Buying Etihad Guest Miles For Cheap Virgin Australia Travel
Etihad Guest is the frequent flyer program by (you guessed it!) Etihad. What makes the Etihad guest program so interesting for Australian frequent flyers is the fact they have a very nice partnership with Virgin Australia allowing you to redeem your Etihad Guest miles for travel on Virgin Australia and vice versa.
Thanks to American Express Membership Rewards and Flybuys it’s possible for Australians to earn Etihad miles on their everyday spend. Since 2017 both Etihad and Virgin have started selling frequent flyer points and right now Etihad guest is offering a 10-20% points bonus on purchases over 6000 miles. (tiered offer) Ends May 31 2019)
- Buy 6,000 – 20,000 miles = 10% Bonus
- Buy 21,000 – 40,000 miles = 15% Bonus
- Buy 41,000 – 60,000 miles = 20% Bonus
In this article, we’ll have a look at how you can redeem these points for cheap travel in business class on Virgin Australia.
Fly Virgin Australia Business Class For $502
My favourite way to use Etihad Guest miles is to fly business class from Perth to Melbourne which only costs 21,800 Etihad Guest miles and $21.53 in taxes!
Buying the Etihad guest points required would come to a total cost of US$341 which roughly works out to AU$481.
Another sweet spot is Sydney to Queenstown (NZ) which can be redeemed for 13,800 miles in business class with Virgin Australia.
Where to buy these points?
Etihad sells their points through the points.com storefront (as do many other airlines) to get the 10-20% bonus points, click here to get to the promo page.
Ok, I got the points! How do I book?
Etihad guest redemptions on Virgin Australia can only be booked over the phone. To research availability, it’s advisable to login into your Velocity Account and check for award flights to see if any are available. In most cases, Etihad shares the same award inventory with Virgin.
- Step 1: Log into Velocity Frequent Flyer and take notes of the award flight you want (dates, flight number etc.).
- Step 2: Call the Etihad guest centre on 1300 532 215 and request to make a reward redemption with Virgin Australia.
- Step 3: Pay your taxes with credit card over the phone, and your ticket will be issued almost instantly.
- Step 4: Since Etihad can’t select seats on Virgin flights, call Virgin Australia on 13 67 89 and give the agent your ticket number (reference numbers are different on Etihad). The agent will also be able to link your booking to Velocity Frequent Flyer so you can monitor the flight or check in online.
Things to keep in mind
- You can buy a maximum of 60,000 miles per transaction and 100,000 per calendar year.
- Etihad Guest miles will post within 24h.
- Point purchases are managed by points.com, which means it won’t count as an airline category for your credit card (no double points on Amex).
There are plenty of other Virgin Australia routes for which you can redeem your Etihad Guest miles. We’ve compiled a full redemption table for both Economy and Business class flights around Australia and to New Zealand.
|Origin||Destination||Miles Required for Economy||Miles Required for Premium Economy||Miles Required for Business|
|West Island||Christmas Island||6900||10400||13800|
Using Etihad Miles + Cash
Etihad allows you to buy the additional points required at the checkout if you don’t have enough in your account. The requirement is that you hold at least 75% of the required miles.
Miles bought at the checkout stage are discounted to 0.9c which is a good saving over the regular price of 2c (US$). Obviously this price is even better than what’s on sale with so technically you could buy the 75% required and top up the remainder at the time of booking. This would result in a total price of US$329, however I can’t confirm whether it’s possible to buy the extra miles over the phone when booking.
Topping up Etihad Guest Via Amex
Most American Express cards transfer to Etihad Guest at a 1:1 ratio which is perfect if you have a redemption in mind. Please note that it can take up to 7 business days for your miles to transfer so if you’re in a rush, this is probably not ideal.
Will I earn status and points?
No. You won’t be earning any status credits or points for flying on a redemption ticket even when you purchase the points outright.
Buying Etihad Guest conclusion
Strategically buying Etihad Guest miles for redemptions on Virgin Australia is by far one of my favourite ways to use Etihad. Unfortunately, redemptions on their own flights are rather expensive and as I outlined in my post about flying Etihad First Class, it’s better to redeem AAdvantage points for a trip with Etihad.
This is the second time Etihad has offered miles at a discounted rate, so it’s most likely going to repeat a couple of times each year.
Bonus Offer History
May 2019: 10-20% Bonus Miles
February 2019: 10-20% Bonus Miles
December 2018: 10-30% Bonus Miles
November 2018: 15-25% Bonus Miles
November 2017: 20% Bonus Miles