In 2014 when Tigerair was in dire straits, Virgin Australia, who already owned 60% of airline, acquired the final 40 per cent stake for the nominal sum of $1. Since the purchase Virgin have been quietly flying the Tigerair planes to compete with Jetstar, but today announced a new ‘partnership’ between the two brands.
Virgin Velocity frequent flyers will now be able to redeem Velocity Points or Points + Pay for bookings on Tigerair. The number of points required will depend on the cost of the ticket and what optional extras, such as seat selection, meals and checked baggage, are added to the booking. The partnership is purely redemption based with each point valued at an equivalent of 0.65 cents, and no opportunity for Velocity frequent flyers to earn points, status or use the lounge on paid Tigerair flights.
I didn’t go through with a dummy booking to inspect the redemption rates, but Aviation Australia reported on a dummy booking for a $95 one-way flight from Sydney to Melbourne on Tigerair that would require 14,616 points, while a $115 one-way ticket for the same journey required 17,693 points.
Considering that you can get a Business Reward fare for 17,100 Velocity Points, on Virgin, from Sydney to Melbourne, I’d probably assess this partnership as complete waste of time. Even if Tigerair is the only carrier that fly the route you’re looking to redeem on, why on earth would anyone chose to spend 17,693 Velocity Points on a $115 ticket on Jetstar, when you can use less points (17,100) to secure a $750 Business Class seat on Virgin?!