Any suggestions on the most efficient use of Amex free flights/vouchers to fly Virgin (Syd to Perth return)?

Newbie question so any advice is appreciated…

My objective is to travel from Sydney to Perth return for two people (myself and an employee) flying Virgin. I need to arrive earlier, so will need to be on the 14:05  VA561 (A330) flight leaving Sydney on the 11th of October whilst my employee needs to be on the 09:35 flight leaving Sydney on the 12th of October. We’re both coming home on the 15th of October - timing doesn’t matter as much and we don’t need to be on the same flights (she can choose what time she wants to fly).

I have one free domestic return flight from the Platinum Reserve Amex and a $129 credit voucher from a Virgin card. I believe the free flight is booked by Amex as a saver fare. I should shortly have plenty of Velocity points (or could transfer points from my Amex rewards points with the 15% bonus being extended for a week) for an upgrade.

My employee will travel economy and I’m happy flying there on economy but would love a business return flight as Friday night will be a late finish (as the convention we’re attending has a gala dinner which always goes late). Of course I wouldn’t mind business both ways…

I’m trying to work out the best way of booking everything. My thought was to use the free flight for my employee - booked through Amex, book an economy ticket to Perth using my credit voucher plus cash for the leg there and then use rewards points for the return flight. Any thoughts on how I could do things better?

The challenge on the return leg for me if I fly business is that there are three flights back to Sydney on the Saturday.

05:45 (VA552 - 73H) - still has business class availability but is the old school 737 and would likely mean an all-nighter before getting on the flight. Arrives at 12:55 which is good for my family…

11:05 (VA558 - 73H) - no business class availability showing and is the 737. Allows for a sleep in before the flight and arrives home at 18:25

15:30 (VA562 332) - still has business class availability on the new A330 which looks awesome and has has flat beds. Arrives at 22:40 which means another late night by the time I get home.

There’s also a flight via Adelaide (more points or cash and longer flight time) on older planes so I don’t think it’s really worth it. 08:10 (VA714 on a E90 and VA427 on a 73H). Arrives at 17:20

What would you do?

Is your credit card registered at a Sydney address? If so, you cannot use your free Virgin flight to fly from Sydney to Perth. You can only do that flight if your card is registered in Perth. There is a route map of where are allowed to go here.

If you want to upgrade, it is often better buying the flexi fare - which is more expensive in $ - but requires fewer points for the upgrade. You can read the guide on this website to see how it works here.