Membership to the Virgin Australia Lounge program – the challenger airline's equivalent to The Qantas Club – is set to rise by an average of 20%, and the price of one-off lounge passes will almost double, from August 1.
Virgin Australia will also end its relationship with the global Priority Pass scheme on the same date, with Priority Pass cardholders losing access to all of the airline's domestic lounges.
Under the new pricing plan, standard membership to the Virgin Australia Lounge will cost $420, up from the current $369, while the one-off joining fee jumps from $199 to $280 – making the combined first-year hit a hefty $700.
Silver members of Virgin Australia's Velocity Rewards program Silver member can sign up for $300, up from today's $249 (no joining fee applies), while of course Velocity Gold Members continue to receive free entry to lounges – indeed, Golds enjoy 'anytime access' to the Virgin Australia lounges, even when they're not flying with Virgin Australia.
If you don't hold any formal membership to The Lounge, the cost of an entry pass will cost $65 if you pay at the Lounge itself – an 85% increase from the current $35 walk-in rate – with prepaid 'single-entry passes' bought online jumping from $30 to $55.
(It's worth noting that single-entry passes can be used on any day and are valid for six months from the date of purchase, so if you’ve got a few Virgin Australia trips coming up but don’t have sufficient status for lounge access you might want to buy a handful of these at the current rate before the August 1 increase. But they'll need to be domestic trips because single entry passes are not valid for use at the lounges of any of Virgin Australia's international partner airline lounges such as Air New Zealand, Etihad, Singapore Airlines or Delta).
All lounge membership programs continue to include access for one guest travelling with the cardholder, and in what Virgin Australia calls its ‘family friendly guest policy’ members will also be allowed to bring in two children aged 3-12 years (there's no charge for infants two years and under).
Virgin Australia warns that for more than two children you’ll have to stump up for the single entry prepaid or casual entry fee (while Australia Business Traveller warns that Virgin Australia lounges could get a bit noiser from August 1).
On the plus side of the ledger, from August 1 Virgin Australia Lounge members and those with Velocity Gold status will have reciprocal access to Air New Zealand's Koru lounges when travelling trans-Tasman on either Virgin Australia or Air New Zealand, along with domestic AirNZ flights.
For more details on the changes see Virgin Australia's The Lounge website.