How To Search Virgin Australia Award Space

One of the best uses of Delta SkyMiles has long been for travel on Virgin Australia between the US and Australia in business class.

Why Virgin Australia is a great SkyMiles partner

The value proposition of this award has actually improved over the past several years. When Virgin Australia was first added as a Delta SkyMiles award redemption partner, Delta would impose fuel surcharges on these redemptions. In addition to the miles you’d pay ~$1,000 roundtrip per person in cash, which stung pretty bad.

A little over two years ago Delta stopped imposing fuel surcharges for award travel on Virgin Australia, making this an even better use of Delta SkyMiles.

Virgin Australia hands down has the most saver level business class award availability nonstop between the US and Australia, which is an award that’s otherwise really tough to book.

Virgin-Australia-Business-Class
Virgin Australia business class 777-300ER

Virgin Australia award space no longer shows on delta.com

But something weird happened recently.

Virgin Australia award space no longer shows up on delta.com. So if you search for Virgin Australia’s routes between Los Angeles and Brisbane or Sydney (they recently axed their flight between Los Angeles and Melbourne), you simply won’t see any Virgin Australia results.

SkyMiles-Awards-1

So what happened? Is Delta blocking all Virgin Australia award space, or what? The good news is that Virgin Australia award space is still bookable, it just has to be booked via Delta’s SkyMiles reservations agents.

We don’t know if it’s intentional or not. It could be that Delta is trying to control the costs of their Virgin Australia award redemptions by no longer showing the space online (presumably causing fewer people to book it), or it could be that it’s a genuine glitch (“Delta” and “genuine” don’t usually go in the same sentence, so…).

How to search Virgin Australia award space

Regardless, for the savvy among us it’s business as usual.

You can still quite easily search Virgin Australia award space through Virgin Australia’s website.

To do so, simply sign-up for a Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer account, if you don’t have one already.

Once you have a Velocity Frequent Flyer account, log-in, and go to the “redeem” page, where you can search for award availability.

Simply enter your route, dates, and then select your travel class. Note that if you’re looking for business class award space you’ll want to click on “Premium/Business,” which will show you both the premium economy and business class award space (you can’t redeem Delta SkyMiles for premium economy on Virgin Australia, however).

Virgin-Australia-Award-Space-1

On the results page you’ll want to look for “Business Reward” space — it should be the second column from the left for their longhaul flights. If it shows availability then it should also be bookable via Delta.

Virgin-Australia-Award-Space-2

Meanwhile if it shows as “Sold Out,” you won’t be able to book through Delta.

Virgin-Australia-Award-Space-3

The results page won’t display the number of seats available, so if you want to search for multiple people, go back to the search page and change the number of people you’re searching for. It will always only display availability for the number of people you’re searching for.

Bottom line

As I’ve said a million times before, airlines displaying award space online is a double edged sword. On one hand I like it because it makes my life easier, on the other hand I’m happy when they don’t display it, since it means fewer people will potentially stumble upon the space by chance.

This is a change I don’t mind nearly as much as Delta’s stealth devaluation that I wrote about last night, whereby they eliminated stopovers on award tickets without any sort of advance notice.

Why do you think Delta isn’t displaying Virgin Australia award space online, and how do you feel about it?

Comments

  1. @Al

    their biz is actually very nice… yes, they seats are not too private… but everything else is great.
    plus they are getting new biz class seats anyway.

  2. How many miles will it take, based on Delta’s award chart? i.e. which “tier” would these rewards fall under?

  3. I did this redemption earlier this year. It’s been on my bucket list for a while, but wanted to get it in before DL completely nuked their program. As a longtime PM/DM, I’d say it’s probably one of the best awards I’ve done with SkyMiles. Two tips when booking: 1) you will have to use an AU/NZ address to sign up for VA’s FF program to do the searching and 2) unless you live in LAX, finding the domestic connecting flights will be difficult. Most likely, you will have to fly economy to LAX and then biz from there onwards. I simply created a spreadsheet matrix to match up domestic and transpacific availability – it was a pain but totally worth it.

  4. This change frightens me. If Delta finds out that it’s giving its conveniently giving its customers something of great value, they’ll likely do everything they can to make the process more convoluted and expensive, so I think they pulled it because they want to up the prices of this particular award, despite the fact that their 2015 chart says there will be no increase on the mileage price of this one. I always count on Delta trying to screw people over. It’s what they do.

  5. I should also point out that if you are matching up a VA business seat with a domestic economy seat, that economy space also has to be at the low-tier. Even though you are spending 160K miles for a business class ticket, DL won’t allow you to marry a mid-tier domestic economy ticket with a business class international ticket. If you try that it will bump the overall price to 240K. It’s kind of a bummer that they took away the stopover, since that was a great way to get one flight within Australia (now it’s probably best to use Avios for flights between Australia’s cities).

  6. Just to add further comments, to search you don’t even need to sign up. Just go to Virgin Australia and tick points + pay when doing a flight search. Only required to login to continue after flight select page

  7. Hey lucky,

    What’s the source for this:

    “The good news is that Virgin Australia award space is still bookable, it just has to be booked via Delta’s SkyMiles reservations agents.”

    I don’t want to transfer 480,000 SkyPesos to find out it’s not happening. 🙂

  8. Thank you for the info on VA! Looks like Delta is hiding Alaska award space too. I first noticed on a transcon, but to easily show, check SEA-LAX for 9/24/15 in economy. Delta showing 5 of their own flights at saver availability, but none of the 11 Alaska flights which are all wide open per Alaska’s site. To be fair Alaska isn’t showing Delta space on that route either, but Alaska is showing Delta space on other routes where they have less frequencies on AS metal…but I don’t see any Alaska space on Delta’s site at all on any route that I checked.

  9. Tried to get a Velocity #. However, it looks like US citizens can’t sign up. In the country box there is no USA.

  10. @ Ken Murdock — Just sign up under a different nationality and enter a different arbitrary address, in my opinion.

  11. Thanks Ben, do you know if Virgin Australia award availability using Virgin America Elevate points is same, better, worse relative to Delta?

  12. Do you know if Singapore Airlines has access to the same award availability? I see some flights as available on VirginAustralia.com but have tried calling Singapore Airlines a couple times to book and they don’t see the seats as available.

  13. @ Quinn — Assuming you’re looking at the lowest level space, yes, they should have access to it as well.

  14. Thanks for the reply. I am still struggling with this. I can validate that there is low level space available on Virgin Australia since its available on delta.com. I called two more times to Singapore Airlines and was told both times that the space wasn’t available. They even went as far as to say that Virgin Australia holds back a lot of their space for their own members.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *