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The best ways to use 50,000 Velocity Frequent Flyer Points

Take a look at the different rewards you could get with 50,000 Velocity Points and compare your options to get the greatest value.

If you’re a Velocity Frequent Flyer member, it’s possible to earn points through bonus promotions with program partners. In particular, many frequent flyer credit cards include huge bonus point offers for new customers when you spend a set amount of money in the first few months of opening an account.

But whether you get an extra 5,000 points or an extra 50,000 points, it’s how you use them that really determines the value of these points. Here, we’ve focused on convenience and value-for-money and have come up with the best ways to use 50,000 bonus points for flight upgrades, reward flights and other rewards such as merchandise and gift cards. We also take you through the key considerations and compare other rewards programs so you can find the offer that’s best for you.

Flight upgradesvelocity-ff-logo

As with most frequent flyer programs, using your points for flights or flight upgrades offers great value when compared to other reward options. With flight upgrades in particular, you have the flexibility of either improving your fare class on an existing booking, or purchasing a higher fare class than you would normally buy.

To be eligible for upgrades, all flights must be marketed and operated by Virgin Australia and issued on Virgin Australia ticket stock. If you meet these requirements, Velocity offers two different ways to use points for an upgrade based on your membership status and booking:

  • UpgradeMe Points. This is the standard upgrade option and gives all Velocity members travelling in an eligible fare class the opportunity to upgrade on Virgin Australia Domestic or International Short Haul flights. Gold and Platinum members can also use points to upgrade on Virgin Australia International Long Haul flights.
  • UpgradeMe Premium Bid. This option is for domestic flights only and allows you to make an offer with your points for the chance to upgrade to Premium Economy or Business Class. Note you have to be booked on an eligible flight and in an eligible fare class to take advantage of this offer.

It’s worth noting that Platinum Velocity Members can also request an upgrade to Business Class by using one of four complimentary upgrade credits when travelling on Virgin Australia Domestic or International Short Haul flights. But for the sake of this article, we’ll focus on how you could use 50,000 points for an upgrade using the UpgradeMe Points option (which has fixed values for point upgrades).

International flight upgrades to “The Business”

Virgin Australia’s most luxurious fare class is The Business, which includes perks such as a private suite with an 80-inch fully flat bed, complimentary amenities, premium dining and entertainment options and lounge access. It’s only available on Airbus A330 aircraft, which Virgin Australia primarily uses for international flights to Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi.

If you’re a Gold or Platinum Velocity member, you could use 50,000 Velocity Points for the following upgrades to The Business:

  • One-way Freedom and Premium Saver fares. If you’re booked on one of these economy fares to Los Angeles or Abu Dhabi, you can upgrade to business for 45,000 points.
  • Return Premium fares. If you’re already booked on a premium fare for a return international long-haul flight, you could upgrade to The Business for 25,000 points one-way, or 50,000 points return.

Other international upgrades to business class

All Velocity members can use points to upgrade an existing fare to business class on international short-haul flights, such as those to or from South East Asia or the Pacific, or flights crossing the Tasman. As these flights are shorter, it’s possible to get upgraded to business class on many return fares. The table below outlines popular upgrades you could get with 50,000 points.

FlightExisting fare classPoints to upgrade to business class
Sydney or Brisbane to BaliGo Plus or Getaway48,000 points (one-way for 24,000 points)
Perth to AucklandGo Plus or Getaway48,000 points (one-way for 24,000 points)
Brisbane to FijiGo Plus or Getaway48,000 points (one-way for 24,000 points)
Sydney or Brisbane to Samoa (Apia)Go Plus or Getaway48,000 points (one-way for 24,000 points)
Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne to AucklandGo Plus or Getaway32,000 points (one-way for 16,000 points)

Flight upgrades from economy to Premium Economy

If you’re a Gold or Platinum Velocity member, you also have the option of upgrading your eligible Freedom economy fare to a Premium Economy fare on flights between Australia and Los Angeles or Abu Dhabi for 18,000 points per fare. If you had 50,000 points to play with, your upgrade options would include:

  • One return flight upgrade to LA or Abu Dhabi for 36,000 points
  • A one-way flight upgrade for you and a partner for 36,000 points

The only other flight upgrades from economy to Premium Economy that are currently available can be accessed through the UpgradeMe Premium Bid service, which allows you to nominate the points you want to use to upgrade your domestic flight to Premium Economy. While this might allow you and a partner to fly Premium Economy on a domestic flight, it may not always offer the greatest point value when compared to other options.

What about domestic flight upgrades?

If you regularly fly around Australia, using 50,000 Velocity Points to upgrade from economy to business class is a great way to enjoy some added luxury and to save money on your bookings. With this many points, some of your options include:

  • Flights from Sydney to Brisbane or Melbourne. If you were booked from Sydney on a flexible Freedom economy fare to one of these cities, you could get up to 10 upgrades to business class for a total of 49,000 points. If booked on a Getaway or Elevate fare, you’d be able to get five upgrades for a total of 50,000 points.
  • Flights from Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney to Perth. You could get five upgrades from flexible Freedom economy to business class on flights from Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney to Perth (9,900 points one-way). Alternatively, a one-way upgrade from a Getaway or Elevate fare would cost you 30,000 points, leaving you with 20,000 points to play with.

These domestic upgrades have the potential to save you huge amounts of money when compared to purchasing tickets. For example, the price difference between an economy and business class fare from Sydney to Melbourne (one-way) with Virgin Australia in February 2017 is as much as $600 depending on the type of economy fare you book. So even if you only got five upgrades from lower-cost Getaway or Elevate fares, you could still potentially save $24,000 a year on business class fares.

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Flight redemption

Velocity offers domestic and international Reward Seat flights from 7,800 points (plus taxes, carrier charges and fees), with point requirements calculated based on airline and miles flown.

As with most frequent flyer programs, your points go further with Virgin Australia flights. The same minimum point amounts also apply for flights with Virgin Samoa, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Air New Zealand (trans-Tasman services), Alitalia and Delta Airlines. The tables below outline the flight options you’d have with 50,000 points, arranged by lowest to highest point requirements.

International flights

FlightFare classOne-way or return?Points
Melbourne or Sydney to SingaporeEconomyOne-way27,800 points
Brisbane to SingaporeEconomyOne-way35,000 points
Brisbane or Sydney to FijiBusiness classOne-way35,500 points
Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne to AucklandBusiness classOne-way35,500 points
Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne to Los AngelesEconomyOne-way44,800 points
Perth to AucklandBusiness classOne-way49,500 points
Melbourne or Sydney to BaliBusiness classOne-way49,500 points
Brisbane or Sydney to FijiEconomyReturn35,600 points (17,800 one-way)
Perth to BaliEconomyReturn35,600 points (17,800 one-way)
Perth to AucklandEconomyReturn44,600 points (22,300 one-way)
Melbourne or Sydney to BaliEconomyReturn44,600 points (22,300 one-way)

Domestic flights

You can make 50,000 Velocity Points go a long way with domestic flights. Some of your options include:

FlightFare classPoints per flightNumber of flights for 50,000 points
Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney to PerthBusiness class35,500 points1 flight (total 35,500 points)
Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney to PerthEconomy17,800 points2 flights (total 35,600 points)
Melbourne to Brisbane or the Gold CoastEconomy11,800 points4 flights (total 47,200 points)
Brisbane to SydneyBusiness class15,500 points3 flights (total 46,500 points)
Sydney to MelbourneBusiness class15,500 points3 flights (total 46,500 points)
Sydney to MelbourneEconomy7,800 points6 flights (total 46,800 points)
Brisbane to SydneyEconomy7,800 points6 flights (total 46,800 points)

Merchandise, gift cards and other rewards

Although flight upgrades and airfares typically offer the greatest value when redeeming your points (compared to purchasing with cash), it’s useful to see how far 50,000 points can go for other rewards. The Velocity Rewards Store offers a variety of redemption options that can be useful if you want to use your points to save money on your already-planned purchases or everyday expenses.

Here we’ve listed a range of rewards that cost around 50,000 points. We’ve also included a column for the estimated retail value to help you gauge the financial value of these redemptions.

Reward itemPointsEstimated retail value
$250 gift card for Coles, David Jones, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi or Myer45,000 points$250
Breville Nespresso UMilk Espresso Coffee Maker46,700 points$199-$229
Scanpan Impact 3pc Saucepan Set47,900 points$135
Antler Cyberlite II 70cm suitcase49,500 points$159-$189
Apple iPod Touch 32gb49,900 points$344-$399

These examples highlight how much the value of your points can vary based on your chosen form of redemption. But if you’re already planning on buying a particular item, using your 50,000 points is a good way to keep your own cash in the bank.

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What is the best way to use bonus Velocity Points?

The amount of bonus Velocity Points you can get through a partner promotion can range from around 5,000 points to up to 100,000 points. If you end up with more than 50,000 bonus frequent flyer points in your account, some competitive ways to use the points include:

  • Flight upgrades. If you’re a Gold or Platinum member flying to Los Angeles or Abu Dhabi, you could upgrade your return Freedom or Premium Saver fare for 90,000 points. Or, for 96,000 points you could get business class upgrades for two return flights from Brisbane or Sydney to Bali when booked on a Go Plus or Getaway fare.
  • Flight rewards. One-way economy reward flights from Melbourne to London start from 75,000 points plus $114.71 in taxes and fees. You could also get a return economy flight from Brisbane to Singapore for 70,000 points or a one-way business class flight from Sydney to Los Angeles for 95,500 points, plus fees.
  • Other rewards. If you’re an existing member of The Lounge, you could get an annual membership for 60,000 points through the Velocity Rewards Store. Other rewards include a $500 Virgin Australia Holidays gift certificate (74,000 points), a 6-person Coleman Instant Up Gold Tent (95,100 points) or a Brunel Chauffeur 10-trip CBD Airport transfer pack (98,000 points).

What else should I consider?

Consider the following factors to help ensure that you get the most value out of your Velocity Points whenever you decide to use them.

  • Dollar value of rewards. Check the retail value of your chosen reward before redeeming it. In some cases, it could be better value to purchase with cash, especially if you can earn more Velocity Points in the process. For example, if flights are on sale, you may be better off paying for them and saving your points up for a bigger redemption later on.
  • Points + Pay. Many Velocity redemptions give you the option of using a combination of points and cash, including flights and items from the Velocity Rewards Store. This gives you the opportunity to get the reward that you want, even if it’s worth more than 50,000 points. Do note that minimum points requirements apply and vary based on the reward.
  • Buying points. You can purchase up to 20% of the points required for a reward through your Velocity account during the redemption process. The cost for buying additional points starts from $18 for 500 points and you can do so up to two times per year.
  • Point expiry. Your Velocity Points won’t expire as long as you earn or redeem them at least once every 24 months.
  • Point sharing. You can transfer or pool your points with eligible family members who are also part of the Velocity Frequent Flyer program. If you happen to get 50,000 bonus points, this could be a generous way to use them as a gift for a loved one.

Other reward programs

If you’re looking for ways to maximise your points and benefits, it’s also worth considering different reward programs. Here we’ve included some examples of the rewards you could get with 50,000 points through the following programs:

  • Qantas Frequent Flyer. Rewards include a return economy flight from Sydney to Bali or a return economy flight from Perth to Singapore for 45,000 points. You could also get a one-way business class flight from Perth to Auckland for 50,000 points.
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. You could get a return economy flight from Australia or New Zealand (excluding Perth and Darwin) for 50,000 KrisFlyer Miles. You could also get a one-way economy flight to the west coast of the USA for 50,000 points.
  • Hilton Honors. With 50,000 points you could book a one-night weekend stay at DoubleTree by Hilton in Melbourne CBD. You could also book two nights at the Hilton Brisbane for 48,000 points plus $262.
  • Westpac Altitude Rewards. If you had 50,000 points in the Westpac Altitude Rewards program, you could use them for a one-way flight from Brisbane to Melbourne (starting from around 30,840 points). You could also get a one-night weekend stay at the Mercure Welcome in Melbourne’s CBD for 49,320 points (Superior Room) or a $200 Woolworths eGift Card for 44,000 points.

If you’re a member of the Velocity Frequent Flyer program, a bonus 50,000 points would allow you to upgrade a wide range of existing flights, book new flights or purchase a variety of other rewards including up to $250 in gift cards. Just remember to consider all of your options, including saving your points for future rewards, so that you can make sure you get the most out of your frequent flyer account.

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Amy Bradney-George

Amy is a Senior Writer at finder.com.au with more than 10 years experience covering credit cards, personal finance and various lifestyle topics. When she’s not sharing her knowledge on money matters, Amy spends her time as an actress.

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