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Starwood’s 31st Airline Transfer Partner: Virgin Australia

Related:
-Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

-Getting To Israel Using Starwood Starpoints
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Starwood has added Virgin Australia’s Velocity program as a transfer partner.  You’ll get 25,000 miles for every 20,000 Starwood Starpoints transferred.

They aren’t part of any alliance but they have a hodgepodge of partners such as Delta.  Here is their award chart and partner airline details.

You’ll need an address in a country like Australia to setup your account.  I’ve had a Velocity account for several years dating from when they were matching status to Platinum with some pretty sweet bennies (still have Hilton Diamond and Hertz President’s Circle from that) and have never needed anything that they mailed to my buddy down under.

The sweet spot is for short-haul flights on Delta and Virgin America.  Flights under 600 miles in distance will cost just 6,900 miles.  As you get a 25% bonus for transferring increments of 20K Starpoints into miles that’s the rough equivalent of 5,520 Starpoints for a short-haul flight.  Flights that are between 601 and 1,200 miles in length will cost 10,900 miles each way or the rough equivalent of 8,720 Starpoints.

Delta, among other airlines like Frontier, have been on a tear in Cleveland even since United announced the dehubbing and since AA slashed the CLE-LGA route effective 04/01. They have added daily nonstops to Raleigh-Durham and 6 weekly nonstops to Indianapolis.  They’re also going to fly 3 daily flights to JFK, 5 daily flights to LGA, and all mainline flights to Atlanta besides for their current schedule to Detroit and Minneapolis.

All of those cities besides Minneapolis are within 600 miles of Cleveland and will therefore cost just 6,900 miles (~5,520 Starpoints) for a one-way.  Plus with all of these new flights Delta’s award availability chart is looking surprisingly good.

Of course this isn’t as good as British Airways‘ 4,500 mile flights but if you’re not located in an American hub city then this can be very useful.  Plus while BA charges 3 times the miles for American domestic first class Virgin Australia will charge just double miles for Delta domestic first class as they consider it business class.

There are some other seemingly sweet spots that are less sweet than they initially seem.

For example JFK-Tel Aviv is 5,677 miles in length and is therefore just 70,000 Virgin Australia miles round-trip as opposed to 85,000 Delta miles.

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However you’ll be far better off booking that Delta flight with Air France Flying Blue miles.  With Air France you would only need 50,000 miles for the free round-trip on Delta to Tel Aviv.  You can transfer 40,000 Starpoints into 50,000 Air France miles or 50,000 American Express Membership Rewards points into 50,000 Air France miles:

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So Israel is no bargain, but I’m sure there are other bargains out there. Both Air France and Virgin Australia allow for one-way redemptions when using their miles while Delta does not when using their miles.

Curious about the other 30 Starwood transfer options and ratios?  With so may different airlines to transfer to it’s just a matter of figuring out which one has the lowest rates to where you want to go.  I’ve separated all of them by alliance so you can know which airlines are partners and will therefore let you book award travel on partner airlines.  Of course airlines also have lots non-alliance partners, but by definition they are partners with all airlines in the same alliance.

In parenthesis you can see if American Express Membership Rewards (MR) or Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) transfers to the airline as well.

OneWorld Alliance:
American: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Air Berlin: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
British Airways Avios: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, UR)
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
JAL/Japan Airways: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
LAN: 20,000 Starpoints=37,500 kms (No other transfers)

Skyteam Alliance:
AeroMexico: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Air France/KLM Flying Blue: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Alitalia: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
China Eastern: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
China Southern: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Delta: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)

Star Alliance:
Air Canada/Aeroplan: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Air China: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Air New Zealand: 20,000 Starpoints=385 points (No other transfers)
ANA/All Nippon: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Asiana: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Lufthansa Miles & More: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Singapore: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Thai: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
United: 20,000 Starpoints=12,500 miles (UR)
USAirways: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)

Unaligned:
Alaska (Partners with several airlines from different alliances): 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Emirates: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Etihad: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Gol/Varig Smiles: 20,000 Starpoints=12,500 miles (No other transfers)
Hawaiian: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR)
Qatar: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Saudi Arabian: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)
Virgin Atlantic: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (MR, UR)
Virgin Australia: 20,000 Starpoints=25,000 miles (No other transfers)

Points can also transfer to Amtrak.

HT: Gary and tuvz, via DDF

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16 Responses to “Starwood’s 31st Airline Transfer Partner: Virgin Australia”

  1. Moe Says:
    1

    Great news. Now let’s see if names need to match for this one.

    ReplyReply
  2. jack Says:
    2

    Dan, Thank you,
    Love this post.

    ReplyReply
  3. stephen Says:
    3

    how often do you fly them that you have platinum membership with hilton? apparently you need gold status which requires “To maintain Platinum membership, you need to earn 800 Status Credits and fly 8 Eligible Sectors within your 12 month benefit period.”

    ReplyReply
  4. Ben Says:
    4

    @dan the consolidation and clarity of this info is incredible! Much obliged! Thanks for all as usual!

    ReplyReply
  5. Mendy Says:
    5

    Dan, you have done a while ago a list of how to get to israel with every airline using points, but it’s a bit outdated, can you do another one, it will be much appreciated.
    Thanks

    ReplyReply
  6. Cbs Says:
    6

    Do i must call the Airline to book a short haul mileage ticket on Delta domestically? the airports dont come up in the search engine on the website.

    ReplyReply
  7. Daniel Says:
    7

    Anyone know of an address we can use in Australia to open up the account? I assume a fake address may be an issue when they get the mail returned to them?

    ReplyReply
  8. mr g Says:
    8

    can you transfer delta points to book a starwood hotel?

    ReplyReply
  9. JohnnieD Says:
    9

    What method do you (and VA) use to calculate distances? This brings up many possibilities for me!

    ReplyReply
  10. Short Haul Says:
    10

    On what website is the booking of short haul flights using VA Miles done? VA.com doesn’t allow the option to book a OW in the US?

    ReplyReply
  11. CtownBin Says:
    11

    This is great news for us in CLE, will help soften the blow a little bit after losing our Avios flight to NY.
    Will it be possible to book Delta flights online? Or will we need to call Velocity and pay a phone booking fee? Also, any ideas for a solution to the Australian address problem would be great 🙂

    ReplyReply
  12. Small City Guy Says:
    12

    Yes, this sounds great for us non Hub city dwellers. Before I make the 20,000 mile transfer, would you mind explaining the process in how to book flights (as others have asked)?
    I guess first step is opening up VA account with an Australian address, correct?
    Would I then go to VA to book the flights?

    Thanks so much, Dan!

    ReplyReply
  13. Dan Says:
    13

    @Moe:
    Hopefully we’ll have some reports soon.

    @jack:
    YW!

    @stephen:
    It was a status match.

    @Ben:
    Thanks for commenting!

    @Mendy:
    http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/23168
    http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/34019
    Will try to update it in the near future.

    @Cbs:
    Call.

    @mr g:
    No.

    @JohnnieD:
    On their award chart link is a calculator though I usually use gcmap.com

    @Short Haul:
    @CtownBin:
    Have to call.
    Shouldn’t be any fees as it can’t be done online.

    @Small City Guy:
    Yup.

    ReplyReply
  14. CtownBin Says:
    14

    @Dan:
    I tried calling Virgin Australia to see about booking a Delta flight. I gave an exact flight that I saw as available at the lowest mileage level on delta.com, but the agent said there was no availability using Velocity miles. I then had him check the entire month and month after, and he couldn’t find me a single flight that had award seat availability, even though on delta.com there was availability on that route every single day that month. He eventually checked 4 months’ worth of flights, and couldn’t find one single seat. He said that that the inventory Virgin Australia gets is different than what Delta releases to their own members or even to other partner airlines. This doesn’t seem like it could be true, but I did HUCA 3 times with the same result. Anyone have success actually finding or booking a Delta seat using Velocity points? Ideas?

    ReplyReply
  15. chaim Says:
    15

    how long to transfers take from Starwood to BA?

    ReplyReply
  16. yaakov Says:
    16

    Would be nice to put this up again – now is a good time as they just raised their prices on the 1st.

    ReplyReply

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