Travel with pets

Air travel’s latest loyalty programme for pet lovers

Members of the Velocity Frequent Flyer programme who opt to fly with their pets are to benefit from a new scheme introduced by Virgin Australia. In a movement towards catering for animal travel, a new loyalty programme, and the first of its kind in Australia, rewards pet lovers for taking their pets on holiday with them by offering bonus points to the air miles they already receive. Travellers who own pets are encouraged to take them along on holiday instead of leaving them back home.

CEO of Velocity Frequent Flyer Neil Thompson points out that Virgin Australia flies as many as 30 000 pets annually all across Australia. “A large proportion are owned by Velocity members, so we know how important their companions are to them,” he said.

A minimum of 300 points is awarded per pet carrier for each flight flown. Pet owners will receive points for a maximum of two pet carriers per booking. The loyalty programme for pet lovers will extend the current family benefits. “The program builds on the unique family benefits currently available to our members, such as the ability to pool Points and Status Credits with family members,” explains Mr Thompson.

The Velocity Frequent Flyer incentive to reward pet owners who fly with their pets is promoted by the launch of the ‘Velocity Pet Ambassador’ campaign in a nationwide search to appoint a pet ambassador for the loyalty scheme. The campaign kicked off on the Velocity Pet Ambassador Facebook page where pet owners are called to enrol their animals by sharing photographs of their furry four-legged loved ones. The winning dog or cat are to represent the loyalty programme in future marketing campaigns and will receive a special pack of pet-related products.

This latest pet loyalty programme introduced in Australia to encourage pet lovers to fly more and take their pets with them is not the first of its kind in the air travel industry. In 2005 Virgin Atlantic initiated its Flying Paws scheme. Each pet on board received their own welcome onboard pet pack. For canines there is a Virgin Atlantic t-shirt and a dog tag while felines receive a toy mouse and a collar tag. In addition each pets gets their own pet passport on which is recorded the flights taken and points earned. Points are redeemable for appropriate pet gifts such as dog bowls or bonus miles for their owners.

Celebrity vet and animal lover, Dr. Chris Brown, who assisted in the launch said: “It’s fantastic to see a frequent flyer program recognize how much pets enrich our lives. Now, not only will our dogs and cats give back to us in the form of unconditional love, but also in the form of our next holiday or retail purchase through Points!”.