If you’re travelling regularly on domestic flights within Australia with Virgin Australia and taking some international trips with their partner Singapore Airlines, you may be wondering which is the better frequent flyer program to pick: Velocity Frequent Flyer or KrisFlyer. Well, both are solid programs and your selection will likely depend on your circumstances and preferences. We plan to explore the key differences between the two programs and analyse which is the better option based on a few key criteria.
Unique benefits of Velocity Frequent Flyer
- Family pooling of Status Credits – substantially reducing the number of flights that must be taken to achieve Gold or Platinum when travelling with family members.
- Economy X seats can be selected for free on short haul Virgin Australia flights for Velocity Platinum members.
- Four upgrade certificates for short haul Virgin Australia flights for Velocity Platinum members each year.
- Lots of earning opportunities for Velocity Points in Australia.
- No expiry of Velocity Points provided points are earned every 18 months.
Unique benefits of Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Lounge access across the full Star Alliance network, including Air New Zealand, United, Avianca, Thai Airways, ANA, Asiana and Lufthansa for KrisFlyer Gold members.
- Ability to use KrisFlyer miles to upgrade seats to higher cabin classes, such as Premium Economy, Business and First.
- Excellent award availability across the entire Singapore Airlines network, especially on routes to Europe that are very difficult with Qantas award tickets.
- Access to South America flights with lounge access and points earning through Air New Zealand (Virgin Australia doesn’t have any partner airlines that connect Australia to South America).
- Seat selection for free on Singapore Airlines flights for KrisFlyer Gold members.
As highlighted above, for me, one of the big disadvantages to the Velocity Frequent Flyer network is the lack of partners that fly to South America. Previously, Etihad did used to fly to Sao Paulo via Abu Dhabi and it’s possible on Delta Airways via North America however both are very long routes, compared to Qantas and LATAM services. It’s definitely a shame that Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand ended their codeshare partnership.
Earning Gold status with Velocity vs KrisFlyer
Perhaps the most important factor to consider when selecting a frequent flyer program is the pathway to airline benefits such as lounge access and priority boarding.
With KrisFlyer, Gold status is obtained after 50,000 Elite miles are accumulated. Elite miles are loosely based on the number of miles flown per flight, with a multiplier added for the type of fare purchased. For example, Discount Economy will earn 50% and First Class will earn 200%. The full earning table is available on the Singapore Airlines website.
With Velocity Frequent Flyer, Gold status can be reached after earning 500 Status Credits for the first time in a 12 month period, and then renewed by earning just 400 Status Credits. Status Credits are awarded based on the number of miles flown and the type of fare booked, as highlighted in Velocity’s Status Credit earn table. Comparatively, the Platinum tier can be achieved with 1000 Status Credits or renewed with 800 Status Credits.
Example: Brisbane to Townsville
As an example, flying from Brisbane to Townsville on an Elevate Economy fare with Virgin Australia would earn 346 Elite miles with KrisFlyer and would therefore require 145 one way flights to reach Gold status. If you’re selecting Velocity Frequent Flyer, the flight would earn 15 Status Credits and would therefore require 27 one way flights to earn Gold status. This is a very big difference and shows the advantage of using Velocity if you’re mostly doing shorter domestic trips.
Winner: Velocity Frequent Flyer
Example: Brisbane to Singapore
Flying from Brisbane to Singapore on a Discount Economy fare with Singapore Airlines would yield 1,909 Elite miles with KrisFlyer and would therefore require 27 one way flights to reach Gold Status. Comparing this with Velocity, the same flight would earn 30 status credits and would therefore require 14 one way trips to reach Velocity Gold. While the difference between the two programs is less compared to the domestic short haul flights, again, Velocity offers a much quicker pathway to Gold status.
Winner: Velocity Frequent Flyer
Example: Brisbane to Singapore with 2 adults (family)
Flying with 2 adults from Brisbane to Singapore on a Discount Economy fare with Singapore Airlines would yield 1,909 Elite miles each with KrisFlyer and would therefore require 27 one way flights each to reach Gold Status. Comparing this with Velocity, the same flight if part of a ‘family pool’ would earn 60 status credits for one adult and would therefore require only 7 one way trips to reach Velocity Gold. The ability to pool status credits among family members is a huge strength of the Velocity program and shows how quickly it can elevate status.
Winner: Velocity Frequent Flyer
Example: Brisbane to Sao Paulo
Flying from Brisbane to Sao Paulo with Air New Zealand on Discount Economy would earn 3,928 Elite miles with KrisFlyer and would therefore require 13 one way trips to reach KrisFlyer Gold status. Compare this with Velocity Frequent Flyer which would earn 0 Status Credits since their Air New Zealand partnership has ended and they don’t offer any alternatives to South America.
Winner: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Both programs offer excellent benefits and the program that suits you best will depend on a range of factors, some of which have been explored in this article. KrisFlyer has the advantage of being connected to the Star Alliance network allowing you to use any airline and lounge from the network – which is a huge strength. The downside to KrisFlyer is that it often requires much more flying to achieve a similar status to Velocity, and doesn’t offer a ‘Platinum’ tier based on Elite miles (instead there is PPS Club which is based on spending more than $25k per year on Business or First Class seats). Velocity’s Platinum tier isn’t that difficult to meet and has some great perks such as Economy X and upgrade certificates.
Good luck with finding the best frequent flyer program that works for you!