Redeeming Velocity Points Amid COVID-19

The current situation regarding Virgin Australia seems to pose risk about becoming an unsecured creditor as it pertains to Velocity points if Virgin Australia goes under.

Weighing up the risk I'm hoping to use my Velocity points but I understand that flights and upgrades are the best value. With this not being an option, what is the best value I can get for my Velocity points?

From looking at their Velocity Rewards Store, spending it on things like electronics seems to be shockingly bad value. Are there decent gift card deals, or other ideas that present better value?

Keen to hear any experiences, advice, or thoughts on whether these concerns are founded or not.

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Comments

  • +5

    I've been thinking the same. Big discussion thread here: https://www.australianfrequentflyer.com.au/community/threads...
    Consensus seems to be transfer to Singapore airlines (KrisFlyer) or use for JB Hifi gift cards. Both are pretty bad value but better than nothing. I think I'll cash them out for gift cards, not planning any flights anytime soon and I think KrisFlyer points expire after 3 years.

    • That's a great thread and gives some good insight. Thanks Herbo.

  • +1

    Redeemed for JBHiFi gift cards in the end.

    • +3

      I only had 50,000 points, but just hit the button for $250 of JB Hifi gift cards. It hurt to hit that button knowing that it's around half of their value based on $0.01 per point which you could sell them for just a few months ago. I'm glad that's all I had in my account.

  • +1

    yeh ive been thinking about this more lately (started thinking before covid hit).
    i have heaps and ongoing points coming in.. wonder what happens.
    i need to check my balance but i think i have 300k and get more coming in for a very long time..

    • +1

      Hadn't seen this thanks Stalker. I hope perhaps this thread becomes helpful given how this is progressing specifically for Virgin.

      • +1

        yeah I think Virgin is a whole different scenario. If I had bulk Qantas points I would be holding onto them.

  • +1

    Hi, has anyone been able to redeem Velocity points for Bunnings or Coles giftcards in recent days? It shows in stock but no option to add to the basket. Shows up for Jb-hifi though and some other ones.

    • There was no option for that yesterday. Like you said JBHiFi and others.

  • +2

    It felt bad to redeem all my points for gift cards which I had been saving up for ages, but unfortunately it just felt the best way to redeem in this climate. I personally can't see Virgin surviving in it's current state, it will possibly go through substantial change which I believe will affect VFF, so thought best to just redeem now and not risk it.

    Got all my cards delivered randomly yesterday (without any notification), about a 2 week turnover.

    I just noticed that they have now capped to 1 card per day which is super interesting, wasn't there until maybe last night!

    • +1

      Definitely wasn't a one card limit when I redeemed yesterday.

      Interestingly there's Velocity points for sale in the classifieds @ $0.01! :-/

    • +1

      Yeah, they are in a serious spot of bother. :( Was a 2 week turnaround for me to receive my giftcards as well.

    • Wow I'm glad that I got in before that cutoff. Thanks for the info about the turnaround.

  • I have repeatedly requested Virgin allow the Velocity Points be converted int Flybuys…. but they are ignoring me

    • +2

      Obviously

  • +1

    Velocity Frequent Flyer and Singapore KrisFlyer are temporarily suspending conversion of Points and Miles between the two programs.
    We're looking forward to providing you with this program feature once flight schedules return to normal.

    • +1

      Lockdown is here! :p

    • +1

      Ah nuts, was actually about to transfer this weekend 😐

      Guess it’s a $500 JB gift card for me then

  • +1

    Not sure if its just me, but I am not able to transfer FlyBuys to Velocity points now either…annoying cause I just need a bit more to redeem another giftcard.

    Edit: scratch that I managed to do it after a few repeated tries…seems buggy though.

  • +2

    Virgin Australia suspends points transfer to Singapore Airlines

    https://www.executivetraveller.com/news/virgin-velocity-tran...

  • +1

    I think the gift cards have now disappeared as well. Only a few shopping items with bad value I can see.

    • +1

      Still there for me? Just 1 purchase allowed per day as mentioned above

      https://shop.velocityfrequentflyer.com/gift-cards-promotions...

      • +1

        I made multiple purchases of the same one giftacard that seem to have worked - will see if they get manually picked up and cancelled

        • +1

          Same.. i have 3 more transactions to make so not sure if i should wait until tomorrow so it doesn't get flagged or anything

        • +1

          Me too, it will take more than 2 weeks for me to redeem all my points at only 1 per day.. hopefully doesn't get manually picked up.

    • +1

      Just bought 2x gift cards 5 mins apart. Both went through and points gone.

      • +1

        Did you get any emails?

        • +1

          I got an email for both stating that the points has been deducted from my VFF account and an order number.

    • +1

      Anyone has their gift card cancelled?

      • +1

        Why, did you have yours cancelled or something?

        I ordered 6 last weekend and received the confirmation emails and that's it.

        • +1

          Yes mine says cancelled. Did you your go through?

          • +1

            @bargin424: Ordered on the 5th, pending up until today, now marked as 'complete' and shipped

            • +1

              @Chickenleg: Hey mate, where did you see this? I've got an email confirming that is has been processed straight after purchasing it but nothing else.

  • +1

    Get whatever you can for them I think - and quickly

  • +2

    Suspension of krisflyer transfer is a good thing. Results in a cash outflow everytime someone transfers so this will help soften virgin's cash outflow. People need to stop panic buying from the gift shop - Virgin will most likely recover once the lockdown has ended, either through a govt bailout or one of its majority shareholders bailing them out. Virgin has become quite a good full service airline with Tiger being its discount carrier. If Virgin goes, so does Tiger and this will result in a Qantas monopoly which the government will not allow and one which ACCC has strongly advised against even if it means allowing the government bailout. So calm down people, let the bad times ride out in a few months and have faith that it will get better. If VA survives and even with vff being diluted, there will still be better options in redemption than the current gift card redemption rates (<0.5 cents/pt.) Anyway just my 2 cents

    • +1

      Haven't they already dumped Tiger? I think it's dead.

      • +1

        The plan was that Tiger was in limbo and that when the crisis was over, both airlines would source pilots from a single pool (the current Virgin pilots).

  • +1

    Handy trick if you're looking to transfer to gift cards with the current 1 per day limit.
    Do a family transfer to an elgible member, and this doubles your rate of redemption.

  • +1

    got a pair of apple airpod pro, seemed good enough for 79k

    • +1

      Any sign of shipping? I ordered a garmin watch back on the 6th and havent heard a word from popink who do their furfilment. Can't contact popink by phone as they say they shutdown their call centres with the government measures.

      • +1

        Curious if anyone else happened to get a Garmin watch too. I ordered one back in March and still haven't received it. Mate ordered one a week before me and got his though.

        • +1

          I havnt but I ordered gift cards end of March and they arrived mid April and there were no emails or anything. And I couldn't u understand the website to check status.

        • Nothing still on my end, how about you?

  • Ordered gift cards on 03/04/20 and they're still sitting in pending. Must be a lot of orders.

    • +1

      Likewise, here's hoping!

    • Update, they’ve been shipped. Mine has a tracking number but many people are reporting no tracking number. Admittedly it is hard to find on their website.

      • +1

        Update, delivered today.

    • +1

      Just had 15 of my 22 cards delivered. Hoping the rest are still on the way!

  • +1

    I was asleep at the wheel until the email last night from Velocity “reassuring” members that points were held in trustee.

    But Velocity is owned by Virgin Australia and they bought back the 35% stake they didn’t own from private equity last year for $700million (which is just under their current market capitalisation).

    Oh and their shares are now in suspension while they ask the government for a $1.4billion bailout (double their current market cap - but maybe will be triple their market cap if they come out of suspension).

    Redeemed all my points last night and this morning. Terrible value getting JB gift cards and electronics, but do you risk VA going under and losing all your hard earned points as a result? This is currently a 50/50.

  • +1

    Ordered my JB gift cards on 2 April. Haven't received them yet but my Velocity account says 'Shipped: No Tracking', seems strange that they would use regular post. Hopefully they arrive soon.

    • Just checked mine and it had the shipping tracking under the “shipments” tab, which was odd because other similarly named sections didn’t have the tracking info. Ordered mine on 03/04

      • +1

        Odd, i've been ordering since 02/04 and nothing shipped yet.

    • +1

      Comments on AFF forums saying that recent redemptions have been sent via normal post. Maybe the provider is cutting costs or ran out of registered post envelopes and can’t order more?

      Either way why can’t they offer egift cards rather than physical ☹️

    • +1

      Update: All gift cards arrived today (21/04) via regular post

      • +1

        How many did you have in total?

        • +1

          Three (2 x $100 and 1 x $50)

  • +3

    Well, I'm finally pulling the trigger on my Velocity points too. The talk about Administration did it. Added to that, if that do manage to hang on (and I hope they do), there will be no international flights for at least 6, maybe 12 months. I don't know how any FF programme will come out of it but at least Qantas have made a move, Virgin haven't.

  • +1

    They are advertising domestic flights again?

    • +1

      The government is underwriting domestic flights for 8 weeks. No profit/loss can be made from these flights by airlines.

      Govt still refusing the VA $1.4B bailout plea which they require to survive. The other option being more capital injection by shareholders (so far a majority no to that too).

      • +1

        Seems like Queensland has offered $200m if they stay in the state.

  • +1

    I've got 100,000 bonus points stuck in Amex and my next statement isn't for 2 weeks. Hard to say if Virgin will exist this afternoon let alone 2 weeks away. Anyone had any experience forcing that transfer?

    • +1

      Is this AMEX membership rewards or do your points automatically transfer to Velocity?

      • +1

        Auto transfer. I hit the three month spending requirement but it seems it waits to do the transfer at either the time of payment due date or payment. Or it's paused.

  • +2

    I've cashed in my 300000 points, got me a Roomba and a KitchenAid mixer - I put the order through yesterday and it's showing as pending. Hopefully goes through

    • Mine showed as pending for a few weeks for gift cards before it went through. Don’t let the pending status fill you with too much anxiety.

      • +1

        Thanks for the encouragement - hopefully they can stay afloat long enough…

  • +1

    Are we going to be the ones who kill virgin with all these redemptions?

    • +1

      Certainly won't help, but I think the main one is still their fixed costs like interest on borrowings, lease payments for airplanes and Ongoing staff costs even if a large majority of them have been stood down.

  • +2

    Just a quick update, the Rewards store is emptying. JB and DJ Gift Cards are all gone. Nothing in Books or Entertainment (unless you want a PS controller). The news of a potential Chinese take over certainly hasn't helped (and will see me flat out can my Velocity accounts this coming week if realised).

    • +1

      Yup, was going to buy a $20 iTunes card with my remaining 5000 points or so left but it's disappeared ☹

  • +2

    Their website is being hammered and I've still got 76k points left, so fraustrating.

  • +2

    Just saw the news on pending voluntary administration. Stressed as my husband and I have over 600k points combined. Not sure what to do..

    • +2

      Nothing you really can do. Just wait and see what happens. Maybe try and buy something on the store.

      • +2

        only if the website would work - it is getting hammered

  • +1

    Don't worry about Virgin. Most likely too late now. Get your Qantas (or any other airline) points out there …

  • +4

    What's the chance that orders placed before the announcement will be honoured?

    https://shop.velocityfrequentflyer.com/faqs - The FAQs show that once an order is placed the onus is on the delivery partner to deliver the item…

    Also saw this on (https://www.savings.com.au/credit-cards/travel-credit-cards/...)
    " In the case of Virgin Velocity, it is actually a separate division to the airline run as a different division within the airline.

    Founder and CEO of iFlyFlat Steve Hui, aka the Points Whisperer, said Virgin Velocity was valued by the company at around $2 billion before COVID-19 struck, and isn’t automatically gone if the airline goes.

    “The Velocity program is a profitable business with over 10 million members and is a very strong loyalty marketing powerhouse,” he told Savings.com.au.

    “I believe Velocity points will continue to have a life even if Virgin the airline changes, but the value of the points and the redemption options and airline partners might change a little depending on who buys the Velocity business.”

    • +2

      might change a little

      Lol, yeah right. Even if Velocity does survive the value of the points will certainly be devalued by whoever buys the business. Even if Virgin survives through VA I can't see an administrator allowing point redemptions as they work out the assets and liabilities of the company for the creditors.

      This and the fact that you arn't even able to use them to their best value atm (flights, flight upgrades). Redeem NOW while you can.

      For those who are saving in the hope of flying one day - you can always earn the points back. Getting something for free is better than getting nothing for free. Comments over at AFF Forums mentioning that when Ansett collapsed in 2001 all their frequent flyer points went with it.

      Don't say you wern't warned.

      • +2

        ^^^ this.

        Even if Velocity survives, it may be gutted, revamped, worth half, different partners etc.

        Depending on who buys it, you may not want your details transferred in any sale either.

        Hanging on isn't the best idea but it may be too late for many.

  • +1

    Ah crap, the redeem points at the online shop is timing out.

  • +1

    Looks like the velocity site is not allowing logins anymore
    Client disabled.

    • +1

      You can login but it no longer access the store.

      I wonder what happens to redemptions still "pending". They can't take points and provide anything.

  • +1

    It just re-directs to the main velocity website for me.

    "Frequent flyer points held in the airline’s Velocity Frequent Flyer program are believed to be secure, with the airline confirming last week that “Velocity is set up in a way that safeguards member value by having a trustee that looks after the interests of members.”
    (https://www.executivetraveller.com/news/virgin-australia-rep...)

  • +1

    "Velocity Frequent Flyer, while owned by the Group, is a separate company and is not in administration."

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-21/virgin-australia-goes...

  • +3

    Got this email

    "
    As a valued member of Velocity and a keen traveller like us, we’re committed to keeping you updated throughout these uncertain times of coronavirus and reduced travel.

    We wanted to share some information with you regarding temporary changes to the Velocity program and what this means for you.

    You may be aware that some of the Virgin Australia Group companies have entered Voluntary Administration. Deloitte has been appointed as the administrators, meaning they have assumed responsibility for the business and operations of those companies in administration.

    The intention of the administrators is to bring the relevant Virgin Australia Group companies out of administration as quickly as possible and return to normal operations.

    Although Velocity is owned by the Virgin Australia Group, it is a separate company and it is not in administration. That means we’re still operating, but we’ve made some temporary program changes in the interests of members.

    We’ve made the difficult decision to pause all redemptions for an initial period of four weeks, effective immediately. This means you won’t be able to redeem your Points for rewards during the pause.

    We know how much you love to plan your travel and use your Points to redeem flights, however the ongoing travel restrictions and reduced flights have limited the options for you to use Points for flights. We’re seeing more members use Points to shop online for items such as gift cards, electronic goods, and wine. This unexpected demand has made it difficult for our suppliers to provide these offers and limits the availability for all members to redeem their Points.

    What you need to know:

    Your Points aren’t going anywhere. They will remain in your account.
    Your existing Points will not expire through this period. We will be extending the expiration period for your existing Points by the timeframe of the pause.
    You can continue to earn Points with our partners, although you won’t be able to redeem them during the pause.
    These changes take effect immediately. Although the initial timeframe for this restriction is four weeks, this period may be extended. We will come back to you with an update as soon as we can.
    What’s next?

    Velocity has a trustee in place to look after the interests of members. We will continue to assess a range of options for the program and we want that to include a continuation of our long-standing partnership with Virgin Australia.

    We thank you for your patience, loyalty, and understanding in these challenging times.

    The Velocity Frequent Flyer Team.
    "

  • +1

    Has anyone who ordered their gift cards on the 6th April received their's yet?

    • +1

      Ordered 3 on the 5th and another 3 on the 6th and i got the first 3 yesterday the 21st so i'm hoping the rest will come today.

      Edit: postie just delivered the rest of them

      • +1

        Thanks for your reply. Wow your postie is early. Mine has yet to visit.

    • +2

      I made 3 orders over the 2nd and 3rd of April, all 3 arrived in the second half of last week. The order I made on the 5th has not arrived yet though, I was expecting it by now. The order I made on the 14th I'm not so hopeful on.

    • +2

      Ordered mine on the 7th but haven't received it yet

    • Have now received all cards ordered on the 6th and 7th. Waiting on one more ordered on the 8th April.

  • +2

    Check on this forum maybe - Velocity Points Redemption Post Virgin Australia Voluntary Administration Mega Thread (https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/532200)

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