Virgin Australia customers who had their bookings cancelled would likely hold either a Travel Credit or a Conditional Credit, both of which are soon to be replaced by ‘Future Flight Credits’. If everything goes to plan, Virgin Australia’s new owner Bain Capital anticipates that customers will be able to use their new Future Flight Credits from 23 September 2020. While the concept is similar, there’s more at play than a simple name change. Travel Credits and Conditional Credits could be used to book any Virgin Australia flight, but Future Flight Credits are set to become much harder to use.
In this post:
What are Future Flight Credits?
Once Virgin Australia is brought out of administration under new owners Bain Capital, existing Travel Credits (issued prior to administration) and Conditional Credits (issued during administration) will be replaced with Future Flight Credits.
Future Flight Credits can be used to book flights with Virgin Australia to the value of your current travel credit balance. However, they can’t be used to simply book any flight on Virgin Australia’s network. Instead, bookings will be limited within the fare class reserved for Future Flight Credits on each flight, similar to Velocity reward bookings. This means some flights may be unavailable to book using a Future Flight Credit, or that the available seats may be limited for a specific flight.
At this stage, Virgin Australia anticipates Future Flight Credits will be available for use from 23 September 2020, depending on the outcome of the administration process. Further information is expected from the airline in early September.
How can I use my Future Flight Credit?
Future Flight Credits can be used to book eligible flights operated by Virgin Australia, although exactly what classifies as an “eligible flight” is yet to be determined. For now, we know that the airline will limit the availability of Future Flight Credit seats on each flight.
Initially, travellers will only be permitted to use Future Flight Credits for domestic travel within Australia. Given current international border restrictions, Virgin Australia has already scrapped international flights to Los Angeles and Tokyo for the time being. Although, the group plans to restart and grow long-haul international flights once sufficient demand returns. It is expected that Future Flight Credits will be available for use on international flights as the travel market recovers and restrictions ease.
Future Flight Credit restrictions
Future Flight Credits can only be used on flights operated by Virgin Australia, and not for bookings on any of Virgin Australia’s partner airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Delta and Etihad. Flights operated by Virgin Australia will be limited too, with services at peak times likely to have fewer seats available for Future Flight Credit bookings.
Will Future Flight Credits expire?
Virgin Australia Future Flight Credits can be used up until July 31 2022, for travel until June 30 2023.
Can I get a cash refund instead?
Virgin Australia is not issuing cash refunds on flights booked on or before April 20 2020. Unfortunately, travellers are unlikely to receive a cash refund for a cancelled flight, but it never hurts to ask.
If you’d prefer a cash refund instead you could always ask your bank for a chargeback, provided you paid using a credit card or eligible debit card. Be aware that your bank may deny a chargeback if you have received a travel credit, but again, it won’t hurt to ask.
Summing up: my take
The change to Future Flight Credits will hopefully simplify the process for affected Virgin Australia customers to receive a refund. However, the change means bookings may become much harder. With limited seats available for those booking with Future Flight Credits, travellers may achieve better results by being flexible and booking early.