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Virgin Velocity status extension and bonus credits: There’s one big catch


Bonus Status Credits and international flight rewards are coming back too.

Virgin has announced a status extension scheme to ensure its Velocity frequent flyer members don't lose their status during lockdown, as well as new bonus Status Credit offers and a hint of future international travel plans.

Any chance to hang onto status is welcome, but the details for this one are pretty fiddly. Let's go through them.

If you're a Silver, Platinum or Gold member with a review date between 30 September 2021 and 30 April 2022, your membership will be automatically extended by 8 months. That should be reflected in your Velocity account when you log in, though typically those updates can take a few days to be reflected in the Velocity system.

Platinum and Gold members get an additional bonus. If you booked an eligible flight with Virgin prior to 28 March 2021, your membership is extended until 28 February 2023, regardless of expiry date.

Note the big catch: There's nothing you can do to activate this extended bonus now. If you didn't make a booking during that period, you're not eligible. If you did, your date will previously have been extended to 30 September 2022, and should be upgraded automatically to the new February date.

"We've already given Velocity members more than 18 months of Status extensions during the course of the pandemic and our announcement today will give members even more certainty that they'll continue to enjoy the tier benefits they value when flying with Virgin Australia or our international partner airlines well into the future," acting Virgin CEO David Marr said.

The move to extend member status was widely expected, given that travel from the eastern states in particular has been all but impossible for much of 2022 due to COVID lockdowns.

Qantas made a similar move last month, but its status extension had 2 key differences. Firstly, you could activate it by making a new flight booking before your review date. Secondly, it gave you a full extra year regardless of your expiry date.

When are Velocity international reward flights returning?

In its announcement, Virgin also said that it will soon be allowing members to use points for redemptions with international partner airlines.

"It's anticipated that Velocity members who have accumulated a healthy Points balance during the pandemic, will be able to make redemption bookings directly at the Velocity website on a host of international carriers to be announced soon," the airline said in a statement.

Key international partners for Virgin prior to the pandemic included Singapore Airlines, Etihad and Delta. For many Australians, the airline was a backdoor way to take advantage of Star Alliance. Virgin itself is not a member, but many of the partner airlines are.

Airport departures board

Despite lacking much detail, that's good news, given that redemptions on international flights haven't been possible since March 2020. Virgin hasn't firmed up any plans for even limited international services of its own. It scheduled some school holiday flights to New Zealand this year, but those were cancelled when the travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia closed.

The big catch here, of course, is that we don't yet know when international flights from Australia will be fully opened up. Qantas has opened international flights for booking from late December, but details of how vaccine passports and quarantine requirements will change haven't yet been finalised.

Velocity bonus Status Credit offer

Velocity is also offering bonus Status Credits for flights between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022. Any Economy bookings will earn up to twice as many Status Credits, while Business bookings get up to 45% more. Unlike most Status Credit offers, there's no need to opt in. Virgin says the bonus will be applied automatically on eligible flights.

In a more unusual move, Virgin is also offering Status Credit bookings on Reward Seat bookings. Normally those aren't eligible to earn Status Credits. The deal applies over the same period (1 October 2021 - 31 March 2022) as the bonus offer. Those bookings don't qualify for the bonus loading though. Virgin says it's the first time in a decade that Status Credits have been available on Reward flights.

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: Angus Kidman, Getty Images

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