‘VA, UA, let’s go!’ That’s the uplifting chant uttered by the cheerleaders at Virgin Australia’s launch party at Sydney Airport. United Airways is now officially a partner of Virgin Australia. The US-based carrier boasts a large network in the States and also has the most comprehensive flight connections to Australia.
If you’re a Velocity Frequent Flyer member, you can now use Velocity Points to book United flights through the Virgin Australia website. United replaces Delta as Virgin’s US-based partner, with Delta to exit the partnership on 13 June 2022. Until then, you can use Velocity Points to book either airline.
And until 19 June 2022, you can activate an offer with Velocity Frequent Flyer that will reward you with bonus points and Status Credits when you take a United flight out of Australia by 31 December 2022.
- Economy: 2,500 bonus points and 25 Status Credits.
- Premium Economy: 5,000 bonus points and 50 Status Credits.
- Business: 7,000 bonus points and 70 Status Credits.
Next up for Virgin Australia is a new partnership with Qatar Airways, set to start ‘sometime’ in 2022.
How to use Velocity Points with United
Great news – United will sit on the Virgin Australia reward table, which requires fewer points than most other partner airlines. So whether you’re soaring from Sydney to Los Angeles or from Milwaukee to Chicago, you’ll enjoy favourable reward seat rates with Velocity Points.
|Distance travelled||Economy||Premium Economy||Business|
|1 - 600 miles||7,800 pts||11,700 pts||15,500 pts|
|601 - 1,200 miles||11,800 pts||17,700 pts||23,500 pts|
|1,201 - 2,400 miles||17,800 pts||26,700 pts||35,500 pts|
|2,401 - 3,600 miles||22,300 pts||36,700 pts||49,500 pts|
|3,601 - 4,800 miles||27,800 pts||44,700 pts||59,500 pts|
|4,801 - 5,800 miles||34,800 pts||53,700 pts||71,500 pts|
|5,801 - 7,000 miles||39,800 pts||62,700 pts||83,500 pts|
|7,001 - 8,500 miles||44,800 pts||71,700 pts||95,500 pts|
|8,500 - 9,500 miles||54,800 pts||83,700 pts||111,500 pts|
|9,500 - 15,000 miles||59,800 pts||95,700 pts||127,500 pts|
Both the Sydney-Los Angeles and Melbourne-Los Angeles routes will require 95,500 Velocity Points + taxes in Business Class. United’s unique Sydney-Houston flight – which recommences at the end of October 2022 – commands 111,500 Velocity Points in Business.
Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to locate any Business reward availability between Australia and the USA, yet. But you will have better luck on other routes including domestic USA and trans-Atlantic routes.
How to earn Velocity Points with United
Like most of Virgin Australia’s partners, you can earn Velocity Points on United based on the fare you book and the distance you travel (in miles). If you’re booked on a Virgin Australia codeshare (VA flight number operated by UA), then the following rates will apply:
- Business (J, C, D): 2 Velocity Points per mile
- Economy (Y, B, W, H, K, L): 1 Velocity Point per mile
- Economy (R, E, O, N, V, P, Q, T, I, S): 0.5 Velocity Points per mile
If you’re booked on a UA flight number operated by United, then a broader range of earn categories will apply.
|UA Fare Type||UA Fare Classes||Velocity Points|
|Business||J, C||1.5 points per mile|
|Discount Business||D, Z, P||1.25 points per mile|
|Premium Economy||O||1.25 points per mile|
|Discount Premium Economy||A, R||1 point per mile|
|Flexible Economy||Y, B||1 point per mile|
|Economy||M, E||1 point per mile|
|Economy||U, H||0.75 points per mile|
|Economy||Q, V, W||0.5 points per mile|
|Economy||S, T, L, K, G, N||0.25 points per mile|
If you hold a Virgin Australia Travel Bank, you should be able to apply the value of your credit to any United flights bookable on the Virgin Australia website (including codeshares with the VA flight number).
Velocity Points status bonus with United
Good news if you hold Velocity Silver status or higher – you’ll earn even more Velocity Points when flying with United on a UA or VA flight number.
- Silver members: 50% more points
- Gold members: 75% more points
- Platinum members: 100% more points
How to earn Velocity Status Credits with United
Get ready to turbocharge your Velocity Status Credits balance with United. When flying on a VA flight number with United, you’ll earn:
|Distance flown||Choice fare||Flex fare||Business fare|
|0 – 750 miles||15||20||40|
|751 – 1,500 miles||20||30||60|
|1,501 – 3,000 miles||25||40||80|
|3,001 – 5000 miles||35||60||120|
|5,000 – 8,000 miles||45||80||160|
|8,001 + miles||55||100||200|
And if you’re just flying United with a UA flight number, be sure to include your Velocity membership number on the booking to earn:
|Distance flown||Discount Economy||Economy||Premium Economy||Business|
|Fare classes||U, H, Q, V, W, S, T, L, K, G, N||Y, B, M, E||O, A, R||J, C, D, Z, P|
|0 – 750 miles||10||20||30||40|
|751 – 1,500 miles||15||30||45||60|
|1,501 – 3,000 miles||20||40||60||80|
|3,001 – 5000 miles||30||60||90||120|
|5,000 – 8,000 miles||40||80||120||160|
|8,001 + miles||50||100||150||200|
Don’t forget to consider using Velocity’s excellent Family Pooling benefit if you’re travelling with a family member or children who share the same address as you. You could collect everyone’s points and Status Credits into your account, reaching your status goals even faster!
Earning United miles on Virgin Australia
Are you a member of United and want to earn more miles while dashing around Australia? You’ll earn miles based on either the fare you paid or the distance flown, depending on how you bought your ticket.
For United tickets starting with ‘016’
|MileagePlus Premier status||Award miles earned|
|Member||5x the fare|
|Silver||7x the fare|
|Gold||8x the fare|
|Platinum||9x the fare|
|1K||11x the fare|
For all other tickets on Virgin Australia
|VA Fare Type||VA Fare Classes||United miles earned|
|Business||J, C||150% of mileage|
|Discount Business||D||125% of mileage|
|Full Fare Economy||Y, B||100% of mileage|
|Economy||W, H, K||100% of mileage|
|Discount Economy||L, A, R, E||75% of mileage|
|Deep-discount Economy||O, N, V, P, Q||50% of mileage|
|Deepest-discount Economy||T, I, S, F||25% of mileage|
|Basic Economy||M||25% of mileage|
|Groups||G||25% of mileage|
|Reward seats||Z, U, X||0% (not eligible)|
Reciprocal elite perks
Elite status members of both programs can enjoy reciprocal perks when flying with the other airline.
United Premier Gold, Platinum and 1K members are eligible for:
- Priority check-in, boarding and security (where available).
- One additional complimentary checked bag.
- Virgin Australia domestic lounge access.
Meanwhile, Velocity Gold and Platinum members will have these perks on United:
- Priority check-in, boarding and security.
- One additional complimentary checked bag.
- Limited United lounge access depending on the itinerary booked (more below).
Velocity lounge access with United
Velocity Gold and Platinum members enjoy access before some United flights, although access has been somewhat trimmed compared to the Delta days.
- If you’re departing Sydney or Melbourne in Economy or Premium Economy on a United flight, you’ll have access to the Singapore Airlines SilverKris lounges before your flight. If you’re flying in Business Class, you may be able to access other Star Alliance lounges as well.
- Domestic lounge access within the USA is restricted to Gold and Platinum members holding a ticket with an international leg in conjunction with the domestic leg. Access is only given to United owned and operated lounges. Flights on separate tickets won’t be eligible. Flying USA domestic First Class won’t get you in either – but that’s standard across all airlines in the States.
- International lounge access is limited to United owned and operated lounges with a same-day international boarding pass. Access to other lounges, such as Star Alliance lounges, is not included unless you fly Business Class.
As the Virgin Australia and United Airlines partnership gets ready to soar, we now know all the details of how Velocity Frequent Flyer members can benefit. Remember, the most important step is to make sure your Velocity membership number is attached to your United flight booking.
The points earning rates are a little on the lower side for Business Class, but it’s fairly standard in all the other cabins. At least Velocity elite status members will enjoy bonuses from 50-100% bonus points. The Status Credits earn rate is good across the board, particularly if you’re using Family Pooling.