Virgin Australia lounge membership is back on sale

Virgin Australia Lounge memberships are once again for sale, including yearly passes, as well as lifetime membership.

By Chris Chamberlin, July 7 2021
Virgin Australia lounge membership is back on sale

Virgin Australia is once again selling airport lounge access to new members – an option that had remained paused since the airline first began reopening these facilities in late 2020.

Under the new pricing structure, members are charged a flat yearly fee of $399.

This applies to both Red and Silver cardholders of Velocity, as well as members new and continuing, with the lounge’s previous $330 joining fee axed.

For Red members taking to the skies, that comes as good news, with the new flat price of $399/year much more affordable than the previous $750 first-year charge (including joining fee). It’s also lower than the ongoing $420/year renewal price of yesteryear.

Silver members won’t be as pleased, however, as the previous $330 joining fee was already waived for these travellers.

That leaves the yearly membership – on which, Velocity Silver flyers previously enjoyed a discounted price of $300 – but which has now climbed to the same $399 as charged to Velocity Red.

Of course, Velocity Gold and Platinum frequent flyers continue to have complimentary access to Virgin Australia’s seven domestic lounges, as a key benefit of their frequent flyer status.

Virgin Australia Lifetime Lounge memberships are back

With annual memberships back on sale, Virgin Australia has also reopened its Lifetime Lounge program to new members.

As before COVID, the price of this membership remains at $9,750 for most travellers, and $6,750 for members joining at age 60 or above.

Those prices are intact despite the number of lounges available to members decreasing significantly.

Since Lifetime Lounge was first debuted, the airline has shuttered six of its domestic lounges, with its Air New Zealand partnership also wound up – under which, Lifetime Lounge members could previously visit most domestic and international Air New Zealand lounges.

Now, membership buys access only to Virgin Australia’s seven remaining domestic lounges, found in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, and on the Gold Coast.

Pay for Virgin Australia lounge access at the door

The return of paid memberships also puts single-entry lounge passes back on sale.

Available to any departing Virgin Australia passenger, lounge entry can be purchased at the door for $65 per person, “subject to space availability” and up to two hours prior to the passenger’s departure.

That said, it’s not possible to pre-purchase lounge entry online at a discounted rate, as was offered for selected locations prior to Virgin Australia entering administration.

This previously allowed travellers to buy their way into many Virgin Australia lounges for just $44 or $55 online, versus $65 at the door.

It’s worth noting that most lounges where this was offered are now permanently closed – and that access to the lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide wasn’t normally discounted – so this change only impacts paid passengers of the Canberra, Gold Coast and Perth lounges.

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 $399, 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 25 years of consecutive annual membership, based on today’s price.

Consider your current age, add 25 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 25 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.

Also read: Qantas Club slashes fees, adds status credits for membership renewals

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and 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.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 926

Good to see VA slowly returning to normal.  It will be interesting to see when (if) international come back whether VA broaden its offering to make Lounge a bit more compelling for travellers who do both a mix of international and domestic.

I was lucky enough to get a QF Club Lifetime membership as a bonus from my then boss about 20 years ago.  At the time, the $3750 price seemed ridiculous; it now seems like the bargain of the century.   

Like all things, it depends how much you use it.  I've probably got my money's worth particularly as I spent many years travelling enough to qualify for Silver but rarely Gold.  Now I travel more (or did before the world rocked on its axis) so am perennially Gold so the Lifetime QF Club is more a backstop in case I don't quite get to Lifetime Gold.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 468

Another way to evaluate is the payback compared to paying $65 per entry (or $130 for entry on both departures of a return fare).  Of course, this assumes that $65 is a fair price for the F&B and convenience of somewhere to sit (. . . but I digress!).  

Dividing $130 into $9750 is break even at 75 trips (52 for folks over 60) after which the 'member' is ahead, behind which the member has . . . . not broken even.   If flying anywhere on a return basis with VA just once each calendar month, break even will be from 6.5 years.  Fly more frequently and that timeline shortens.  

I hear the groans . . . yes, this certainly isn't 'rocket science', but it's a quick and simple benchmark.  And, yes, I do fully appreciate the 'time value of money', but in the current climate of interest rates, that isn't a material consideration.  

And if you're 60+ years old, the payback period is the equivalent of 17 years' annual membership. You don't see too many 77+ year olds in the lounge.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 794

Drink, sandwich and a coffee at the airport, $30? Fly twice a week for 48 weeks, $2880, less any tax deduction. Sure, that works until you get Gold.

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 168

True, but this overlooks there are other reasons to be a lounge, some people prefer it because there's usually more seating, more choice of seating, AC power points, fast WiFi, it's just a more comfortable environment than an airport cafe if there's more than 20 minutes before your flight etc. Now I'm sure the argument can be made that Virgin lounges don't always offer all those things, especially during peak travel times, but I reckon those are exceptions to the rule.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 307

Does Lifetime access include anytime access? ie - when not flying?

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 926

No, same access rules apply.

highflyer: The only difference in access between (annual) Lounge and Lifetime Lounge is that Lifetime Lounge members can use Premium Entry where available, which is a perk otherwise restricted to Gold, Platinum and business class. Of course, Virgin Australia is yet to reopen Premium Entry in Sydney or Brisbane, so that's moot for now.

09 Dec 2015

Total posts 11

Is it a possibility of VA using their old The Club spaces for Platinum/J lounges ? 

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 168

There's been a lot of speculation on that and I think it would make sense for them to become business class lounges but there wouldn't be enough room to also have Platinums in there. I read that Virgin could open up its Club 'Velocity VIP' tier to become more like a Qantas Platinum One tier, in which case those Velocity VIP members would also have access to this business class lounge.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 628

They really need to step up on the attack to get marketshare this is all basic 101 stuff, bring back Borghetti, Thomas and ask Geoff Dixon for some ideas. It's giving me a pain just seeing the lack of drive and marketing. 

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 628

And to add Club members are filling out there VA surveys what they want from the club, so is this the next announcement?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 468

Would they be the VA surveys conducted via 'Inster-gram' (where-ever that is?), or the sort of surveys conducted directly with loyal, premium-fare paying customers via face-to-face focus groups, with follow-up Q&A?  

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 628

Email to Club Members, asking there thoughts on what they want from the club

I still have my Ansett Golden Wing lifetime membership card...

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 468

Can anyone remind me (please!) when the Melbourne lounge is scheduled to re-open?  Will it be in 2021?

It's supposed to be this month, last I read here.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Feb 2021

Total posts 8

Yes, I also have my Golden Wing Lifetime membership card(purchased 1982) and recall in the 8o' and 90's I used it for MH Golden Lounges and LH FRA lounge in Y class. Those were the days.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 415

At the moment travel restrictions meant the lounges are probably not as crowded as it was pre COVID-19, assuming it’s open at all. 

Maybe if you are regularly travelling within the state it’s worth while to have access to the lounge, but chances are that you are flying enough you should not have to pay for access as it is likely you can get gold tier.

However VA had reduced its country destination network such that even more people would be interstate travels than before. 

The question then is that if interstate borders is like what it is would anyone want to contribute to the VA cash fund considering the unpredictability of travel.

The other question is that if VA lounge is anywhere near 70% of the pre-COVID traffic would you want to pay for that privilege to mingle in the crowd?

It’s more or less a personal preference so it’s not really asking for a response here, just food for thought 


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Virgin Australia lounge membership is back on sale