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Velocity Points and Krysflyer Points conversion downgrade

Velocity Points and Krysflyer Points conversion downgrade

Velocity used to be a great loyalty program

Can you remember when you last read a frequent flyer program benefit announcement that included an actual increase in benefits? I know. Nations have risen and fallen in that time.

Way back when Virgin Australia started their flights to the USA west coast, I was a great fan. Their flat business beds shat all over Qantas. Their flight attendants gave great service, plus there was lots of award availability.

My partner and I did two transpacific trips using points earned on Amex, and all but one sector was amazing.

  • June 2011 we flew on Virgin Australia from Sydney to Los Angeles, and then on to Mexico and Cuba
  • April 2012 it was Sydney to Los Angeles on Virgin Australia and then on to New York on American Airlines – to see Robert LePage’s Ring Cycle at the Met. You can read a review of the Trump Soho, where we stayed for a few nights prior to our opera frenzy. Then on to Key West, and a few days in Miami to meet up with some British friends of ours.

Flights were booked by phone and held while points were transferred. We even got some bonus points, as the transfer was delayed (if my memory serves me well).

They even introduced an innovation of sort of tradeable points between Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia – you could swap (well not quite one for one) between programs. Given that Singapore Airlines owns about 20% of Virgin Australia – this was a trade among friends.

a white airplane in the sky

. . . Now, not so much

After a flood of innovation from about 2011 under GM John Borgetti, things have trailed off – as has the companies financial performance. Their domestic price war with Qantas – although benefiting passengers with lower seat prices, eventually damaged both companies, with Virgin coming out the greater loser.

You need a high powered microscope to find international points seat availability, and I can’t remember the last time I saw a seat at a saver rate.

Well, now that ‘exchange’ rate between Singapore airlines KrisFlyer points and Velocity has been changed and not in a good way. From January 1, 2019, the conversion ratio will be 1.55 Virgin/velocity points to 1 Krysflyer mile and vice versa. Think of it as a commission on the transfer.

Receive 1 Velocity point for every 1.35 KrisFlyer miles converted before 1 January 2019. After January 2019, you will receive 1 Velocity point for every 1.55 KrisFlyer miles converted, and Velocity points will be credited directly to your Velocity Frequent Flyer account from then. A minimum of 5,000 KrisFlyer miles is required for each conversion. Please note that all miles converted cannot be reversed.

Or as Point Hacks puts it:

More simply, the transfer rate is 0.7405 – so transferring 100,000 Velocity points would earn you 74,075 KrsFlyer miles and Vice Versa

Since Velocity points have been substantially devalued – the only way to take some advantage of this is to convert from Velocity to KrisFlyer. Given that Singapore Airlines reserves some of its points seats specifically for members of its KrisFlyer program – this is the way to access them.

a row of seats in a plane

I cashed in a load of Amex points by transferring them to KrisFlyer, and redeeming two one way First Class Suites tickets from London to Sydney on an a380. Strangely, I didn’t enjoy the flights as much as I did on Qantas’s a380, with its much more open seats in First. Mind you, I did like the First Suites lounge in Singapore.

OK, I’m out of here until I hear some good news about an increased valuation on any travel loyalty scheme. I may be gone for a long while  . . .

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