Is there a Qantas status match for Virgin Velocity frequent flyers?

A little-known program puts Velocity Frequent Flyers on the fast track to Qantas Gold status.

By David Flynn, October 19 2020
Is there a Qantas status match for Virgin Velocity frequent flyers?

Uncertainty over the shape of the Bain-owned Virgin Australia 2.0 continues to cloud the airline's prospects for business travellers and frequent flyers, and spark renewed interest in a Qantas status match for top-tier members of Virgin's Velocity Frequent Flyer program.

Despite promises by Bain Capital that "Virgin Australia will not be repositioned as a low-cost carrier" – adopting instead a mid-market "hybrid" position – the rebooted airline will be a very different proposition to its former self.

Bain's Virgin will relaunch in November with fewer aircraft, a smaller domestic network, no international flights, and the prospects of a pared-back lounge and business class offering.

So what are the options for Velocity Platinum and Gold members seeking a status match to Qantas Platinum and Gold?

Is there a Qantas-Virgin status match?

At the time of writing, there's no 'open to everyone' status match from Virgin's Velocity Frequent Flyer scheme to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.

However, Qantas does offer what's called a 'status challenge' for Velocity members which fast-tracks Qantas status.

Called the Qantas Tier Accelerator, it's not widely publicised and operates on more of an invitation-only basis.

Frequent flyers from competing airlines have to request entry to the Qantas Tier Accelerator program and prove they are a worthy catch for Qantas, based on their previous bookings (this is, understandably, to weed out the freeloaders).

What is Qantas Tier Accelerator?

The Qantas Tier Accelerator provides a fast track to Qantas Frequent Flyer status for members of competing airline loyalty programs, among them Virgin Australia's Velocity Frequent Flyer scheme.

Unlike a direct status match, you don't just send through a copy of your Velocity Gold or Platinum card and voila, automatically receive a Qantas Gold or Platinum card in return.

Instead, the Qantas Tier Accelerator program follows a 'status challenge' model: you still need to take some Qantas flights and clock up a quota of Qantas status credits in order to earn your newly-minted card.

However, the Qantas Tier Accelerator slashes the number of status credits needed to ascend the Qantas Frequent Flyer ladder to well below the usual threshold, and that's what makes this such a valuable shortcut.

Turning Velocity Gold, Platinum into Qantas Gold

Qantas considers that the core perks of both Velocity Gold and Velocity Platinum – such as lounge access, priority checkin and boarding, and a higher checked luggage allowance – are on par with Qantas Gold.

This makes Gold is the default Qantas Tier Accelerator target for Virgin Australia frequent flyers – and it's arguably the sweet spot, because it puts a solid set of practical benefits within easy reach.

For domestic flights, Qantas Gold is a fairly straight match against Velocity Gold; and when it comes to international travel, your Qantas Gold card gets you into the overseas business class lounges of not only Qantas but Oneworld partner airlines such as British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, JAL and Malaysia Airlines.

Applying for the Qantas Tier Accelerator

Qantas doesn't promote its Tier Accelerator program, so it's up to you to take the initiative: you need to contact Qantas and make the strongest case as to why you should be offered a shot at the Tier Accelerator.

Again, this is different to the usual 'open to everyone' public status match – Qantas is understandably very strict when it comes to deciding which frequent flyers are 'worthy' of the offer.

Invitations to take part in the Qantas Tier Accelerator program are made on a case-by-case basis and entirely at the airline's discretion.

To stand the best chance of qualifying you'll want to be armed with a recent copy of your Velocity statement showing plenty of travel with Virgin Australia (bonus points if a lot of that travel was in business class, and also if your activity shows a regular flying pattern rather than just a few sporadic trips). This is a weed out freeloading status-seekers who have done relatively little flying.

You'll then need to contact the Qantas Frequent Flyer team (on 13 1131 in Australia, or +61 29433 2329 from overseas, or via email at [email protected]).

Express your interest in the Qantas Tier Accelerator program and make your case as to why you'd be a 'good catch' for Qantas.

It's then up to Qantas to decide if you’re a customer worth having – as noted earlier, an invitation to take part in the Qantas Tier Accelerator program is at the airline's discretion.

Earning Gold status under the Qantas Tier Accelerator

Executive Traveller understands that 200 status credits is typically required to earn Qantas Gold status under the Tier Accelerator offer: a significant reduction compared to 700 status credits under the usual QFF rules.

Status credits earned through non-flying channels – such as buying petrol from BP service stations and shopping at Woolworths – may also count to your tally, so this is worth double-checking if you're approved for the Qantas Tier Accelerator.

The only caveat is that those 200 status credits must usually be racked up within three months of signing up for the Qantas Tier Accelerator offer.

Once again, be aware that you won't automatically be gifted Qantas Gold status during this three month qualification period – so if you're invited to take part in the Qantas Tier Accelerator program, make the most of it so you can lock away that Qantas Gold status for the next year.

Qantas-Virgin status matching in the Covid era

Of course, the Qantas Tier Accelerator was created in the pre-pandemic era when borders were open and flights were plentiful. You could easily lock away your Qantas status with a handful of domestic flights or a single overseas trip.

It remains to be seen how Qantas might adapt to this strange new world and if a more direct Qantas-Virgin status match might be rolled out: one which instantly grants Qantas status to Velocity frequent flyers for an extended non-flying period.

In the meantime, one Executive Traveller reader and Velocity Platinum member has advised us that through the Qantas Tier Accelerator program he was offered Qantas Gold status – with the standard 'earn 200 status credits in three months' target – but with an eight month period in which to activate the promotion.

This means he can wait until his travel pattern resumes, through as late as June 2021, before pulling the trigger to start that 90-day countdown.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 16

In my view, this would be the ideal time for Qantas to mount a one-off direct status match for Velocity frequent flyers. Unfortunately for Velocity members and Virgin customers more generally, Bain is sending, what in my opinion are, very mixed messages as to the type of airline Virgin 2.0 (or however named) will be. I was for many years loyal to the Virgin Australia brand and was, for the most part, satisfied that it represented the best value for my and my organisation's money. However, and I may in time be proven wrong, that brand does not exist in the same form now and, as it looks increasingly likely, never will. Moreover, changes in my personal and family circumstances make the Velocity program less advantageous vis-a-vis Qantas Freqent Flyer than it once was. If, and it is a fairly large if, Qantas were prepared to offer a direct status match for my Velocity Gold card, I would seriously consider moving my personal and organisation's business back to the Flying Kangaroo. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Sep 2018

Total posts 144

I do agree that Bain is sending some ominous mixed messages and isn't especially building up trust with customers. They just 'fired' the CEO and replaced it with a Bain inside person and former Jetstar CEO, if that doesn't sound like a betrayal I don't know what does. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Nov 2012

Total posts 56

Why would QF offer a status match?  They’re going to get a lot of these customers anyway because there simply isn’t a choice.  Those they don’t get are probably not worth anything to them anyway,  so no loss there.  REX would be the true winner of a status match offer to VA loyalists. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 16

Of course Qantas doesn't have to offer a status match and there may not be any short-term economic benefit to it, as you note in your comment @bsbtraveller. That said, to my mind there are a number of reasons why QF may choose to offer a status match. It may, for example, see long-term benefits in its shorter-term perception as the airline who is willing to look after those frequent flyers the 'other airline' has turned it back on. Equally, it may prefer to pre-empt any comparable frequent flyer program/tier system that REX seeks to establish.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 251

On a slight serious note, REX would need to negotiate some international interline partnerships alongside their jet services if they are serious about getting some small-medium business corporate accounts.  

Forget about the high end medium and large business corporates, QF has the bulk of the market sewn up, possibly even more so with VA/Bain's 'alleged' decision to go towards the lower end of the 'hybrid' market.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 505

I’m sure Qantas will pick off the top tier and also the Qatar status match would be plan C for a lot of people. I do see Qatar wanting the VA alliance specially considering the game plan of Bain was worked out at the time of the first bid and Qatar wanting more Brisbane flights.

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 25

I am Velocity Platinum & United 1K. Seeing how things are unfolding with Bain, I am certainly interested in switching to Qantas. However, I am not going to switch without a status match from Qantas. If they do 't want to attract me that way, I am sure I can find better international travel with Qatar or Finair. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 11

QF could give a status match for VA platinums to QF gold - in reality this is the equivalent. It was pretty easy to get VA Gold especially if on partner flights but also a good incentive to upgrade to QF Plat. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 478

Just throwing out some thoughts...

1. Why? If VA is going budget, let Jetstar fight them.

2. When Qantas lured across the millions of abandoned Ansett FF's it screwed up the lounge network and other QFF benefits for 15+ years - And yet, when VA decided to go more mid-to-upper market many of these same "loyal flyers" jumped ship

3. The VA program had some good benefits that weren't seen in the Qantas program - go and pinch those ideas and continue to improve the value of QFF (and seriously stop trying to sell me insurance)

Maybe it makes sense to try to bring these flyers across? Personally I'd prefer QFF start seeding some ideas to help those of us still stranded retain our status once flying resumes next year. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 769

It's amusing to see that a lot of people think things will suddenly go back to normal in twelve to eighteen months' time. QF won't have to do too much at all to get people who want some luxury, as they probably won't get it with Bainstar or Rex. QF will not be spending one cent more than they have to on frivolities. Interlines? The global airline market isn't suddenly going to pop back as it was in 2019. It's like the last act of the movie "Threads" - just as the survivors of the nuclear attack took many years to get some semblance of a new (bizarre) normality, so too will the travel industry and those around it. 

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 505

It amuses me to see people thinking "Qantas Luxury" a lot of people bag Borghetti but he was the only one keeping Qantas to a higher standard of service, if the competitors are low cost don't you think Qantas will cut cost to save money? and if as reported in a news paper, personal phone calls between CEO's we could all be flying low cost airlines.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 181

Agreed. We will be so lucky if QF standard stay the same but I know it wouldn’t 


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