Should I focus on Qantas or Virgin program for family trip to USA?

Hi All - great site and advice. I’m a newby suffering from a bit of analysis paralysis.
Ultimately we (mum, dad 2 kids) want to do a trip to the US probably Disneyworld in Florida late Sept / early Oct 2018 and return via Hawaii. We have only just started collecting FF/Velocity points with currently approx 175k FF and 35k velocity points. I’m under no illusion that we would ever have enough points to redeem for business class but would be happy to pay for premium economy and try to upgrade.
I gather that upgrading is not the best use of points but are there other options?
Also, my wife is going to undertake a domestic business trip shortly (for which she will receive points and status) and we are looking at a short holiday to Singapore in Jan 2018. Doing both of these with either Virgin or Qantas would get her Gold Velocity status (which I understand is needed to upgrade for long haul flights) or Silver Qantas status.
Any advice on which airline and partners we should focus on? Is upgrade potential better and/or better value on one or the other?
Many thanks

If you choose Virgin you can pool all your points and status into one account so you move up the ranks faster. Also, if you take any inter-island flights with Hawaiian, the Velocity earn rate can be very good (though you may have to pay extra for baggage). The Virgin partner network also serves your destinations well.

Not sure about which is a better choice for redemption or upgrade availability.

I think Qantas status is more useful than Velocity status, though if your wife won’t earn enough to move beyond silver, it’s less useful.

Hi gtdave,

Here are my 2c worth of tips:

  • Upgrades using Qantas pts can only be used on Qantas metal and will only be confirmed closer to departure date. If you are not Gold or above, your chances are likely to be slim especially as the routes to US is very popular.
  • Upgrades using Velocity points will be confirmed immediately if availability is there. Again, this is a very popular route.
  • You are also very likely to have to pay a premium to get an eligible fare (ticket) that is eligible for upgrades. This may be less of an issue for Premium Economy tickets (check the fare conditions). This is correct for both FFprogram.
  • As a family of 4, the general advice to increase award availability is to fly in groups of 2. This is quite valid for direct redemptions. I suspect it will also be valid for upgrades. Inconvenient but that is what you have to sacrifice for award space, unless you are extremely lucky.
  • For the travel period that you have mentioned, personally, I would have already redeemed or be prepared to redeem (seats open 11-12mths in advance). Obviously, this is because I like to increase my chances of getting an award seat. But I understand not everyone is as flexible.
  • Judging by your point balance and family pooling abilities, I would suggest focussing your efforts on Velocity for this trip.
  • I also can't comment on which program has better chances.
Good luck. Hope it helps.