Virgin Australia changes Velocity, you’ll need more points for flights

Sally McMullen 1 March 2016 NEWS

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Expiration periods and family sharing rules are also changing.

Virgin Australia's Velocity Frequent Flyer program will undergo some major changes from 1 June 2016. The big changes will impact when your Velocity Points expire, how many points you'll need for Rewards Seats on partner airlines and how family transfers work. In particular, seats with partner airline Etihad will require more points.

From 1 June 2016, your Velocity Points will expire if your don’t earn or redeem any points at least once every 24 months. Previously, this expiry period was 36 months. Any points earned before June 1 2016 won’t be affected by the change, and still won’t expire for 36 months.

Unfortunately, transferring your points to your family members or receiving points in a pooling system will no longer be considered eligible activity to prevent your points from expiring. If, on 1 June 2016, your only activity within the last 36 months is family pooling or points transfer between family members, you’ll be notified that you must earn or redeem points before 30 June 2016 to stop your points from expiring.

What if I earn or redeem points just before June 1 2016?

If you earn or use any points before this date, your points won’t expire until 36 months after the date of your last eligible activity before 1 June 2016. If you earn or redeem points after 31 May 2016, your points will expire after 36 months from the date of your last activity before 1 June 2016 or 24 months from the last date you earned or used points after 31 May, whichever comes first.

If your points are due to expire, you’ll receive an email at least 30 days prior to the expiration to give you plenty of time to earn or use your points to keep your account active.

Reward Seat pricing

Velocity also announced that Reward Seat bookings with Virgin Australia and its partner airlines would also be subject to revised points pricing. You can find how many points you’ll need to redeem Reward Seats below.

Reward Seat Points Table 1
These points prices are valid for redemptions made up to 31 May 2016 with Virgin Australia, Etihad Airways, Virgin Samoa, Virgin Atlantic, Delta Airlines, Virgin America and Air New Zealand.

Zone One-Way Miles Economy Premium Economy Business First
1 1-600 6,900 10,400 13,800 20,700
2 601-1,200 10,900 16,400 21,800 32,700
3 1,201-2,400 16,900 25,400 33,800 50,700
4 2,401-3,600 23,900 35,900 47,800 71,700
5 3,601-4,800 28,900 43,400 57,800 86,700
6 4,801-5,800 35,000 52,500 70,000 105,000
7 5,801-7,000 41,000 61,500 82,000 123,000
8 7,001-8,500 47,000 70,500 94,000 141,000
9 8,501-9,500 55,000 82,500 110,000 165,000
10 9,501-15,000 62,000 93,800 125,000 187,500

Reward Seat Points Table 1
These points prices are valid for redemptions made on or after 1 June 2016 with Virgin Australia, Virgin Samoa, Virgin Atlantic, Delta Airlines, Virgin America and Air New Zealand (Trans-Tasman Services).

Zone One-Way Miles Economy Premium Economy Business
1 1-600 7,800(+900) 11,700(+1,300) 15,500(+1,700)
2 601-1,200 11,800(+900) 17,700(+1,300) 23,500(+1,700)
3 1,201-2,400 17,800(+900) 26,700(+1,300) 35,500(+1,700)
4 2,401-3,600 22,300(-1,600) 36,700(+800) 49,500(+1,700)
5 3,601-4,800 27,800(-1,100) 44,700(+1,300) 59,500(+1,700)
6 4,801-5,800 34,800(-200) 53,700(+1,200) 71,500(+1,500)
7 5,801-7,000 39,800(-1,200) 62,700(+1,200) 83,500(+1,500)
8 7,001-8,500 44,800(-2,200) 71,700(+1,200) 95,500(+1,500)
9 8,501-9,500 54,800(-200) 83,700(+1,200) 111,500(+1,500)
10 9,501-15,000 59,800(-2,700) 95,700(+1,900) 127,500(+2,500)

Reward Seat Points Table 2
These prices are valid for redemptions made up to 31 May 2016 with Singapore Airlines, Silk Air, Air New Zealand (New Zealand domestic and long haul services only), airberlin, Hawaiian Airlines and South African Airways.

Zone One-Way Miles Economy Premium Economy Business
1 1-600 10,000 17,500 25,000
2 601-1,200 12,500 25,000 40,000
3 1,201-2,400 20,000 40,000 55,000
4 2,401-3,600 35,000 70,000 85,000
5 3,601-4,800 37,500 80,000 100,000
6 4,801-5,800 45,000 95,000 135,000
7 5,801-7,000 50,000 110,000 165,000
8 7,001-8,500 65,000 140,000 197,500
9 8,501-9,500 70,000 157,500 225,000
10 9,501-15,000 75,000 175,000 250,000

Reward Seat Points Table 2
These points prices are valid for redemptions made on or after 1 June 2016 with Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Silk Air, Air New Zealand (New Zealand domestic and long haul services only), airberlin, Hawaiian Airlines and South African Airways.

Zone One-Way Miles Economy Premium Economy Business
1 1-600 10,000(+0) 18,000(+500) 26,000(+1,000)
2 601-1,200 14,000(+1,500) 26,000(+1,000) 38,000(-2,000)
3 1,201-2,400 20,000(+0) 38,000(-2,000) 56,000(+1,000)
4 2,401-3,600 28,000(-7,000) 53,000(-17,000) 78,000(-7,000)
5 3,601-4,800 35,000(-2,500) 65,000(-15,000) 95,000(-5,000)
6 4,801-5,800 42,000(-3,000) 78,000(-17,000) 114,000(-21,000)
7 5,801-7,000 50,000(+0) 92,000(-18,000) 134,000(-31,000)
8 7,001-8,500 56,000(-9,000) 104,000(-36,000) 152,000(-45,500)
9 8,501-9,500 65,000(-5,000) 121,000(-36,500) 177,000(-48,000)
10 9,501-15,000 75,000(+0) 139,000(-36,000) 203,000(-47,000)

As part of these revisions, some destinations are increasing in price and others are decreasing. Some of the examples Virgin Australia has provided are listed below:

Route (one-way) Airline Class Points (until 31/05/16) Points (from 01/06/16) Taxes & fees (unaffected)
Sydney - Melbourne Virgin Australia Economy 6,900 7,800 $21.11
Brisbane - Los Angeles Virgin Australia Economy 47,000 44,800 $138.53
Perth - Singapore Singapore Airlines Business 70,000 53,000 $106.05
Sydney - London (via Abu Dhabi) Etihad Airways Economy 62,500 75,000 $114.77

As you can see, the impact of the changes is mixed, with some Economy Class redemptions seeing slight declines. Meanwhile the points you’ll need to redeem Premium Economy and Business Class Reward Seats will increase. Interestingly, you’ll need fewer points to redeem rewards with the airlines, such as Singapore Airlines, listed in table 2. However, you still can’t use your Velocity Points to redeem reward seats in First Class, so you may need to transfer your points to the relevant program if you want to fly in first class.

These are the first changes Velocity has made to its Reward Seat pricing in over five years. Overall, Virgin Australia customers will see increases of approximately 3% for Business Class Travel as well as increases for shorter routes with domestic economy flights. Most of the economy seats that are decreasing in cost go beyond Virgin Australia’s domestic routes, so you’ll still be shelling out a fair number of points to take advantage of them.

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