Virgin Australia aims to hold onto Qantas high flyers

By John Walton, July 19 2012
Virgin Australia aims to hold onto Qantas high flyers

Having wooed the cream of Qantas’ frequent flyers into its own Velocity rewards scheme during last year’s aggressive status match campaign, Virgin Australia is now offering special deals to keep those travellers in the fold.

Many Velocity Platinum, Gold and Silver members whose review date falls in September – one year after Virgin’s popular status match deal ended – and who have not earned sufficient status credits to retain their current membership level are now receiving emails from the airline promising they can re-qualify for as little as one return business class flight.

That’s exceedingly generous, considering that retaining Velocity Platinum officially requires that you chalk up 800 Status Credits with at least eight Virgin Australia flights over 12 months.

By comparison, a single Virgin Australia business class return flight between Sydney and Melbourne earns just 80 status credits – yet for many lucky Velocity Platinums that’s all it will take to hang onto that shiny card for another year.

Same status, different deals...

The specific offers seem to vary according to how active a Virgin Australia customer you’ve been over the previous 12 months.

Several Australian Business Traveller readers have shared their emails and status credit counts with us, and about all they’ve got in common is that you have to book and fly with Virgin Australia between July 15 and August 17, 2012.

(Some but not all emails also allow these flights can be with one of Virgin Australia’s international airline partners such as Air New Zealand, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Delta and Virgin America. The small print in Virgin's offer email also lists the fare types or booking codes that you'll need to book in order to qualify.)

Some Velocity Platinum members who’ve made several Virgin Australia flights are being lured with the need to make only one return business class trip or two return Flexi Fare flights.

For other Platinums with a lower flight tally and fewer status credits to show for it, the deal is two return business class flights.

We’ve also seen emails offering Platinums a ‘top-up’ of 200 bonus status credits for taking any Virgin Australia flight during the coming month.

Some Velocity Gold members are being offered a similar 100 status credit bonus, with 50 status credits for Silver – both of which can help travellers close the gap to retaining that level of membership, which stands at 400 status credits and 200 status credits respectively. 

Make the most of Virgin's requalification deals and keep your shiny Platinum status for another year
Make the most of Virgin's requalification deals and keep your shiny Platinum status for another year

Routes with good value business class options

These are timely offers if you've already got some Virgin travel on your calendar. But if the coming month is light on business travel, there are still a few canny ways to take advantage of this offer and re-up to Platinum or Gold for another year.

There are a few Virgin Australia routes that can help you maintain your status in a cost-effective way.

Just don't jump right in and book a business class Sydney-Melbourne or Sydney-Brisbane flight unless you really need to, beause ticket prices tend to be highest on those popular routes.

We'd rate Melbourne-Gold Coast as a good candidate, as it offers decent availability of reasonable fares in the pointy end.

Brisbane-Newcastle is also a good option for a short hop

From Sydney, clear options are more limited. Off-peak Canberra flights can be useful, if expensive, and Newcastle is also worth a look.

Elsewhere, put your thinking cap on: which routes and times from your home airport have a really high proportion of budget-minded leisure travellers but few corporates? Those are the flights that will have the most availability of decent business fares.

What if you're already on the road?

In the US, off-peak Delta flights can often be decent value if you're spending time in the US. Look for middle-of-the-day or Saturday afternoon flights from one of Delta's main hubs (LA, Atlanta, New York, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, Memphis and Minneapolis). 

It's all about  destinations that are heavy on the bargain-hunting leisure travellers, but light on corporate flyers.

Singapore Airlines is another oft-overlooked option.  If you'll soon be in Singapore, Singapore-Jakarta or Singapore-Kuala Lumpur can be great options for a short weekend shopping break combined with Velocity requalification.

What's your requalification strategy? Got a few good secrets to share for status runs or "re-qual run" flights? Share them with your fellow AusBT readers below!

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 526

I don't really have a strategy... I'll see whether Virgin offer me anything to stay on and if not then I'll just let it slip.  

QF Silver

07 Sep 2011

Total posts 2

I've been faily active the last 12 months on my matched Gold membership, however only flying economy. Received both the one Business flight & 100 status credits boost emails. For me from Melbourne, pricing and timing were key, so it's a return Adelaide trip for me.

I doubt QANTAS would ever offer something so generous to it's FF's, so this is a brilliant move from DJ! 

19 Jul 2012

Total posts 7

Brisbane-Newcastle Is only good for a flexi fare. As J class doesnt seem to be offered. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 784

Indeed - the Fokker F100 'old girls'...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2012

Total posts 178

As discussed in other FF Forums this is a great offer to the travellers who availed of the status match last year. However for loyal DJ travellers there are no such offers being thrown our way, Im almost gold now DJ and this was acheived through my own personal travel as opposed to a free status match, I think DJ are forgetting their core customer base in the pursuit of new (Qantas) customers. Its a pity that this seems to be their strategy.

30 Jun 2011

Total posts 49

I got matched over at Gold and have loyally flown flat-out on DJ for the past nine months.  But no offer!  Hmmm, c'mon DJ throw me a bone

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 May 2012

Total posts 30

I got matched as a Gold in the Virgin offer last year and just last week, I opened up my Velocity account to find Virgin had done an unpropmted "account review" and gave me the 20 SCs I needed to qualify for Platinum. Loved it! Thanks Virgin!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Jul 2012

Total posts 35

I took the status match from QF Gold last year and then managed to qualify for Platinum in February 2012, and have now already requalified for Platinum for another year - just shuttling up and down between Melbourne and Sydney in economy. Whilst I appreciate Virgin wanting to keep those it has brought over it is a kind of slap in the face for those of us who have actually done the travelling - maybe a higher level to recognise those who have flown?

On the other hand QF gave me a year extension to my Gold FF status, despite only accruing 70 SP in my last year, apparently based upon my travelling history. (I had been gold for 3 years prior).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1377

And some who have already requalified (admittedly using the double SC promotion - didn't get one from Qantas) get nothing!!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2012

Total posts 268

That is so generous Virgin! I have a Platinum card and I fly Sydney-Melbourne approximately once a fortnight - on both Virgin and Qantas, to even it out -  so I can keep my points and status credits high on both Frequent Flyer programs but I nevered imagined that Virgin would be offering to keep you in Platinum for only 10% of what is required. Keep on going Virgin! I wonder if Qantas can offer the same thing.

19 Jul 2012

Total posts 13

What was the point in flying over 2000 status credits with them if I could have continued flying QF and achived DJ Platiunum for next to nothing. A bit over this. The status is worthless if every PAX on the aircraft is in the priority line.

20 Jul 2011

Total posts 72

Ah well, I'm falling 790 points short of getting enough to retain my plantinum card.  They sent me an offer, but given I've taken a total of one discount economy Virgin flight since they gave me a status match, I don't think they'll really miss me! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Sep 2011

Total posts 9

Got matched to DJ Platinum last year but as 90% of my travel is international, I have easily met the status credits (>1600) but have not made the compulsory 8 sectors on Virgin. I got offered a 200 status credit bonus for travel before 17-Aug on Virgin Australia only. So despite blitzing the Status requirements I won;t get renewal unless I make 4 more internal flights this month.

27 Jul 2011

Total posts 42

Well here's an airline that's really trying, albeit a little selectively, but what a difference to a floundering QF.

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