Using Virgin Australia's Platinum business class upgrade certificates

By Chris C., December 17 2015
Using Virgin Australia's Platinum business class upgrade certificates

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.

Upgrade to The Business on your next Sydney-Perth flight...
Upgrade to The Business on your next Sydney-Perth 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.

Read more: 10 things you didn’t know about Virgin Australia's 'The Business'

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.

Also read: Virgin Australia unlocks 'waitlisting' for Velocity upgrades

Connect with other business travellers in our Virgin Australia discussion group

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 436

This is supposed to be the big benefit of Velocity Plaitnum over Gold but given how expensive Flexi fares have become its not much of a benefit at all.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 567

Agree.  It doesn't sway one from scraping into gold and directing loyalty into a rival program such as OW. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Apr 2013

Total posts 143

I tend to agree too - There is partner gold/plat once you reach the additional SC accrual... but if your partner rarely travels (or say, you don't HAVE a partner), this perk is worthless.

Qantas Platinum

04 Dec 2012

Total posts 48

Agreed. It's a nice gesture but I would need to break company protocol as we are asked to never book flexi fares. This means the upgrades will probably remain unused.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards Platinum

29 Aug 2014

Total posts 34

What I do is, when my work booked for the "Saver" fares, I call the call centre to ask for an upgrade to "Flexi Fare" and pay the fare difference from out of my pocket, then upgrade to Business Class with the Platinum perks. To minimise my out of pocket expense to change to the Flexi Fare, I tend to givemy itinerary to my account manager in the last minute so when the "Saver Fare" gets close enough to the "Flexi Fare" then shoot an email to her to book the flight for me and pay the rest, get upgrade, BOOM. 

I hope my boss is not reading my comments on here. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Apr 2013

Total posts 143

Question (And I think I know the answer to this, sadly): If I have been booked on a flight MEL-SIN via PER on a flexi fare, and it's on an SQ flight number/ticket, can I request VA use my complimentary upgrades towards J on the MEL-PER & PER-MEL legs? Or not possible, because not booked on a VA flight number?

04 May 2015

Total posts 261

That's a no: "To be eligible for upgrades, all flights must be marketed and operated by Virgin Australia, and issued on Virgin Australia ticket stock (featuring a ticket number beginning with “795”)."

Better question: Why are you detouring via Perth when SQ flies from here direct?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Apr 2013

Total posts 143

Poop. Suspected so, however.

Flying via PER as all flights on the dates I need to travel (and around the dates I need to trave) are booked out. FULLY. Even via SYD and BNE all flights to SIN are FULLY booked in all Y fare classes. Am on waitlist for a direct flight, but if nothing comes through, via PER it is for me :-/

04 May 2015

Total posts 261

Ah, fair enough. Wow, full from the east coast... must be school holidays!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Apr 2013

Total posts 143

Yeah - 3rd to 8th of January... bizzy bizzy bizzy bizzyyyyyyyy

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards Plantium

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 119

I am flying to the UK in January from Adelaide via Melbourne on an Etihad ticket and got my free upgrade from Adelaide to Melbourne using one of my 4 upgrades a year.

Is a Etihad ticket, Etihad Flight Number etc.  I just rang Virgin and asked them

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Nov 2012

Total posts 10

It is a good perk, I use them when I have been booked on a flexi (Im lucky some booking agents only book flexies so I get to use them then)

Mind you you can always fall back on points from your saver fares and upgrades. Found that having by C Card with them too helps push the points up!.

However it is pretty tough to get on the Syd Perth flight pointy end. Always heavily booked by the FIFO guys.


UA *Gold Lifetime

18 Dec 2015

Total posts 10

I can't believe you the upgrades on International flights! 

The comparable membership tier on United UA (1K) gives you SIX 'SYSTEMWIDE' upgrade certificates annually. They are;

1. Confirmable on ticketing

2. Available for use on ANY UA flight internationally (and some LH flights)

2. Not segment based - ie, If you travel SYD-LAX-LON or SYD-LAX-NYC or SYD-SFO-ORD-FRA as long as you don't stopover for a night, that ONE certificate will take you all the way. And you have 6 !

4. UA provides Gold and above with UNLIMITED DOMESTIC UPGRADES. These are also confirmable in advance (subject to upgrade seat availability) and then allocated on check in tier status proiority.

I get that UA is often frowned on in Australia (and I understand why in terms of inconsistent service) but the aircraft product and food is great. The Mileage Plus (FF Program) is so good compared to the top tier upgrade offerings on QF and VA....


Maybe I shouldn't be telling you !

01 Jan 2016

Total posts 2

Hello,  So if i upgrade to business with these platinum certificates do i get business level status credits?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Apr 2013

Total posts 143

No. The upgrade certificates can only be used on Flexi fare tix, so you will earn the SC accrual rate as approprate for a Flexi fare tix.

01 Jan 2016

Total posts 2

Probably better getting my partner to silver then as getting to platinum is a real maybe.  thx

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Using Virgin Australia's Platinum business class upgrade certificates