This guide is worth reading alongside this piece on the best use of Qantas Points. Both programs have their own strengths and weaknesses which, in order to get the most from your points, are worth being aware of.
1. Redeem for Business Class on domestic Virgin Australia-operated flights
Redeeming Velocity points for Virgin Australia-operated flights represents the best value in the following situations:
- When travelling domestically in Business Class with multiple people: I have booked Business awards for four out of a total of eight seats in the Business Class cabin of some of Virgin Australia’s domestic flights
- On shorter domestic flights: where peak-time Economy fares are relatively expensive, you can often book a Business Class short-haul domestic redemption for 15,500 points
- Velocity can have better award seat availability than Qantas: Virgin generally has a greater supply of seats, at reduced cost in terms of points and cash, which means a more competitive point-per-point value than their main competitor. They have also priced their award chart at slightly less than Qantas’ for the same flight on the same route. For example, a Business Class seat on a Sydney-Los Angeles flight costs 95,500 Velocity points vs 96,000 Qantas points but accompanying taxes are also usually a fair bit lower, meaning a lower cash co-payment
2. Transfer your points to KrisFlyer for better award space and/or a free stopover
Singapore Airlines releases more saver award space to its own members, so sometimes it is worthwhile to transfer your Velocity points to KrisFlyer.
In addition, KrisFlyer no longer applies fuel surcharges to its own flights.
Whether you use Velocity points or KrisFlyer miles will depend on the specific Singapore Airlines redemption you have in mind, and you’ll need to compare the points and taxes in both Velocity and KrisFlyer to come to the best decision for your situation.
Singapore Airlines (old) A380 First Class
And if you transfer enough points and book a return ticket on KrisFlyer, you can get another perk, which Virgin does not offer: a free stopover.
For example, given that you currently have to fly from Australia to New York via Singapore and Frankfurt (although direct flights are back from October 2018), if flying on a return ticket, you can request a stopover (a stop in a city for more than 24 hours) in one of those cities for free. Or, if you’re on a one-way Saver ticket, you can just buy that stopover for US$100.
You could get a free/cheap stopover in Singapore or Europe on your way to the US
3. Fly Premium Economy to the US for 71,700 points one-way
With Business and First Class seats on nonstop flights to North America hard to come by, a good compromise is to look at Premium Economy.
On Virgin Australia, you’ll get superb food and a comfortable seat with less attentive customer service than in Business Class.
Redemptions from Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane to LA cost 71,700 Velocity points one-way.
4. Plan your points transfers with Velocity’s bonus transfer promotions
Velocity are unique in our region in consistently offering the opportunity of transferring in from credit card programs with an additional 15-60% bonus.
This is, by far, the optimal time to transfer and book your Velocity reward seats for any of the above redemption opportunities.
On top of the cheaper pricing I explained above, you’ll then be able to gain even more value from your bank’s flexible points balance. Here’s to hoping this pattern of offers continues.
5. Fly in Business Class to the South Pacific for 71,000 points return
Virgin Australia flies direct from the East Coast to Vanuatu, Fiji and Samoa. These flights fall into Zone 3 (1,201-2,400 miles), meaning it costs only 35,500 miles for a one-way Business Class ticket, which is the same as a flight from the East Coast to Perth.
And you’ll save money on the ground being in a cheaper destination than Western Australia.
During select dates, Virgin Australia flies its A330 with fully-flat Business Class beds from Sydney and Melbourne to Nadi, where you can wake up to this view
6. Fly in a lie-flat seat to Honolulu from 65,000 points one-way
Whilst Qantas almost never releases Business Class award seats on its flights between Sydney and Honolulu, Velocity members have access to more ample Hawaiian Airlines availability from Brisbane (65,000 points one-way) and Sydney (78,000 points).
These routes enjoy Hawaiian’s newest Business Class seats, albeit without direct-aisle access for all passengers.
What’s not so good?
There are definitely weak points to Velocity. Specifically, these include:
- A very discouraging and heavy charge of US$205 per Business Class and US$300 per First Class sector flown on Etihad, with its new Etihad Airways Reward Seat Carrier Charge, making a return First Class ticket from Australia to Europe via Abu Dhabi US$1200 more expensive
- Virgin’s limited international network of their own flights means you have to redeem Velocity points for partners for most international travel. With two partner redemption tables, the more expensive partners (including Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Air New Zealand and Hawaiian Airlines) are not as affordable
- You cannot mix cabins or carriers on Velocity redemptions
While there are a number of downsides to the Velocity program, it still offers good value for Business and First Class redemptions across its own network (flying on Virgin Australia-operated flights) as well as Singapore Airlines, for which you can book seats in all cabins.
And Velocity’s transfer bonus promotions are an added incentive to make sure this program does not disappear from your frequent flyer repertoire.
Looking for more inspiration for how to spend your hard-earned frequent flyer points?
Here is a comprehensive list of all of our Best Uses of Points guides. There may be some overlap but each guide has its own twist.
Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Best uses of Qantas Points
- ‘Ultimate’ uses of Qantas Points
- Best uses of 60,000 Qantas Points
- Best uses of 80,000 Qantas Points
- Best uses of 100,000 Qantas Points
- When it makes sense to use your Qantas Points for domestic travel in Economy (and when it doesn’t)
- Best uses of Qantas Points from the East Coast
- Best uses of Qantas Points from Perth
- Reader responses: what is the best use of Qantas Points?
Velocity Frequent Flyer
- Best uses of Velocity Points
- Best uses of 100,000 Velocity Points
- Five flight redemptions that maximise your Velocity points balance
- Best uses of Etihad Guest miles
- Etihad Guest vs Velocity for Virgin Australia flights comparison guide
American Express Membership Rewards
- Best uses of 100,000 American Express Ascent Membership Rewards points
- Best uses of 100,000 American Express Gateway Membership Rewards points