Velocity brings back domestic flight redemptions

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Well, this is a little bit of surprise. Velocity has announced that members will once again be able to book redemption seats with their points. This follows from the previous pause on redemptions announced last month,

While that is good news, there are some things to keep in mind. At present, you can only redeem for domestic Virgin Australia flights. There are no partner awards available. In addition, you cannot currently redeem for non flight awards, such as gift vouchers.

Velocity Redemptions

Let’s start with the offer that is currently on the table.

Velocity are making reward seats available on a limited number of routes. Or, in their words, on some of Virgin Australia’s “most popular domestic routes”. Bookings are not immediately available, you can only book for travel  on and from September 1 2020.

This may not be as bad as it seems. Firstly, there aren’t that many opportunities to fly at the moment. While we may be able to fly domestically by 1 September, the indications from the government suggests that there won’t be much chance of international travel.

Destinations

The initial routes that are available for redemption are shown in the following table.

Flights from (one-way) To
Adelaide Brisbane
Melbourne
Perth
Sydney
Mackay*
Rockhampton*
Brisbane Adelaide
Cairns
Melbourne
Mackay
Perth
Rockhampton
Sydney
Townsville
Broome*
Mackay*
Rockhampton*
Broome Perth
Brisbane*
Melbourne*
Gold Coast*
Sydney*
Cairns Brisbane
Melbourne
Sydney
Broome*
Perth*
Canberra Melbourne
Gold Coast Melbourne
Sydney
Broome*
Perth*
Mackay Brisbane
Adelaide*
Melbourne*
Perth*
Sydney*
Melbourne Adelaide
Brisbane
Canberra
Cairns
Gold Coast
Perth
Sydney
Broome*
Mackay*
Rockhampton*
Townsville*
Perth Adelaide
Broome
Brisbane
Melbourne
Sydney
Cairns*
Mackay*
Gold Coast*
Rockhampton*
Townsville*
Rockhampton Brisbane
Adelaide*
Melbourne*
Perth*
Sydney*
Sydney Adelaide
Brisbane
Cairns
Melbourne
Gold Coast
Perth
Broome*
Mackay*
Rockhampton*
Townsville Brisbane
Broome*
Melbourne*
Perth*

 

Conditions

Due to the uncertainty around travel restrictions, Virgin is providing some flexibility around the bookings. In particular, they will waive cancellation and change fees for reward bookings between now and 1 September.

As a result, you can get (almost) a full refund if the booking is cancelled by you (or Virgin Australia) before 1 September. The ‘almost’ reflects a restriction on the refund of any credit card fees.

If you need to make a change (rather than cancel), Velocity will waive the cancellation fees. This could save you $35 or 4,500 points, based on the normal change fee.

Thoughts

Redeeming now for flights from September 1 could be viewed as being speculative. There are a few unknowns at this point in time. Firstly, we don’t know what domestic travel restrictions will be in place at that time.

Then there is also the situation with Virgin Australia itself. To an extent, allowing reward flights suggests that the administrators are confident of where the airline will be at that time. Even if it is in the hands of its new owners, we don’t really know what the product or route map will look like.

Still, it is early steps in bringing Velocity redemptions back. From what I have heard, suppliers to the Velocity Rewards Store have been gearing up for redemptions to be brought back online. As such, I would not expect the Velocity Store to be too far behind in bringing back redemptions.

Redemptions on partner airlines, and the ability to transfer to Krisflyer are probably a little further down the track.

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About Author

Mark is the founder of FlyStayPoints, and caught the travel bug early in life. He discovered the benefits of travel loyalty programs in 2001, and is always learning how they can make travel better. While work takes him between Perth and Melbourne, he is always plotting his next adventure.