Use Velocity Points to redeem Singapore Airlines award tickets across all cabins

From 31 August 2017, Velocity members will be able to redeem their Velocity Points for tickets across all Singapore Airlines cabin classes

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From 31 August 2017, Velocity members will be able to redeem their Velocity Points for tickets across all Singapore Airlines cabin classes: Economy, Premium Economy, Business and First Class, including Suites.

Previously, it was only possible to book Premium Economy and First Class seats by transferring your Velocity Points to KrisFlyer Miles and then booking.

The number of points required for each ticket are based on Velocity’s ‘Table 2’ redemption table, which includes Etihad and Air New Zealand. The benefit of selecting Singapore Airlines over Etihad is that you won’t have to pay Velocity’s ridiculous ‘Etihad Airways Reward Seat Carrier Charge’ which is up to $300 USD per sector (depending on class of travel).

In some cases it may still make sense to transfer your Velocity Points to KrisFlyer to make a reward booking. For some routes there is a substantial difference in the number of points required. Other benefits from KrisFlyer include waitlisting for award tickets when there is no availability and also the ability to book First Class seats online instead of via a call centre. The cancellation terms may also differ between the two programs. As always, before making a booking weigh up your options to ensure you are getting good value from your points.

Velocity Frequent Flyer cuts Status Credits and lounge benefits on Air New Zealand flights

From 1 November 2017, Velocity Frequent Flyers will only earn Velocity Points, Status Credits, receive lounge access and other frequent flyer benefits on flights within or between Australia and New Zealand.

Another day and another reduction in reciprocal frequency flyer benefits between Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand. From 1 November 2017, Velocity Frequent Flyers will only earn Velocity Points, Status Credits, receive lounge access and other frequent flyer benefits on flights within or between Australia and New Zealand.

This means Velocity Frequent Flyers will no longer be eligible to earn status on Air New Zealand’s fantastic flights to North and South America. This is a real shame given Air New Zealand’s direct flights to Buenos Aires from Auckland. Without this connection, Virgin Australia lacks any solid airline partners flying to South America – with the exception of Delta but that means flying to North America first.

Thankfully, any bookings made prior to 10 July 2017 for travel after 1 November 2017 will still be eligible for Velocity Points and Status Credit earn.

It’s pretty clear the relationship between Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand is continuing to move south and it appears this is unlikely to change anytime soon. At least Trans-Tasman services are okay for now.

I would really like to see Virgin Australia join Star Alliance so we can get rid of the distruptive and difficult to follow weekly lounge access updates. This is one of the main reasons I’ve switched all of my personal domestic and international travel to Qantas and Oneworld. The simplicity of Qantas’ international partner network is a breath of fresh air.

Earn Velocity Points on rental car hire

A summary of earning Velocity Points with Hertz, Thrifty and Europcar in Australia and overseas.

Rental car bookings with Hertz, Thrifty and Europcar are eligible to earn Velocity Points both in Australia and overseas, excluding corporate rates.

 

 Earning Velocity Points on rental car spend
Earning Velocity Points on rental car spend

 

For rentals in Australia, car hire spend will yield 3 Velocity Points per dollar spent. In addition to this, there is also a status bonus based on your tier in the Velocity Frequent Flyer program. Silver member will get a 50% points bonus, Gold members 75% and Platinum 100%. For example, Platinum members taking out a Hertz/Thrify/Europcar rental car in Australia will earn 6 Velocity Points per dollar spent.

Outside of Australia rentals with Hertz, Thrifty and Europcar will generate a fixed 800 Velocity Points per rental.

For details on rental car corporate earn rates, head to the Velocity Frequent Flyer website.

100,000 Velocity Points with American Express Velocity Platinum Card

American Express are offering 100,000 bonus Velocity Points for new customers who apply online for a Velocity Platinum Card by 31 July 2017.

American Express are offering 100,000 bonus Velocity Points for customers who apply online for a new Velocity Platinum Card by 31 July 2017, are approved and spend $1,500 on their new card within the first 3 months.

 American Express Velocity Platinum Card
American Express Velocity Platinum Card

Regular spend with the card will generate 1.5 Velocity Points per $1 spent, except government bodies in Australia which will only yield 0.5 Velocity Points per $1 spent. A bonus point 1 Velocity Point per $1 spent with Virgin Australia is a nice perk for regular Virgin travellers.

I consider the card to offer fairly good value for its $375 annual fee, with the following additional features included:

  • A complimentary Virgin Australia return domestic flight each anniversary year after your first Card spend in that anniversary year
  • Two complimentary single entry passes to the domestic Virgin Australia lounge each anniversary year
  • Two complimentary single entry passes to the American Express Lounge each anniversary year at Sydney International (Kingsford Smith) Airport
  • Complimentary Domestic and International Travel Insurance

As always, the offer is only available to new card members, which includes customers that only have an existing bank-issued American Express card.

View on the offer on the American Express website.

Virgin’s Economy X seats are a great perk for Platinum frequent flyers

Virgin Australia launched their new Economy X seating product on 21 May 2017 which Platinum frequent flyers can select for free.

Virgin Australia launched their new Economy X seating product on 21 May 2017. I’ve flown this new product a few times and think it’s a really great perk for Platinum frequent flyers who can select these seats for free.

 Virgin Australia's new Economy X cabin
Virgin Australia’s new Economy X cabin

For regular passengers, Economy X starts from an extra $29 on top of your Economy ticket. You’ll get priority boarding in addition to an extra legroom seat in the first 3 rows of Economy. This guarantees a quick exit from the aircraft upon arrival.

As a tall Velocity Platinum Frequent Flyer, I often attempt to select seats in row 3 to alleviate the problem of sore knees on flights greater than an hour. With Virgin’s introduction of Economy X, there are now 12 seats on each of their 737-800 aircraft that have extra leg room seating without being stuck in emergency exit rows in the middle of the aircraft (rows 3-5). Since rows 4 and 5 are just regular rows, there are no requirements to store your baggage overhead.

 

 Economy X seat selection on Virgin Australia booking page
Economy X seat selection on Virgin Australia booking page

 

Air New Zealand, along with many US carriers, have been offering extra legroom seats to their high tier frequent flyers for many years, and I think it’s a great thing. Currently, in Australia, your status yields the most tangible benefits at the airport before you board, and generally once you’re onboard you get the same seat as every other passenger. Virgin Australia’s Platinum tier is often criticised for not offering many extra benefits above Gold. Giving Platinum tier frequent flyers extra legroom is a really great onboard offering and something we haven’t seen lately in the domestic market.

The only potential downside to this new product is the chance that middle seats that otherwise might have gone empty may now be filled up by regular passengers paying the money to upgrade to Economy X.

I’d really like to see Qantas embrace this concept and start offering a similar product. It would be especially beneficial on long haul routes.

Earn Velocity Points with Jetts

Earn Velocity Points whilst getting fit with Jetts.

If you’re a Velocity Frequent Flyer member and looking for a gym to join to get in shape during winter, consider Jetts. Velocity members can earn Velocity Points on their fitness spend and also bonus points for making regular visits to the gym.

 Earning Velocity Points with Jetts
Earning Velocity Points with Jetts

Every $1 spent on your membership will yield 2 Velocity Points. In addition to this, if you visit 5 or more Jetts clubs in any month you’ll receive 60 bonus Velocity Points.

Unfortunately this offering is not as rewarding as the Qantas and Snap Fitness partnership, which would definitely yield more points. Either way, it’s a nice added benefit if you were already looking at spending money on a gym membership.

Upgrade your Etihad flight with Velocity Points

A summary of upgrade options available to Velocity Frequent Flyers when travelling on partner 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’.

 Etihad's excellent Business Studio cabin on their A380 and 787 Etihad’s excellent Business Studio cabin on their A380 and 787

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 Economy Flexi booking Singapore Airlines Economy Flexi booking

Singapore Airlines Flexi tickets can be upgraded using KrisFlyer miles, which can be converted from Velocity Frequent Flyer at a rate of 1.35:1.

Be careful to check what cabins are available on your aircraft as upgrades on Singapore Airlines are one cabin only, and so if Premium Economy is available then you can only upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy and not Business Class.