Last day: Virgin Australia offers Qantas Gold, Platinum status match

Today is your last chance to apply for Virgin Australia's status match for up to a year of Gold or Platinum perks.

By David Flynn, September 26 2022
Last day: Virgin Australia offers Qantas Gold, Platinum status match

Virgin Australia’s highly attractive status match targeting top-tier frequent flyers of Qantas and dozens of other airlines ends at midnight (AEST) today, Monday September 26 – if you haven’t yet applied, get in now before this unique opportunity disappears.

Virgin Australia is making a play for millions of top-tier Qantas frequent flyers through a status match promotion targetting Qantas Golds and Platinums.

But while the cheekily-named Switch-A-Roo promotion is aimed squarely at dislodging loyalists from the Flying Kangaroo – especially those disgruntled by the airline’s recent well-publicised performance woes – it’s not limited to Qantas alone.

The Switch-A-Roo Discover Gold status match offer, to give its full and formal name, is wide open to elite frequent flyers from any airline, as long as it’s not a Virgin Australia partner.

That rules out the likes of Air Canada, Etihad Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines – but it rules in scores of other airlines.

Think Air New Zealand, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Lufthansa and its several siblings, Malaysia Airlines… indeed, the bulk of the Star Alliance, Oneworld and SkyTeam groups.

All you need is to hold the equivalent of Velocity Gold status or above “with a frequent flyer program of an airline that is not currently partnered with Velocity” – oh, and of course to be a member of Virgin’s Velocity Frequent Flyer program in the first place (it’s fast and free to join at join.velocityfrequentflyer.com).

“Virgin Australia is known for being playful, and the Switch-A-Roo campaign is a really great example of us putting our energetic spirit on show for well-travelled Australians who are looking to switch their loyalty to a modern and vibrant airline,” suggests Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Nick Rohrlach.

Rohrlach says the status match targets “customers of competitor airlines who want to move their loyalty to Virgin Australia, but don’t want to start from the bottom of the status ranks.”

“We know we have a compelling offer for business and leisure travellers who have less discretionary spend amid rising inflation but want to fly with an airline who offers some of the best value airfares in the market” along with lounges, priority security screening “and all the comforts Virgin Australia can provide their guests without the high price tag.” 

How to get your Velocity Gold or Platinum status match

Virgin’s Switch-A-Roo status match runs through to midnight (AEST) on Monday September 26, 2022 – so the clock’s ticking!

To apply for your Velocity Gold or Platinum status match, take a photo or scan of your loyalty card with a competing airline and email this to [email protected] with the following details

  • your full name
  • your Velocity membership number
  • an indication of your competing airline status equivalency to either Velocity Gold or Platinum

Be sure to send your email from the same email address registered with your Velocity membership.

One caveat: the promotion is not available to Velocity members who’ve “held Silver status or above with Velocity since April 2020.”

Virgin Australia says it may take up to four weeks “to process your Switch-A-Roo Discover Gold application and apply your trial status” – and because status match applications “will be processed in the order received” it’s a matter of first come, first served and first to fly with those Velocity perks.

Another reason to apply ASAP: “a limited number of Switch-A-Roo Discover Gold trials are available,” the airline says.

"Virgin Australia & Velocity reserve the right to end this promotion at their discretion, based on the number of status match applications received.”

In other words, should this become too popular, Virgin can shut down the status match promotion ahead of the September 26 deadline. 

How to keep your Velocity Gold or Platinum status

Once your Velocity Discover Gold trial is activated, you’ll enjoy three months of Velocity Gold status in the form of a special ‘Discover Gold Status trial membership’ (this is also the same starting point for applicants with Velocity Platinum-equivalent status).

Your benefits when flying with Virgin Australia during those three months includes complimentary lounge access, priority boarding, preferential seating, a higher checked baggage allowance and bonus Velocity Points.

But this three-month trial is really about locking in your Velocity Gold or Platinum status for a full 12 months, and that’s achievable with as little as a single flight.

To retain Velocity Gold for 12 months you need to book one Virgin Australia flight and earn 80 Status Credits during the three-month Discover Gold trial membership.

As a quick reference, you can easily hit that 80 status credit threshold with

  • a one-way business class flight on east-west routes
  • a one-way business class flight between Brisbane and Melbourne
  • a return business class flight between Sydney and Melbourne
  • two return economy flex flights between Sydney and Melbourne

Also worth noting: those 80 status credits can be earned on Virgin’s partner airlines (if you lost your Velocity number against a flight with the likes of Air Canada, Etihad Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines).

They can even come from Velocity’s innovative family pooling feature, which lets you have the status credits earned by family members directed into your Velocity account.

Another avenue: if your Velocity account is linked to your Flybuys account, scan your Flybuys card every time you shop at Coles, Liquorland or First Choice Liquor Market to earn one status credit for every $100 spent (capped at 10 status credits per month). This could be all it takes to close the gap between your flights and that 80 status credit target.

If you requested a status match to Velocity Platinum by dint of your Platinum-grade tier with a competing airline, you’ll need to earn 200 status credits during that same three-month Discover Gold trial membership period.

However, while family pooling still counts, your 200 status credits must come from flights on Virgin Australia, not partner airlines.

Virgin Australia says it can take up to eight weeks “to process and apply your upgrade to Platinum once the fast-track requirements have been met.”

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1138

Great timing.  I'm flying SQ to Asia this weekend.  I don't expect that the upgrade of my status level will be processed before I travel but the return trip will give me the 80 status credits I need to get a full 12 month membership.

I'm due to travel back to Asia for work in October.  Usually this will be Qantas but I think I may be using SQ who have much better frequencies now.

HAHAHAHA    Yesterday, I tried using my four free upgrades, CNS>>BNE>>PER>>SYD>>MCY  in late November . They showed points seats available in Business (some with 6 seats available) but seemingly there was none available using complimentary upgrades.  I was talking to someone in the Phillipines, first time as Platinum (for 10 years) I have ever spoken to someone outside Australia.

Has anyone else had this treatment?

BPH
BPH

22 Sep 2022

Total posts 1

Happening all the time now. They are declining platinum members the upgrades especially on long legs so they can chase revenue 

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 230

Passed into friends this morning and they are now already VA gold. Well down VA looking forward to hearing their experience on VA. This will be popular I think.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1138

Whilst conditions say it may take 4 weeks for application to be processed, I applied this morning and have already received confirmation that status match has been processed and will be reflected in my Velocity account within 2 days.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 821

There is an issue here for VA, if I was doing the marketing on this one I would be chasing the QF P1 (High Rollers) the VA offering would only give them Platinum so would they bother? A 3600 (P1) status credit person or a 600 (Gold) status credit person, I always go straight to the top of the line not the base line for new customers.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1138

Give most of the P1 QF customers will have earned their points flying on premium classes on long-haul international services, it could be argued that that aren't going to add much to VA's bottom line given they will probably continue to travel QF regardless.  A Gold FF who is more likely to be concentrated on domestic and short-haul international may be a sweeter target for VA.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 821

@reeves35 I totally disagree I know several P1 that are looking at moving across to VA, the horror stories of what they have endured are amazing and I can't repeat them because it will give myself away. I could write a novel on top of that when they see the options of Singapore Suites, Etihad First Lounge and also the option of Qatar on VA now they want into the VA Life. P1 travel a lot on domestic and so does their families.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1138

Fair enough, but the fact remains VA only goes to Platinum and that is unlikely to change for 99.99% of people.  The do have Beyond but it is a different offering and, probably correctly, they see value in keeping it as a very exclusive product targeted at and only available to select decision makers or, I as saw Chairmans Lounge recently described, as a tool for blatant influence peddling by the airline.

 

Most QF P1 earn around 1600 status credits doing domestic travel, that would trump a QF Gold.

Mr TAA is right again, I agree. 

18 Apr 2019

Total posts 4

Im a QF P1, and I have just applied for this status match. Ive already got lifetime Gold, and with lifetime Platinum literally made of Unobtainium, there isnt much incentive to chase it. Ive done quite a few flights this year on QF, both domestic and international, and it really isnt what it used to be, and they benefits of P1 are pretty minimal. They are charging top dollar and just not providing value for money. Im based in Perth, so most of my flying is on partner airlines, so either switching outright to Virgin or simply holding Platinum with both QF and VA is what Im currently looking at. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Oct 2014

Total posts 13

Not allowing Platinum's to accrue these status credits on partner airlines to lock it in like the gold match is a shame and a missed opportunity for both them and I. For someone who travels mostly internationally this had me interested until I read that. I would be more inclined to travel on VA domestically if so. I already use their partner airlines internationally.

06 Mar 2017

Total posts 15

Missed opportunity. I have been VA plat for a few years but since being grounded with no international. No way I'd requalify with my flying patterns on domestic routes I fly, but I'd have appreciated the opportunity to retain. QF still have me in AJ's platinum handcuffs.    

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 525

@nerdag

I assume that you weren’t VA silver and above since April 2020 and is eligible for this offer.

As pointed out getting a qualifying flight with 80 points can be fairly cheap for example that BNE-MEL route on j class can be as little as AUD 299 so depending on your home base fulfilling the status challenge is not so hard but maintaining it may be an issue when considering travelling long term 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

12 Nov 2017

Total posts 21

Oh dear, the Sydney lounge is already overcrowded. I hope they finally re-open upstairs.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Apr 2016

Total posts 3

QFF Plat, sent e-mail, acknowledged and upgraded status within a day.  Can't wait to take the qualifying flights and to put the Red Roo firmly in the rear vision mirror.

24 Sep 2017

Total posts 6

I am going to do it. Earned my QF Plat on the basis of actual flying, all domestic. Have been trying VA these last 3 weeks, at my usual flight times, and in 8 flights with VA in that 6 weeks not a single one has been delayed. How much better is that!!!

2A
2A

23 Feb 2017

Total posts 15

E-mail chain from (recently much delayed) colleagues:

Qantas have finally tipped me over the edge.

Got to the airport early with the hope of getting an early flight. There are seats available but as I am on a (very expensive) ‘red e deal’ I can’t swap. I offered to pay the difference. No was the answer. You can’t change on the day. So it’s a good few hours in the lounge. I went to get some soup and they’ve made the bowls smaller. They’ve finally lost me I reckon! The soup bowl was the final straw. I’m going to give virgin a shot.

No way! I wonder if it’s worth mentioning this to them – I had a red e deal ticket last week and asked to switch to the earlier flight, said I was happy to pay for it. She changed my flight and told me I didn’t need to worry about paying the fee!!!

The desk wouldn’t do it and made me ring a call centre and ask them. They said no. I said to them every flexible flight I’ve booked recently you’ve not been able to honour any change…..I’ll give the people in the lounge one last go.

The answer is NO. They only do that if there are certain weather conditions. Her answer was buy a new ticket.

The colleague in question gave me Gold status as a gift many years ago. She was Platinum for many years - and so have I (or occasionally Platinum One) as a result of switching loyalty due to her gift. I have sent her the link to this article.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 525

This offer has been running for more than 1 week and I was curious why I didn't get to see an article here until today (I assumed I missed it back then)

Now I know it was definitely not featured until today 

05 May 2016

Total posts 630

If VA flew to LHR and offered lifetime status this would be an interesting offer, but they don't.

23 Sep 2022

Total posts 1

How do I know whether they approved a platinum fast track option or just a maintain gold option? The generic email doesn't seem to specify this.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jan 2016

Total posts 18

Meh, those crucifying QF right now (some of it justified) should take stock that VA is no panacea. I’m QF Platinum (Lifetime Gold) and VA Silver (ex-VA Gold). This week I chose VA due to a competitive fare for a last minute domestic day trip. 2.5 hours before the return flight I get a message saying the flight is cancelled. They book me on 6am the next day. I say ‘No, I have commitments at home, I need to get back tonight, you cancelled the flight, you find me a solution’.  VA: ‘We have no seats tonight’.  Me: ‘Well I have no hotel, no spare clothes and that’s not good enough - at least bump someone who lives in this city who can stay home and fly tomorrow’.  VA: ‘We can’t help you’.  QF got me home same night and now I’m chasing a refund from VA. So those boldly saying they’re done with QF and VA is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow - good luck with that 😂.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 525

Some commentators here do claim they haven’t have a problem with their VA flights so far with VA 2.0, but most QF commentators who are switching horse are doing so because they are not getting the flights nor services they paid for more often than not.

Personally I don’t travel as much nowadays but my trips with QF over last 6 months, none of them departed on time (average 40-60 min delay) if not cancelled (cancellation account for 30% of my booked flights), 50% of those delayed departure flights don’t land within the expected flight time, probably they already missed their arrival slots, so they slow down to get accommodated into another available slot. 

Your experience with VA with cancellation of the last flight out just 2.5 hrs, and expecting that they bend over backwards for your VA Silver tier… I don’t know QF would do what you want VA to do even if you are QF Platinum, when you suggest they should boot someone off an earlier flight (possibly departing one hour earlier, judging by what QF are doing for evening flight between 3 east coast capitals, hence at 90 mins notice to this person). I don’t think there is enough senior customer service officers on platinum call centre or in person service count to pull this off nowadays.

Maybe you have QF doing exactly what you had suggested above before 2020, but I don’t think VA would have done that even if you are of a higher tier than Silver 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jan 2016

Total posts 18

@XWu

I think you misunderstood at least part of my post.

I wasn't booked on the last VA flight. There were 3 more flights to my destination after my booked flight time. That's why I said 'find me a seat' and in my opinion they had options - but they still wouldn't do anything. They could've bumped someone who lived in my departure city who was on a later flight with 4+ hours notice. I strongly doubt all those 'guests' were Gold+ Velocity members and hence higher priority. Further, I only booked on Monday and paid a hefty premium whereas I bet a lot of people on those 3 flights after mine would've paid a lot less - and now VA are going to have to refund my higher fare - quite short sighted in my view.

I'm not specifically defending QF - I've flown them domestically and internationally this year and yes, they've been late too - but they've never kicked me off a flight and said 'we can't help you' - I think VA's service here was poor, regardless of my Velocity tier.

And hence my point - those bold enough to say that they're giving QF the flick because VA are allegedly much better - well I think that's naive in the very least.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 525

Aerosexual

I am more confused now and you are welcomed not to respond if you feel that you don’t want to explain any more but:

You said your flight was cancelled, so VA didn’t actually kick you off a flight as far as I can tell.

You originally wrote you are VA silver (ex-Gold) but somehow you seemed to think your booking is more important than Gold+ guests on flights they have not cancelled.

I have no idea what class seat you bought (even though you emphasised you paid a lot of money for it due to short notice booking) but even if you bought a J class ticket or flexible economy or deal economy it doesn’t matter AFAIK how much you pay for the ticket, how you are treated is based on class not actual costs, plus courtesy service based on velocity tier (doesn’t always work). In my pre-Covid experience VA may find accommodation for pax from  cancelled flights if you had flexi tickets and stuck in non-home port but anything that is sold at what was previously known as “saver” fare, this service is more of goodwill than requirement (they may be obliged to offer you another flight, but not necessarily a practical alternative and they may hope than you rather cancel the booking and the refund is probably cheaper than organising a flight with another airline at short notice) 

I am not aware QF had kicked off a pax to fit in a QF P pax (doesn’t matter whether the pax being kicked off is departing from home city); they may do that in the US, but I wasn’t aware it is practised here.

So my point is: Just like you don’t like to be kicked off a flight for anyone, I don’t think expecting VA to do this to someone else is realistic, much less for a VA silver tier (which is what you wrote unless I am mistaken as well) and who knows what fare class you bought for a premium. 

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 230

Your the one missing the point - all QF fares are 2 to 3 times dearer and the same 2 to three times service is not being provided on QF. It’s really simple.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Jul 2017

Total posts 1

As a QF Gold who's work puts me on a variety of airlines, I jumped at the offer and my VA account was Gold'ed in about 72 hours, just in time for a return to Canberra. 

Both ways, Virgin let me get on an earlier flight for no charge (Fly Ahead I believe it is called). Only had 5 mins in the Sydney lounge which was busy, but the Canberra one is much nicer than Qantas with real food. 

Onboard there was water and a muesli bar only, but I only missed the wine from QF. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jul 2017

Total posts 27

So much for the Switharoo promotion. I submitted my application, satisfied all criteria and Q P status but rejected with a list of items that could have been my downfall, none that applied. So must not have had my name drawn out of the hat. Ah will stick with the Q however there are many alternate airlines to now fly within Aus and O/s. Hope others have more luck than I.


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