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Trip Report: Sydney to Adelaide return in Virgin Australia business class

Trip Report: Sydney to Adelaide return in Virgin Australia business class
Series: Adelaide in Virgin business class


I am a bit of a Qantas fanboy. I have been since my first flight when Qantas was a government airline.

Briefly, at the beginning of John Borghetti’s reign at Virgin, I swapped my allegiance, but soon swapped back when I realised how much I hated Sydney Airport’s Terminal 2, and Virgin Australia cut back its flight frequency to my standard destinations.

I then had a period where I just picked whichever was the cheapest fare on the day between Qantas and Virgin Australia. That worked quite well until the call of my Qantas Club membership was too strong, and I decided it was silly to fork out for another lounge membership at Virgin.

So, I have realised that I, and therefore this blog has been exhibiting a bias to Qantas – in terms of coverage, although not always in terms of positive opinion. That potential bias needs to be addressed.

a white airplane flying in the sky
Virgin Australia 737-800

Singapore Airlines – Technology – is it me or is it them?

You may remember back in 2016, I used American Express Reward points to travel in Singapore Airlines First Class Suites from London to Singapore, and then on to Sydney.

At that time, Singapore Airlines offered a 15% points discount if you booked redemption fares online rather than via their call centre. Because I was unable to book the fares London to Sydney with a stopover in Singapore – online – I thought I would not be eligible for the discount. As it turned out – because it was not possible to complete such a booking online – Singapore Airlines still gave me the discount, despite having to book through their call centre.

All well and good, but I had already transferred the points without the discount. The result – I had until recently a spare 36,000 points sitting with Singapore Airlines.

Points about to disappear!

I got fair warning through a number of emails from Singapore Airlines, not to mention via my Award Wallet account. The question was – what to do with them. They weren’t quite enough to do anything overseas in business class, and in fact, weren’t enough to do much in business domestically. And using them on Virgin Australia was also facing a devaluation.

A more sensible use of them (than what I ended up doing) would be to cash them in for a couple of domestic economy airfares. But, what’s the fun in that?

I ‘bought’ a Business Class return airfare from Sydney to Adelaide. I thought, although not the best value for points, it would allow me to review the Virgin lounges in both Sydney and Adelaide, and give me two Virgin domestic Business Class flights to review. See – I do it all for you, my readers!

the seats in the airplane
Virgin Australia 737-800 Business Class

Singapore Airlines – Technology – it’s definitely them.

I tried to redeem the points online, knowing that I would need to buy some additional points (had 39,750, needed 42,000 points). Despite my several attempts, I just could not achieve this online. Maybe I am becoming a Luddite as I age?

I rang Singapore Airlines, and I was correct, again this kind of transaction was not possible online. They were very helpful, and reserved the fares, and confirmed the purchase of the additional 2,250 points for US$90.

‘Thank you for  your call to Singapore Airlines regarding purchase of miles for partner airlines redemption ticket.

We are pleased to inform you that your request to purchase 2,250 miles with a service fee of USD90 via American Express credit card for your redemption booking, UHSJ4J, has been processed and ticket has been issued.’KrisFlyer email

a screenshot of a account summary
Excerpt from the confirming email

Check-In, not as easy as I thought

Excellent – all set to go I thought.

Well, on the day of the journey, I went to check-in online, to see how the Virgin Australia app worked.

I logged into my Velocity account, punched in my reservation code and . . . nothing. I tried it several times. I gave them a call and was put through to a call centre in the Philippines, or possibly (ironically) in Singapore. After being on hold several times, a couple of conversations between my agent and his supervisor, and a transfer, the advice became – ‘call Singapore Airlines’ – as Virgin Australia could not see my booking.

You need a Virgin Australia booking code – who knew?

So I rang Singapore Airlines, and their ever-helpful call centre staff said – yes, that would be right. What you need is this Virgin Australia booking code and here it is! Sheesh! – I looked through all my correspondence, and at no stage had I been sent this code. Better late than never.

Sure enough, I used this on the Virgin Australia site and printed my ticket. At least I wouldn’t be turned away at the airport!

2PAXfly Takeout

All well that ends well.

It shouldn’t be this hard. From the consumer’s point of view, you should have one booking number, and that should work across airlines. If not, then, partner airlines to Virgin (like Singapore) need to explain what will need to be done to check-in. That would include giving you the Virgin Australia booking number ahead of time.

Other Posts in the Series
Review: Virgin Australia Lounge, Sydney, Terminal 2 >>

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