Velocity has announced some forthcoming updates to its Family Pooling feature within the Frequent Flyer program. The changes, which are slated to take affect from April 27, 2016 are described by Velocity as follows:
- ‘Pilot Gold’ members will be permitted to participate in a Family Pool as either a contributor or a beneficiary
- Limitations to the number of contributor and beneficiary changes within a Family Pool will apply as follows: a.) A beneficiary will be permitted to have a maximum of 5 Contributing Accounts in any calendar year b.) A contributor may contribute to a maximum of two Beneficiary Accounts in any calendar year
- Where a new Family Pool is created or an existing Family Pool is changed, the contributor will be required to specify his or her relationship to the beneficiary.
The first change lifts a restriction on members of the Pilot Gold program from particpating in the Family Pooling option.
The second point is more significant, as it introduces some further limitations to pooling arrangements. This will have some effects on families that had rotated members around the family pool in order to maximise the benefits of family pooling across the whole of the family.
What is Family Pooling?
Velocity Frequent Flyers ‘Family Pooling’ feature is unique to the Virgin Australia progam. By using the feature, members of a family are able to link their accounts to collect points and status credits in a single account. This helps a member of the family achieve status through the flying of the whole family.
This is somewhat advantageous if children are members that do not fly enough to gain status in their own right. The family accounts can be set up to allow any points and status credits earned across the family to be pooled into a single account.
The Basics to Family Pooling
First up, under the terms of the program, members of a Family Pool are defined as having either a Beneficiary Account, or a Contributing Account. A Family Pool is set up with a one beneficiary (the account receiving the points and status) and up to five contributors (the accounts that will be giving their points and status to the beneficiary).
As there is a maximum of five contributors in a Family Pool, a pool has at most six members. There are some additional restrictions – you can only be a member of one Family Pool at any given time. In addition, as the set up is designed for families, there is a restriction that there can only be two members over 18 years of age in the pool. In addition, there can be at most 4 members under the age of 18 years of age.
Setting Up Family Pooling
In order to setup a Family Pool, the contributing members need to log into their accounts to specify the account that they will be sending their status credits and points to. There is a menu entry on the left side, titled ‘Family Pooling’ that will take you to a page to set this up.
The system will do some checks to ensure that members are only in one Family Pool (for example a receiving account cannot in turn send the points and status credits on to another account), that members are registered at the same address, and the limits on number of members under or over 18 years of age are enforced.
Note that a child member of the pool will be removed when they turn 18.
Also, it is important to note that any points or status credits sent to a beneficiary cannot be reversed.
What is the benefit?
The main benefit to Family Pooling is that status credits from across the family are combined into a single beneficiary account. This allows that member to earn status faster than they otherwise would have. In turn, this will allow families to benefit from features such as lounge access that they may not have been able to if all status credits were maintained across all the accounts.