Velocity Frequent Flyer cards are a type of rewards points credit card. The cards are linked to Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer program, and the card’s rewards points for spending on eligible purchases come in the shape of Velocity Frequent Flyer points directly credited to the cardholder’s Velocity Points account. These points earned ‘on the ground’ are exactly the same, and have the same value, as Velocity Points earned by taking Virgin Australia flights paid for with cash.
American Express, Westpac, and Virgin Australia itself (via Virgin Money), issue a range of Velocity Frequent Flyer credit cards, and there are seven personal cards in total to choose from, plus one business card.
Velocity Points earning rates
Points earning rates are expressed as a number of points per dollar spent (e.g. 1.25 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases).
Each card has its own points earning rate, and cards with a higher annual fee tend to have a higher earning rate and more valuable complimentary benefits attached.
Earning rates may vary within the card, depending on the type of spending made. Government purchases, for example, tend to earn at a lower rate, while some cards have a higher earning rate for purchases made directly from Virgin Australia for flights and seat upgrades.
Points caps and thresholds
Some rewards credit cards have a cap on points earning, limiting the number of points that can be earned in any month or year, meaning that the points earning rate falls to 0 points per dollar for the remainder of the period once the cap (e.g. 5,000 points or $5,000 of spending) has been reached. At the time of writing this, there were no Velocity Points credit cards with an absolute cap on points earning.
But there are Velocity Points cards with a points threshold, where the earning rate falls after the threshold has been reached (e.g. 0.66 Velocity Points per dollar, up to a threshold of $1,500 spending per month, 0.5 points per dollar thereafter).
Velocity Points expire if there has been neither points earning activity (e.g. from credit cards, or from making flights where the fare was purchased with cash) nor points spending activity (e.g. booking an award flight with points or making other points redemptions) within the previous 24 months. In other words, make sure there’s some points earning or redemption activity at least once every two years, and your Velocity Points will be safe from expiry.
Indirect Velocity Points cards
There’s a huge number of credit cards which allow you to earn Velocity Points indirectly. That is, you first earn your points in another rewards program linked to your card, and then convert those points into Velocity Frequent Flyer points, at exchange rates which vary depending on the primary rewards program in which the points were earned.
Credit card rewards programs which have conversion to Velocity Points as a redemption option include:
- American Express Membership Rewards
- ANZ Rewards
- Bank of Queensland Rewards
- Citi Rewards
- CommBank Awards
- Diners Club Rewards
- HSBC Rewards
- NAB Rewards
- St. George/BankSA/Bank of Melbourne Amplify Rewards
- Suncorp Bank Rewards
- Westpac Altitude Rewards
Some Velocity Frequent Flyer Points credit cards offer large numbers of bonus points as an incentive to new cardholders. There is usually a target spending amount to be reached in order to qualify for these ‘first purchase bonus points’. For example, a new cardholder may receive 50,000 bonus Velocity Points for spending $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of holding the card. Bonus points are particularly useful for anyone collecting points to redeem for a long-haul international award flight.
Velocity status credits
As well as offering bonus points to new cardholders, some Velocity Frequent Flyer credit cards offer Velocity status credits from time to time (e.g. 50 Velocity status credits for spending $10,000 using your card during the first year).
If you can elevate your Velocity Frequent Flyer membership level to one of the higher tiers (Silver, Gold, or Platinum) by earning enough status credits, you can access privileges like higher points for flying, entry to airport lounges, priority boarding, advance seat selection, extra baggage allowance and exclusive upgrade offers. Status credits are mostly earned by purchasing Virgin flights or from retail purchases when linking your flybuys and Velocity accounts. So extra status credits earned via your credit card could be a useful way of maintaining or improving your status for the following year.