Getting started – which frequent flyer programs should you join?

We often get asked ‘where to start’ with loyalty programs and frequent flyer points.

This one is a quick reference of all the various programs that are worth signing up for – the quick answer to ‘which programs should I sign up for’ is ‘as many as you can be bothered to’. All are free to join.

For the more expert of you, that know this already – good for you! However everyone has to start somewhere, so when you get asked the inevitable questions, point them this way. Continue reading…

Virgin Australia A330 Business Class Overview

Virgin Australia’s A330 newest domestic Business Class cabin is fast gaining a reputation as one of the best domestic Business Class’ in the world (alongside Qantas).

In this overview we’ll cover our experiences, tips and thoughts about Virgin Australia’s Business Class in their A330 fleet, and look at ways to get the most from your experience whether you are redeeming points or paying cash. Continue reading…

My US status run – how I achieved Velocity Gold by heading to Aruba and back

A couple of months have passed now since I finished my first US Status Run. In the first post I was sitting in the Auckland Emperor Lounge explaining the trip to Aruba I was about to embark on and attempting to highlight my reasoning behind it.

With this piece I’ll firstly take a couple of steps back to explain the process of how I decided on my final destination and the calculations behind it. After that I’ll go over the events of the trip and review the resulting impact to my Virgin Australia Velocity status level.

Along the way I’ll also attempt to highlight how you can make the most of a planned trip to the US and maximise your status credit earn from any internal flights. Continue reading…

How our major frequent flyer programs can make changes to their terms and potentially screw points-collectors in the process

There’s been a few changes within a number of Airline loyalty programmes of late, particularly regarding increasing award chart points requirements. This has the effect of devaluing those points you either worked so hard to collect, or in some cases spent good money to buy.

One of our Australian contributing Editors Peter Botros has written a great piece on how easily our local Airlines can make changes to their loyalty programmes, take a look it’s an informative read.

We’ve previously been through the notice periods that banks have to give you before they can make certain changes to their rewards program. Spoiler alert – they’re not generous.

In this article we’ll cover the same terms that allow airlines to change their frequent flyer programs – and in short, you have significantly less rights under an airline rewards program compared to a bank program. Continue reading…

Guide to the basics of airline status – Air NZ, Qantas and Velocity

Status – “Relative social or professional position; standing” (Oxford Dictionaries), sounds a little too stuck-up for me.

Within the terms of Airline loyalty programmes however, ‘Status‘ simply means a level of Recognition from an Airline of the key recipient’s likely worth to them as a customer. The higher their perceived worth, the higher the Status level and enticements (bribes!) offered to maintain loyalty from the customer.

Airline lounge access, business class upgrades, free checked baggage, express check in and priority security lanes are often offered as inducements for you to tie your spending and flying to one airline.

In this introduction to elite status, I will try to break down the specifics of status recognition within the 3 most prevalent Airline loyalty programmes in the NZ market – Air New Zealand Airpoints, Qantas Frequent Flyer, and Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer.
Continue reading…

Virgin Australia A330 ‘The Business’ Review – VA697 Melbourne to Perth

This take on Virgin Australia’s new Business Class is from Point Hacks contributor Immanuel Debeer (Manny). My take on the same cabin is coming soon, after having done a short Sydney to Melbourne hop a few weeks back.

Manny’s opinion of a longer flight between Melbourne and Perth is useful as it gives you a better taste of the service, seat and food on a longer flight than I’ve yet taken. Take it away Manny…
Continue reading…

How to use Velocity points for upgrades on Virgin Australia

Upgrades are almost always a handy use of points if travelling in Premium Economy or Business Class is on your wish list.

Going after upgrades from paid fares, rather than outright redemptions using your points might make sense as a strategy if you fly for work (on paid fares by your employer) or don’t have enough points for a full reward seat redemption.

This guide runs through the ins and outs of getting into Virgin Australia Premium Economy or Business Class using your Velocity points. Continue reading…

How to search for award seats on Virgin Australia and tips for making Velocity ‘award’ bookings using your Velocity points

Half the battle with frequent flyer points are finding the seats you want for your trip and using your points for your ideal travel goal.

In this introductory guide I’ll run through how I search for Virgin Australia ‘award’ availability (awards are the seats made available to frequent flyer members to book using their points).

I’ll also cover some of the details worth knowing when trying to redeem points for awards for travel on Virgin Australia – fees, policies and some other tips. Continue reading…