Can you use Velocity Frequent Flyer points to travel within Australia with Virgin?

Aussies eager for a local holiday are once again able to fly with Virgin Australia using their Velocity points, after redemptions were brought forward to this week. Spending points on domestic flights may not always add up to the best value, but during tough times it could just be worth it for some people, one expert says.
Velocity points back on for domestic holiday goers - July 2020
Are you thinking of using Velocity Frequent Flyer points to help pay for a holiday? Image source: caseyjadew, Shutterstock.

Velocity unpaused the redemption of points for Virgin flights a few weeks ahead of schedule, for trips from Tuesday 21 July.

The company also told its Frequent Flyer members they could spend points to book stays at more than 15,000 hotels, effective immediately, and book car hire using their points by the end of July at a 10% discount for most trips of three or more days.

Virgin says the number of flight routes available for booking with points has also doubled from 76 to 152, meaning customers can now use points to help pay for flights on more than 97% of Virgin Australia’s domestic network. Points redemptions are available on Reward Seat or Any Seat bookings, as well as upgrades to business class, according to Virgin Australia.

Available travel dates were brought forward to sought-after destinations such as the Gold Coast, Cairns, Ballina and Hobart, with more flexible cancellation and change policies also introduced. For example, Velocity says its members can now change or cancel flights they’ve spent points on before 1 September 2020 – or the date of travel if before 1 September – at no extra cost.

Velocity members had their ability to redeem points frozen back in April, shortly after Virgin Australia went into voluntary administration due to the strain of the coronavirus pandemic. Points-based flying was originally due to be paused until 1 September.

Now that points redemptions are back on, members may be wondering if spending them on a domestic holiday is of good value.

Canstar money expert Effie Zahos said when you look at which flight option normally gives you more bang for your buck, it’s typically in the order of a flight upgrade, then an international holiday, then a domestic holiday, and finally buying items with points in the gift shop.

“But I always say that when it comes to your points, it gives you value if you get what you want without having to use your cash,” Ms Zahos said.

“Preserving cash flow is the biggest value most of us can have during these tough times, so if you want a holiday and can get one cheaply using your points, you might as well use them.”

She said it was important to check the fine print to make sure you’re aware of any cut-off dates to cancel flights and get your money or points back.

A Velocity spokesperson told Canstar that any taxes, fees and airline charges you may have to pay when booking a flight could be covered by points as well, or members could choose to pay that portion in cash if they wished.

With any flight members buy, they will have the option to pay for any or all of it in points versus cash,” the spokesperson said.

While domestic flights, hotels and car hire are back on the table for points redemption, other reward options such as booking international flights or redeeming points for the purchase of items in the Velocity Rewards Store are still unavailable.

Flight deals from $75 to fly with Virgin Australia

Now that some Australians can fly domestically to certain destinations, more deals are becoming available.

“With people itching to travel when COVID-19 restrictions are eased, taking a holiday is one of the luxuries many of us would be looking forward to,” Ms Zahos said.

A few weeks ago Qantas announced a range of special flight deals across the country, and now Virgin is doing the same, giving consumers with cash or points to spare plenty of local holiday options while international travel is still off the cards.

Those who have had a small windfall with their travel dollars after receiving some or all of their money back from cancelled trips earlier this year may be eager to use that to pay off debt, while others see it as travel money that can be used within Australia, Ms Zahos said.

Virgin Australia’s Click Frenzy ‘Unearth Australia’ Sale is currently on until midnight, 23 July 2020 (having started at 9am on 21 July).

The majority of economy fares on sale are typically priced under $100, with baggage and seat selection included.

According to Virgin Australia, some of its fares for return travel between 2 September and 16 December 2020 include flights between:

  • Sydney and Ballina (Byron Bay) from $75
  • Brisbane and Newcastle from $89
  • Sydney and Gold Coast from $95
  • Sydney and Brisbane from $99
  • Sydney and Launceston from $99
  • Brisbane and Proserpine (Whitsundays) from $99
  • Sydney and Sunshine Coast from $105
  • Hobart and Sydney from $115
  • Adelaide and Sydney from $125
  • Adelaide and Gold Coast from $145
  • Sydney and Cairns from $149

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