Advertisement

Paws For Points: Virgin Australia Launches Frequent Flyer Program For Pets

by on July 8, 2013 · 5 comments

in Pet Travel, Virgin Australia

Two of the most important things in my life are my French bulldog, Miles, and maximizing the miles and points that I earn traveling. Miles has already logged in quite a bit of travel including a few transcontinentals and would be well on his way to elite status with American Airlines if he had his own frequent flyer account. So I’m always on the lookout for new airline loyalty programs for travel pets, and this past week,  Virgin Australia is the latest carrier to launch an incentive to take your four-legged sidekick away with you.

Virgin Australia Flying Paws

Virgin Australia now allows your pet to earn Velocity frequent flyer miles when they fly with you.

Under the new pet plan, members of the airline’s Velocity frequent flyer program can earn 300 points every time their dog or cat flies on the Virgin Australia domestic network for a maximum of two pets per booking. Plus, Silver, Gold and Platinum members earn a 50%, 75% and 100% Points bonus respectively on top of the base Points earned.

Points will not be earned for unaccompanied pets, the international transportation of pets or service dogs that travel in the cabin of the Virgin Australia flight.

Here is how the points will add up per leg:

Earn 300 points for the first pet carrier if you are a Red member.

Earn 300 points for the first pet carrier if you are a Red member.

One pet carrier:

  • Red members: 300
  • Silver members: 450
  • Gold members: 525
  • Platinum members: 600

Two pet carriers:

  • Red members: 600
  • Silver members: 900
  • Gold members: 1,050
  • Platinum members: 1,200
Paws

This is the first loyalty program for pets Down Under.

The cost per pet per flight sector (segment) depends on the size of the animal and is paid at check-in. Here’s the cost breakdown:

Screen shot 2013-07-08 at 2.38.46 PM

Small pets of 0-10 kg cost $55 AUD
Medium pets of 11-20 kg cost $75 AUD
Large pets of 21-30 kg cost $100 AUD
Extra large pets of 31-65 kg (max) cost $100 AUD plus $4 per kilogram over 30 kg

Current family benefits such as the ability to pool points and status credits will now be extended to pets, proving once and for all that they are part of the pack. With almost 30,000 pets traveling around Australia each year, according to a CNN report, paws add up to points.

Virgin Australia Miles Table

The Virgin Australia Points Table.

The minimum amount of Velocity points needed for a reward flight starts at 6,900, but considering the long distances Virgin Australia flies – they quickly add up. On domestic Virgin Australia flights, you earn 5 Velocity Rewards points per dollar spent plus elite bonuses. So let’s say you booked a $200 roundtrip ticket with your small pet, which would bring the total airfare to $310. Instead of earning 1,000 base points, you’d be earning a total of 1,600. So you’re paying about 50% more and getting 60% more miles. The break even point will vary by the size of your pet and number of flights segments flown, but you can do the math for yourself to see if bringing your four-legged friend is worth the expense to you.

Virgin Australia has also launched a search for five new Velocity Pet Ambassadors to represent the program, so if your dog or cat has what it takes to be the face of the airline, you can enter here (the one in the middle looks a lot like Miles!).

Australian Immigration

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has regulations on bringing pets into Australia.

This is good news for domestic travelers in Australia but there is a growing number of US airlines offering similar services though, such as JetBlue’s JetPaws program, which allows members to earn 300 TrueBlue points on each flight segment when traveling with your pet – and even has a cool line of pet travel accessories. Virgin Atlantic has a Flying Paws program that allows furry friends to earn between 1,000 and 2,000 Flying Club miles.

I have always wanted to go to Australia, and though Miles won’t be coming with me, hopefully I’ll have plenty of pets to hang out with on my flights around the country while I’m Down Under.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

Previous post:

Next post:

  • Alex

    Keep in mind that Velocity points in Australia domestically are based on your spend on the airfare. Its 5 points per $1 spent, with the appropriate status bonuses 50, 75 and 100%.

    So for a base fare between Sydney and Perth at saver lite level which goes for about $200 each way, thats 1000 velocity points for a red member (plus 600 for the pet)

  • thepointsguy

    Thanks for pointing that out, Alex, I adjusted the math.

  • Alex

    No worries. Oops, just noticed I’d put 600 points per pet. You have it correct as round trip though! ;-)

  • Latimer

    What sucks is that you’d have to throw miles in a kennel for 6 months when you get to Australia. It’s just not worth it. I was considering moving down there for work but couldn’t do that to my dog.

  • djd1950

    Does this airline have similar size/weight restrictions for dogs traveling in the cabin as do all the American carriers? If so, then none of the dogs in the first picture would be in the cabin – they would be away from the passenger, with the luggage or wherever it is the airline parks them. Something to think of when calculating cost/benefit.

Print This Page