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.