Virgin Australia releases award space on new Sydney to Hong Kong flights

A guide to using points on Virgin Australia flights to Hong Kong and Mainland China

GUIDE: Using Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 3 minutes
POSTED: April 4, 2018
UPDATED: November 17, 2018
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Velocity Frequent Flyer, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Virgin Australia has opened cash and award reservations on this new direct service starting on 2 July 2018.

In this guide, we outline new Virgin Australia direct flights from Australia to Hong Kong and Mainland China and explain how to book award seats on these flights.

New Sydney to Hong Kong service from July 2018

Award availability

In a search on the Velocity website, I found at least two Business Class award seats open on about a third of dates in the first month of operation in both directions.

I also searched for seats during the busy Christmas-New Year holidays and did not have any success.

In between these dates, you may have some luck, so try plugging in your desired dates.

If you are interested in flying this new route, it will set you back 59,500 Velocity points/54,000 KrisFlyer miles with taxes of ~$90 AUD each way.

There are also a smattering of dates with award availability between Melbourne and Hong Kong.

Route, schedule and aircraft

Virgin Australia will fly daily from Sydney to Hong Kong from 2 July 2018.

This is in addition to the Melbourne flights, which started as five-weekly in July last year, then ramped up to daily frequency and will again scale back to five times a week when the Sydney flights start due to slot restrictions at Hong Kong Airport.

On the outbound, flights from both cities depart mid-morning and return overnight.

Virgin Australia employs Airbus A330s on these routes, featuring its upgraded ‘The Business’ suites, which launched in August 2015.

This aircraft features 20 lie-flat Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration and 255 Economy Class seats.

VA A330 J cabin 1

Virgin Australia’s The Business suites on the A330

VA A330 IFE

Virgin Australia’s The Business inflight entertainment system on the A330

Operating these services to Hong Kong and Mainland China will most likely continue to take some A330s away from existing routes between the East Coast capitals and Perth, as well as peak-period services to Nadi, i.e. seasonal Saturday services from Sydney and Melbourne.

Virgin Australia will be competing with Cathay Pacific’s four and Qantas’ two daily flights to and from Sydney.

Connections to other airports in Mainland China and Asia are made possible through Virgin Australia’s partnership with the two HNA Group airlines currently serving Hong Kong, namely full-service Hong Kong Airlines and low-cost HK Express.

And passengers bound for London can connect onto the Virgin Atlantic service.

How many points are needed?

You can use either Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles or Virgin Australia’s own Velocity Frequent Flyer points for award seats on flights from Sydney/Melbourne to Hong Kong.

Frequent flyer programOne-way Business ClassOne-way Economy Class
KrisFlyer54,00026,000
Velocity59,50027,800

If you don’t have access to KrisFlyer miles, in this case, it does not make sense to transfer your Velocity points to KrisFlyer for the lower redemption pricing.

Taxes are $85-90 AUD departing Australia and ~$75-90 AUD returning from Hong Kong, and should be the same through KrisFlyer and Velocity.

How do I search for and book an award seat?

You can search for award seats on the Velocity or KrisFlyer website.

If you cannot see availability for Virgin Australia flights under the Other partner airlines tab on the KrisFlyer website (due to this feature being progressively rolled out), then you can phone KrisFlyer to make your booking.

More on the Virgin Australia-Hainan Airlines relationship

Hainan is one of the world’s seven 5-star airlines, along with carriers such as ANA, Asiana, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines.

Virgin signed a bilateral agreement with Hainan Airlines, involving codesharing, reciprocal frequent flyer programs and shared lounge access. It is designed to capitalise on the growing Chinese inbound market and to funnel that traffic onto domestic VA flights.

Hainan 787

A Hainan Airlines 787 Dreamliner

Back in 2016, Virgin Australia applied to the International Air Services Commission for permission to commence flights to Beijing, however, these plans have not yet eventuated.

If they do, travellers in Australia are likely to fly from Sydney or Melbourne to Beijing on a Virgin Australia flight and benefit from increased connectivity from Hainan’s secondary hub in Beijing (after Haikou) both within China and on services to North America and Western Europe.

Summing up

Virgin Australia’s expansion into Hong Kong and Mainland China is an exciting development and will give Qantas and Cathay Pacific a run for their money.

These flights are served by an excellent Business Class product, however, due to the restriction of only one flight a day (at most) from each city, award availability may be hard to come by, so booking well in advance will help to increase your chances of securing a seat.

What is your take on Virgin Australia’s expansion into Hong Kong and Mainland China? Have you or do you plan to take one of these flights?

Supplementary images courtesy respective airlines.

Virgin Australia releases award space on new Sydney to Hong Kong flights was last modified: November 17th, 2018 by Matt Moffitt