Virgin Australia Business Flyer partners with IHG Business Edge

Members can now enjoy benefits across both programs whenever they book hotels or flights.

By Staff Writers, February 13 2024
Virgin Australia Business Flyer partners with IHG Business Edge

Discounted fares, more Velocity Points for your dollar, and the ability to book, gift or upgrade flights for team members are just a few of the top-line perks of Virgin Australia Business Flyer – the airline’s loyalty offering designed for small-to-medium enterprises.

Sitting alongside the Velocity Frequent Flyer, the program plays a key role in Virgin’s goal of not only encouraging business flyers to step up to its departure gates (and away from those of rival Qantas) but reward them for their patronage too. 

Virgin Australia Business Flyer is a fresh take on the airline's previous Accelerate program.
Virgin Australia Business Flyer is a fresh take on the airline's previous Accelerate program.

Benefits have ramped up greatly since its 2022 debut, including the addition of more points when flying partner airlines. And now, there’s another thanks to a new partnership with IHG Business Edge: IHG Hotels & Resorts’ own SME program.

On top of benefits of IHG Business Edge, which include guaranteed discounts at the likes of Holiday Inn, Voco and InterContinental, Business Flyers can also receive Gold Elite Status in IHG One Rewards after just one stay. Read on for more.

What is Virgin Australia Business Flyer

Virgin Australia Business Flyer the airline’s business travel programs: 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.

Plus, it’s free to join, with no ongoing membership fees or minimum spend.

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

All companies belonging to Virgin Australia Business Flyer can also enjoy a $379 discounted rate for Virgin Australia 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.

Discounts and additional on international partner airlines 

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

Not only that, Qatar Airways and United Airlines are offering ongoing discounts on eligible flights too. Members can save up to 5% off on Qatar Airways and up to an impressive 10% on United Airlines.

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.
  • 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.

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.

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 Business Flyer-IHG Business Edge partnership explained

Launched in February 2024, the IHG Business Edge-Virgin Australia Business Flyer partnership allows members of both programs to receive benefits whenever they book hotels and flights.

Among the 19 eligible hotel brands found in 100 countries are Holiday Inn, InterContinental and Voco, together with Hotel Indigo, Six Senses, Kimpton and Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts.

Members can earn 3 Velocity Points per $1 spent on eligible bookings with participating IHG Hotels & Resorts, and, after completing their first stay, jump up to Gold Elite status in the IHG One Rewards loyalty program. 

Voco Auckland City Centre is among the 6,200 IHG hotels worldwide.
Voco Auckland City Centre is among the 6,200 IHG hotels worldwide.

That last point is an exclusive benefit of the partnership, with IHG Business Edge members ordinarily only receiving complimentary Elite Silver status after their first stay. However, it’s only limited to new members of the IBE program; existing ones do not receive the status boost.

Virgin Australia Business Flyer members can sign up to IHG Business Edge for free via their Virgin Australia Business Flyer Rewards portal.

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. 

Members receive 6% off business class fares across all three membership tiers.
Members receive 6% off business class fares across all three membership tiers.

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

Business Flyer offers discounted lounge membership.
Business Flyer offers discounted lounge membership.

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.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 965

My personal thoughts are the price points for business travel are a lot better on Virgin, the reward points are better, and the overall interaction is a better experience. You would have to question anyone paying or signing off on a flight that cost more than the exact same fare level as Virgin Australia.  Please Explain!!!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 316

Some SME’s may consider Virgin but for most businesses their offering fails on many levels, limited destinations and schedules, pitiful options for lounges compared to QF and limited international options as well, once most companies and therefore their employees are all invested in a particular brand and the benefits of that association, price is rarely a consideration. 

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 965

I'd disagree with that, and I know many business leader that also agree.


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