Air miles for pets: How animals are earning their holidays
Now you can add frequent flier programs to the roll call of slightly odd but nevertheless interesting, and for some, useful, pet amenities.
Virgin Australia has become the latest to introduce a scheme that rewards pet lovers for taking their animals with them.
It's Australia's first frequent flier program for pets.
Some U.S.-based airlines already offer loyalty points to pets.
JetBlue's JetPaws progam rewards owners with 300 TrueBlue points on each flight and Virgin Atlantic launched a Flying Paws scheme in 2005 giving 1,000 bonus air miles to a pet owner’s Flying Club account.
Virgin Australia's pet program adds bonus points to the air miles fliers already receive as members of the Velocity Frequent Flyer program.
Red members (the entry level) will earn an extra 300 points each time they fly with one pet carrier. Silver, Gold and Platinum members’ pets will earn more points per flight -- up to 600 points per flight per pet carrier in the case of Platinum members.
According to the Velocity points table, the "cheapest" air miles flight costs 6,900 points.
More on CNN: How to travel with your dog
“Virgin Australia flies almost 30,000 pets each year around Australia, and a large proportion are owned by Velocity members, so we know how important their companions are to them,” said Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Neil Thompson.
The program will extend the current family benefits -- the ability to pool points and status credits -- to pets.
The airline has also launched a “Velocity Pet Ambassador” campaign to enlist five pets to represent the program. Winning owners will be rewarded 10,000 Velocity points each.
So far a thousand entries have been received.
If you want to enroll your pets, check the Velocity Pet Ambassador Facebook page.