Roughly three weeks after Virgin Australia’s Velocity program suddenly froze all points redemptions from members account the program has now come back online for the time being.
Redemptions for International Flights, Merchandise as well as transfer to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer will remain unavailable to members as Virgin Australia is now under administration and customers have been advised that they wouldn’t receive any cash refunds for their cancelled flights anymore.
Three weeks ago we wrote about the decision of Velocity or the administrators respectively to freeze all redemptions until there is more clarity about the future of the airline.
You can access Velocity here.
Here’s the announcement from Velocity:
Date of publish: 21 April 2020
We’re committed to keeping our members updated throughout these uncertain times of coronavirus and reduced travel.
We wanted to share some information regarding temporary changes to the Velocity program and what this means for our members.
You may be aware that some of the Virgin Australia Group companies have entered Voluntary Administration. Deloitte has been appointed as the administrators, meaning they have assumed responsibility for the business and operations of those companies in administration.
The intention of the administrators is to bring the relevant Virgin Australia Group companies out of administration as quickly as possible and return to normal operations.
Although Velocity is owned by the Virgin Australia Group, it is a separate company and it is not in administration. That means we’re still operating, but we’ve made some temporary program changes in the interests of members.
We’ve made the difficult decision to pause all redemptions for an initial period of four weeks, effective immediately. This means our members won’t be able to redeem their Points for rewards during the pause.
We know how much our members love to plan their travel and use their Points to redeem flights, however the ongoing travel restrictions and reduced flights have limited the options for them to use Points for flights. We’re seeing more members use Points to shop online for items such as gift cards, electronic goods, and wine. This unexpected demand has made it difficult for our suppliers to provide these offers and limits the availability for all members to redeem their Points.
What our members need to know:
· Your Points aren’t going anywhere. They will remain in your account.
· Your existing Points will not expire through this period. We will be extending the expiration period for your existing Points by the timeframe of the pause.
· You can continue to earn Points with our partners, although you won’t be able to redeem them during the pause.
· These changes take effect immediately. Although the initial timeframe for this restriction is four weeks, this period may be extended. We will come back to you with an update as soon as we can.
Velocity has a trustee in place to look after the interests of members. We will continue to assess a range of options for the program and we want that to include a continuation of our long-standing partnership with Virgin Australia.
We thank you for your patience, loyalty and understanding in these challenging times.
The Velocity Frequent Flyer team
Getting itchy feet sitting at home during isolation?
You can stop dreaming, start planning and get booking using your Velocity Points for Virgin Australia Reward Seat and Any Seat bookings, which have re-opened for travel from 1 September 2020 to some of our most popular destinations, which you can see below.
Velocity has worked out a specific booking process for the newly available points redemptions:
In how far passengers would really get their points & cash back as stated in the graphic is debatable given the fact that VA Administrators of Deloitte just announced no cash for regular, cancelled Virgin Australia bookings would ever see the pockets of customers again and instead they’d be issuing vouchers that might or might not be accepted by the future owners of the airline.
From 15 May 2020 you can use your Velocity Points for Virgin Australia Reward Seat and Any Seat bookings for travel from 1 September 2020 to the destinations listed in the table.
These are the redemption destinations we’re initially making available – we will update this list as this changes.
These are the routes available:
Since there is little to no international travel at the moment it’s probably not a bad idea to use any remaining Velocity points as soon as possible if redemptions for domestic flights make any sense to the member. At least this way you get some value for the points. That is if the airline sticks around until the booked travel date.
I would definitely avoid to make any cash and points bookings at this times unless there is no other option.
Depending what is going to happen with Virgin Australia after administration and a prospective sale Velocity points might change their value significantly. Should Virgin go under it’s unlikely that Velocity survives even if it tries to stick around as a loyalty program for retail partners. Air Berlin Top Bonus showed pretty much that there is no place for something like this and all that was left to members was to use their remaining balances to order some overpriced junk from an assortment of merchandise.