10 Best Ways To Redeem Virgin Australia Points for Max Value [2017]

Virgin Australia business class

You may not have heard of Virgin Australia since they have limited flights to the U.S., but members can actually earn and redeem miles for travel all over the world thanks to some strategic partnerships!

Here, I’ll outline some great redemption options available for this lesser-known program that might surprise you.

One major caveat: you must have an address within Australia or Oceania to open a frequent flyer account with Virgin Australia. As such, these redemption options will only be useful to a subset of readers.

Using Virgin Australia Velocity Points With Airline Partners

Virgin Australia Velocity Points might not be the easiest to come by as an American, but you may be surprised to find out that it is possible to transfer another major points currency to Virgin Australia Velocity.

Booking awards with Virgin Australia can be very easy or require a phone call, depending on which partners you are trying to book flights with.

Awards involving travel on Virgin Australia, Delta Air Lines, Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, and some codeshare flights operated by Etihad Airways and Virgin America can be booked online.

For all other flights, you will have to call the Virgin Australia Velocity customer service center at 1-855-253-8021.

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards

SPG points transfer to Virgin Australia Velocity at a 1:1 ratio. When you transfer 20,000 SPG points, you will receive a bonus of 5,000 Velocity points (or whichever partner you transfer to), effectively making the transfer ratio 1:1.25.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Need Inspiration?
> Here's 45 Ways To Use SPG Points
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Full Review
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 35,000 bonus Starpoints®. Offer ends 11/1/17.
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Full Review

Other Hotel Partner Credit Cards

Other hotel loyalty programs partner with Virgin Australia as well. The transfer rates are as follows:

  • 10,000 Hilton HHonors points = 1,500 Velocity points
  • 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points = 2,000 Velocity points
  • 10,000 Choice Privileges points = 3,000 Velocity points

The following credit cards will aid you in earning more points in each of these loyalty programs:

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express
  • Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card. Terms apply.
  • Annual Fee: $75
  • Full Review
Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express
  • Earn 50,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points
  • 7X points on qualifying purchases with hotels from the Hilton portfolio
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Full Review
Chase IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
  • Earn 5x points at IHG hotels and 2x points on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants.
  • Annual Fee: $0 first year, then $49
  • Full Review

List of Virgin Australia Partners

You can use Virgin Australia Velocity points to book with the following partners:

 Virgin Australia Partners
Virgin AtlanticVirgin Samoa
Virgin AmericaEtihad Airways*
AirberlinAir New Zealand
AlitaliaDelta Air Lines
Singapore AirlinesSilkAir
South African AirwaysHawaiian Airlines

*It’s important to note that all award bookings on Etihad airways incur a partner booking fee of $50 in economy, $205 in business, and $300 in first class.

Using Your Virgin Australia Velocity Points

Virgin Australia Velocity offers award redemptions using a distance-based award chart, and prices vary slightly depending on which partner you are choosing to make a redemption with.

Below is the redemption chart for flights on Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Samoa, Air New Zealand (Trans Tasman services only), Alitalia, Delta Air Lines, and Virgin America.

Virgin Australia redemption chart Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Samoa, Air New Zealand (Trans Tasman services only), Alitalia, Delta Air Lines, and Virgin America
Redemption chart for flights on the other Virgin airlines, Delta, Alitalia, and Air New Zealand.

The following chart is applicable for redemptions on Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand (New Zealand domestic and long-haul services only), SilkAir, Airberlin, Hawaiian Airlines, and South African Airways.

virgin australia redemption chart Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand (New Zealand domestic and long haul services only), SilkAir, airberlin, Hawaiian Airlines, and South African Airways
Redemption chart for all the other Virgin Australia partner airlines.

Again, please note that the partner fee for redemptions on Etihad Airways is $50 for economy, $205 for business class, and $300 for first class.

The 10 Best Ways To Use Your Virgin Australia Velocity Points

Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent flyer program operates a distance-based award chart with plenty of “sweet spot” redemptions.

Awards involving travel on Virgin Australia, Delta Air Lines, Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and some codeshare flights operated by Etihad Airways and Virgin America can be booked online.

For all other flights, you will have to call the Virgin Australia Velocity customer service center at 1-855-253-8021.

If you’re unsure how to put your Virgin Australia Velocity points to best use, here are some of the best ways to use your Virgin Australia miles for maximum value.

1. Fly Business Class From Sydney to Fiji on Virgin Australia (35,500 Velocity Points Each Way)

Virgin Australia's A330 business class
Fly from Sydney to Fiji in Virgin Australia’s A330 business class between June and October. Image courtesy of virginaustralia.com.

Virgin Australia normally operates a 737-800 between Sydney and Nadi (Fiji) featuring recliner style business class seats. However, between June and October, you can snag a fully flat bed seat on the A330-200 for just 35,500 points each way.

Consistent with the Virgin brand, these business class seats are sleek and modern, providing style and comfort in a herringbone configuration.

If the seats aren’t already comfortable enough, guests will be treated to a full turndown service, complete with a foam mattress topper for added comfort.

Hot Tip: Visit a lounge while waiting for your flight to Fiji. Having The Platinum Card® from American Express gives you access to over 1,000 lounges worldwide through Priority Pass.

2. Fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Between New York (JFK) and London (LHR) (49,500 Velocity Points Each Way)

Virgin Atlantic's business class
Fly between New York and London in Virgin Atlantic’s business class and visit the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at either airport before your departure. Image courtesy of virgin-atlantic.com.

Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class product is a great choice for a transatlantic hop out of New York. At under 3,500 miles, a one-way Upper Class ticket to London costs just 49,500 Velocity points in each direction.

You’ll enjoy a fully lie-flat bed, delicious meals, and access to the exclusive Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at JFK before the flight.

All Upper Class passengers are entitled to one spa treatment; you can choose a haircut, massage, hand and foot treatment, or facial.

It might be even better to fly this itinerary in the reverse direction, since the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow is often said to be one of the best business class lounges out there!

3. Fly Virgin Australia on Short-Haul Flights Within Australia (Starting at 7,800 Velocity Points)

If you’re already traveling Down Under, why not hop on a flight and see another city? With Virgin Australia Velocity points, it can be as cheap as 7,800 points each way in economy class (that’s the price of a one-way flight between Sydney and Melbourne).

You can even spring for business class and redeem 15,500 points instead…but for a roughly 1.5-hour flight, you should be just fine in economy!

Since flights can be quite expensive within Australia, it’s possible to get great value out of your miles even for economy class flights.

Hot Tip: Bring your Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express with you to earn more points that you can transfer to Virgin America, and also gain access to free Boingo WiFi Hotspots everywhere you go!

4. Fly Alitalia Economy Class Between New York and Rome (27,800 Velocity Points Each Way)

Alitalia award redemptions qualify for the same rates as Virgin Australia points. Thus, the 4,200-mile flight between New York (JFK) and Rome (FCO) requires just 27,800 points each way in economy class.

This is a savings of around 10% over what other frequent flyer programs require (for example, United charges 30,000 miles in economy class each way).

In business class, this route requires a still very reasonable 59,500 points.

Hot Tip: Grab a Global Entry account before making your journey home from Rome to enjoy quickly passing through customs when you return to the U.S. You can get the $100 fee reimbursed through numerous cards, like The Platinum Card® from American Express.

5. Fly Virgin America on Short-Haul Domestic Flights Within the U.S. (From 7,800 Velocity Points)

Virgin American's economy class
Virgin American’s economy class is definitely going to be more comfortable than most economy class cabins you are used to. Image courtesy of virginamerica.com.

Thanks to a distance-based award chart, redeeming Velocity points for domestic travel on Virgin America can be a great value. A one-way flight under 601 miles requires just 7,800 points in economy class or 15,500 in first.

Distances under 1,200 miles require 11,800 points in economy class or 23,500 points in first class. These rates are much less than those of traditional zone-based rewards programs, where you would likely pay 12,500 miles for any flight within the U.S.

Flying domestic economy class may not sound glamorous, but on Virgin America it’s a huge upgrade over legacy carriers.

Virgin America’s economy class cabin features leather seats with 32” pitch, in-flight entertainment and USB port in every seat, on-demand food and drinks, and in-flight Wifi for purchase.

So, whether you’re flying Los Angeles to Los Cabos (904 miles), San Francisco to Las Vegas (414 miles), or Fort Lauderdale to New York (1,069 miles), Virgin America economy class will get you there well-rested and in style, for less than you would pay with most other carriers.

6. Convert Points to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles and Fly Singapore Suites

Singapore Suites
Looking for the most romantic flight experience out there? Don’t miss Singapore Suites on the A380 with your special someone. Image courtesy of singaporeair.com.

Virgin Australia Velocity members are able to transfer their miles to Singapore KrisFlyer at a 1.35:1 ratio. While that ratio may not seem favorable, it’s much better when the 15% Singapore KrisFlyer redemption discount is factored in.

One of the best ways to redeem Singapore KrisFlyer Miles is for a Singapore Suites A380 award between New York (JFK) and Frankfurt (FRA). This award costs just 57,376 KrisFlyer miles or 77,458 Virgin Australia Velocity points.

Additionally, Singapore KrisFlyer generally releases more award space to their own members, so by transferring your Velocity Points to KrisFlyer you will be increasing your chances of finding your award seats.

Another positive of transferring your points to KrisFlyer is the ability to add a stopover to your itinerary. Singapore Airlines offers the ability to book a stopover at no additional cost on a round-trip ticket and $100 on a one-way ticket.

Need Help Booking? Read our guide on how to book Singapore Suites using points.

7. Upgrade to Virgin Australia Business Class (Starts at 4,900 Velocity Points)

Virgin Australia’s Velocity members traveling on a paid fare can use points to upgrade from economy to first class. On flights within Australia, upgrades start at 4,900 points for Freedom fares traveling a distance of 600 miles or less.

Unfortunately, international flight upgrades are quite steep, restricted to certain fare classes, and only available to Velocity Gold and Platinum members.

Still, redeeming 4,900 points for a short-haul flight booked on a cheap fare can be a great way to upgrade your travel experience.

Hot Tip: Don’t pay extra foreign transaction fees during your trip outside of the U.S. Take a credit card (or 2!) with no foreign transaction fees, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.

8. Book Business Class on Singapore Airlines (Starting at 53,000 Velocity Points)

Business class on Singapore Airlines
Business class on Singapore Airlines is so nice, you’ll think you’re in first. Image courtesy of singaporeair.com

Singapore Airlines first class can only be booked by transferring Velocity Points to Singapore’s KrisFlyer program, but booking economy and business class seats is possible directly through Virgin Australia.

You can fly from the West Coast of Australia to Singapore for 53,000 Velocity points each way in business class or 35,000 points in economy.

A longer flight (like the Australian East Coast to London or New York) would set you back 75,000 miles in economy or 139,000 in business.

Booking directly through Virgin Australia instead of transferring to Singapore does offer lower fuel surcharges.

Need Help Booking? Read our guide on how to book Singapore business class using points.

9. Wait for Virgin Australia’s 15% Discount

Virgin Australia offers a 15% discount on an approximately twice-yearly basis. This is hands down the best time to book any Virgin Australia award, as it offers you savings on the above-mentioned awards AND others that generally aren’t as good of a deal.

Hot Tip: Easily search for Virgin Australia award space by utilizing Delta’s search engine. Remember that to access all of the prices listed in this article, you will need to go back to Virgin Australia to book with the information you found on Delta’s site.

10. Fly to Christmas Island From Perth (17,800 Velocity Points)

Visit stunning Christmas Island by spending a few Velocity points instead of $1,000+! Image courtesy of pipmagazine.com.au.

Christmas Island is generally a very expensive place to travel to, but by making use of Virgin Australia’s distance-based chart it is possible to get there for relatively few miles.

The flight from Perth to Christmas Island is 1,618 miles, meaning it can be booked for 17,800 Velocity points in economy or 35,500 Velocity points in business class.

It is not uncommon for these flights to cost over $1,000 in economy class, so if you want to visit the exotic destination of Christmas Island, save that cash and book with Velocity points instead!

In Conclusion

Thanks to their numerous airline partners (many of which can be booked online), Velocity members have tons of options when it comes to redeeming points.

The distance-based award chart can be great for short-haul flights and sweet-spot redemptions on partner airlines.

However, be careful: the distance-based award chart can also result in less favorable redemption rates on long-haul flights.

It’s important that you do your research and compare Virgin Australia’s redemption rates with those of their partner airlines when you are ready to book your next trip.

Now that you know our best ways to use Virgin Australia miles, I hope you enjoy redeeming them!

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

FAQ

What are Velocity points?
Virgin Australia’s frequent flyer points program is called Velocity. The points you earn, redeem, and transfer are called Velocity points.

What credit cards offer Velocity points?
You can earn Virgin Australia Velocity points by earning Starwood Preferred Guest points and transferring them to Virgin Australia Velocity.

What are Velocity points worth?
The value of Velocity points depends on what you end up booking with them.

If you redeem your points for an economy class flight, you should be able to get at least 1.5 cents per point in value pretty easily. For business class flights, it isn’t unheard of to get 6 or 7 cents per point in value.

Who are Virgin Australia’s partners?
Virgin Australia has many airline partners:

How many Velocity points do I need for a free flight?
Free flights start at 7,800 Velocity points.

How long does it take to transfer SPG points to Virgin Australia Velocity?
Transfers from SPG points to Virgin Australia Velocity usually take about 2 days.

Are tickets booked with Virgin Australia Velocity refundable?
Tickets booked with Virgin Australia Velocity points are refundable, but you will be charged a fee of either 4,500 points or $35 for domestic flights on Virgin Australia.

If flights are international or on partners, cancellation fees are 7,500 points or $60.

Routing and date changes have the same fees. Travel must not have commenced for cancellations or changes to be allowed.

When do Virgin Australia Velocity points expire?
Your Virgin Australia Velocity points expire if you do not have activity on your account for a 2-year period.

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