Only in Australia: Elite Miles for Free Flights

From the land that brought you the kangaroo, the koala, the dingo, and the platypus comes another one-off: elite-qualifying miles for flights.

But not just any flights, award flights.

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That's right. Beginning on January 13, members of Virgin Australia's Velocity program will earn elite miles not just for paid flights but for free flights on Virgin Australia.

According to the airline's news release, Velocity members will earn elite credit for higher-priced unrestricted awards on an ongoing basis, and for lower-priced capacity-controlled awards through June 30.

Whereas elite status is typically viewed as a reward for a traveler's revenue contribution to an airline, as measured by paid flights and miles, Virgin Australia's new policy expands on that to include a traveler's engagement with the program, which would encompass both paid and unpaid flights.

Reader Reality Check

Is this an idea whose time has come, or just a nutty Down Under stunt?

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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