New Virgin Australia business class upgrades on international flights

By Chris Chamberlin, September 7 2016

Virgin Australia passengers can now upgrade from economy to business class using their Velocity frequent flyer points from a wider variety of fares on most international flights, such as between Australia and New Zealand, Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Indonesia.

Under the airline’s newly-introduced fare structure, upgrades on these routes are now possible from the mid-range Go Plus and Getaway fares, in addition to the most flexible Freedom tickets.

On trans-Tasman flights such as Sydney to Auckland, 16,000 Velocity points could now get you upgraded from Go Plus and Getaway bookings, while travellers splurging for a flexible fare can continue to upgrade for a lower 9,900 Velocity points.

That’s also how many points you’ll need for an upgrade between Australia and both Fiji and the Solomon Islands, such as to Nadi and Honiara.

Longer flights such as Sydney-Denpasar (Bali, Indonesia) require more points to upgrade – instead billed at 24,000 Velocity points from Go Plus and Getaway fares, with upgrades for passengers on flexible (Freedom) fares still pegged at 14,900 Velocity points.

Previously, only the most flexible international bookings were eligible for points-based upgrades, with everybody else stuck down the back.

However, upgrades to business class and premium economy on Virgin Australia’s longest flights to Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi continue to be available only to Velocity Gold and Platinum frequent flyers – and even then, only when travelling on a flexible economy or premium economy ticket.

There’s no change to upgrade rules or rates on Virgin Australia domestic flights, while flight upgrades on partner airlines such as Air New Zealand, Etihad and Singapore Airlines remain unavailable to Velocity members.

Also read: Virgin Australia reveals new Velocity status credit earn rates

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

27 Jan 2016

Total posts 53

Thats a win - are these point upgrades confirmed if award inventory is available at the time of request, or waitlisted?

They're the same as all other Virgin Australia upgrades: they can be confirmed instantly if there's a business class 'Reward Seat' available on the same flight, or can be waitlisted if Reward Seats aren't available.

(Having a Reward Seats available means you can either use points to book it outright or can use points for a confirmed upgrade from economy, as it sounds like you already understand.) :)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

25 Jul 2013

Total posts 52

Good to see.

Next step is adding this feature to international long haul flights, for service consistency! Thank you Virgin.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

That would be great but can't see it happening.

I think this adjustament is a reflection of VA understanding the actual value of the product they offer on international short haul. Their rival "full service" operators have a far superior product and when I've flown VA on these sectors, business is rarely full. It's a nice middle ground imo.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

I currently have a booking to DPS where it's saver fare there, flexi fare home. I'm waitlisted for the flight home. Phoned up to see if this retrospectively applies under the new fare rules and was advised it does.

Very happy!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 222

Chris, note for the longest flights: "...continue to be available only to Velocity Gold and Platinum frequent flyers – and even then, only when travelling on a flexible economy or premium economy ticket."

Which is the Flexible Economy Ticket?  Getaway and Freedom? or just Freedom? As last time I flew, i chose Flexi and upgraded to Premium which was worth the xx,000 Velocity points!

Freedom is the new Flexi, so you need to book a Freedom fare to use points to upgrade from long-haul economy. You also need to book a Freedom fare to use the free Platinum domestic/short-haul upgrade credits given to members each year (but if you booked a Flexi before the changeover, that's fine too).


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