Virgin Australia Velocity Changes Analysed

Love the updated Velocity Rewards Frequent Flyer Program unveiled Thursday by Virgin Australia. Already Qantas has responded with media advertisements promising exciting changes to their program. The competition in Australia is starting a new round.

I am currently a Gold flyer with Qantas and Virgin so my focus is on the Gold benefits. At the end of this post, I will paste a table comparing the two programs. Please let me know what I leave out.

The eight immediate features I like about Velocity Rewards:

  1. seemingly generous access to award seats
  2. Subject to space availability, Velocity Platinum and Gold members are welcome in the Virgin Australia lounge at any time, and do not require a boarding pass. This is a benefit Qantas took away from its Platinum fliers earlier in the year – and boy were we mad! 
  3. A family can pool all of your family member’s Points into one account as well as transferring points between family members
  4. If you have a baby, you can pause your membership for up to six months-thats impressive
  5. For every 100 status credits, you get a free lounge pass
  6. Guaranteed Reward Seats for an annual family trip for up to four return Reward Seats for an annual family trip to any Australian destination, for Gold while Platinum members can also international destinations.
  7. Gold and Platinum members can take up to two children under the age of 12 into the lounge with them.  (I wonder how many kids will now be screaming through lounges?)
  8. Free access to Sentinel who help you find lost keys etc

Getting and Keeping Gold Status
The first comparison between Gold Qantas and Gold Virgin for me is how easy it is to get and keep Gold status. You gain status based on the number of status credits you earn. Every eligible flight gets you status credits. The longer your flight the more status credits you get. The higher your class you reserved your booking with, the more status credits you get. So a Sydney to London flight in business class will get you way more points than a discount economy seat from Sydney to Melbourne.

Qantas Virgin
Gaining Status-status Credits 700 500
Gaining Status-Sectors flown 4 4
Keeping Status-status Credits 600 400
Keeping Status-Sectors flown 4 4
Number of SYD-MEL Discount Y to keep 60 40
Number of MEL-AKL Discount Y to keep 30 20
Number of MEL-LAX Discount Economy to keep 13.33 10
Number of MEL-LAX Premium to keep 6.67 3.3

To get Gold with Qantas requires 700 status credits whereas Virgin gives it to you with 500 status credits. Of course how many you earn at each airline is different. Still its easier to get and keep Gold at Virgin than it is at Qantas.

For me to keep Gold with Qantas at the lowest earning rate possible (eg the Sydney -Melbourne) flight would mean 60 flights in a year. Virgin will give you gold after 40 Syd-Mel flights.

Likewise flying Melbourne to Los Angeles in Premium Economy would need 7 flights a year with Qantas to keep my Gold whereas I only need  4 with Virgin (or 3 plus a few SYD-Mel trips!)

Comparing Qantas Gold and Virgin Gold

Before Travel Qantas Virgin
Priority Phone Service YES YES
Upgrade Using Points YES YES
Advanced Seat Selection YES NO?
Seating Preferences YES Coming soon
Secure Sentinel membership  NO YES
At Airport Qantas Virgin
Priority Check-in -Domestic Premium Service Desks Priority Counters
Priority Check-in -International Business Counters Business Counters
Priority Boarding – Domestic NO YES
Priority Boarding – Intl YES YES
Kerbside Check in NO Sydney only
Lounge-Domestic Qantas Club Virgin Lounge-anytime access
Lounge-International One World Virgin. Etihad, Air NZ, Delta
Priority Screening Lane Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney Domestic Airports Melbourne and Brisbane Domestic Airports
Fly Ahead NO YES
Priority Waitlist YES NO
Airport Upgrade YES NO
Baggage allowance-Domestic 1 piece (maximum 32kg) Economy; 2 pieces (maximum 32kg each) Business Allowance of 32kg
Baggage Allowance-USA 3 pieces: (maximum 23kg per piece) Economy/Premium Economy and 32kg per piece) Business/First 3 pieces: (maximum 23kg per piece) Economy and 3 pieces 32kg per piece) Premium Economy/Business
Baggage Allowance-Inernational 32kg (70lb) in Economy/Premium Economy; 64kg (140lb) in Business/First 33kg ) in Economy/ 42kg in Premium Economy/Business/
Priority Waitlist (coming soon) YES
Arrival Qantas Virgin
Priority Baggage YES coming soon
Complimentary Elite membership with IHG?s Priority Club® Rewards or Hilton HHonors? NO YES
Complimentary Elite membership with Europcar Privileges Program or Hertz #1 Club NO YES
International airline partners Qantas Virgin
One World Sapphire Virgin. Etihad, Air NZ
Guaranteed Reward Seats for an annual family trip NO YES
Family Points and Status Credit Pooling NO Coming soon
Membership pause for Parental Leave NO Coming soon
Complimentary lounge pass for each 100 Status Credits earned NO Coming soon
Points bonus- on Carrier 75.00% 75.00%
Points bonus -Air Partners ? 50% Etihad
Points Bonus- Hotels/Car rental NO 75.00%
Personalised Baggage Tags YES YES
Loyalty Bonus 8,000 points for every 500 Status Credits earned in a single membership year a free lounge pass for every 100 Status Credits

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