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Virgin Velocity and Singapore KrisFlyer: All the new changes explained

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You can transfer points between the 2 frequent flyer schemes again, but there's a catch.

So I saw something in my email about being able to move KrisFlyer Points into Velocity. Why should I care?

Good question. Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer has always been a popular redemption option for Virgin Velocity members. However, that whole partnership was paused during the COVID pandemic.

In February this year, Velocity reintroduced the ability to book reward seats on Singapore Airlines, albeit only in Economy. At the time, it promised that points transfers between the 2 schemes would return "soon". I wouldn't say 5 months later qualifies as "soon", but at least they are back from 19 July 2022.

Why would I want to do that kind of transfer?

There are a couple of key reasons:

    • If you have a small number of KrisFlyer miles and don't imagine you'll be earning more, transferring them into Velocity gives you more ways of spending them locally. That's especially handy because KrisFlyer Miles expire 3 years after you earn them. Velocity Points expire if you haven't had any account activity for 2 years, but it's easy to keep your account active without flying by converting Flybuys points into Velocity.
    • Conversely, if you want to earn KrisFlyer miles from your credit card but live in Australia, there are lots more cards that can earn Velocity Points than allow earning KrisFlyer miles directly.

OK, I'm in. What's the conversion rate?

When transferring from KrisFlyer into Velocity, you get 1 Velocity Point for each 1.55 KrisFlyer miles. The same ratio applies for transactions from Velocity into KrisFlyer. You have to transfer at least 5,000 points/miles each time (which would work out at 3,225 points/miles).

And can I get reward seats with Singapore Airlines anywhere using Velocity Points?

Not quite. Trips to Hong Kong and China aren't eligible. On popular routes such as Singapore-London competition for rewards seats is also fierce.

Also: You can now book Economy, Premium Economy and Business seats, but not First as yet.

Still, this sounds a bit too easy. What's the catch?

Also a good question. For bookings for flights made on or after 5 October 2022, the Velocity Points required for Singapore Airlines rewards flights are being tweaked slightly. (To be clear, it's the date the ticket issues that matters, not when you actually plan to fly.)

The previous 10 different distance ranges used to calculate points values are being expanded to 12. In some cases, that works to your advantage. For instance, Sydney-Singapore is 3,912 miles.

If you book an Economy reward flight that's ticketed before 5 October, you'll need 35,000 Velocity Points. After 5 October, that drops to 29,000.

However, the same route in Premium Economy doesn't change, requiring 52,500 Velocity Points.

The tables show how many Velocity Points you'll need right now and from 5 October. (Use Velocity's calculator to find out the distance.) Those higher points totals also apply to bookings on Etihad, Air Canada, Hawaiian Airlines and South African Airways.

One-way distance (miles)Until 4 Oct 2022One-way distance (miles)From 5 Oct 2022
1-60010,0001-60010,000
601-1,20014,000601-1,20014,000
1,201-2,40020,0001,201-2,40020,000
2,401-3,60028,0002,401-3,00025,000
3,601-4,80035,0003,001-3,60027,000
4,801-5,80042,0003,601-4,20029,000
5,801-7,00050,0004,201-4,80031,000
7,001-8,50056,0004,801-5,80042,000
8,501-9,50065,0005,801-7,00050,000
9,501-15,00075,0007,001-8,50056,000
8,501-9,50065,000
9,501-15,00075,000
One-way distance (miles)Until 4 Oct 2022One-way distance (miles)From 5 Oct 2022
1-60015,0001-60015,000
601-1,20021,000601-1,20021,000
1,201-2,40030,0001,201-2,40030,000
2,401-3,60042,0002,401-3,00042,000
3,601-4,80052,5003,001-3,60042,000
4,801-5,80063,0003,601-4,20052,500
5,801-7,00075,0004,201-4,80052,500
7,001-8,50084,0004,801-5,80063,000
8,501-9,50097,5005,801-7,00075,000
9,501-15,000112,5007,001-8,50084,000
8,501-9,50097,500
9,501-15,000112,500
One-way distance (miles)Until 4 Oct 2022One-way distance (miles)From 5 Oct 2022
1-60018,0001-60018,000
601-1,20026,000601-1,20026,000
1,201-2,40038,0001,201-2,40038,000
2,401-3,60053,0002,401-3,00055,000
3,601-4,80065,0003,001-3,60057,000
4,801-5,80078,0003,601-4,20067,000
5,801-7,00092,0004,201-4,80071,000
7,001-8,500104,0004,801-5,80078,000
8,501-9,500121,0005,801-7,00092,000
9,501-15,000139,0007,001-8,500104,000
8,501-9,500121,000
9,501-15,000139,000
One-way distance (miles)Until 4 Oct 2022One-way distance (miles)From 5 Oct 2022
1-60026,0001-60026,000
601-1,20038,000601-1,20038,000
1,201-2,40056,0001,201-2,40056,000
2,401-3,60078,0002,401-3,00078,000
3,601-4,80095,0003,001-3,60078,000
4,801-5,800114,0003,601-4,20095,000
5,801-7,000134,0004,201-4,80095,000
7,001-8,500152,5004,801-5,800114,000
8,501-9,500177,0005,801-7,000134,000
9,501-15,000203,0007,001-8,500152,500
8,501-9,500177,000
9,501-15,000203,000

Note: First bookings aren't currently available with Velocity Points, but that could change before 5 October.

One big caveat: You'll also need to pay a carrier charge for any reward bookings made on Singapore Airlines for flights from 5 October 2022. Here's what you'll pay:

Distance one-way (miles)EconomyPremium EconomyBusinessFirst
0 - 4,200US$30US$60US$90US$90
4,201+US$50US$100US$150US$150

Paying carrier charges is always irritating, but US$150 isn't too bad for international routes. Good luck hunting for reward seats!

Want to keep your frequent flyer points balance growing? Check out the latest credit card sign-up deals.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more.

Pictures: Singapore Airlines/Virgin

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