VIRGIN AUSTRALIA: Velocity (means fast) Frequent Flyer program changes
NO, step back! Velocity is NOT going for full-on dynamic award pricing. It is however changing how many points it will take to redeem for flights to, as it claims, make it ‘faster to redeem’. Or, at least, that’s the claim.
The catch? Yes, Veronica, of course, there is one. The redemption rate will vary depending on the time of year, but Virgin is keeping mum about what factors will trigger the changes. That ups the unpredictability stakes, which is so not customer friendly Velocity program!
Velocity’s three-tiered new points table
Virgin Australia uses 5 distance-based zones to work out how many points you need. Now, there will be three redemption tiers in economy class. Business class reward seat costs will not change. Only Economy is being targeted. So using Sydney/Melbourne one way as an example …
- Tier 1 = the lowest tier – starting price will be 6,200 velocity points – down from 7,800 points
- Tier 2 = the middle tier – is at the previous standard reward rates startong at 7,800 points
- Tier 3 = new top tier, requiring more points than before – say 9,900 Velocity Points
- Business Class = 15,500
Here is the redemption table below, from the table published on the Velocity website. Tier 3 pricing will kick in from 5 July 2023.
|One-way miles (zone)||Economy|
(e.g. Sydney to Melbourne)
(e.g. Melbourne to Sunshine Coast)
(e.g. Brisbane to Perth)
What we do/don’t know
We don’t know when each tier will apply, but expect it to reflect low and busy times of demand. That is, when demand is less, then Tier 1 is more likely to apply, and when demand is excellent, then expect to have to redeem at Tier 3. So expect to have to redeem at a higher rate at peak times like school holidays, and public holidays, especially around long weekends. If that is not plain enough, then refer to the law degree requiring advice on the Virgin Australia website:
‘To determine which Tier price (in Points) is available for a given flight, check the base fare Point quote provided on the Virgin Australia booking portal.’
The link above will take you to the redemption mileage indicator.
If you have status with the Velocity program, that is Platinum or Gold, then those guaranteed Economy Reward Seats that you have access to, currently charged at the pricing of Tier 2, will cost more at Tier 3 pricing from 5 July 2023.
Mixed news for Velocity members. with the one hand they giveth lower redemption rates for off-peak (Tier 1), and on the other hand, they taketh away with higher redemption rates when things get busy (Tier 3).
At least they are not doing anything like massively reducing the value of their points!
As a carrot to this sort of stick, Virgin is offering a claimed million-plus rewards seats from 5 June. So now is the time to look for reward redemptions, if they haven’t already gone.