Virgin Australia Extends Upgrade Options for Platinum Frequent Flyers
In a move aimed at appeasing its most loyal frequent flyers, Virgin Australia has taken steps to address a long-standing concern within its Velocity Platinum tier. Velocity Platinum, the pinnacle of Virgin Australia’s loyalty program, offers a distinctive perk: four complimentary upgrades from economy to business class each year, coupled with complimentary Gold status in either Hilton Honors or IHG One Rewards.
However, this sought-after ‘UpgradeMe’ benefit came with a caveat – it was applicable only to Velocity Platinums booked on the pricier Economy Flex fares, excluding the more affordable mid-range Economy Choice fares. This restriction, coupled with the limited availability of business class seats (only eight per aircraft), had been a major grievance among the Platinum members, considering the significant price gap between Flex and Choice fares.
For instance, a one-way Virgin Australia flight from Sydney to Perth in mid-October priced Flex tickets at $679, whereas the average cost of a Choice fare hovered around $540. Similarly, for the Sydney-Melbourne route, Choice fares stood at approximately $129, compared to the Flex fare of $409.
In a welcome announcement, Virgin Australia is now extending the UpgradeMe option to include Choice fares – albeit temporarily, until March 31, 2024. Platinum frequent flyers have been informed that they can utilise their “complimentary UpgradeMe credits when traveling on eligible routes on a Choice fare, in addition to our Flex Fare.”
However, this expansion comes with a slight catch. Upgrading from an Economy Choice fare to business class will require more UpgradeMe credits compared to the leap from an Economy Flex booking. Specifically, flights covering up to 1000 miles, like Sydney to Melbourne, will necessitate 2 UpgradeMe credits. For longer flights beyond 1,000 miles, such as those between Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane to Perth, 4 UpgradeMe credits will be required.
The decision of whether to utilise most or all of these credits for a single flight rests with individual Platinum status holders. It’s a balancing act – weighing the value of using these credits for shorter hops like Brisbane-Sydney or Sydney-Melbourne against the allure of a more substantial upgrade for transcontinental journeys spanning the east and west coasts.
This expanded upgrade benefit is bound to be met with appreciation by numerous Velocity Platinums, especially those who previously found it challenging to utilise their credits effectively. For these frequent flyers, this enhancement represents a step toward a more satisfying and rewarding travel experience within the Virgin Australia ecosystem.
Virgin Australia Extends Covid Flight Credits for Traveller Ease
In a customer-centric move, Virgin Australia has extended the validity of Covid-related flight credits worth $120 million, originally set to expire in December. Following pressure from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the airline pushed the expiry date to June 2025. This extension, the third of its kind, provides customers nearly two extra years to use these credits, offering enhanced flexibility.
‘Covid Credits,’ applicable to bookings before July 31, 2022, can now be utilised for travel until June 30, 2025. These versatile credits can be used on any Virgin Australia flight, including international codeshare journeys with partners like ANA, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, and Qatar Airways, carrying a VA flight number.
While refunds aren’t an option, this move emphasises Virgin Australia’s commitment to passenger convenience and support during these challenging times.