Flying business class for the price of an economy ticket is arguably Virgin Australia’s most generous Velocity Platinum perk, with special 'upgrade certificates' allowing top-tier frequent flyers to move to the pointy end four times each year – without paying an extra cent.
That means you can trade-up on four solo one-way flights, or could take a trip with a partner, colleague or even your boss and upgrade the both of you to more comfortable surroundings in business class for the return journey.
Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your complimentary Velocity Platinum business class upgrades.
Platinum business class upgrades: the basics
For starters, every Velocity Platinum frequent flyer receives four business class upgrade credits each year whether reaching Platinum for the first time or retaining their shiny frequent flyer status, with each upgrade credit valid for 12 months.
Each credit gets you an upgrade to business class for one passenger on one flight in one direction – two credits are needed to upgrade a return journey for one passenger which consists of two flights in total, while further upgrade credits can be used to upgrade travel companions on the same flight.
For two passengers taking a return trip together, you’d use two of your four upgrade credits on the outbound flight (one credit per passenger, per flight), and the remaining two credits for your return leg.
Business class upgrade credits are valid on any domestic Virgin Australia flight – including on the airline’s east-west Airbus A330 services with ‘The Business’ – and also any 'short-haul' international flight.
While they're not valid on 'long-haul' flights such as Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi, they can be used to upgrade on flights to New Zealand, Fiji, Indonesia, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and more.
There's just one catch: you can only use these complimentary upgrades when booked on flexible economy (Freedom) fares, with tickets booked in the less-pricey Elevate and Getaway categories keeping you firmly in economy, unless using your Velocity points to for a business class upgrade.
How to request your Platinum business class upgrade
As a rule, complimentary upgrades for Velocity Platinum members are only available on flights where a business class ticket can also be booked using Velocity frequent flyer points.
In other words, you can check whether upgrades are available on a particular flight by jumping onto the Velocity website and trying to book the same business class journey using your Velocity points: if a ‘Business Reward’ seat is available, you’ll know that an upgrade is also available.
Then, book your Flexi economy ticket as normal, make a note of the six-character booking reference and call 13 18 75 between 8am and 8pm (Sydney time), Monday to Friday to request your upgrade at any point up until two hours before your flight’s scheduled departure time.
Upgrades are immediately confirmed, and if changes do arise you can alter your plans up until 24 hours before departure without losing your upgrade credit – it will either be applied to your new flight or refunded back into your account, depending on the circumstances and its expiry date.
Platinum members whose plans may change at the last minute can also request a complimentary upgrade in person at the Virgin Australia lounge until 40 minutes prior to departure, or at the priority check-in desks in Hobart (where a lounge isn't available) between 90 and 40 minutes before wheels-up.
That’s a great way to maximise the flexibility of your ticket without the risk of losing your complimentary upgrade, although requests filled on departure day may be met with limited food on-board or your first meal choice being unavailable, as catering is usually firmed-up several hours in advance.
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