After nearly two years since tumbled into voluntary administration, Virgin Australia has reintroduced frequent flyer point travel redemptions with Singapore Airlines to its Velocity Frequent Flyer loyalty programme.
With new partners like United Airlines and returning partners like Singapore Airlines, the programme is well-positioned to reclaim its previous glory as the aviation industry attempts to recover from the latest COVID-19 travel slump.
Velocity and Singapore’s loyalty programme KrisFlyer plans to allow customers to book economy reward seats on Singapore Airlines on Monday, 7 February, as well as the ability to transfer points between the two programmes.
According to Nick Rohrlach, Velocity CEO, Virgin’s cooperation with Singapore Airlines, a former shareholder in Virgin Australia, remains a priority for Virgin, which has abandoned its international long-haul operations to re-establish domestic and short-haul international travel.
“As international travel demand returns to the market, our partnership with Singapore Airlines provides a fantastic way our members can use the points they’ve accumulated during the pandemic to travel to hundreds of destinations across the globe,” he said.
“Singapore Airlines is one of seven leading global airlines we have partnered with to allow Velocity members to redeem their points on international travel, and we look forward to expanding our partnerships across the program this year”.
Singapore has joined other Virgin partners in again accepting Velocity points to claim reward seats, including Virgin Atlantic, Air Canada, Etihad, and Hawaiian Airlines, which restarted the practice in November 2021.
Japan’s All Nippon Airways remains the final pre-COVID Virgin Australia partner yet to resume reward seat claims.
Singapore’s economy reward seats to specific destinations start from 10,000 Velocity points, Virgin revealed in a statement.
Seats are still the most popular redemption reward for Velocity’s 10 million or so members, according to Mr Rohrlach, and Virgin wanted to allow them to burn the points they’ve accumulated during the pandemic once travel returns. On Monday, the federal government said that the border would reopen to vaccinated incoming tourists on 21 February.
“When we look at the most popular Singapore Airlines’ redemptions from 2019, Singapore, London, Paris, and Bangkok were top of the list, and we expect a similar trend as our members start to make bookings again,” Mr Rohrlach said.
“Velocity is committed to opening a world of travel opportunities to our members, and this is just another example of how we are doing things differently to provide even more value to our members.”
At the end of June 2021, Virgin had $431.7 million in unredeemed Velocity points in its full-year accounts. Velocity produced $122.8 million in revenue in the fiscal year 2021 by selling points to linked businesses, which then distributed them to their customers.
According to the airline, the proposed agreement will take effect in April 2022 and allow Velocity Frequent Flyer members to increase reach and loyalty perks.