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Now we’ve got a serious fight on our hands – today’s announcements from Virgin Australia significantly enhance the Velocity Program, giving Australian Frequent Flyers and point collectors a real alternative to the once-mighty Qantas.

Virgin Australia announced today the following major enhancements to the Velocity Program, the most noteworthy to point redeemers and hunters are…

  • A new platinum tier
  • For a limited time, status matching from other airline programs (AKA Virgin Australia punches Qantas on the nose)
  • Family benefits, including family point and status credit pooling, and a ‘parental leave’ scheme for status benefits; as well as ‘guaranteed’ family bookings for Gold+ status members
  • Increased tiered bonuses earning points to match Qantas, AND applying the bonuses to partner airlines too
  • Ability to use points to upgrade
  • Priority phone service for Silver+ members
  • ‘Fly ahead’ benefits for Gold+ members – catch an earlier flight even if you hold an inflexible ticket
  • Priority baggage for Gold+ members
  • Automatic status membership for Priority Club or Hilton HHonors hotel programs; same for Hertz or Europcar
  • Partnership with to earn Velocity points on online purchases

I’ll work my through the major changes for points/earning and burning afficionados.

Improvements to Gold & Platinum tiers – full rundown of benefits now available at those links. The full comparison of all tier benefits is here.

Short term status match program to other airlines – a no brainer. I’ve already applied using my Qantas Gold as a match to Velocity Gold; hope to use that over the next 12 months and I’ll bring you reviews of the new Virgin Lounges. Do this NOW if you have status elsewhere before it’s over-capacity and withdrawn.

Family benefits – these are a nice kick in the nuts to the now comparatively inflexible (or unavailable) Qantas options. Velocity members in the same family will be able to pool points for redemptions; transfer points to each others accounts up to 4 times per year (compared to Qantas’ once); and for Gold and Platinum members make a guaranteed family reservation for 4 family members once a year (twice for Platinum) within a day of their chosen travel date. Being able to use your points is half the battle of this game; this adds a significant extra weapon in your Virgin redemption armoury.

Increased bonuses for status members on flights – awesome, thanks! Extra points means no complaints. Bear in mind velocity points accrue on the ticket value rather than distance travelled.

Ability to use points to upgrade – finally! The upgrade redemption table is here. Upgrades can’t be requested online (bummer), and also looks like the quirks for International upgrades haven’t been worked out yet – trying to calculate an upgrade on SYD-LAX shows a mileage out of range of the chart; and it also remains to be seen whether these are pre-confirmed upgrades or applied nearer the time of departure.

Automatic status with Hilton HHonors or Priority Club – Velocity Gold = Gold in both programs; Platinum = PC Platinum and HHonors Diamond. PC Gold is worth next to nothing and can be bought for the same amount; HHonors Gold is more valuable so I’ll be happy to take up.

Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer Gold Card example | Point Hacks

Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer Platinum Card example | Point Hacks

Combined with Amex new Virgin Card offerings and the existing Amex Membership Rewards and Citibank Citirewards transfer options, Velocity is shaping up to be a really attractive and flexible program for earning and burning your points. At last, competition!

Card images courtesy of AusBT

Virgin Australia Velocity announcements – program revamp including new tiers; status match scheme; great extra benefits and bonuses was last modified: March 8th, 2019 by Keith