Virgin Australia’s Velocity Gold frequent flyers will lose access to the airline’s favoured ‘Fly Ahead’ feature come November when travelling on mid-range economy 'Choice' airfares.
From November 19 2021, free same-day flight changes on Choice tickets will become a perk exclusive to Velocity Platinum cardholders.
The same is true of existing 'Elevate' fares, which have since been rebranded to Choice.
Velocity Gold members will still be able to request a Fly Ahead on fully flexible economy (Flex), as well as business class fares, under the airline's freshly-launched fare structure.
Virgin Australia’s new ‘carry-on only’ fare, Lite, is not eligible for Fly Ahead, whether Gold or Platinum.
The airline’s previous lead-in fares, Getaway, were similarly barred from Fly Ahead.
Velocity Gold members will only be able to Fly Ahead on Choice airfares until November 19 2021, being three months from the publication of this update.
The value of 'Fly Ahead' for Velocity Gold
With Fly Ahead for Velocity Gold becoming a perk restricted to fully flexible tickets, some Gold-grade members will question whether the benefit brings any value.
Although it's true that Flex and Business fares won't have a fixed change fee, amending these flights would normally attract a fare difference, if one applies.
It's that fare difference that's waived when requesting a Fly Ahead.
This could amount to a minimal saving, or a significant sum of coin, depending on the price originally paid for a journey, and what the flight is selling for on the day of travel.
For those able to Fly Ahead on a Choice fare, the usual $80 fixed change fee is waived as well.
This applies to Velocity Platinum members going forward, and to Velocity Gold members until November 19 2021.
The tightening of Fly Ahead comes as part of a broader reboot of the airline’s fare packages, with its new lead-in Lite fares even stinging Velocity Gold members with domestic seat selection fees, zero checked baggage irrespective of status, and reduced status credit earn rates.
Note: A previous version of this article listed that Virgin Australia was removing Fly Ahead for Velocity Gold members on all fares. This was based on erroneous information published by Virgin Australia, which the airline has since corrected and clarified.