Virgin flyers had access to both Virgin and Air New Zealand services and for some city-pairs, such as Brisbane to Christchurch, this offered more choice than Qantas with both a morning and afternoon option on most days instead of (super early) morning services by Qantas.
  • Loss of easy access to South America – Technically this benefit dried up in mid-2017 when the reciprocal benefit rules changed but it’s worth re-capping here. Without Air New Zealand in the mix and their Auckland to Buenos Aires service, Virgin Australia lacks a partner that flies direct to South America from Australia and New Zealand. Alternative options would be Delta but that means flying via North America which is hardly desirable.
  • No more Air New Zealand lounge hospitality – Whilst it hasn’t been officially announced yet, you can bet that Velocity Frequent Flyers will lose access to the fantastic and newly renovated Air New Zealand lounges in Australian departure ports. Virgin is still sourcing a replacement but it’s unlikely to be as good as the Air New Zealand offerings.

Should I switch my travel to Air New Zealand?

For flyers who seldom travel domestically within Australia and instead regularly fly to New Zealand or further afield, it may actually make sense to consider switching your travel to Air New Zealand and the Star Alliance program with partners such as Singapore Airlines and United Airlines.

But, for most Australia frequent flyers, I still think it makes the most sense to stick with an airline that operates within your home country. For example, Air New Zealand status wouldn’t be recognised on any Australian carriers and so you’d be out of luck for domestic flights. It’s still early days and Virgin are yet to announce how they will be expanding their Tasman services, what lounges flyers will be able to access and how Tigerair might be utilised to keep competition strong – watch this space.

Virgin Australia launches redesigned iPhone & Android apps

Virgin Australia has just launched a brand new app in the App Store featuring a full redesign with streamlined travel features, and for the first time, an Android app. The original Virgin iPhone app design deviated from common Apple design principles and had always been fairly poorly received by flyers including myself.

It’s really great to see Virgin trying to close the gap between itself and its rivals. After playing around with the app this morning, I am fairly impressed. It loads quickly – something that the previous app never did – and displays more information in a much cleaner interface. Beautiful imagery is also used to display destination information.

For me, this is a really key part of the flying experience. The Qantas app has always been far superior in this regard, and leads to much more streamlined process for checking in, changing seats, finding your gate and seeing flight status. For regular domestic travel, the technology piece can really make a big difference to your travel enjoyment.

Lets hope this new version is just the beginning and that Virgin continues to expand the app with new features whilst maintaining its speed and simplicity. Upcoming features include an integration of the Flight Specials app and the Inflight Entertainment offering. Overall, great job Virgin and can’t wait to see regular updates.

Flybuys offering bonus Velocity Points during April 2018

Throughout April 2018, receive 100 bonus Velocity Points for every 2000 flybuys points you transfer to Velocity.

Normally a transfer of 2000 flybuys points would yield 870 Velocity Points. During April 2018, you’ll receive 970 Velocity Points for every 2000 points. This represents an 11.4% bonus which isn’t too bad. It’s unclear whether the regular 15% bonus which usually runs in May will re-appear or not.

Virgin Australia offering triple Velocity Points before 26 March 2018

Virgin Australia are offering triple Velocity Points on bookings made between 19 March and midnight on 26 March 2018.

To participate in this offer, you must first register on the Velocity Frequent Flyer website with your Velocity Frequent Flyer Number.

An eligible flight is a flight marketed and operated by Virgin Australia, for travel between 19 March 2018 and 12 February 2019 inclusive and booked in a fare class that normally accrues Velocity Points.