Which bank will Virgin Australia partner with?
More options for earning Velocity Points are in the offing.
Buried in Virgin Australia's recent results announcement was this intriguing nugget about plans for its Velocity frequent flyer scheme:
Velocity will further enhance its customer proposition through key growth initiatives in the 2019 financial year, including a new partnership with a major bank, a new mobile app and the delivery of a range of other digital platforms to enhance member engagement.
I'm pleased to hear the Virgin Australia app is being improved. The current version is quite kludgy: when you check in to a flight, you're effectively just dumped into the web-based system. The Qantas app handles this rather better (it also has its flaws, but that's another rant for another time).
However, the more notable news here is the "new partnership with a major bank". In this context, "major" would normally imply one of the Big Four (ANZ, CommBank, NAB or Westpac). There are existing relationships there. ANZ, for instance, offers Velocity Points on its Rewards Travel Adventures card. (Check our list of cards that earn Velocity Points if you want to compare what else is currently on offer.)
In August this year, Westpac rolled out a home loan that earns Velocity Points. That partnership could easily be expanded, but whether that really counts as "new" is an open question.
Pushing further into financial services is a big theme for frequent flyer schemes this year. Qantas is also planning to expand into more money-related areas, as we reported last month. Unlike Virgin, Qantas is concentrating on putting its own brand on those products, rather than co-branding with an existing large bank.
In practice, the approach doesn't matter. What counts is whether those new services offer a useful way to earn points, and also represent good value in their own right. I'll be watching with interest.
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.com.au.
Picture: Angus Kidman