Virgin Australia extends all Velocity memberships by one year

Virgin Australia's frequent flyer program adds bonus status credits to an extra year of Velocity membership.

By Chris Chamberlin, March 19 2020
Virgin Australia extends all Velocity memberships by one year

Virgin Australia is strengthening its previous status extension offer for Velocity Silver, Gold and Platinum frequent flyers, granting all elite members an extra year of Velocity status.

This comes on top of the airline's earlier offer to provide a monthly boost of status credits over at least a three-month period.

Those extra status credits will still be issued, resulting in a boost of between 60 and 210 status credits which will let Velocity members not only retain their current tier, but will see some members move up to the next level – from Silver to Gold, or Gold to Platinum –  if they were already close to doing so.

Velocity's updated response comes as domestic competitor Qantas rolled out a similar one-year extension overnight.

Read: Qantas extends frequent flyer status for a full year

Like Qantas, Virgin Australia will also temporarily waive the need to take a certain number of own-brand flights to retain each member’s level. Normally, that’s two VA-coded flights for Velocity Silver, four for Velocity Gold, and eight for Velocity Platinum.

Members who do continue to fly will still earn Velocity points and status credits on those flights as normal, in addition to the monthly bonuses and the one-year extension.

The news comes as Virgin Australia prepares to suspend all international flights from March 30 until at least June 14, while also cutting domestic capacity by 50%.

Read: Virgin Australia grounds all international flights

Many of the airline’s partners on which status credits can be earned – including Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and others – have also grounded many flights popular with Australians as international travel demand plummets amid a series of border closers and travel restrictions.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) continues to advise via Smartraveller that Australians do not travel overseas for the time being, regardless of destination. Aussies already overseas who wish to return home should do so as soon as possible.

Read: Australian Government: do not travel overseas, to any country

PREVIOUS [by Brandon Loo] | Virgin Australia will issue bonus status credits to Velocity Silver, Gold and Platinum members to help them retain their tier in the face of reduced travel due to the coronavirus.

Those Velocity members will receive a pro-rata serve of status credits over the coming three months, roughly equivalent to the number of status credits needed each month to maintain your current tier across a whole year.

The initial bonus is expected to land in the first week of April 2020, with the next two instalments dropping each month afterwards.

Status Level April May June Total
Silver (200 SC to maintain) 20 20 20 60 (30% towards maintaining)
Gold (400 SC to maintain) 35 35 35 105 (26% towards maintaining)
Platinum (800 SC to maintain) 70 70 70 210 (26% towards maintaining)

Apart from earning enough status credits, a number of eligible and paid VA-coded flights will still need to be flown to maintain membership. This requirement isn't being waived at the time of writing and stands at two flights for Silver, four for Gold and eight for Platinum.

Velocity's status credit gift could mean keeping elite perks, such as lounge access, for another year.
Velocity's status credit gift could mean keeping elite perks, such as lounge access, for another year.

This move comes amid the developing coronavirus situation, which has seen unprecedented travel restrictions put in place by countries in an attempt to curb further spread of the disease.

Australia is formally issuing 'do not travel' advice to all countries, while Virgin Australia is suspending all international flights until June 14 and cutting domestic capacity by 50%.

"We are aware that in the current environment with travel restrictions and reduced flights, it may be challenging for our members to maintain their Velocity status," a Virgin Australia spokesperson told Executive Traveller.

"For those members who are still flying with us domestically, they will continue to earn Points and Status Credits as usual with their flights."

Read more: Coronavirus: free Virgin Australia domestic, overseas flight changes

Virgin Australia is following Cathay Pacific's model, where the Hong Kong airline chose to gifting bonus status credits to its Marco Polo Club frequent flyers.

Other status-saving approaches include Singapore Airlines extending perks for selected members and Qatar Airways sending personalised offers with up to six months of status extensions on the table.

But to date, Qantas has adopted the most generous policy: automatically granting one additional year of status to all Qantas Frequent Flyer members, based on their 'anniversary' date from March 2020 to February 2021, which will see some members retain their status sans flying through to early 2022.

Read more: Qantas extends frequent flyer status

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.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 451

That seems pretty fair and reasonable

06 Jun 2017

Total posts 39

Not bad, I'll take the 210 Status Credits (not as generous as QF though). I would hope they extend this if the virus lasts a lot longer. If I can start flying again around June/July I'll easily retain Platinum, though if this keeps getting extended for more months I would hope they would start waiving the 8 VA flight requirement.

Virgin Australia - Platinum

26 Jun 2011

Total posts 72

I think they've just trumped QF with the Status Credit gift, 12 months extension as well as no minimum sectors required to maintain!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 250

Correct, nice to see someone else has 'done the math' on this. Can it be that Scurrah's finance team have out-manouvered The Joyce crew??? Will Qantas counter and up the ante for its QFF members?

Competition, yas gotta luv it !!!

04 Dec 2017

Total posts 54

Give it up Virgin and stick to domestic. Shedding money like there's no tomorrow. You'll always be a Pepsi at best, not Coke-a-Cola carrier in Australia; think Qantas has it.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

31 Oct 2016

Total posts 73

Mmmm Coke-A-Cola.

The Aldi Home Brand version.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 35

In this day and age, no one airline, whether state-owned/supported or private or full service or low cost carrier can claim that it 'has it'.

Not even one of my favoured airlines like QANTAS.

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 181

The funny thing is in the US Pepsi is THE brand not Coke.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 250

Nice to see that some-one's done their research. If only some of the Uber-loyal Qantas folk did the same with the shareholders register, they might find quite a few offshore investors. Not that there's anything wrong with offshore investment into Q or V.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

29 May 2019

Total posts 2

Nowhere near as generous for those who have status expiring in the next few months. Lots of planned partner airlines travel that has now been canned, and membership year falls end of June. No way to make up the difference and not worth the risk flying domestically at present. Maybe that will change over the next couple of months but not holding my breath.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 155

I had flights planned over the next 3 months that would have meant meeting re-qualifying for Gold. In all likelihood those won't happen now; and this is insufficient to cover it. If I drop out of Gold, I won't bother trying to re-qualify, and will change my flying strategy, which will mean less Virgin flying in the long term.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 155

Glad to see that since I posted this, Virgin has announced 12 month extension of status credit. Good Call.

Virgin Australia - Platinum

26 Jun 2011

Total posts 72

As well as no minimum flight sectors to maintain!

bmc
bmc

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Aug 2013

Total posts 155

I suppose these points will also be family pooled so I'll get 105 per month (me Plat, wife Gold)

jch
jch

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Nov 2017

Total posts 58

Would there be any benefit for those that have already qualified for next year?

i.e my platinum status would be extended normally to June 2021, would this now be June 2022?

09 Aug 2019

Total posts 2

Further developments here:

https://www.executivetraveller.com/news/virgin-australia-velocity-frequent-flyer-status-extension

Virgin Australia is strengthening its previous status extension offer for Velocity Silver, Gold and Platinum frequent flyers, granting all elite members an extra year of Velocity status.

This comes on top of the airline's earlier offer to provide a monthly boost of status credits over at least a three-month period.

It will be interesting to see how the status extension really factors in with requalification and the SC gift. Will the expiry of status credits be paused along with the year-long status extension? How will status requalification be calculated over the two-year validity period? I think we need more information before determining just how generous this offer is.

QF

02 Sep 2013

Total posts 6

They would have been smart to copy Qantas and just extend everyones status for a year, but unfortunately, Virgin is not a smart airline.

I went online to cancel a flight for 1 April and got a pop-up that I needed to call customer service. I phoned via the Velocity line, waited 32 minutes and was then told that I needed to call the day before the flight to cancel.

They just don't get business travellers.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Nov 2015

Total posts 12

I've already got enough SC this year to requalify for gold next year anyway but my membership cycle is mid April. Does this mean I'm extended to March 2021 (a year from now), April 2021 (a complete membership year), both of which don't really change anything for me, or April 2022, being an extra year on top of what I've already earned.

Has anyone received the promised personal email with details?

Virgin Australia - Platinum

26 Jun 2011

Total posts 72

The email from Scurrah stated “you will receive an email in the next two weeks with details”. I'm tipping the later part of that time frame.

Virgin Australia - Platinum

26 Jun 2011

Total posts 72

Received the email -

"We have extended your benefit period for a further 12 months. This means your new review date is now September 2020".

My NEW review date is my original review date???

01 Apr 2020

Total posts 1

Also received the VA email.

My new review date is my old review date......???

Someone needs to enlighten them on the meaning of extension....

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 May 2015

Total posts 10

Agree. I have received my email and my review is date is same too. I can't see benefit of 12 months extension granted as announced previously.

AR
AR

01 Apr 2020

Total posts 3

Indeed, same as others myself. My Platinum membership with the extension applied is the exact same date as the pre-extension renewal. I have emailed Velocity but to be fair with their other priorities I don't expect response quickly.

01 Jan 2015

Total posts 4

Relax everyone, looks like a simple computer glitch. I'm sure they will update everyone on it soon.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 451

Computer Glitch I've been told which will be fixed

jch
jch

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Nov 2017

Total posts 58

Updated email: "Your current Status will be extended for a further year1. Since we weren't planning on reviewing your status until 7 June 2020, you'll get a further 12 months once you reach that date. You don't need to do anything and once your bonus year of Status begins, you'll be able to see this on our Website and in the Velocity App. "

This makes it even less clear if those who have already earned enough SCs to maintain their current level will benefit from the additional year. i.e will SCs reset at the review date?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 May 2015

Total posts 10

Not a computer glitch but miscommunication. Virgin sent through an updated email as below.

Some of you have been asking us questions about how your Status extension will work. Sorry we weren't clear in our email to you a few hours ago.Your current Status will be extended for a further year1. Since we weren't planning on reviewing your status until 11 February 2021, you'll get a further 12 months once you reach that date. You don't need to do anything and once your bonus year of Status begins, you'll be able to see this on our Website and in the Velocity App.  ”


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