My partner and I are looking to fly from melbourne to Vancouver for xmas 23 to spend time with friends. Dates are a little flexible inside that period (mid Dec to mid/early jan)
We are both gold with virgin and I’ll likely be platinum within a few months - currently have around 275k points and rising.
Ideally looking to use points and direct for the international portion (but not a deal breaker), would be cool to do as business for one leg or more if possible as well.
Would any gurus out there have advice on the best way to do this? Looking like virgin aus isn’t currently flying direct to van.
Also when we need to be prepared by for award seats coming online?
The award calendar for virgin opens up 330 days from departure. So looking at leaving around the beginning of december means you have to pay close attention to the award availability in around January of next year.
Velocity has recently partnered up with United, opening up a lot of options for Australians to travel to North America. In addition to that, they also have partnerships with Air Canada. Neither flies direct to Vancouver from Melbourne but requires only a short connection in either Australia or in SFO.
The usual advice about booking early will apply and I’m sure you’ve read enough to know that business class seats are not a guarantee especially on such competitive long haul routes.
It costs 111.5K per person one-way in business to travel all the way to Vancouver in business as it ticks just over the 8500 miles limit but will drop down to 95k if you are just travelling to the US on united. Air Canada comes in under the 8500 miles limit so comes at 104,000 per person.
Since you mention platinum status though, I will draw your attention to one of the less commonly publicised benefit of Velocity Platinum status - the reward seat guarantee. As a platinum member, you are guaranteed 4 Economy class seats to a destination served by either Virgin Australia or their codeshare partners (i.e. selected United Airlines flights) within 3 days of your desired travel dates. You can read more about it here:
As travelling in that time period is challenging even when redeeming in Economy class, this could really come in handy if there is literally not a single seat available.
I note that you linked to a 2018 article regarding the guaranteed reward seats. The 2022 beneift as stated on the Velocity website is as follows:
As a Platinum member we guarantee you will be able to redeem an Economy Reward Seat, for one trip per year to any domestic Australia destination or international destination when travelling on any Virgin Australia -operated flight beginning with a ‘VA’ flight number*
*From 5 February 2022, flights to Cocos Island, Christmas Island and Partner Airline operated flights booked with a VA flight number will no longer be eligible flights under our Economy Reward Seat Guarantee
That thought did cross my mind as usually partner airlines don’t have much say over the opening of award space.
Ah yes that would be correct! Sorry, my brain is still remembering pre-Bain Virgin rules!
So I guess that’s not an option anymore.