Velocity Frequent Flyer overhaul: Changes to redemption pricing, more reward seats

Attention Velocity Frequent Flyers! There are some big changes to know about.

Virgin Australia has revamped key elements of the Velocity Frequent Flyer program, with a new points table making economy flights up to 20% cheaper and more than a million reward seats added to the mix.

In a cautious win for Velocity members, Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Nick Rohrlach said Virgin now offers “the lowest domestic flight redemption rates of any Australian airline”.

We say cautious because, while travellers can now expect to pay 20% fewer Velocity Points on domestic economy rewards during off-peak times, there’s a kicker – a new increase of over 20% Velocity Points will likely apply during popular travel periods.

Velocity means fast (new slogan)

The revamp comes at a time when Australia’s second largest frequent flyer program is approaching 11.5 million members, the milestone and program overhaul signalling a new era of growth for the frequent flyer scheme.

We’ve simplified the changes to get you up to speed with the new ‘fast’ Velocity. Here’s what to know.

‘Velocity means fast’, but what does that mean?

The new era of Velocity is serious about ‘fast’, with Virgin Australia stating that the changes are set to make Velocity Points easier to earn and reward seats easier to book.

“We’re really proud to be faster to earn, we’re proud to be faster to redeem, and we’re really proud of being faster to get to status,” said Mr Rohrlach.

There is, however, some uncertainty around this, with Virgin detailing that the lower redemption rates are set to vary throughout the year (presumably based on reward availability and travel dates).

So while this doesn’t appear to be a dynamic pricing situation yet, it could head in that direction.

How will Velocity’s new three-tiered points table pricing work?

If you’re feeling slightly confused about the thought of Virgin Australia adding in separate pricing tiers to a distance-based award structure, we get it.

The three-tiered points table for domestic economy award seats is one of the key changes announced today, so it’s worth getting your head around. Here’s a simple rundown:

Starting today, each of Virgin Australia’s five distance-based zones will now see Velocity offer points-based economy rewards across three separate pricing tiers, the lowest of which will be offered up to 20% cheaper.

This means that economy reward seats will now start from 6,200 Velocity Points (plus carrier charges), rather than 7,800 points – leaving 1,600 Velocity Points to save towards future redemptions.

Here is a look at Virgin Australia’s new points table:

Zone/miles (one-way)Tier 1 (economyTier 2 (economy)Tier 3 (economy)Business
Zone 1:
1-600 miles
6,200 points7,800 points9,900 points15,500 points
Zone 2:
601-1,200 miles
9,400 points11,800 points14,900 points23,500 points
Zone 3:
1,201-2,400 miles
14,100 points17,800 points21,900 points35,500 points
Zone 4:
2,401-3,600 miles
17,600 points22,300 points27,500 points49,500 points
Zone 5:
3,601-4,800 miles
21,00 points27,800 points33,900 points59,500 points

What’s the catch?

While the Tier 1 band establishes the potential for lower redemption costs, Tier 2 rates show the previous economy reward seat costs, so we can expect to see this as the norm.

However, the catch is that Velocity has stated pricing will fluctuate across the tiers, meaning that the changes could see frequent flyers forking out even more points for Tier 3 reward seats.

This means that a Tier 3 flight from Adelaide to Melbourne would cost 9,900 Velocity Points, which really isn’t that far off the 15,500 points mark for a business seat.

Providing there is availability across Tier 1 and Tier 2, these changes will mean that economy rewards (of which there will be more) either stay the same or are cheaper to book with points.

What about business class?

The program rejig doesn’t involve any change to the number of Velocity Points needed to snap up a business class reward seat.

This makes sense given that Virgin Australia’s eight-seat business cabin is often fully booked (no doubt because pricing is competitive, and award seats are relatively easy to find).

Nevertheless, we hope to see some program changes benefit business reward availability in the future.

How to snap up bonus reward seats

From today, over one million new reward seats are set to make securing a family points holiday much easier (it’s worth noting, however, that there are no bonus seats on offer over the school holidays).

The reward seat release extends to Virgin’s domestic network, as well as all overseas routes (save for Christmas Island and Cocos Island).

Here’s how to snap up the additional Velocity reward seats.

  • Book from: 5 June to 18 June 2023 (11:59pm AEST) 
  • Travel from: 5 June to 30 April 2024

We’re happy to report there appears to be good availability over Christmas and Easter, but again, note that blackout periods apply over school holidays.

As such, it’s best to plan for less popular travel periods, as this will increase your chance of securing multiple reward seats.

Velocity vs Qantas for domestic economy redemptions

So how does Velocity’s new, cheaper economy reward seat pricing stack up against Qantas Frequent Flyer?

Perhaps most importantly, today’s change cements Velocity as offering the cheapest flight redemptions of any Australian airline program.

Tier 1 redemptions will be available from 6,200 Velocity Points (excluding taxes/fees), positioning them as slightly cheaper than Zone 1 Jetstar Classic Flight Rewards offered by Qantas Frequent Flyer.

This change makes sense seeing as Jetstar is a comparative product to Virgin Australia’s current in-flight offering.

Velocity has once again upped its program incentives, positioning itself as the program of choice for an increasing number of Australian-based frequent flyers.

Time will tell if today’s program changes will halt any increases to Qantas Frequent Flyer Classic Flight Reward redemptions, as Qantas strives to remain the number one frequent flyer program in Australia.

Final thoughts: Does Velocity actually mean faster?

Virgin Australia has launched a new three tier reward table, as well as over one million bonus reward seats between now and 30 April 2024, making it easier to secure a Velocity flight reward than ever.

The new award table could see Velocity Frequent Flyer members snap up economy reward seats for 20% cheaper, but variable pricing will likely reserve the lower costs for off-peak travel.

Nevertheless, we’re hopeful more reward availability during peak travel periods will ease the blow of the new, higher Tier 3 redemption costs.

Though the new three-tiered reward table appears to be the only permanent change here, we hope to see the influx of reward seats stick around too.

So while Velocity doesn’t actually mean fast, we can be assured the frequent flyer program is “really serious about being fast”.

Velocity Frequent Flyer has entered into a period of growth and change, so we can expect to see more program developments in the near future. Watch this space.

Do you think Virgin Australia’s new reward table is a good thing?

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3 thoughts on “Velocity Frequent Flyer overhaul: Changes to redemption pricing, more reward seats”

  1. Avatar for Doreen Murray

    Not having any luck booking a Sydney to Japan flight more than 7 months away. How do you book Any seats online?

  2. Avatar for Doreen Murray

    Hi Adele
    I tried to book a reward flight or flight with points and pay to fly from Sydney to Tokyo return in March 2024returning in April and the number of points to fly economy was 260,000 points plus about $130 for 1 person.This seems ridiculous. Am I missing something??

    1. Avatar for Adele

      Hi Doreen, it sounds as though you were accessing pricing for ‘Points Plus Pay’ flights. These represent far poorer value than Classic Flight rewards. To view Classic Flight Reward availability for this route, you’ll need ensure you select the ‘Classic Flight Reward’ toggle on flight results when searching via the Qantas website.

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