What other routes are there between Australia and Europe when using Velocity points (other than via Singapore and Abu Dhabi)?

I’d love some tips for little-known routes to Europe besides the main ones we know (via Singapore or AUE)?

I recently flew on Singapore Air from Brisbane to London, return London to Cairns and I booked via the Virgin site. I booked with this airline because I wanted to use the Velocity points I’d accumulated to upgrade to Premium Economy. I didn’t do the research prior so I didn’t know you can’t use Velocity points to upgrade Singapore Air-operated fights. It was very annoying but at least I still have the points to do something else with.

What I found surprising was how unhelpful customer service was at both Singapore Air and Virgin when I wanted to manage my booking. Singapore Air wouldn’t help because the flights were booked via Virgin, and Virgin wouldn’t help because the flight was operated by Singapore Air. I also didn’t get a straight answer out of anyone about how Velocity points can’t be used to upgrade SA operated flight. I got the answer from a forum on the internet. It’s like they didn’t want to straight up tell me?

But what I did find out, for anyone interested, is a route to Europe from Australia where Velocity point upgrades could be useful. Take a VA flight from Australia to Hong Kong, and then a Virgin Atlantic flight from Hong Kong to Europe (although Velocity points still can’t be used on this leg to upgrade).

Flying via Hong Kong is a good way to get to Europe. However, if you were intending to fly this route in the hopes of getting an upgrade using Velocity points, I need to warn you. Only Gold or higher Velocity members can submit an upgrade and even then, you can only submit an upgrade to business class if you booked a Freedom Economy ticket (the most expensive fare type).

My general advice to anyone hoping to use their points for upgrades is to first look for ways to redeem for the ticket outright because when you are upgrading, you are not guaranteed a business class seat whereas you can pay a bit more points and get a guaranteed lay-flat seat with an outright rewards redemption. I wouldn’t go out of my way to pay more money for a economy ticket for the chance to use my points to upgrade. I would rather spend more points to get a confirmed seat on the plane.

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Note that the Melbourne-HK VA service will no longer operate after 11 Feb 2020. Sydney-HK is still ok though.
(as reported at https://www.pointhacks.com.au/velocity/latest-route-changes/)

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