Virgin set make Velocity fully Virgin owned again

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Loyalty programs are a cash cow for airlines to the point that some airlines sell a stake or the whole cow for a quick profit hit. Those who have taken the gamble tend to not seen it pay off and more often than not find themselves paying for it, or in the case of Air Canada creating a whole new competing loyalty program.

In 2014 Virgin sold part of its Velocity business to Affinity Equity Partners (AEP). Since the sale the program it has grown to be the third biggest loyalty program in Australia behind Qantas and Woolworths. Virgin now has sellers remorse and has enter an agreement to buy back the 35 per cent of its Velocity program it sold to AEP for $700 million. This is more than double what they sold it for to the group five years earlier.

Virgin has experienced some rocky annual results of late but the shining star of their company has been the Velocity division which saw earnings (before interest and tax) up 12 per cent to $122.2 million.

Personally I think this is a smart move by Virgin which in the end after a initial financial hit see the company not only in a stronger position financially but increase value with its customers for years to come!

Qantas Melbourne – San Francisco B787 flights officially on sale

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Launching: September 1 2018

Aircraft type: Boeing 787

Frequency:  Four times daily

Late last year Qantas revealed as an early Christmas gift for Melbournian and San Fran flyers that it would launch its Melbourne – San Fran Francisco flights from September 1 2018. When the 14 hour flight is launched it will be the only non-stop flight to San Francisco from Melbourne; a huge incentive for tech head silicon valley business types.

From Melbourne QF49 will depart 9:40pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, arriving into San Francisco at 7pm.

QF50 from San Francisco will depart 10pm on those same days and arrive in Melbourne at 6:30am two days later. Whilst at this stage it isn’t flying daily the fact that it has a tight turn around time means Qantas is fully utilising its aircraft without it sitting on the ground all day.

Under the Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner configuration there are 42 business class suites, in a 1-2-1 layout and a premium economy cabin of 28 seats in a 2-3-2 layout. In addition there are 166 economy seats.

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As a result of this new Qantas offering for Melbourne flyers, flights between Melbourne and Los Angeles will be reduced from 13 weekly to 9 weekly. Qantas will maintain the daily A380 flight but cull the 787 flight from 6 weekly to 2 weekly.

Reward me (reward flights)

Right now award availability across all classes for these flights is quite strong with a number of options across numerous flights in business, premium and economy classes. Usually Qantas is quite difficult in obtaining/ linking reward flights as I have found in the past with many of my trips so to find this is quite a nice surprise.

A reward flight one way on business class will set you back 96,000 Qantas Points, 72,000 Qantas Points for premium economy and 45,000 Qantas Points on economy. In addition you will need to pay the obligatory airport taxes on top of this.

Considering the quality of the product and destination being made available there has never been a better time to book a reward flight to the USA.