Etihad lounge access for Virgin Australia Velocity Gold, Platinum

By Chris C., February 5 2016
Etihad lounge access for Virgin Australia Velocity Gold, Platinum

With Virgin Australia standing alone from the global families of Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance, the airline instead relies on its own network of partners across the globe – among them Etihad Airways – to enable Velocity Gold and Platinum members to earn points and enjoy perks such as lounge access wherever they travel.

But what you’ll receive when booked on one airline partner can vastly differ from what you’ll get on another, even when flying through the same city.

Here's a run-down of Virgin Australia’s lounge access arrangements with Etihad Airways for Velocity Gold and Platinum frequent flyers, both at home and abroad.

Etihad Airways lounge access: Australia

Etihad flies out of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth in Australia but the lounge rules vary from city to city.

The reason? Etihad operates its own lounge in Sydney (below) while relying on other airlines to fill the gaps elsewhere.

Etihad rolls out the welcome mat at its Sydney lounge (below) for all Velocity Gold and Platinum members travelling on the daytime EY451 flight or Virgin Australia’s codeshare service to Abu Dhabi (VA29 / EY6451), as of course it does for all business and first class guests on the EY455 flight along with its own Etihad Guest Platinum card-holders.

However, Etihad Guest Gold and Velocity Gold and Platinum members booked in economy on the evening EY455 Airbus A380 service to Abu Dhabi are shuttled to the Air New Zealand lounge (below) due to capacity constraints.

Read: Etihad tightens Sydney airport lounge access

Etihad and Virgin also share Air New Zealand's Brisbane and Melbourne lounges, both of which are overdue for a revamp, although Etihad will cut the ribbon on its own Melbourne lounge later this year.

As for Perth, Virgin’s Gold and Platinum frequent flyers can ironically stop by the Qantas international business class lounge prior to Etihad flights because Etihad uses the Qantas lounge as its ‘default’ for all eligible travellers.

Etihad Airways lounge access: Abu Dhabi

Whether flying through Abu Dhabi en route to Europe or simply returning home from a productive visit to the UAE capital, top-tier Velocity Platinum members can access the Etihad Premium Lounge before their onward flight, even when travelling in economy…

… normally a perk kept for Etihad business and first class passengers but which also includes an in-lounge Six Senses Spa offering free 15-minute treatments on a first come, first served basis…

… comprehensive buffet dining…

… full bartender service with a generous selection of spirits…

… a nail salon and barber (fees apply), plus a comfy business nook for getting things done.

Velocity Gold members flying in Etihad economy can instead visit the recently-renovated Al Reem lounge operated by Plaza Premium, spanning three storeys and offering the basics such as showers, wireless Internet and buffet dining.

Read: Al Reem lounge reopens for Velocity Gold members

Access to the Etihad Arrivals Lounge, however, is a privilege reserved solely for business class and first class flyers, regardless of their frequent flyer status.

Virgin's Velocity Platinum members will continue to enjoy access to Etihad's all-new flagship first class lounge at Abu Dhabi (below) when it opens in May.

Etihad Airways lounge access: across the globe

Unlike Virgin Australia’s partnership with Singapore Airlines that only provides lounge access at airports where SQ has its own facilities, Velocity members flying with Etihad have a much broader range of lounges to enjoy.

For starters, Etihad runs lounges in Manchester, Frankfurt and Paris (pictured) – three cities where Velocity Gold and Platinum members have no lounge when flying in Singapore Airlines economy – yet by booking with Etihad, lounges are at your disposal.

Gold and Platinum members are also welcome in Etihad’s London Heathrow lounge and contract lounges such as in Brussels, Dusseldorf, Geneva and Milan, plus those in Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa: two more cities not covered when flying with SQ.

Added to that, lounges practically wherever Etihad flies including across Middle Eastern cities like Amman, Bahrain and Cairo; Asian destinations such as Bangkok, Shanghai and Tokyo and North American hotspots including New York (below) and Toronto.

Also read: Etihad brings Boeing 787-9 onto Perth-Abu Dhabi route

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Chris C.

A Brisbane-based contributor to Executive Traveller, Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

02 Jul 2015

Total posts 17

Thanks Chris, a well-timed article as I'm Velocity Gold and due to fly twice to Europe this year with Etihad in Y.  They also have a lounge in Dublin even though they are dropping down to once-daily to that destination.

Is there s timescale for when their Melbourne lounge will open?  Or indeed the revamped Air NZ lounge?

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

16 May 2011

Total posts 117

The MEL lounge is slated to open before June (before A380 ops starts).

18 Mar 2014

Total posts 95

I believe the new Air NZ lounge won't be open until later in the year, so EY should have it's own one ready before then.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Jan 2013

Total posts 246

'...As for Perth, Virgin’s Gold and Platinum frequent flyers can ironically stop by the Qantas international business class lounge'. I do see the irony.

You think if airlines had Facebook these two would link to eachother like 'Virgin Australia is in a relathionship with Etihad Airways' or 'Virgin Australia is it's complicated with Qantas' :)

I once heard someone describe the relathionship between Destination NSW and Visit Canberra as 'frenemies with benefits'.


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

Fantastic news for us that like 'Lounging'. Great products here, most other Airlines need to take note.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

25 Jul 2013

Total posts 59

When I travelled late last year, there was sadly no Etihad lounge offering in Chicago for Velocity Gold flyers - despite what the Virgin Aus website communicated at the time.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Feb 2016

Total posts 1

My wife and I flew Etihad business class out of Brussels in October - the "contract" lounge we were directed to would rate as the worst we've ever been in - it made the Qantas domestic economy lounges look like the height of luxury!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 May 2015

Total posts 10

Thanks Chris was this article. 

i just wanted to let you know that I recently flew (16th January) from Sydney to Abu Dhabi on EY455 economy but being Velocity platinum member, I was granted access to Etihad lounge prior to my flight including one guest. Which I was surprised as I was prepared to use Air NZ lounge.

So I'm assuming that they do grant Velocity platinum members access to their lounge on EY455 or its just on capacity basis. 

P.S. Glad that Velocity platinum members will be able to access new Etihad first class lounge. Great timing when I will be there in June flying to London. 


07 Jan 2016

Total posts 13

this is going to make Al-Reem lounge even more crowded.  I recently transited in AUH twice and i could not get a chair. .

Etihad and Va should also figure out an agreement for EY gold flying international out of SYD with VA where they have no lounge access.

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