Is Velocity lifetime status and a ‘Platinum Plus’ tier on the way?

A new top tier for frequent flyers could become Virgin's equaliser to Qantas Platinum One status.

By David Flynn, April 27 2022
Is Velocity lifetime status and a ‘Platinum Plus’ tier on the way?
Executive Traveller exclusive

Virgin Australia is rethinking the tiers of its Velocity Frequent Flyer rewards program, with the possibility of a new status level above Platinum – the current top rung of the loyalty ladder – to match against Qantas’ Platinum One.

The review could also deliver Velocity lifetime status for Silver, Gold and Platinum members, which long-time loyalists to the challenger have been eagerly awaiting.

CEO Jayne Hrdlicka says the Velocity review, which is still in its early stages, will be completed before the year is out.

“We’re very early in our review of our tiering programme in Velocity,” Hrdlicka confirmed to Executive Traveller at the opening of the airline’s invitation-only Beyond lounge in Sydney, “and that’s probably going to take us another five or six months to finish.”

But while the former Qantas Group executive – who was briefly the head of Qantas Loyalty from November 2017 to April 2018 – is keenly aware of Velocity’s relatively low Platinum ceiling, she wouldn’t be drawn on the prospects of a fresh tier perched above Platinum for frequent flyers who spend more time in Virgin’s airport lounges than their own lounge rooms.

“Once (the review) is finished, we’ll have a different conversation,” Hrdlicka teased.

“But you would expect for us, as an organisation, to continue to evaluate what we're doing, continue to look for places to innovate and improve the experiences we're providing to our guests.” 

“And we’re never going to be done getting better… that’s a commitment we absolutely make to our guests and our people every day, is that we’re hungry to learn, we’re hungry to grow, and we’re hungry to invest in always finding the opportunities to do one better.”

Velocity lifetime status?

Virgin’s frequent flyers retain their perks on a year-by-year basis, but there’s no accounting for the cumulative status credits accrued across the many years of their membership.

However, Qantas lets its rusted-on flyers achieve Lifetime Silver, Lifetime Gold and even Lifetime Platinum status and enjoy a lifetime of those perks – with the long haul to lifetime status often tagged as ‘golden handcuffs’ which help keep travellers loyal to Qantas.

For example, Qantas Silver status kicks in at a threshold of 250 status credits per year, with Lifetime Silver requiring 7,000 status credits all up; for Gold, the respective numbers are 600 status credits and 14,000 status credits.

As a quick measurement, applying the same metrics as Qantas’ annual and lifetime status for each tier would see Virgin Australia Velocity lifetime status land around the following levels:

  • Velocity Lifetime Silver would require around 5,000 to 6,000 status credits
  • Velocity Lifetime Gold would demand some 9,000 status credits
  • Velocity Lifetime Platinum would need a whopping 50,000 status credits

Beyond Velocity Platinum

Under today’s four-tier Velocity structure, Virgin Australia passengers must rack up 1,000 status credits in 12 months to attain Velocity Platinum status - but they see no benefits once they hurtle past the 1,000 SC milestone, as many frequent flyers do.

By comparison, Qantas Frequent Flyers who reach Qantas Platinum’s 1,200 status credits threshold and continue soaring to hit 3,600 status credits are vaulted into the Platinum One category, which comes with added benefits and a much higher level of service when flights are disrupted.

This mismatch leaves Virgin without a means to recognise and reward its most loyal and most active frequent flyers – and leaves those flyers with no incentive to keep flying with Virgin, instead of perhaps shifting their business across to Qantas to ensure they also hold Platinum status with the Flying Kangaroo.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

16 Jul 2018

Total posts 23

This would be a good move. But to be honest, I didn't experience that an appreciable increase in benefits from Velocity Gold t Velocity Platinum, other than the reciprocal membership tier in Hilton Honors.  If they could find a better way to differentiate between Gold and Platinum I might put more effort into retaining Platinum rather than shifting my work flights to Qantas to get Gold there too later this year. 

21 Apr 2016

Total posts 24

Now they've removed Fly Ahead for Golds there is a bit more of a difference...

08 Aug 2019

Total posts 4

I love platinum for the economy x seating and the dedicated entrance to lounge, I don't think these come with gold? I am unlikely to hold onto plat for too long as the business travel I used to do a lot of has all but stopped, will miss these perks

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

16 Jul 2018

Total posts 23

Great point about complimentary Economy X - that is an awesome perk

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 569

Thank-you.  🙏

06 Jun 2017

Total posts 46

Lifetime status would be nice, even seeing my lifetime status credits would be great. 

Just wish VA would offer some more platinum benefits. The business class upgrades and free premium economy seems a little thing for getting double the status credits of gold

Hopefully they back date Lifetime Gold and Platinum, join Star Alliance and offer passes to Beyond. I know Qantas is offering Chairman access to some P1s.

Bring on lifetime status and Platinum Plus or whatever they want to call it. Okay, lifetime status would be a big hit if Virgin back-dated the count by 10-15 years because there'd be a lot of people who would immediately be lifetime Gold for example, and I wonder if the already crammed lounges can handle that. But if Virgin says something like "only the past five years count" that would trigger a lot of justifiable complaints.

18 Sep 2015

Total posts 117

I'm still keeping my lifetime Golden Wing card safe, just in case...

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 389

I'm a Qantas flyer but totally support Virgin making Velocity more competitive. Why? Because competition is good. We've seen this time and time again with Virgin Australia, it makes Qantas lift their game. Now Velocity adding Lifetime status and its own version of 'Platinum One' will be more of a catch-up but all the same the competition is welcome, because Qantas will need to work a bit harder to keep its frequent flyers. It's a win-win.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 779

A good example is the Qantas Premium Entry would never have happened if it wasn’t for my hero JB. 

26 Jul 2011

Total posts 12

Lifetime status is well overdue. I've suggested it in EVERY customer service survey I've ever completed.


Sad thing is, as a VA Platinum flyer for 8+ years now, I doubt there'd be any grandfather clause for status credits already earned.

08 May 2020

Total posts 71

Unfortunately Virgin still do not have any NZ Flights and it appears there will be non in 2022. Getting to the Platinum status level when you have to Fly forth and back with the competitor to NZ does not help to maintain it.  Lifetime Status Platinum when the Status has been maintained for over 10 years would be more of interrest than the massive Status number

09 Sep 2020

Total posts 13

It would a wise move and a great  motivator for the Virgin supporters,  but stil would like the CEO to advise us of when Virgin will reintroduce International Long Haul Flights(either  Virgin itself or United ) from Brisbane, actually ask the CEO  to advise us of that situation 

Ok seeing Virgin stole my “Beyond” I had it first guys in public, I’ll let them steal my “Beyond Platinum” brain wave marketing guru idea.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Apr 2016

Total posts 7

Is it possible to swap Qantas points and silver status to Virgin?

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 779

I'm seeing too much positive communications from Virgin here, what's going on ...... 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

18 May 2016

Total posts 8

There is actually benefit of keeping flying VA after getting Platinum renewed. Another 500 status gives you a Companion Gold to give to someone. Another 500 again upgrades it to Platinum. Not as good as another tier or lifetime status scheme, but it is something… Maybe correct the last paragraph.

bsb
bsb

21 Jul 2011

Total posts 82

Didn’t they promise to be a middle of the road option?  All these perks and Beyond just makes them seem like they’re trying to match QF. This is how Virgin Blue started to sway away from their original brand proposition and this is just going to go the same way. All the VA addicts will downvote me but you know it’s true. 

Could Qantas be caught in VA's Wake Turbulence, come on JH don't procrastinate and ponder, get a wriggle on.....

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 138

Woah.... before we talk about any additional benefits, how about just getting the current benefits turned back on. Showers in the Lounges, Premium entry, Premium exit....  there is no reason for these services not to be running right now.


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