Virgin Australia has removed a raft of benefits enjoyed by Velocity Frequent Flyer members when travelling with partner airlines including Singapore Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Etihad Airways.
The changes affect access to airport lounges, the ability to earn Velocity points and status credits and the availability of upgrades. Curiously, although announced on October 14, Velocity notes these are "effective September 2020."
The Velocity website explains the cuts as being "a consequence of COVID-19 and some government-imposed international travel restrictions" but doesn't flag that these changes are temporary and would be reinstated once overseas travel returns.
Approached by Executive Traveller for comment, a Virgin Australia spokeswoman said it was "certainly the intention" that these changes would be reversed at a later date.
Earning points, status credits
Velocity members will no longer earn any frequent flyer points or status credits when travelling on a codeshare flight by any partner airlines which carries a VA flight number.
Oddly, it appears you'll still be able to earn those Velocity Points and status credits on partner airlines as long as your booking is directly with them – on a flight bearing their 'native' code, such as EY for Etihad Airways and SQ for Singapore Airlines.
The additional 'tier bonus' serve of Velocity points will continue to apply to flights on Delta Air Lines and Etihad Airways.
Platinum and Gold members of Virgin's Velocity loyalty program "will no longer be able to access the Alitalia, Hainan Airlines and Hong Kong Airlines lounges,", the airline says.
However, "Velocity Platinum and Gold members can continue to access all other eligible Velocity airline partner lounges".
Delta Air Lines
Velocity Points can no longer be used for upgrades on US partner Delta Air Lines if the flight has been booked under a VA flight number.
In addition, Velocity Platinum, Gold and Silver members are no longer eligible for a free upgrades from Delta's economy class cabin to the extra legroom Comfort+ seating.
As previously reported, Delta and Virgin Australia have paused their joint venture partnership until Virgin resumes flights to Los Angeles.
"We both anticipate that Virgin Australia will fly to Los Angeles again, and when that happens, we look forward to restarting the Joint Venture," Clare Black, Delta’s General Manager of Australia New Zealand, told Executive Traveller last month.
“We’ve remained in very close contact with Virgin Australia throughout the whole COVID-19 pandemic and Virgin’s administration process, and they do remain a very long-term strategic partner for us,” Black said.