Today's the last day that Virgin Australia's top-tier Velocity frequent flyers enjoy unlimited access to its airport lounges.
From tomorrow, Wednesday August 15, the airline will remove the ability of Velocity Platinum and Gold members to use Virgin Australia lounges without flying on Virgin – a provision known as 'anytime access' which meant those high-flyers could be travelling on a competing airline, or not even flying at all.
"We basically made the decision to ensure our lounge experience is the best it can be for the guests who are flying with us", a Virgin Australia spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller.
Après-flight access for Platinum, Gold
However, Platinum and Gold card-holders will still enjoy access to the lounge after arriving on a Virgin flight – as long as they can present a boarding pass for the flight they've just stepped off – so they can get a quick bite, grab their email or hit the shower after catching the redeye from Perth and before heading into the office.
For other travellers, access to the lounge will be available only prior to their flight on Virgin or a partner airline.
Qantas axed Anytime Access to its domestic airport lounges in February 2011, while British Airways followed in June with the removal of its 'Open Doors' privilege for BA Executive Club Gold cardholders.
There's no doubt that Anytime Access is useful when meeting or seeing off a colleague or client at the airport.
However, we suspect that Virgin found the privilege being abused by some members – especially those who took advantage of the Velocity status match against their Qantas Platinum or Gold card but never flew with Virgin, while remaining happy to use the airport lounges like a private club.
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