Virgin Australia: The Hobart-Dunedin status run
Maintain Velocity Platinum in just one trip with this handy flight hack.
With a new double Status Credit offer from Virgin Australia, seasoned frequent flyers are contemplating how to plan their future travel to maximise their status.
Status credits are the key to getting Gold and Platinum status with Velocity, and a double Status Credit offer means you can score this twice as quickly. Keen status hunters will go on "status runs", where they take a flight specifically to earn Status Credits.
One of the best-known status runs on Virgin Australia is flying from Hobart to Dunedin in Business class. By routing the flights via Melbourne and Brisbane, you score 190 Status Credits for a one-way flight, but don't pay a huge premium for the additional legs. During a double promotion, that rises to 380 Status Credits.
Take a return Business flight and you'll score 760 Status Credits in total. That's nearly enough on its own to requalify for Velocity Platinum, which requires 800 Status Credits. You can earn the additional 40 Status Credits with your flights to Hobart; a one-way Melbourne to Hobart flight on an economy Freedom fare earns 25 Status Credits.
Virgin Australia currently flies Brisbane to Dunedin on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Return flights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Here's how the flights map out during daylight saving (the same flight numbers generally apply outside that time, but Brisbane times will vary):
Hobart to Dunedin status run
|Hobart 10:20am||Melbourne 11:35am||VA 1321|
|Melbourne 2:00pm||Brisbane 3:10pm||VA 331|
|Brisbane 6:00pm||Dunedin 12:40am (next day)||VA 123|
Dunedin to Hobart status run
|Dunedin 8:00am||Brisbane 9:00am||VA 120|
|Brisbane 11:55am||Melbourne 3:15pm||VA 326|
|Melbourne 4:10pm||Hobart 5:25pm||VA 1328|
Pricing varies, but it's possible to score this as a Business return for under $1,200. That amounts to an effective price of around $1.58 per Status Credit, which is one of the most cost-effective ways to boost your status total.
To be clear, there are some downsides here:
- The flight arrives in Dunedin at 12:40am, while the return service comes back at 8am. Dunedin doesn't have an airport hotel, so you'll either spend a dull night waiting for the airport to reopen or have to spring for a taxi to get to accommodation. I'd counsel taking the Tuesday flight over, arriving Wednesday morning, and returning on the Friday to make the most of the trip.
- The only lounge at Dunedin is run by Air New Zealand. Virgin customers can't use it (the two airlines having dumped their alliance back in 2018). There's no Virgin lounge in Hobart either. On a Business ticket, you will be able to access the domestic lounges in Melbourne and Brisbane, and use The Lounge at Brisbane International.
So is this a strategy for everyone? Well, no. But if you're keen to keep Platinum status and don't have other travel plans that will achieve that, it's one of the cheapest ways to score lots of Status Credits without too much travel. Check out the latest Virgin sales and promo codes to save even more. Hmmm, I've never been to Dunedin . . .
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.
- UPDATED: What to know about the Tasmanian border reopening
- Virgin Australia’s sale is flying you across the country from $69
- 7 things I learned from having to cancel my domestic trip | A couple of travel makers
- What Virgin’s CEO switch means for the future
- Which airline stocks are beating the rest in 2020?