Velocity Frequent Flyer

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Velocity Frequent Flyer is the loyalty program of Virgin Australia. The program deserves the attention of Australian flyers for its relatively easy path to Gold and Platinum status, wide array of points earning opportunities within Australia and solid partnerships with overseas carriers. The program rewards Virgin Australia flyers with Velocity Points for domestic and international travel alongside Status Credits which count towards a member's tier within the program.

This page summarises the key strengths and weaknesses of Velocity Frequent Flyer program, along with a summary of how to earn points and status and which flyers are most suited toward the program.

Strengths

  • Fairly extensive domestic route network within Australia
  • Solid range of retail partners that offer Velocity Points, including flybuys
  • Reward seat availability with Virgin Australia and Etihad is generally very good, Singapore Airlines also available
  • Very competitive fares for domestic flights
  • Partnerships with Etihad and Singapore for one-stop connections to Europe

Weaknesses

  • Very limited international network, only long haul destinations are Los Angeles and Hong Kong
  • Lack of lounges in regional Australian airports
  • Major credit card programs generally offer smaller sign up bonuses and points per dollar than Qantas
  • Short domestic flights earn 50% less Status Credits than Qantas
  • Taxes and carrier surcharges on reward bookings with Etihad are very high
  • No separate domestic Business Class lounges and no international lounges (although partner lounges are available for Velocity members)
  • Website is more difficult to use and less streamlined than Qantas

Earning points with Velocity Frequent Flyer

  • Flying with Virgin Australia or one of its partners
  • Credit card spend
  • Booking your accommodation via Virgin Australia Holidays
  • Buying products online via Velocity eStore
  • Shopping at Coles with your flybuys card

Earning status with Velocity Frequent Flyer

Velocity Frequent Flyer has four membership tiers: Red, Silver, Gold and Platinum. A member's tier is based on how many Status Credits they've earned in a 12 month period. The Status Credits required for each level are as follows:

Bronze Silver Gold Platinum
Status Credits to Reach 0 250 500 1000
Status Credits to Renew 0 200 400 800

Red benefits

  • Entry level membership tier

Silver benefits

  • 50% more points
  • Two complimentary lounge access passes (electronic)

Gold benefits

  • 75% more points
  • Lounge access
  • Upgrade with points on long haul international flights

Platinum benefits

  • 100% more points
  • Access to Etihad First Class Lounge in Abu Dhabi

Is Velocity Frequent Flyer for me?

As Australia's second largest airline, Virgin Ausralia's domestic route network is fairly extensive. It does however fall behind Qantas, especially in the smaller regional airports where there are no Virgin Australia Lounges (Newcastle and Townsville, I'm looking at you).

Virgin Australia lacks a strong international network, however its partnerships with Singapore Airlines and Etihad give flyers status benefits and the ability to earn Status Credits and Velocity Points, regardless of who they're booked through.

I would recommend Velocity Frequent Flyer for travellers who are doing a reasonable amount of domestic travel but not likely to reach 1400 Status Credits in a year (for flyers expected to hit this mark see below for 'Alternative programs'). Velocity Frequent Flyer offers a fairly easy path to status with the exception of those travelling the shortest (< 750 miles) domestic discount Getaway Economy fares whose Status Credit earn rate is now half that of Qantas, meaning more flying must take place. For most other sectors, Velocity leads to Gold status quicker.

In terms of international flights, Virgin Australia's network is very limited. The carrier flies to Abu Dhabi, Los Angeles, New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Bali, Port Moresby and Vanuatu. For all other international locations, you'll have to book via one of their partners to be eligible for status benefits. The downside to this is that generally you'll only receive lounge access in cities where that carrier has a lounge, for example, if flying with Singapore Airlines out of Paris, you won't have lounge access with Velocity Frequent Flyer as Singapore Airlines doesn't have its own lounge there (Singapore KrisFlyer members would have access to the Star Alliance Lounge).

Alternative programs

If you're doing a substantial amount of flying and likely to reach 1400 Status Credits in a year, I would recommend Qantas Frequent Flyer. The Qantas Platinum tier is far superior to Virgin Australia's Platinum level, with Qantas offering access to their dedicated Business Lounges and the International First Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne. Qantas has many more incentives and benefits than Velocity Frequent Flyer for travellers who are pulling in a substantial amount of status credits.

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