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Velocity members can once again claim Singapore Airlines reward seats

written by Hannah Dowling | February 7, 2022

Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia aircraft side by side at Perth Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

Velocity Frequent Flyers are once again able to use their Velocity points to book economy seats on Virgin Australia’s airline partner Singapore Airlines.

It’s the first time that Velocity customers have been allowed to spend their points on Singapore Airlines reward seats since the practice was paused in April 2020, after the COVID pandemic hit, and Virgin Australia entered voluntary administration.

The ability to book economy reward seats on Singapore Airlines comes back into play on Monday, 7 February, while reward seats in premium cabins, and the ability to transfer points between Velocity and Singapore’s loyalty program KrisFlyer are planned to also resume in the near future.

Singapore has joined other Virgin partners in again accepting Velocity points to claim reward seats, including Virgin Atlantic, Air Canada, Etihad and Hawaiian Airlines, all of which restarted the practice in November 2021.

Japan’s All Nippon Airways remains the final pre-COVID Virgin Australia partner yet to resume reward seat claims.

Singapore’s economy reward seats to certain destinations start from 10,000 Velocity points, Virgin revealed in a statement.

“Today is a new chapter for Velocity Frequent Flyer with the return of Reward Seats on Singapore Airlines,” said recently appointed Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Nick Rohrlach.

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“We know how much our members value the incredible service and expansive network of destinations across Asia and Europe that Singapore Airlines offers, and we are really thrilled to have their seats back in the program,” he said.

“Initially, members will be able to use their points to book economy seats with Singapore Airlines and we anticipate expanding Reward Seat availability into their premium cabins soon.

“We also know how much Velocity and KrisFlyer members value the ability to transfer points between the programs and we are working to restore this feature within the next few months.”

Rohrlach said Virgin’s partnership with Singapore Airlines, a former shareholder in Virgin Australia, remains a priority for Virgin, which has abandoned its own long-haul international operations to instead focus on rebuilding domestic and short-haul international traffic.

“As international travel demand returns to the market, our partnership with Singapore Airlines provides a really fantastic way our members can use the points they’ve accumulated during the pandemic to travel to hundreds of destinations across the globe,” he said.

“Singapore Airlines is one of seven leading global airlines we have partnered with to allow Velocity members to redeem their points on international travel and we look forward to expanding our partnerships across the program this year.

“Velocity is committed to opening a world of travel opportunities to our members and this is just another example of how we are doing things differently to provide even more value to our members,” he said

Overall, the Velocity CEO said the business is seeing “green shoots” in relation to point redemption bookings, as Australia’s border restrictions continue to ease.

“In a recent survey, 39 per cent of members who responded said they are planning to travel overseas in the next 12 months, so it certainly feels that the dial is starting to shift in terms of consumer confidence.

“Reward Seats continue to be among the most popular redemptions for Velocity members, and since November, we’ve seen hundreds of millions of points redeemed on flights with our international airline partners, which is just staggering, and demonstrates huge pent-up demand,” he said.

“When we look at the most popular Singapore Airlines’ redemptions from 2019, Singapore, London, Paris, and Bangkok were top of the list, and we expect a similar trend as our members start to make bookings again,” Rohrlach added.

The news comes after Virgin announced in December it will switch its American codeshare partner from Delta to United.

The airline said the new arrangement, which is set to begin in April 2022, will triple its reach and unlock loyalty benefits for Velocity Frequent Flyer members.

United was the only American airline flying commercially between the two countries during the height of the pandemic, and still today offers more flights than any other US carrier.

Virgin had been previously working with rival Delta for more than a decade and said it will work with the business to transition its Velocity partnership, while existing booking will be honoured.

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