Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How to earn and spend Avios with Virgin Australia

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One of the lesser known Avios partnerships – because it involves using Qatar Airways Privilege Club and not British Airways Executive Club – is the one with Virgin Australia.

You can earn and spend Avios on Virgin Australia flights.

You will need to have a Qatar Airways Privilege Club account to take advantage of this.

How to earn and spend Avios with Virgin Australia

As well as opening up flights across Australia and New Zealand, you can also travel internationally on Virgin Australia to Tokyo, Bali, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

How does the Qatar Airways and Virgin Australia partnership work?

Qatar Airways – which adopted Avios as its loyalty currency in 2022 – and Virgin Australia have signed a wide ranging agreement which actually goes beyond Avios. Benefits include:

  • You can earn Avios (in Qatar Airways Privilege Club) when you fly with Virgin Australia
  • You can spend Avios (in Qatar Airways Privilege Club) on Virgin Australia flights
  • If you have Qatar Airways elite status you can use Virgin Australia lounges
  • If you have Virgin Australia elite status you can use Qatar Airways lounges
  • Other elite benefits (extra baggage allowance, priority check-in, priority boarding and priority baggage delivery) will be offered on a reciprocal basis

You can also earn status points in Qatar Airways Privilege Club when you fly with Virgin Australia, but only if your flight has a QR codeshare flight number.

How does this fit with Qantas and its oneworld alliance membership?

That’s a good question.

Qatar Airways and Qantas are, of course, both members of the oneworld alliance. You can already redeem Avios via Qatar Airways Privilege Club (and of course British Airways Executive Club) for flights on Qantas and – whilst not bookable online on ba.com – QantasLink.

It is odd that there are no apparent competition concerns about Qatar Airways having partnerships with both Qantas and Virgin Australia. However, as I noted above, you can only earn status points in Qatar Airways Privilege Club if your Virgin Australia flight has a QR flight number. Only Qantas flights earn Qatar Airways Privilege Club status points under their own flight code.

How to earn and spend Avios with Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia also has a partnership with Etihad, dating back to when Etihad was a shareholder in the airline. This deal appears to be continuing for now. It also works with Air Canada amongst others.

What makes the deal more palatable, politically, is that Qantas has a very close partnership with Emirates, which of course is not in the oneworld alliance. This is why you can earn British Airways Avios and tier points when flying Emirates as long as you book under a Qantas flight number.

How can I earn and spend Avios on Virgin Australia?

Before you can do anything, you will need to open a Qatar Airways Privilege Club account and link it to your British Airways account via the instructions in this article.

This will allow you to:

  • move Avios from British Airways Executive Club to Qatar Airways Privilege Club, in order to book Virgin Australia redemptions
  • move Avios from Qatar Airways Privilege Club to British Airways Executive Club, in order to move Avios earned from flying Virgin Australia into your BA account

Transfers are 1:1 in both directions, and are instantaneous.

Earning Avios from Virgin Australia flights

This page of the Qatar Airways website shows the Avios earning rate for Virgin Australia flights. You need to look under the ‘Partner Airlines’ tab and not the ‘oneworld’ tab.

You will earn Avios regardless of whether your Virgin Australia flight has a Qatar Airways or Virgin Australia flight number.

How to earn and spend Avios with Virgin Australia

The earning rate is, by booking class:

  • Business (J, C, D) – 150% of miles flown
  • Economy Flex (Y, B, W, H, K, L) – 100% of miles flown
  • Economy Choice (R, E, O, N, V, P, Q, T, I, S) – 50% of miles flown
  • Economy Lite (M) – 25% of miles flown
  • Groups (G) – 50% of miles flown
  • Ineligible (X, Z, U)

Spending Avios on Virgin Australia flights

This page of the Qatar Airways website shows the Avios redemption rates for Virgin Australia flights. You need to look under the ‘Partner Airlines’ tab and not the ‘oneworld’ tab.

Unfortunately, Qatar Airways Privilege Club is not the best programme in the world when it comes to booking redemptions on partners. Instead of booking online, you need to log in to your account and complete the partner award request form.

There is no way of checking availability before making a request. The best way to guess would be to create a Virgin Velocity account and search on the Virgin Australia site to see what reward availability the airline offers to its own members. That said, I have heard reports from readers that Qatar Airways can struggle to see seats even when other partners have them.

Qatar Airways no longer appears to have a published award chart for partners. This is what it used to be:

Qatar Airways partner Avios redemptions

….. but no longer is. You now need to plug your route into the online calculator to get a price. Sydney to Cairns, for example, is 20,000 Avios in Economy (as per the chart) but 44,000 Avios in Business (was 40,000). There are also higher peak date prices.

In an annoying quirk, you cannot book reward travel on Qatar Airways partner airlines if your booking includes an infant (under 2 years old).

Conclusion

Getting Virgin Australia into the Avios fold was a great result. It’s just a shame that virtually no UK Avios collectors, apart from HfP readers, will ever find out that this is now an option.

You can find out more about the Virgin Australia ‘earn and burn’ Avios partnership on the Qatar Airways website here.

(This article is part of our ‘BA Q&A’ series which explains how British Airways Executive Club works.  You can see all of our ‘BA Q&A’ articles here. )

(Head for Points is the UK’s biggest frequent flyer website with 2.5 million monthly page views.  Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios?  Click here to read our latest news stories and click here to join the mailing list for our weekly or daily email newsletters.)


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2024)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital on Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (15)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Harry T says:

    I have also heard that it’s easier to book QR with Velocity points than it is with QFF points, which seems quite humorous. It seems there is no love lost between QR and QF these days, especially as QF keeps lobbying the federal government to prevent QR from having more slots in Australia.

    • QFFlyer says:

      It is, QF are blocked from accessing QR reward seats until close in, which is annoying, but the workaround is to simply use Avios.

      • QFFlyer says:

        Then swap the FF# to QF for status benefits, if that applies (to me it does).

  • Paul MCY says:

    The loophole allowing Avios to be earned on QF-coded EK flights appears to have been closed, according to this post on FlyerTalk: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/36143540-post48.html

    • QFFlyer says:

      Would “Qantas airlines affiliates” not cover EK?

      • Paul MCY says:

        Reading the thread as it continues, it appears that refers to Sunstate Airlines and similar who operate the QantasLink network. EK was previously “another third party” but that is no longer on the BA list.

  • T says:

    I’m not sure searching via velocity is particularly helpful. I tried it and there seemed to be a bunch of revenue based costs for the award flights. Which I just assumed were in addition to any fixed cost that Qatar might access and therefore a bunch of additional noise. Qatar need to get their act together and sort out their IT

  • G bit says:

    Talking of Australia i’d love to see an an article about the circuitous routes some airlines currently need to take to get there. For example QF 9/10 is currently having to avoid airspace over Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Iraq and Isreal at least. Not an easy proposition for flight planners!

    • NicktheGreek says:

      I think the flights to India from North America and North Asia from Europe are probable more notable.

      Given the purpose of this website, probably best to check out some youtube (search “Russian Airspace”) and other sites for this info.

  • FatherOfFour says:

    Credited my VA flights to QR PC successfully thanks to seeing this previously on here.

    Regarding the circuitous routes- I was affected by this yesterday as my SIN-FRA flight took a longer route and I missed my connection. We flew over Saudi, and I think southern Israel- I noticed some glitchiness with the onboard tracking (suddenly 0:00 to destination) so maybe some GPS jamming going on and FR24 shows a “blank”.)

  • ADS says:

    “Sydney to Cairns, for example, is 20,000 Avios in Economy (as per the chart) but 44,000 Avios in Business (was 40,000)”

    QR must be reading … I just had a look at their calculator … using off peak dates Economy is now showing 22,000 avios for a return reward booking

  • ADS says:

    “Unfortunately, Qatar Airways Privilege Club is not the best programme in the world when it comes to booking redemptions on partners. Instead of booking online, you need to log in to your account and complete the partner award request form”

    that is a very very generous way of describing QR’s god awful partner booking process !

    • Rob says:

      They are adding online booking for partners as quickly as they can. I think Cathay is now live. JetBlue is there, American is there, I think Malaysia is now there.

      • ADS says:

        that’s good news

        but in the meantime, QR could join the 21st Century and bring in phone bookings for those airlines which they haven’t yet brought online!

  • Alex says:

    I was looking at a MEL-SYD one way redemption a few months ago and while both were 6000 Avios in Y, QF taxes were around £23 whereas VA was around £38, although VA appeared to have better availability.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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