Virgin Australia tweaks Velocity program

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Velocity, the Frequent Flyer Program of Virgin Australia has announced a set of tweaks to the program. The changes affect two main areas of the program – the number of points required for various redemptions, and some changes to the expiration policy of the points.

Reward Seat Pricing

As from 1 June, 2016 Velocity will have new Points tables for Reward bookings. There are changes that affect redemptions on Virgin Australia flights, and other changes that affect redemptions on partner airlines. Overall, the changes are a bit of a mixed bag, with some redemptions requiring more points, while others will require less.

Under the Velocity program, there are two Rewards tables. Virgin Australia and some of its partners are in Table 1, while the remaining partners are in Table 2. Generally, the number off points required for Rewards on airlines that are in table 2 are greater than those required for Table 1. While both tables have been adjusted, the real major change is that Etihad has been moved from Table 1 to Table 2, which will result in some significant increases in redemption rates for Etihad flights.

Table 1: Virgin Australia and some partners

As from June 1, the airlines that have redemptions based on Table 1 will inlude Virgin Australia, Virgin Samoa, Virgin Atlantic, Delta Airlines, Virgin America, Air New Zealand (Trans-Tasman Services). At present Etihad is in this table, however, will be moved to Table 2 with the changes to the program.

As a result of Etihad being moved from Table 1, there will no longer be any airlines that offer First Class. As a result, there is no longer a chart for First Class. With that in mind, Velocity have published the following table, which shows the adjustments for each

Zone One-Way Miles Economy Premium
Economy
Business
1 1-600 7,800
(+900)
11,700
(+1,300)
15,500
(+1,700)
2 601-1,200 11,800
(+900)
17,700
(+1,300)
23,500
(+1,700)
3 1,201-2,400 17,800
(+900)
26,700
(+1,300)
35,500
(+1,700)
4 2,401-3,600 22,300
(-1,600)
36,700
(+800)
49,500
(+1,700)
5 3,601-4,800 27,800
(-1,100)
44,700
(+1,300)
59,500
(+1,700)
6 4,801-5,800 34,800
(-200)
53,700
(+1,200)
71,500
(+1,500)
7 5,801-7,000 39,800
(-1,200)
62,700
(+1,200)
83,500
(+1,500)
8 7,001-8,500 44,800
(-2,200)
71,700
(+1,200)
95,500
(+1,500)
9 8,501-9,500 54,800
(-200)
83,700
(+1,200)
111,500
(+1,500)
10 9,501-15,000 59,800
(-2,700)
95,700
(+1,900)
127,500
(+2,500)

 

The table shows that for Business and Premium Economy, there are across the board increases in points requirements. In the case of Economy, the shorter segments will have an increase in points cost, with the longer flights decreasing slightly in costs.

It is worth noting, that for a Virgin Australia domestic economy award, which are in Zone 1,  2 and 3, there is an increase in points required. This is opposite to Qantas that recently reduced the cost of such redemptions. On that, it is noticeable that for an Economy redemptin, Velocity is pretty much consistently 200 points below the number of points required for a Qantas redemption. Indeed, across the board, it appears that Velocity has aimed to provide a slight discount to the same redemption on Qantas.

Table 2: Various Partner Airlines

Table 2 sets out the points requirements for redeeming on the services of Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Silk Air, Air New Zealand (New Zealand domestic and long haul services only), airberlin, Hawaiian Airlines, South African Airways. They generally offer redemptions at a higher price than table 1. This provides an extra sting for redemptions on Etihad, as it is moving from table 1 to table 2.

Zone One-Way Miles Economy Business First
1 1-600 10,000
(+0)
18,000
(+500)
26,000
(+1,000)
2 601-1,200 14,000
(+1,500)
26,000
(+1,000)
38,000
(-2,000)
3 1,201-2,400 20,000
(+0)
38,000
(-2,000)
56,000
(+1,000)
4 2,401-3,600 28,000
(-7,000)
53,000
(-17,000)
78,000
(-7,000)
5 3,601-4,800 35,000
(-2,500)
65,000
(-15,000)
95,000
(-5,000)
6 4,801-5,800 42,000
(-3,000)
78,000
(-17,000)
114,000
(-21,000)
7 5,801-7,000 50,000
(+0)
92,000
(-18,000)
134,000
(-31,000)
8 7,001-8,500 56,000
(-9,000)
104,000
(-36,000)
152,000
(-45,500)
9 8,501-9,500 65,000
(-5,000)
121,000
(-36,500)
177,000
(-48,000)
10 9,501-15,000 75,000
(+0)
139,000
(-36,000)
203,000
(-47,000)

 

This table is a bit of a mixed bag – with some staying the same, some going up and others going down.

Expiration Policy

Velocity are making two changes to the policy regarding points expiration. The first of these reduced the time period that the account may be inactive for before the points expire. This is being reduced from 36 months down to 24 months. This change will affect any points earned from 1 June, 2016.

The other change being made is a change in what constitutes activity on the account. Transferring Points between family members or receiving Points from a Family Pooling relationship will no longer be considered eligible activity to prevent your Points expiring. This change is, however, retrospective – meaning any such activity in the period prior to 1 June 2016 will be excluded from being included in determining whether an account is active. Velocity have advised that any members that have only had such activity in the 36 months prior to 1 June, will have until the end of June to have qualifying activity.

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