Virgin Australia increases lounge membership, reinstates joining fee

Non-members will want to get in quick if they intend to beat the price rise.

By Staff Writers, May 17 2024
Virgin Australia increases lounge membership, reinstates joining fee

Stepping inside Virgin Australia’s lounge network as a member, rather than a frequent flyer, will soon cost an additional $51 a year, with the airline revealing an increase to its annual membership from July 1. 

Currently, a lounge membership sets travellers back $399. For that, they gain access to all seven of the carrier’s lounges, those being in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra.

From July 1, annual membership rises to $450 a year. At the same time, a $99 joining fee (which is waived at present) is also being reintroduced for all new non-Lifetime memberships, plus those renewed more than a month after they’ve lapsed. 

Lounge membership has long been a useful option for Velocity Red and Silver members.
Lounge membership has long been a useful option for Velocity Red and Silver members.

(This is of course separate to entry by way of Velocity Frequent Flyer status, where travellers holding Gold and Platinum enjoy lounge access ahead of – or after, in the case of Platinum – all Virgin Australia flights).

Adult single entry passes will remain at $65 for casual visitors wanting to enjoy lounge perks but not flying often enough to make use of an annual membership, while children aged 2-17 will receive a slight discount, with the fee dropping to $45.

Is Virgin Australia lounge membership worth the cost?

Whether membership to Virgin Australia’s airport lounges makes sense will largely depend on your travel habits.

Traditionally, these memberships provide the best value for economy class flyers who travel regularly – but not quite often enough to gain Velocity Gold status, and thus lounge access for free.

They’re irrelevant for those travelling business class, where lounge access is already included with the fare, and for those who always fly with others (e.g. colleagues) who are themselves already members or elite frequent flyers, and can bring at least one complimentary guest into the lounge with every visit.

Consider this, too – with yearly membership costing $450, and single visits charged at $65, the cost of a membership swings into the traveller’s favour from their seventh lounge visit each year.

How about Lifetime Lounge membership?

For lifetime members, the full $9,750 rate is equal in cost to 150 individual lounge visits, or approximately 104 visits for those on the discounted senior rate.

These memberships only make sense if you plan to use the lounges at least as many times after joining, and where you couldn’t otherwise gain access, such as by flying business class or as a guest of another traveller.

Another way to look at it, is that the full lifetime cost is roughly equal to 21 years of consecutive annual membership, based on the new price.

Consider your current age, add 21 years, and ask yourself – will I still be flying regularly by then, when that investment would first start providing value versus paying a yearly rate?

But like any investment, there are always risks. It’s never certain whether any type of lifetime membership will survive until the end of your lifetime, or will conclude earlier, if a company or organisation no longer offers that service in the future.

Particularly as Virgin Australia’s Lifetime Lounge membership only ‘breaks even’ after 21 years of flying, and that available lounges can change from time to time, travellers might prefer to stick to annual memberships, which provide an exit if a product no longer suits, or is no longer available.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jul 2012

Total posts 118

I am baffled by this.

The annual cost is $450, the same as the annual fee for an HSBC Star Alliance credit card, which gives one a Star Alliance Gold status on several Virgin’s partner airlines, and consequently free access to Virgin’s lounges… And the first year is free.

Why would anyone pay for Virgin Lounge membership?

Or is this purely oriented to corporate customers who cannot expense the credit card fee to their employer?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 386

Personally not worth it with all good restaurants in many of the major airports now. The food in the VA/QF is average at best.

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