How to fly to Eastern Europe/Russia and back via Thailand with Velocity points?

Hi guys!

I’m planning some travel with a mate and we’d like to go to Ukraine and Russia for a holiday in May/June. Let’s say flight into Kiev and flight out of St Petersburg (or the other way around).

I would also like to go to Thailand (Bangkok) for 5 days on the way back (just me, not my friend).

I have 450,000 Velocity points and 160,000 Bank of Melbourne points.

I was thinking the best use of the points is to buy Economy flights and use the points to upgrade us both to either Business (or failing that Premium Economy) - a gift for my mate.

I’ve never done this before.

Can someone please help me understand a few things? For example:

  • Which airlines I should be looking at to make this trip?
  • I know Eithad has a partnership with Virgin, so should I try both of them?
  • I’m thinking I should I book two one-way trips? (given my mate doesn’t want to fly to Thailand, and I can just upgrade him on the way there).
  • What is the general process? Should I ring the airlines to confirm I can upgrade the flight and book/buy them over the phone?

Thank you!

OK, some more research has found that both Eithad and Singapore seem to be a good way to get to Ukraine (Kiev).

Have also learned that you can’t upgrade Eithad flights using Velocity.

On the Virgin website I can’t choose Kiev as a destination.

On the Etihad website I can see the flights but no option to pay using Velocity points.

So, as far as I can tell, there is no way to do this online and I need to call?

OK, best I can figure is I can use my points to get to/from Abu Dhabi (booked via Velcoity/Virgin wesbite), and then buy the rest separately.

If anyone had any other others I’m all ears :slight_smile:

One other idea is that you could convert your Velocity and BoM points into KrisFlyer points. This will give you access to Singapore Airlines and other Star Alliance airlines such as Thai. If you do that you’ll end up with about 370,000 KrisFlyer points which will be more than enough for an upgrade or two on Singapore Airlines flights.

The problem with upgrades is that they can be very hard to get. For one thing, as a general rule you can only use points to upgrade with the airline the points are with. So, as you’ve discovered, you can’t use Velocity points to upgrade Etihad flights. Also there’s absolutely no guarantee that an upgrade will be available on any given flight. So another general rule is that if you buy a ticket in Economy, you should expect to fly in Economy. An upgrade may or may not happen but you should treat it as icing on the cake.

If you want to fly Business or PE, the best strategy is to get a ticket in Business/PE to begin with (paid for either with money or points).