Members of Virgin Australia and South African Airways’ (SAA) frequent flyer programs will be able to “earn and burn” points across each other’s networks as part of an expanded partnership between the two carriers.
The reciprocal frequent flyer agreement, announced on Friday, also offers elite members of Virgin’s Velocity and SAA’s Voyager benefits such as lounge access and priority check-in.
Velocity Frequent Flyer chief executive Neil Thompson said providing more options for redeeming points to international destinations, as well as premium services, were important features for the program’s members.
“Having the ability to earn and redeem Points as well as enjoy a number of premium services like priority check-in, priority boarding and lounge access with South African Airways is an important benefit for our members,” Thompson said in a statement.
In October, Virgin and SAA announced a codeshare agreement where Virgin placed its VA code on SAA’s Perth-Johannesburg service.
Virgin, when it was known as V Australia, previously flew from Melbourne to Johannesburg, with the service ending in 2011.
The South African flag carrier has its SA code on Virgin-operated flights from the West Australian capital to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
SAA executive for customer loyalty Suretha Cruse said the airline has received very positive feedback since it began codesharing with Virgin and the latest initiative would “only further enhance our customers’ experience”.
SAA wound up it long-standing partnership with Qantas on the Australia-South Africa route earlier in 2014, withdrawing its SA code from Qantas’s Sydney-Johnannesburg flights. In turn, the Flying Kangaroo took its QF code off SAA’s services between Perth and Johannesburg.