Optus has a cheap way to buy Velocity Points
Need to top up your points total? Here's a cheaper option than buying them direct.
Optus' partnership with flybuys lets you earn bonus flybuys points when you sign up to a mobile plan and keep it for at least 90 days. On current rates, that can be a cheaper way of buying Velocity Points than purchasing them through Virgin's frequent flyer scheme.
Velocity lets you purchase top-up points if you're falling a little short and want to book a rewards flight. However, it can be expensive, costing between $23 to $36 per 1,000 points. (The more points you buy, the cheaper the effective rate.)
You can convert flybuys points to Velocity points, and we always recommend that as the best use of flybuys. With Optus offering up to 36,000 bonus flybuys points with some plans, it can work out cheaper to buy a month-to-month SIM-only phone plan (even one you're never going to use) and then convert the flybuys points to Velocity Points than paying Velocity for the points directly.
The table below shows what you'll pay for a 4-month connection on each Optus plan that's eligible; how many Velocity Points you'll earn when converting at the standard 2,000 flybuys=870 Velocity rate; and how much you'd pay for the same number of points if you purchased them direct. (Where the totals available from Velocity don't match exactly to the converted amount, I've quoted the price for the nearest rounded-down number of available paid-for points.)
Why 4 months? You can't cancel until day 91 if you want to earn the points, and your plan renews every 30 days. So you'll have to pay for 4 months to be sure of earning the bonus.
|Plan||4 month cost||flybuys earned||Velocity||Purchase cost||Saving|
As you can see, this approach doesn't make sense with the Small plan; you'd be better off buying the points directly. But if you sign up for the Extra Large plan and cancel after 91 days, you'll have paid $316 and effectively scored 15,660 Velocity Points. Buying 15,000 of them would have cost you $452.
The savings are even better if you wait until there's a bonus points offer for Velocity conversion, when the rate usually goes up to 2,000 flybuys=1,000 Velocity. Here's how the table looks then:
|Plan||4 month cost||flybuys earned||Velocity (bonus)||Purchase cost||Saving|
Again, the numbers don't add up for the Small plan, but you'll save for other amounts.
This clearly isn't a strategy for everyone. There are more cost-effective ways to earn Velocity Points, with choosing the right Velocity-earning credit card at the top of the list. And while the points are cheaper this way, you won't see them for over three months, so it won't work if you urgently want to grab a rewards booking.
But if you've run your totals for the year and know you're going to fall a little short, then this could be a way of boosting your points that's less expensive than the "just buy them" alternative.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.