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.
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%.
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.
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.
|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.
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.
"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."
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.