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Ask Finder: What’s happening with my Virgin Australia travel credits?

When do you have to use them by? Will your credits disappear as Virgin restructures? Your questions answered.

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Hey Finder, I have a Virgin Australia travel credit from a flight that's been cancelled. Given Virgin has gone into administration, is that credit safe? And when do I have to spend it by? Thanks, Nervous Virgin

The rules for Virgin Australia travel credits have changed several times across 2020. During that time, Virgin Australia has faced the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen most flights cancelled; gone into administration; and found a buyer, Bain Capital.

Bain's buyout won't be fully approved until a final creditors' meeting in late August 2020. However, on 5 August 2020, Virgin Australia outlined its future plans under Bain's ownership, including what happens with travel credits. So here's what we know right now. (We'll update this guide in the future as the situation changes.)

When do I have to use my Virgin Australia travel credit by?

If you have a travel credit issued by Virgin Australia during 2020, you need to do the following:

  • Make a booking using that credit by 31 July 2022
  • The booking will need to be for travel by 30 June 2023

Both those dates are obviously a long way away. Airlines don't allow bookings for more than 12 months in advance. Given that international travel is effectively blocked in Australia right now and domestic routes are heavily reduced, having time to spend credits is definitely good news.

A Virgin Australia spokesperson told Finder that further details on how to use these credits will be announced by September 2020.

Travel credits issued earlier in 2020 may have specified a different date for making and redeeming bookings. However, the dates listed here will apply to all travel credits issued during the administration period.

If you received a travel credit after 21 April 2020, currently the only way to redeem that is by contacting Virgin by phone. Online redemption is planned for later in 2020 when the full "Future Flight Credits" system is rolled out.

Earlier travel credits issued to a Virgin Australia Travel bank can be redeemed on the Virgin Australia site. Just make a booking in the usual way then select Travel Bank as the payment method.

Is there a risk that Virgin Australia will collapse entirely and my credits will be worthless?

Nothing is guaranteed in business, and predicting the future of aviation in a post-COVID-19 world is very fraught. However, Bain Capital does seem committed to funding Virgin Australia for the long term and has made honouring existing travel credits a priority.

"Bain Capital recognises the importance of Virgin Australia's loyal customers, and that's why they will be provided the value of their travel credits post administration with validity significantly extended to ensure they have plenty of opportunity to book tickets to their favourite destinations," Virgin CEO Paul Scurrah said when the extended dates were announced.

Ask Finder is a regular column where Finder's expert writers answer your questions. All rates and fees are correct at time of publication and we only give general advice. Got a question for Points Finder? Hit us up on Facebook.

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