Virgin Australia has followed up its inaugural service to Hong Kong with details of a reciprocal frequent flyer arrangement with four HNA Group carriers – Hong Kong Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Capital Airlines and Tianjin Airlines.
The frequent flyer partnership is one component of a broad alliance between Virgin and HNA that received approval from an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) draft determination released in June.
Under the first phase of the frequent flyer partnership, Virgin’s eight million plus Velocity frequent flyer members will be able to earn points and status credits on all Hong Kong Airlines operated services except those to and from North America.
Further, Velocity members can earn points and status credits on all Hainan Airlines, Capital Airlines and Tianjin Airlines operated flights between Australia, New Zealand and Greater China, and all domestic flights within those regions.
Velocity chief executive Karl Schuster said the partnership with would offer members “even more reasons to travel with us and our partner airlines”.
“Rewarding our Velocity members is a key part of our program and we’re continually looking at ways to expand the benefits and offers provided to our valuable members,” Schuster said in a statement on Thursday.
The four carriers – Hong Kong Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Capital Airlines and Tianjin Airlines – share the Fortune Wings Club frequent flyer program.
Virgin said Velocity members would soon be able to redeem points for travel on the four carriers’ flights. Eligible members would also receive benefits such as lounge access, priority handling and additional baggage allowance as part of a second phase of the agreement due to be announced in the coming weeks.
Hainan Airlines president Jianfeng Sun noted Virgin was an important strategic partner of the HNA Group.
“Fortune Wings Club and Velocity have begun a cooperative effort in their frequent flyer programs, which will not only expand points earning but the upcoming redemption channels and reciprocal elite members’ benefits will also create a perfect flight experience for members,” Sun said.
Virgin kicked off what chief executive John Borghetti described as the start of the airline’s Asian expansion on Wednesday when VA87 took off from Melbourne a little after 1000 and landed in Hong Kong some nine hours and 20 minutes later.
Hong Kong Airlines has placed its HX airline code on Virgin’s five times a week service with Airbus A330-200s as part of a codeshare agreement announced in June that covered 11 destinations across the two airlines’ networks and interline connections from Hong Kong into mainland China.