Virgin Australia overhauls Accelerate program for businesses

The airline’s business loyalty program redirects its focus to upfront savings on flights, rather than annual travel rebates.

By Chris Chamberlin, October 7 2021
Virgin Australia overhauls Accelerate program for businesses

Virgin Australia’s Accelerate rewards program for businesses is getting a rethink, with the airline expanding its fare discounts on domestic flights, but discontinuing its offer of annual travel credit rebates.

Cash savings are still central to Accelerate, which isn’t morphing to mirror Qantas Business Rewards: under which companies can earn points as an entity, alongside rewards earned by its travellers.

Here’s how the rebooted Accelerate program shapes up.

New ‘Fare Advantage Discounts’ on flights

Previously, Virgin Australia offered Accelerate members a year-round discount of 5% on fully-flexible economy fares, as well as a 10% discount on one specific business class fare type.

Its latest Fare Advantage Discounts expand those business class savings to every business class fare on every Virgin Australia domestic flight, while continuing to provide a discount on flexible economy.

Here’s how much you could now save, based on these latest rates.

Fare brand

Fare classes

Discount

Business

J, C, D, I

6%

Economy Flex

Y, B, H, K, L

4%

In a recent email to Accelerate members, Virgin Australia explains that while the discount on flexible economy is slightly lower than before, “the lead-in price for Economy Flex fares has been reduced by up to 38% in comparison to Freedom fares from 2019.”

As well, the previous 10% discount on business class applied only to fare class D: a mid-range ticket.

Expanding this to all business class fares means that those purchasing the airline’s most affordable premium cabin tickets will now enjoy discounts too, as will those buying its most expensive fares.

Fare Advantage Discount promotions

From time to time, Virgin Australia has also extended further discounts to Accelerate members on a short-time promotional basis.

Previous offers commonly provided savings in the region of 10-30% on the full fare price – temporarily replacing the year-round rates to unlock higher savings.

Such promotions may run again in the future, although the rates above indicate the year-round discounts that Accelerate members can expect under the program’s new structure.

As before, all Fare Advantage Discounts can be accessed when booking flights through the airline’s Accelerate portal, or when booking via a business’ travel management company.

‘Annual Travel Credits’ removed

Businesses that spent $20,000 or more on Virgin Australia flights each year could previously qualify for an Annual Travel Credit through Accelerate.

This was a percentage-based rebate of between 2% and 5%, provided as a travel voucher on each anniversary of the business’ Accelerate membership.

From October 6 2021, travel credit rebates can no longer be earned on new bookings.

Virgin Australia advises that “customers who are eligible for a travel credit rebate prior to 6 October, will be provided with a calculation of their final rebate value after 6 October 2021.”

“When combined, the new fares and Accelerate program discount terms make for a highly competitive offer that’ll give you and your business even more affordable ways to fly,” the airline recently communicated to Accelerate members by email.

However, businesses that regularly undertake travel on behalf of their clients – and bill those clients for flights at face value, before later receiving a travel credit rebate back to their own company – may not find the new Accelerate structure as beneficial.

Also read: Virgin Australia boosts status credits on premium fares

Chris Chamberlin

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.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 697

Not a bad deal just put in Sydney to Brisbane in business, price came back at $282.76. As a platinum member I will also pick up 2827 points, I can’t see Qantas matching that even if I asked them nicely. I did a search on Qantas and it was $900.00 for business seat and $492.00 for an economy seat.  If VA also offered bulk buys on ticket (like the good old days) buy 20 Business Class ticket for use anytime on any spare seat I think all the loyalist Qantas flyers at my company would jump onboard quick smart who wouldn’t swap economy for business.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 517

There is a bit of a 'down side' to this generosity by VA.  With only eight (8) business seats on the 737, I predict they'll fill quickly, which is great for VA.  But I hope that, on those flights when Business Class is full and Platinum members are seated in Economy-X (rows 3-5), they at least offer a complimentary glass of the good stuff.  

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 200

This has always been the case- the product is very similar between the airlines, status points, aircraft, J seat, lounge, FF points, and not acknowledged enough is that the VA product is significant cheaper than Qantas - mostly only 40% of the Qantas price - and that is surely a win in any valid comparison as you have found.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jun 2020

Total posts 12

Qantas program is better no minimum spend. Virgin asks for $20,000. Not every small business can do that. I'm platinum but the accelerate program us useless.


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