Velocity Frequent Flyer

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Velocity Frequent Flyer is the name of the frequent-flyer program operated by Virgin Australia.

When introduced in 2005, Velocity differed from most other frequent flyer programs with points earned being based on the cost of a flight, rather than distance. On domestic VA flights, Red Velocity members earn 5 points per dollar spent, Silver members earn a bonus of 50%, Gold members earn a bonus of 75% and Platinum members earn a bonus of 100%.[1] On international flights (previously V Australia), as well as the majority of Velocity's airline partners, including 'VA' codeshare flights, points are based on fare class and distance, with the same bonus points applying.

Velocity was the first frequent flyer program in Australia to offer "any seat, any time" reward flight availability. The number of points required to redeem an award seat directly corresponds to the current fare of that seat, allowing any seat currently available to be redeemed. Qantas introduced a similar feature to their frequent flyer program in May 2008.

History[edit]

Velocity Rewards was launched by Virgin Blue (later renamed Virgin Australia) in 2005, with partner National Australia Bank offering a companion credit card. Initially, Velocity differed from most other frequent flyer programs with points earned being based on the cost of a flight, rather than distance. Velocity members originally earned 6 points per dollar spent on Virgin Australia flights.

By 2007, points earned in loyalty programs operated by Westpac, American Express and Diners Club could be transferred to Velocity Rewards, as well as from the ANZ loyalty program from September 2008.

As part of Virgin's effort to attract business travelers, status levels were introduced to the program in late 2007. Alongside the entry-level "Red" status, members could attain "Silver" and "Gold" status, each with its own set of benefits. With the introduction of status levels, the earning rate was changed: Red members earned 5 points per dollar, Silver members remained at 6 points, and Gold members earned 7.

By February 2008, Velocity Rewards had 1.3 million members and Virgin Blue stated it was considering selling it or entering into a joint venture once its operation was profitable, and considered a membership of 1.6 to 1.7 million members would put the operation in a break-even position.[2] The program reached 4 million members by the end of 2014.[3]

In August 2011, the program was renamed "Velocity Frequent Flyer" and a "Platinum" status level was introduced, among other changes. The changes included changes to the bonus system: Red status members now earn 5 points per dollar spent, and Silver members earn a bonus of 50%, Gold members earn a bonus of 75% and Platinum members earn a bonus of 100%.

In July 2013, Velocity introduced the Global Wallet, the first travel money card in Australia, which can be used as a Visa prepaid card.[4]

Other ways of earning points[edit]

Velocity co-branded credit card[edit]

When using a Velocity co-branded credit card, points based on purchases are automatically allocated to a Velocity account each month. Also, the card can be used with a program partner to earn double points – once on the card and also on the purchase with the partner. Co-branded cards are offered by American Express, Virgin Money and National Australia Bank.[5]

Alternatively, when not using a co-branded credit card, most banks and credit companies have cards which earn points into their awards program, which can then be transferred to another program such as Velocity; but the transfer rate is often not on a one-for-one basis.[6]

Global Wallet card[edit]

The Velocity Global Wallet prepaid Visa product is owned by Cuscal Limited and managed by Rev Australia Pty Ltd. The Global Wallet card allows the holder to load money onto the card in Australian dollars (AUD), up to a total value of A$25,000, and then use the AU$ to buy up to five other supported foreign currencies, which are also stored on the card. Supported currencies include Australian dollar, Canadian dollar (CAD), Euro (EUR), Pound Sterling (GBP), Hong Kong dollar (HKD), Japanese yen (JPY), New Zealand dollar (NZD), Singapore dollar (SGD), Thai baht (THB), US dollar (USD) and South African rand (ZAR).

The card can be used as a Visa prepaid card, with the money able to be accessed around the world anywhere where Visa is accepted and at ATMs. However, fees apply, most significantly for use of the card to make purchases in other than Australian dollars, and for withdrawal of cash at ATMs. Also, the exchange rate for the foreign currencies are locked in at the time the currencies are bought, and not at the time of a transaction, as would be the case with a credit card transaction; and the funds held on the account do not earn interest.

When a Global Wallet card is linked to a Velocity account, the cardholder can earn 1 Velocity point per $2 spent in Australia using the card (i.e., half a point) and 1 point per $1 spent outside Australia, excluding cash withdrawals at ATMs.

Recognition[edit]

The Velocity Frequent Flyer program, then called Velocity Rewards, won the 2009 Freddie Awards, the largest award in the travel industry, for best frequent flyer program, best award redemption, best affinity credit card, best member communications, best website. This was the fourth consecutive Freddie Awards that Velocity has won.[7]

The Velocity Frequent Flyer program won the "program of the year" award third year in a row at the 2015 Freddie Awards.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]