Velocity Platinum is currently the highest status tier that Virgin Australia offers and it's yours after 1,000 status credits (800 if maintaining existing Platinum status) and eight eligible flights in a year.
The main benefits of lounge access and priority perks are relatively similar to Velocity Gold, however holding a shiny Platinum card in your wallet does unlock a few more exciting bonuses.
1. Four complimentary upgrades a year from a Freedom fare
If work pays for you to fly in flexi-economy, then you’re in for a treat with four free upgrades that can be used on any domestic, trans-Tasman or short-range international flight, subject to availability.
But if you are buying your own tickets, it’s not a bad deal either as you’re essentially getting business class for economy Freedom pricing (except fewer status credits). Be sure to check for reward seat availability before you book, as that means you can upgrade immediately after booking.
The best use of this is undoubtedly on east-west flights to/from Perth on the Airbus A330, which values the upgrades at 9,900 points each.
Other passengers travelling with you can be upgraded too. You have to call the Membership Contact Centre up to 2 hours before the flight or enquire at the lounge. Upgrades can be cancelled and reinstated free of charge up to 24 hours prior to the flight.
2. More guests in lounges and guaranteed on-arrival access
You can bring in a whopping three guests and up to two children on each visit to a domestic Virgin Australia lounge – equivalent to a family of six. There are 12 of these lounges across Australia.
On-arrival access is another great perk that is guaranteed for Velocity Platinum members and guests, perfect for freshening up after a flight. It's also available to Velocity Gold flyers too, but 'subject to space availability'.
3. Complimentary Economy X seating
Platinum passengers and their guests on the same booking can select Economy X – that’s Virgin Australia’s extra-legroom offering – at no extra cost on domestic, trans-Tasman and short international flights.
AusBT review: Virgin Australia Economy X
Velocity Platinum members and guests on the same reservation are able to choose any available economy seat onboard, from the time of booking.
4. Fly Ahead over the phone
Like Gold members, you can fly forward on the next available flight if booked on any ticket except the base-level 'Getaway' fares, when enquiring at the airport.
But Velocity Platinum members can also request to fly forward over the phone, for them and up to three other guests on the same itinerary.
There are a few caveats – on most routes, you can only move to the flight scheduled to depart immediately before the one you booked. For example, if there was a 2pm, 3pm and 6pm flight from Canberra to Sydney, you would only be able to move from the 6pm to the 3pm flight over the phone.
For flights wholly between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, you can move to a flight no more than 2 hours earlier than your current flight.
In either case, the cut-off to make the call is 1 hour prior to the intended new departure.
5. Guaranteed economy reward seats for an annual family trip
This is a useful, under-publicised perk that could see you nab seats to a popular destination during peak school holiday periods. While Gold flyers get the domestic network, Platinums can access any codeshare destination around the world, including on partners such as Singapore Airlines, Etihad and Delta.
If there aren’t many options from your home city, Velocity may offer to fly you to a different city to commence your journey, free of charge.
The only drawback is the need to request at least six months in advance, and be flexible with your arrival and departure dates.
You'll need to provide a three-day window for domestic itineraries (one day on either side of your desired travel dates), or a seven-day window for international trips (three days on either side of each flight sector).
Velocity can also choose the airlines and routings at their discretion. But if you know you want to take the family somewhere over Christmas, then be sure to pick up the phone before June.
6. One-off status match with a hotel and car-hire partner
A Velocity Platinum flyer can request a one-off match for at least 12 months of:
- IHG Rewards Club Platinum or Hilton Honors Diamond, and one of
- Europcar Privilege Elite or Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle
If you know that you’ll maintain Platinum for a few years, it’s best to hold off on these until there’s a year you can make the most of it, as these are one-off offers and will not be granted again once redeemed.
7. Even more domestic travel benefits for Velocity Platinum members
In addition to the benefits of Gold membership, Platinum flyers can enjoy a boosted luggage allowance (at least 3x 23kg bags when flying domestically), be first in line for upgrades, and earn double the base points for flights flown. The Velocity Premium Call Centre is also easy to contact, and while most calls are answered immediately, I've never had to wait more than a few minutes.
While it's not to be expected, you’ll also find that some fees might be waived at the discretion of the contact centre staff, such as cancelling a confirmed upgrade in order to change flights, or changing from a Getaway ticket to a Freedom fare.
In my experience, I've also had luck securing last-minute upgrades on flights when there was no reward availability showing, simply by phoning up a day or two beforehand. This isn't an officially publicised perk, but could come as a pleasant surprise to Velocity Platinum members.