Updated 4 February 2019 – New KrisFlyer transfer rate and new ability to upgrade from Economy Class to Business Class even when Premium Economy Class is available on Singapore Airlines.
A compelling use of frequent flyer points in many programs is the ability to upgrade from one cabin class to the next on paid tickets. This is often appealing whilst travelling during peak times when outright award tickets are not available. It gives you the opportunity to fly regardless of whether there are vacant Business or First Class seats. Often it can be difficult to wait for award seats to be released when working with a fixed business or holiday schedule.
Virgin Australia and its partner Etihad Airways both offer flyers the ability to redeem points for award tickets. Etihad flights can be booked easily using Velocity Points by searching on the Virgin Australia website and selecting ‘Points + Pay’.
A question that often arises is how to upgrade Etihad flights with Velocity Frequent Flyer points. Unfortunately the answer to this is that it’s not possible. Both airlines offer the ability for travellers to upgrade using frequent flyer points but Etihad flights can only be upgraded with Etihad Guest Miles and Virgin Australia flights can only be upgraded with Velocity Points.
What other options are available?
Virgin Australia’s two major international partners are Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines. If you’re looking to buy tickets that you can upgrade with frequent flyer points, consider travelling with Singapore Airlines instead.
Singapore Airlines Flexi tickets can be upgraded using KrisFlyer miles, which can be converted from Velocity Frequent Flyer at a rate of 1.55:1.
Singapore Airlines offers upgrades from Economy to Premium Economy or Business Class, and from Business Class to First Class. It is not possible to upgrade from Economy Class or Premium Economy to First Class.