Virgin Australia’s Business Flyer loyalty program is 12 months old. But, rather than it being the one to get a gift, members are instead gaining a shiny new benefit: the ability to earn Velocity points on overseas travel when flying on a trio of international partner airlines.
From today, jetsetters travelling with Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines can earn Velocity points for every dollar spent in line with their relevant loyalty status tier:
- Tier 1: 1 Point per $1 spent
- Tier 2: 1.5 Points per $1 spent
- Tier 3: 2 Points per $1 spent
In addition, Qatar Airways and United Airlines are both offering ongoing discounts on eligible flights. Members can save up to 5% off on Qatar Airways and up to an impressive 20% on United Airlines.
These are in addition to the previous benefits revealed at launch. Read on for more about the program.
Business Flyer status match and bonus Velocity points
Not only that, Virgin has also rolled out a new Business Flyer Status Match offer, inviting members of rival loyalty programs to switch to their allegiance… and they have a pretty good incentive.
By simply joining Business Flyer by 31 March, and spending at least $10,000 within the first 90 days of joining, members can receive 150,000 bonus Velocity Points for their business – the equivalent of up to 30 business class upgrades.
On top, those who are new to the Virgin Australia Business Flyer and hold Silver or higher with a competitor (non-partner) airline, can also have their status matched with an equivalent Velocity tier.
To qualify, you must be an existing Velocity member and a current employee or contractor of a Business Flyer member. To apply, email [email protected] from the address linked to your account stating your name and Velocity number, and the Business Flyer member business name and ABN, as well as a legible copy of your rival membership card showing your status.
What is Virgin Australia Business Flyer
Virgin Australia Business Flyer is a fresh take on the airline’s previous Accelerate business travel program, now with Rewards: a value-add which allows small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) which spend up to $300,000 a year with the airline to unlock exclusive benefits, from flight discounts to lounge access and even earn Velocity Points for your business.
Unveiled in April 2022, the loyalty scheme sits alongside the airline’s existing Velocity Frequent Flyer program – supercharging your earning potential. Plus, it’s free to join, with no ongoing membership fees or minimum spend.
“With the additional airfare discounts we are offering under the Business Flyer loyalty program, on top of Velocity Points earn for businesses, it’s going to be very hard for any business owner to look past Virgin Australia when choosing a domestic airline partner,” explained Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka at the program’s launch.
Promising the airline would continue to “fiercely compete for our fair share of our heartland customers,” Hrdlicka added “we know that’s important for small to medium-sized businesses and corporates who are emerging from the pandemic more conscious of value provided by their partners than ever before.”
It’s a massive market too, with SMEs spanning from self-employed businesses to companies with up to 199 employees: the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that 99.8% of the nation’s businesses are SMEs, totalling two million firms.
Similar to the competing Qantas Business Rewards program, companies with a Virgin Australia Business Flyer account can earn Velocity Points for every dollar spent on flights, on top of Velocity Points and Status Credits earned by the individual flyer (those Velocity Points earned by the business can then be transferred to any personal Velocity account).
Benefits of Virgin Australia Business Flyer
Complimentary Velocity Gold status
Once a company spends at least $2,000 on Virgin Australia flights in the first three months of joining, they’ll receive complimentary Velocity Pilot Gold membership for any two nominated employees, unlocking Velocity Gold benefits such as lounge access, Fly Ahead on selected fare types, a higher checked baggage allowances plus priority check-in and boarding.
And keeping that Velocity Gold card on a rolling 12-month basis will be a doddle: Business Flyer members will need to take just one eligible Virgin Australia flight and earn at least 80 Velocity Status Credits during the first three months of their membership year.
That’s done with a single business class flight between Melbourne and Brisbane; a Sydney-Melbourne or Sydney-Brisbane return business class trip; or one return Economy Flex trip from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to Perth and back.
Discounted Lounge Membership
Flight discounts in economy, business class
After signing up to the program, which is free to join, Virgin Australia Business Flyer members can immediately tap into discounts on flights through one of the three Business Flyer loyalty tiers
Across all three tiers there’s a standing 4% off Flex Economy fares and 6% off Business Class fares.
How to fly through the membership tiers
There are three membership tiers in Virgin Australia Business Flyer. However, unlike competitor reward programs, which can be hard to navigate and are often quite confusing, these are progressed through spend with the airline.
It’s a simple and easy-to-understand system. The more you spend, the faster you will be rewarded. And each time you jump up a tier, you’ll unlock an assortment of additional perks including bonus points for every $1 you spend.
Tier 1 – Spend $0 to $9,999: This entry-level tier allows you to enjoy up to 6% off select domestic and short international airfares when flying on Virgin Australia, as well as discounted lounge memberships and two Velocity Pilot Gold memberships when you spend $2,000 within the first three months.
Your business also earns 1 Velocity Point per $1 spent on flights, while the you or your employee (whoever is the traveller) earns 5 Velocity Frequent Flyer Points per $1 spent as well as Status Credits – a double-dip.
Tier 2 – Spend $10,000 to $49,999: Expanding on the benefits of the first step on the ladder, Tier 2 allows members to earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent.
Tier 3 – Spend more than $50,000: Like double reward points? That’s one of the lofty Tier 3 perks: 2 points for every $1 spent.
In addition, members who progress to Tier 2 and Tier 3 can also choose one reward from below:
- Tier 2 rewards – 5 single use Virgin Australia Lounge passes; or 20,000 Bonus Velocity Points for the business
- Tier 3 rewards – 10 single use Virgin Australia Lounge passes; or 50,000 Bonus Velocity Points for the business; or 2 Business class upgrades
Virgin Australia Business Flyer vs Qantas Business Rewards
So how does Virgin Australia Business Flyer stack up against Qantas Business Rewards for the small-to-medium sized business?
Joining fee: Virgin Australia is trumpeting that Business Flyer is free to join, compared to the $89.50 sign-up fee for Qantas Business Rewards.
Fare discounts: Virgin Australia Business Flyer offers a flat 4% off flexible economy tickets and 6% off business class across all three membership tiers.
Qantas Business Rewards starts at 6% off domestic flexible economy and business class seats, with 5% on international flexible economy, premium economy and business seats; further discounts kick in on a (potentially confusing) fare class basis at QBR Level 2 and Level 3.
Qantas Business Rewards discounts also extend to international flights – handy for business trips to Asia, the USA and London for example.
Lounge membership: Virgin Australia Business Flyer reduces the cost of Virgin Australia Lounge membership to $379 per year on a per-employee basis, versus $420 for Qantas Club (which also has a $99 joining fee).
However it’s worth noting there are far more Qantas Clubs than Virgin Australia lounges dotted around the country, especially in regional cities and towns; Qantas Club membership includes access to selected overseas airport lounges;’ and Qantas Club comes with many perks that extend beyond just lounge access.
Gold status: both Qantas Business Rewards and Virgin Australia Business Flyer offer complementary Gold status with each airline.
Virgin’s Velocity Pilot Gold is available to all Virgin Australia Business Flyer members, while the Qantas Gold Tier Accelerator is restricted to Qantas Business Rewards Level 3 members; and Virgin provides two Velocity Pilot Gold memberships, while Qantas hands out just one Qantas Gold Tier Accelerator application.
It’s also easier to retain Gold status for a full year with Virgin Australia Business Flyer: you need to earn just 80 Velocity status credits during your first three months, compared to 200 Qantas status credits.
In Qantas’ favour, the airline’s membership of the Oneworld alliance makes Qantas Gold a more globally-minded status as its perks extend across all Oneworld airlines.
Membership tiers: Virgin Australia Business Flyer sets its tier thresholds based on your annual flight spend, while Qantas Business Rewards are calculated against the number of Qantas Business Rewards points you earn per year. This makes Virgin’s approach far easier to understand and work with.
Points earning: Virgin Australia Business Flyer lets your company earn 1-2 Velocity Points per $1 spent on base airfares, depending on your membership level; Qantas follows a far more complex formula where the number of Qantas Business Rewards points earned on each flight is determined by the amount of Qantas Points accrued by the person travelling.