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Only in Australia: Elite Miles for Free Flights

Only in Australia: Elite Miles for Free Flights

From the land that brought you the kangaroo, the koala, the dingo, and the platypus comes another one-off: elite-qualifying miles for flights.

But not just any flights, award flights.

That’s right. Beginning on January 13, members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity program will earn elite miles not just for paid flights but for free flights on Virgin Australia.

According to the airline’s news release, Velocity members will earn elite credit for higher-priced unrestricted awards on an ongoing basis, and for lower-priced capacity-controlled awards through June 30.

Whereas elite status is typically viewed as a reward for a traveler’s revenue contribution to an airline, as measured by paid flights and miles, Virgin Australia’s new policy expands on that to include a traveler’s engagement with the program, which would encompass both paid and unpaid flights.

Reader Reality Check

Is this an idea whose time has come, or just a nutty Down Under stunt?

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  • anat0l

    Qantas have been doing this for months!

  • LouiePorter

    The “rewards” from any of the Australian airlines are so loaded with fees, taxes, and even the so-called “fuel surcharge” that they are poor value. A QF award ticket to the US will incur cash charges of almost $700. Most Aussies who travel extensively for business book their miles with alliance partners.

  • Brunon Paul Bielinski

    I was left with a sour taste in my mouth after Virgin Australia hit me with a $150 excess baggage fee. Qantas had carried the same luggage for free before that and after Virgin’s gouging Qantas did it for free another five times. Haven’t flown Virgin since 2007 when they chose to do that…incidentally I was United Gold and usually airlines give respect to “Goldies.”