If you’re thinking that this is basically Accelerate reignited, you wouldn’t be wrong. VA continues to challenge Qantas for their business travel “line in the sand” with an offering targeted at SMEs.
This is an incredibly lucrative and larger than possibly expected market with an estimation that 99.8% of businesses are SMEs (under 199 employees) in Australia, totaling around 2 million firms (according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics).
This program ticks the usual boxes of flight discounts, complimentary Velocity (Pilot) Gold membership and double-dipping on points, as well as discounted Lounge membership.
To incentivize this market further, Virgin has reduced its baseline business fares in the ‘triangle’ (Sydney – Melbourne – Brisbane) to as little as $299 and launched their new Beyond Loyalty offering which replaces Borghetti’s original, invite-only, ‘The Club’.
“With the additional airfare discounts we are offering under the Business Flyer loyalty program, on top of Velocity Points earn for businesses, it’s going to be very hard for any business owner to look past Virgin Australia when choosing a domestic airline partner,” says Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka.
More impressively, VA has said it will increase the number of flights between Sydney and Melbourne during peak business hours, up to 35 flights per day from the start of July 2022…a frequency not seen since March 2020.
Sydney to Brisbane will also see an increase of up to 20 daily flights. Up to 13 daily services between Brisbane and Melbourne have been advised and up to 11 daily services on the Adelaide-Melbourne route.
Virgin are in agreement with Qantas that Domestic travel has rebounded much faster expected, believing that this is due to the need to rebuild and strengthen in-person business relationships after the past two years kept most people grounded.
“Relationships are perishable assets,” she observed. “You have to invest to keep them healthy, and keeping them healthy requires travel.” Hrdlicka.
Here’s the overview of Virgin Australia’s Business Flyer program:
Any company with an air spend of up to $300k can join for free and immediately tap into discounts.
Once a company has spent at least $2,000 on VA flights in the first three months of joining, they’ll receive complimentary Velocity Pilot Gold membership for any two nominated employees, giving them access to key benefits such as Lounge access, Fly Ahead, increased baggage allowances and priority check-in/boarding. The Lounge membership is also discounted to $379 for company employees.
There are three Business Flyer loyalty tiers.
Across all three tiers there’s a standing 4% off Flex Economy fares and 6% off Business Class fares.
Virgin Australia Business Flyer Tier 1 covers SMEs with an annual flight spend up to $9,999, which earn 1 Velocity Point per $1 spent on eligible flights.
Virgin Australia Business Flyer Tier 2 covers SMEs with an annual flight spend from $10,000 to $49,999, and earn 1.5 Velocity Points per $1 spent on eligible flights.
Virgin Australia Business Flyer Tier 3 covers SMEs with an annual flight spend from $50,000 to $300,000, and earn 2 Velocity Points per $1 spent on eligible flights.
Virgin says that former Accelerate customers will automatically be transitioned into the new program and receive bonus Velocity Points for their business (if they’ve travelled between from 1 January to 28 February 2022) and receive an instant ‘tier jump’ to reflect their last 12 months of travel spend with Virgin Australia. Emails have been sent out to these customers to activate their new Business Flyer program.