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ACCC grants interim Authorisation for Virgin Australia/United code-sharing

ACCC grants interim Authorisation for Virgin Australia/United code-sharing

On May 12th, the Australian ACCC granted authorisation for Virgin Australia to operate a "virtual global network" of routes using partnerships with other airlines, the first of which is United Airlines, but now subsequently Qatar Airways.

Virgin Australia intends to align with other “former and new partners” to expand its reach beyond short-haul routes, to which it is limited due to its existing fleet of narrowbody aircraft. Virgin Australia ceased all long-haul international flights and ended its lease agreements for its wide-body fleet during the pandemic. It has recently restarted flights to Nadi, Fiji and is planning to resume Bali, Indonesia flights in mid-June 2022.

The codesharing arrangements with United and Qatar airlines will provide Virgin Australia access to long-haul routes to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.

Qatar Airways currently operates daily flights into Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth as well as three weekly flights into Adelaide continuing into Auckland, New Zealand. The codeshare agreement will enable Qatar Airways’ passengers to travel seamlessly to 35 destinations on Virgin Australia’s extensive domestic network on a single booking. QR’s passengers will also have access to Virgin Australia’s recently relaunched short-haul international markets, including Fiji and Queenstown, New Zealand. 

United Airlines is flying the SYD - LAX and SYD - SFO routes and is keen to return to the Sydney - Houston (IAH) sector later this year. It recently confirmed the restart of its Melbourne (MEL) - San Francisco (SFO) flights from June 5, making it the only US carrier flying direct Mebourne to the US. 

UA60 will take 15 hours and 45 minutes to make its way down to Melbourne, while the return flight UA61 will take 14 and a half hours to fly back to San Francisco. United is eyeing resuming the MEL - LAX flights later this year. United's 787-9 Dreamliner will operate the Melbourne flights, which for the 48 passengers in business class will have the latest United lie-flat Polaris seats, which considerably reduce the pain of long-haul flying.

Virgin Australia confirms start date for United Airlines partnership

Virgin Australia confirms start date for United Airlines partnership

Further to the announcement made on December 14th, Virgin Australia today confirmed that its new strategic frequent flyer and codeshare partnership with United Airlines will commence in two weeks on Tuesday 24 May 2022.

Velocity members will be able to earn Velocity Points and Status Credits, and eligible members will receive tier benefits when travelling with United. Reward Seat availability is another significant benefit of the partnership, as members will be able to use Velocity Points to redeem seats on United’s vast domestic and international network.

United offer the most flights between Australia and North America out of all US-based carriers. The partnership with United will triple Virgin Australia's network reach into the Americas, which means that Velocity members (and other Virgin Australia customers) will have access to new destinations when flying from Australia to the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America.

Virgin Australia's surprise partnership with Qatar Airways | Velocity members easy access to Q-suites?

Virgin Australia's surprise partnership with Qatar Airways | Velocity members easy access to Q-suites?

Virgin Australia today announced a new partnership with Qatar Airways, which will commence later this year.  More details, including a commencement date, are expected to be released soon.

Qatar Airways currently operates daily flights from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth as well as three weekly flights from Adelaide with one-stop connectivity from these ports to over 140 worldwide destinations, including 54 cities in Europe.

Once the partnership starts, Virgin Velocity members will be able to earn Points and Status Credits whenever flying Qatar Airways. Eligible members will receive their status benefits such as lounge access, higher checked baggage allowances and priority boarding.

Reward Seat availability will be another benefit of this new partnership, as Velocity members will be able to use their Velocity Points to book Economy, Business and First Class seats, including Qatar’s renowned Q-Suite (available on select flights).

This could prove very attractive to Australians, by combining the ease of earning Velocity points and using them for Q-suite bookings (depending on the awards table, when released).
For others, Avios earned on Qatar flights (or transferred from BA and Iberia, which also use Avios as their rewards currency), could be redeemed for connections using short-haul or domestic Virgin Australia flights.

Qatar joins Virgin Australia's global family of international airline partnerships, including Virgin Atlantic, Air Canada, Etihad Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and United Airlines. 

Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and United are members of Star Alliance, while Hawaiian Airlines and Virgin Atlantic are unaligned and have individually agreed partnerships. Qatar is the only OneWorld alliance member that has a partnership with Virgin Australia. So Virgin Austalia's Velocity could be a bridge between Star Alliance members and Qatar Airways.

Also interesting is the fact that Virgin Australia has a partnership with 2 of the 3 large Middle East airlines (Etihad and now Qatar).  Is this strategic?  - Rhetorical question...

Qantas and Qatar are both members of OneWorld, yet Qantas chooses to have a codeshare agreement with Emirates (the 3rd of the "ME3")...just saying...

Virgin Australia permanently slashes premium class fares + limited time boost to status earning

Virgin Australia permanently slashes premium class fares + limited time boost to status earning

On Thursday March 31st, Virgin Australia announced that it has permanently slashed its domestic business class fares by up to 60% across Australia which is expected to prompt a premium class fare war.

Importantly, Virgin Australia insists that its business class will continue to include all of the usual amenities including lounge access, priority check-in and boarding, higher checked baggage allowances, priority overhead luggage, in-flight entertainment, plated meals and Australian beer, wine and spirits, plus priority baggage delivery. So no cost-cutting from reduced benefits, genuine savings.

To promote the initiative and reward Velocity members, they will also earn 45 per cent more status credits on eligible Virgin Australia business class flights for travel by June 30, 2022, as part of an extended loyalty promotion.

Virgin Australia has also made significant reductions to fares on its short-haul international network with business class fares from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to Bali, Fiji and Queenstown currently available to book for travel later in 2022 with fares on these routes 30% to 50% per cent lower than pre-COVID.

Australia seems to be 6 - 12 months behind the US in terms of recovery in travel, where travel bookings have surged, especially for luxury and bucket-list travel.  

Perhaps Virgin Australia is anticipating the same here for 2H2022.

If they are right, now may be the time to lock in flights and accommodation to ensure you get the trip you have dreampt about...

Our associated travel agency Rewarding Travel would be delighted to assist you.

Virgin Australia suspends 10 routes due to covid-19

Virgin Australia suspends 10 routes due to covid-19

Virgin Australia will suspend 10 routes from Jan. 24 through at least the end of February citing high COVID-19 case numbers. 

Together with reducing the frequency of flights on other routes, it is expected to lower capacity by 25%.

Routes affected are:

From Sydney (SYD) flights to Fiji (NAN) will be dropped, the lone international route that will be shelved. Also from SYD, domestic flights to Townsville (TSV) will be paused.

From Melbourne (MEL), Virgin will also suspend routes to TSV, together with Coffs Harbour (CFS), Hamilton Island (HTI) and TSV.

From Adelaide (ADL), the airline will pause routes to Cairns (CNS), Darwin (DRW) and Sunshine Coast (MCY).

From Gold Coast (OOL), Virgin will suspend routes to Hobart (HBA) and Launceston (LST). 

It appears that Virgin Australia is targetting the period immediately after many schools will have returned for this year. If you are planning to travel during February, you may need to adjust your planned flights...

Virgin Australia switches partners | United Airlines replacing Delta

Virgin Australia switches partners | United Airlines replacing Delta

Virgin Australia today announced  a long term strategic frequent flyer and codeshare partnership with United Airlines which will be phased into the Virgin Australia family from April next year.

Velocity members will earn Velocity Points and Status Credits, and eligible members will receive tier benefits when travelling with United. Reward Seat availability is another significant benefit of the partnership, as members will be able to use Velocity Points to redeem seats on United’s vast domestic and international network.

United offer the most flights between Australia and North America out of all US-based carriers. The partnership with United will triple Virgin Australia's network reach into the Americas, which means that Velocity members (and other Virgin Australia customers) will have access to new destinations when flying from Australia to the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America.

This strategic partnership will replace a long-term one held with Delta Air Lines and will be phased-in before it fully launches in April 2022 to minimise disruption to Virgin Austalia and Delta customers. 


Velocity has an offer of up to 6,000 bonus Points and 60 Status Credits when you book and fly with one of its partner airlines departing Australia.

An Eligible Flight is a flight marketed and operated by Delta Air Lines, Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways, Air Canada or Hawaiian Airlines departing from an Australian city for travel to or via Los Angeles, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Vancouver, Honolulu between December 2021 and 30 June 2022 inclusive.

Bonus Points and Status Credits are a one-time bonus and awarded only on the first international flight segment out of an Australian city.

While you can book and fly through 30 June 2022, you must activate the offer in your Velocity account by the end of 12 December - only 2 more days.

Other T&C's also apply, which you can read when you register.


Virgin Australia's loyalty program Velocity has announced a flash sale of award seats for its members.

Until midnight 23 November 2021, you can redeem Points for a Reward Seat on every Economy seat on the Virgin Australia domestic network, for travel between 1 December 2021 to 31 March 2022.
Yes - even during peak travel periods like Christmas and New Years!

Not quite enough points for what you would like to do?  Purchase Velocity points with a 20% discount when you purchase between 1,000 and 100,000 Points before 17 December 2021.

All eligible Virgin Australia Reward Seats will also earn you Status Credits for travel until 31 March 2022.

T&C's apply.  There isn't much time for this promotion, so get in quck!

Free Virgin Australia flights on offer for Australians who receive jab

Free Virgin Australia flights on offer for Australians who receive jab

Virgin Australia will join Qantas in offering free flights as an incentive for Australians to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Under the airline’s VA-X & Win promotion, there'll be one major prize of 1 million Velocity Frequent Flyer points, "dozens of free business class flights" as well as a range of other prizes.

The competition will launch later this year, once all Australian adults are expected to be eligible for the vaccine.  You need to register to enter the Virgin Australia VA-X & Win Competition.

A separate competition will be launched for team members, with prizes including additional annual leave, Lounge memberships, and free business class flights.

Earn Velocity points at 7-Eleven

Earn Velocity points at 7-Eleven

Velocity has welcomed 7-Eleven as a new partner.  Velocity members will now be able to earn points when purchasing fuel or convenience items at any of the 700+ convenience stores located around Australia.

This will provide an easy way for Velocity's 10 million members to boost their points balance, in anticipation of when we can more easily take to the skies again.

Velocity members will earn:

  • 2 Points per $1 on eligible 7-Eleven in-store purchases;
  • 2 Points per litre on premium fuel at 7-Eleven; and
  • 1 Point per litre on regular fuel at 7-Eleven.

Plus, Velocity members will earn 711 bonus Points on their first eligible purchase at 7-Eleven made by 28 June 2021.

For Velocity members to take advantage of this partnership, you will need to:
  1. Have your Velocity membership details handy;
  2. Download the My 7-Eleven app and follow the steps to link your Velocity account to their My 7-Eleven My Card;
  3. Make an eligible purchase from a 7-Eleven convenience store or fuel station and upon payment scan, your Velocity linked My 7-Eleven My Card.