Virgin Australia’s Hilarious (And Deceiving) Billion Point Giveaway

Virgin Australia’s Velocity program is offering a 15% bonus when you convert points from their partner programs to Velocity. That’s actually not a terribly exciting promotion, though the marketing surrounding it is hilarious. Basically, Virgin Australia is claiming that this was intended to be a million point giveaway, but that an intern screwed it up and instead made it a billion point giveaway.

Of course this is all made up since you’re just getting a 15% bonus on the points you transfer, so it’s not like you’re getting a certain percentage of a million (or a billion) points. I suppose that if people transfer 6.5 billion points to Velocity then they are indeed “giving away” a billion points, though in the process they’d be getting an insane amount of revenue for the transferred points. So they could have just as easily called it a trillion point giveaway. As explained in the terms & conditions:

Is this a competition to win a share of a billion points?

No, this is the Velocity 15% bonus promotion – it just looks a little different. Move your reward points from one of our participating partners to Velocity by 31 May 2017, and you will receive 15% bonus Velocity Points on top of the Velocity points you move. Plus, if you move your points from ANZ during May, you’ll receive 50% bonus Velocity Points. That’s an additional 35%, on top of the 15% bonus


While the promotion as such is quite boring, they have a great sense of humor. Virgin Australia uploaded a series of videos surrounding the promotion, which are worth a watch:

On one hand I find the marketing and campaign as such to be hilarious, though at the same time I also find it to be bizarrely misleading. There is no million or even billion point giveaway. Virgin Australia is just offering a 15% transfer bonus, and those numbers have nothing to do with it.

What do you make of Virgin Australia’s “billion point giveaway” promotion?

(Tip of the hat to You Have Been Upgraded)


  1. Keep in mind this is the dumbest airline in aviation history: they thought they had scored a major coup when they decided to give platinum status to all government employees who were platinum with Qantas. In the process they alienated a significant proportion of QF Platinum members who were not public sector employees and effectively locked that group, myself included, into flying exclusively with Qantas; why would anyone choose Virgin without lounge access, no priority checkin, noluggage allowance, no points multiplier? ( the fares are the same). I haven’t flown Virgin for 5 years or more. In that contetext the deceitful and dumb promotion is unsurprising.

  2. Paolo – How utterly ridiculous. You’re throwing a hissy fit because the airline gave government workers a status match and not you!?

    It’s not remotely something that requires you to be “the dumbest airline in aviation history”, as perfectly evidenced by the fact NO airline on the planet will status match everyone and anyone.

  3. The campaign is intended to rush people into transferring their CC points into velocity points, with a cap of 1 billion points, making people thinking that “if I don’t transfer now, I’ll miss it!”

    However, it may have a negative impact. 1 billion point isn’t much if many people transferred large amounts over, especially with ANZ giving 50% bonus. If might run out very quickly. In my case I chose not to participate in the fear that if I transferred and don’t get the bonus, VA can simply say the points ran out and there is nothing I can do about it as it’s stated clearly in the T&C.

    Velocity used to be a great program. But since it’s sold to a separate entity, it has deteriorated since. Many changes were introduced and mostly negative. These includes but not limited to the following:
    1. No mixed cabin allowed.
    2. No mixed carrier allowed, including mixing VA domestic flight within Australia.
    3. Devaluation to EY redemption.
    4. Redemption surcharges added to EY flights, up to US$300 per sector for first class.
    5. First class on EY A380 seems to be blocked by VA. Many people have trouble finding an apartment seat even tho it’s shown as EY guest seat and AA agents can see it.
    6. Only certain destinations are allowed, and no one knows what those destinations are. Eg. SYD-AUH-JFK allowed but not SYD-AUH-IAD.
    7. Trying to find a J seat from Aus to LAX is like a hens teeth. So it’s not just to partners, even to their own members VA is stingy.
    And the list goes on…..

  4. @Michael – but just think, all those toasters and giftcards you can redeem now since you don’t have to worry about booking flights with your points?

  5. Great campaign – but for what is now a bad FF program. In the early days of Borghetti, I retrieved 2 x 2 return business class flights to the USA using a combination of Velocity and Amex points. Service and hard product excellent – put Qantas to shame. And I made those bookings less than 3 months out. Now – I wish you luck on finding any saver rewards anytime, anywhere. Started well, but ending badly. Other than Sydney-Byron flights, where the only other option is Jetstar – like Paolo above, havn’t flown them for about 5 years.

  6. @2Paxfly Not true. It is indeed almost impossible to find award flights on VA internationally and that’s a problem, but domestically it couldn’t be easier. There is tons of availability on every flight, all the time. I just booked a trip from Sydney to Melbourne to Canberra to Brisbane to Sydney on points with no difficulty whatsoever.

    @Paolo. What a silly post. For a time, VA was offering to match the status of all QF Platinum members, something I took advantage of myself. How on earth did you manage to miss that?!

  7. @Callum
    Nothing whatever to do with a “hissy fit” but rather all to do with the staggering incompetence of the moronic buffoons running Virgin ( ie the ones who believe marketing/positioning/communicating with investors involves dressing up as Blues Brother or in crow outfits).
    Most investors have long since run out of patience with these twits ( and their successors) who promised the earth and delivered nothing more that a less successful , pint-sized and pale pink imitation of Qantas.
    Given the opportunity to capture significant market share from Qantas, via status matches, they had one rather limp go at it, years ago, and then came out with their star move: give platinum status to…..public servants. That piece of lunacy had Qantas people falling about laughing. Pathetic.
    There is a huge number of Qantas PLTs who simply never fly Virgin because there is a disincentive for them to do so. Any middle level marketer/administrator with brains would have endeavoured to fix that gap for Virgin. It simply defies belief that they have not attempted it…other than the half-arsed try about 6 years ago ( and not forgetting the public servant triumph).
    It doesn’t matter to me personally, as I find there to be very little difference between the 2 major carriers….but I would have like Virgin to be a more serious competitor as the prospect of a Qantas monopoly is terrifying.

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