Virgin Blue's new Velocity Rewards - full details
In Australia, airline operator Virgin Blue has launched its much-anticipated loyalty programme, Velocity. The scheme offers points and redemptions through a useful roster of founding partners, including Pacific Blue, Polynesian Blue, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, National Australia Bank, and Europcar.
Broadly speaking, the programme awards points for domestic flights, international flights, car hire, and credit card usage (optional), and offers redemptions in the areas of domestic flights, international flights, and car hire.
Virgin Blue boasts that Velocity points don't expire, and that there is very little restriction placed on award travel: members can pick any seat on any flight at any time.
Earning points The programme offers a number of ways to earn points:
- Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue & Polynesian Blue Members earn 6 points per Aus$1 spent on fares. Points are accumulated based on the all-inclusive fare price (including taxes, fees and surcharges). Points are credited to the member's account after the flight.
- Emirates Members earn points based on miles flown. For discounted economy miles, members earn 0.5 points per mile. For full economy miles, the rate is 1 point per mile. Business class attracts 1.25 points per mile, and first class attracts 1.5 points per mile. The minimum mileage used for points calculations is 500 (so shorter flights effectively pay more points per mile).
- Virgin Atlantic Members earn points based on miles flown. Like Emirates, a sliding scale applies depending on fare type: Promotional fares earn 0.5 points per mile; Discounted and full economy fares both earn 1 point per mile; Premium economy earns 1.5 points per mile; and Upper class earns 2 points per mile.
- Europcar Retail customers earn 4 points per Aus$1 spent in Australia and New Zealand, or a flat rate of 800 points at other international locations. Contracted business customers earn half the number of points earned by retail customers. Points are not earned for extras (such as damage liability cover, baby seats, and ski racks). With the first rental, a free vehicle upgrade is offered, along with double Velocity points.
- Velocity National credit cards From 30th November 2005, National Australia Bank is to launch two Velocity National Credit Cards, which will reward cardholders with points based on their spend using the card. The Gold American Express card earns 1 point per Aus$1 spent, while the standard Visa card earns 1 point for every Aus$2 spent. In a short-term launch offer, consumers who apply for (and are approved for) either card by 31st January 2006 will be welcomed with a 5,000 Velocity Point bonus.
Redeeming points There are also a number of ways for Velocity programme members to redeem their Velocity points:
- Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue & Polynesian Blue flights Members can redeem points online for any Virgin Blue flight (as Virgin Blue says, "any seat, any time"). Points can also be redeemed for any Virgin Blue flight for eligible family members. The available fare types will determine the number of points need to redeem for a seat on any specific flight. An online Points calculator is provided to help members find the lowest and highest redemption costs, by entering their origin and destination.
- Other international flights Points can be redeemed for flights with Emirates (redemption rates can be calculated at www.emirates.com, and Virgin Atlantic (see www.virgin-atlantic.com).
- Car rentals Points can be redeemed for car rentals through Velocity's exclusive car rental partner, Europcar, which has more than 200 locations throughout Australia and New Zealand. Redemption rates vary by vehicle type and number of days. As an example, a single day rental would cost the following: Economy = 15,000 points; Compact = 16,333 points; Intermediate = 16,667 points; Full size sedan = 19,000 points; or an Audi A6 = 57,333 points.
- Velocity's online shop The e-shopping mall provides cheaper-than-retail goods through a 'points plus payment' redemption system (which also makes it harder for canny consumers to compare prices). Consumers simply browse or search the shopping site, find what they want, check-out, and have the goods delivered to their door. Points are deducted from their Velocity account at the time of purchase.
Registration for the programme can be completed online through the Velocity Rewards web site.
Carlson's involvement Velocity is being logistically managed by relationship marketing agency Carlson Marketing Group. According to Carlson, one of Velocity's aims is to attract new Virgin Blue guests, particularly in the corporate and business market. Having developed the programme model, Carlson will now manage the operational logistics including the loyalty database, points engine, online shop, rewards sourcing, partner recruitment and acquisition, member contact centre, programme communication fulfilment (including member statements) and data analytics to drive ongoing strategy development.
The Velocity program is operated by Velocity Rewards Pty Ltd as trustee of the Loyalty Trust. Brett Godfrey, Virgin Blue's CEO, commented: "We have a very clear goal to have the best programme globally for our frequent travellers and our shareholders."
For additional information: · Visit Velocity at http://www.velocityrewards.com.au · Visit Virgin Blue at http://www.virginblue.com.au · Visit Pacific Blue at http://www.flypacificblue.com.au · Visit Polynesian Blue at http://www.polynesianblue.com · Visit Emirates at http://www.emirates.com · Visit Virgin Atlantic at http://www.virgin-atlantic.com · Visit National at http://www.national.com.au · Visit Europcar at http://www.deltaeuropcar.com.au · Visit Carlson at http://www.carlson.com