This guide outlines some of the best redemption options when using Velocity Frequent Flyer points from New Zealand.
It’s worth comparing notes with our best uses of Airpoints and Qantas Points guides. All programmes have their own strengths and weaknesses which, in order to get the most from your points, are worth being aware of.
1. Redeem for Business Class on Virgin Australia-operated flights
Redeeming Velocity points for Virgin Australia-operated flights represents the best value in the following situations:
When travelling Trans-Tasman, to Pacific Islands, or domestically in Australia in Business Class with multiple people
You can sometimes use points to secure four out of the total of eight seats in the Business Class cabin on these flights.
On shorter domestic flights in Australia
When peak-time Economy fares are relatively expensive, you can often book a Business Class short-haul domestic redemption for 15,500 points. Plus, you’ll get lounge access and speed through check-in and security with Premium Entry.
Velocity can have better award seat availability than Qantas
Virgin Australia generally has a greater supply of seats, at reduced cost in terms of points and cash, which means a more competitive point-per-point value than their main competitor. They have also priced their award chart at slightly less than Qantas’ for the same flight on the same route.
For example, a Business Class seat on an Auckland – Sydney flight costs 35,500 Velocity Points vs 41,500 Qantas Points (increased in September 2019). And the accompanying taxes are also usually a bit lower, meaning a lower cash co-payment.
There are Trans-Tasman routes operated by Virgin Australia from New Zealand that are not offered by any other airlines. Examples include Dunedin to Brisbane, and Auckland to Newcastle. Targeting a redemption on one of these flights will feel like a win, as you get to both fly direct and save money
2. Transfer your points to KrisFlyer for better award space and/or a free stopover
Singapore Airlines releases more saver award space to its own members, so sometimes it is worthwhile to transfer your Velocity points to KrisFlyer. In addition, KrisFlyer no longer applies fuel surcharges to its own flights.
Whether you use Velocity points or KrisFlyer miles will depend on the specific Singapore Airlines redemption you have in mind, and you’ll need to compare the points and taxes in both Velocity and KrisFlyer to come to the best decision for your situation.
And if you transfer enough points and book a return ticket on KrisFlyer, you can get another perk, which Virgin does not offer: a free stopover.
For example, when flying to New York or Houston, you can stopover in Singapore, Manchester or Frankfurt. You can also purchase additional stopovers for US$100 each.
3. Fly direct from Wellington to Melbourne with Singapore Airlines for 38,000 points one-way
While Virgin Australia do not offer non-stop flights to Melbourne from Wellington, you can still use your Velocity points to fly this route with Singapore Airlines.
Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A350-900 aircraft provides a comfortable lie-flat Business Class product on this route, which is the best product available on this 4-hour flight route.
3. Fly in Business Class to the South Pacific for 71,000 points return
Virgin Australia flies direct from Auckland to Rarotonga and Nuku’alofa. These flights fall into Zone 3 (1,201-2,400 miles), meaning it costs only 35,500 miles for a one-way Business Class ticket, which is the same as a flight to Australia.
And you’ll save money on the ground being in a cheaper destination than the ‘West Island’.
4. Fly in a lie-flat seat to Honolulu from 65,000 points one-way
Velocity members have access to great Hawaiian Airlines availability on flights from Auckland to Honolulu (65,000 points one-way).
These routes enjoy Hawaiian’s newest Business Class seats, albeit without direct-aisle access for all passengers – not usually a hassle on these holiday routes, where you are more likely to be travelling with known company.
5. Visit Shenzhen in China for 78,000 points one-way in Business Class
Looking to travel to China? A more unique partner that you could fly with from New Zealand is Hainan Airlines.
They fly between Auckland and Shenzhen 3-4 times a week, using a modern Airbus A330-300 with 1-2-1 Business Class that are similar to that found on Cathay Pacific.
You can make a Velocity redemption with Hainan Airlines online.
There is a business reward seat available on most days that the flight is scheduled.
What’s not so good?
There are definitely weak points to Velocity. Those specific to New Zealand members include:
- Carrier Charges added to all Virgin Australia and some Delta redemptions
- Virgin’s limited international network of their own flights means you have to redeem Velocity Points for partners for most international travel. With two partner redemption tables, the more expensive partners, including Singapore Airlines and Hainan Airlines, are not as affordable as the likes of Delta or Virgin Atlantic
- You cannot mix cabins or carriers on Velocity redemptions
- There is no domestic flight network or partners for those outside of the major New Zealand cities, leaving members to find their own way to a major airport
While there are a number of downsides to the Velocity program, it still offers good value for Business redemptions.
That includes flights both across its own network as well as Singapore Airlines, for which you can book seats in all cabins.
The opportunity to book with Hawaiian Airlines and Hainan Airlines from New Zealand is also an added benefit.
Looking for more inspiration for how to spend your hard-earned frequent flyer points?
Here are some of our Best Uses of Points guides. There may be some overlap but each guide has its own twist.
- Best uses of 300 Airpoints Dollars
- Using Airpoints for cheap ANA domestic flights in Japan
- Using Airpoints for short-haul Star Alliance Business Class
- Using Airpoints on fifth-freedom Star Alliance routes
- Best uses of Qantas Points
- Best uses of 100,000 Qantas Points
- Seven of the cheapest Qantas Points redemptions for luxurious Emirates flights
- The cheapest ways to fly Cathay Pacific First Class with Qantas Points
- Reader response: what is the best use of Qantas Points?
- Best uses of 100,000 Asia Miles
- Best uses of 100,000 KrisFlyer miles
- Best uses of Emirates Skywards miles
- Best uses of Etihad Guest Miles