Virgin Australia opens lounges to Qantas frequent flyers

By Chris Chamberlin, June 27 2017

Qantas Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers – along with paid-up Qantas Club members – can now visit Virgin Australia lounges prior to Virgin Australia domestic flights when booked to fly in Economy X, as part of a promotion until the end of August.

For rusted-on Roo travellers, Virgin Australia Economy X isn’t the airline’s standard economy service, so don’t get the two confused: it includes extra legroom on board and dedicated overhead locker space above, plus priority security screening and priority boarding on the ground (where available) in return for a modest $29-59 fee per flight.

Read the AusBT review of Virgin Australia Economy X

It works like this – book yourself a Virgin Australia domestic flight for travel between now and August 31 2017, and purchase an Economy X seat during the booking process, via Virgin’s ‘manage my booking’ tool for existing bookings or during online check-in, by choosing a purple-coloured Economy X seat on the seat selection page and paying the added charge.

(Business travellers on company-funded bookings can pay the Economy X cost themselves through Virgin Australia’s website if the company itself won’t fund the purchase, without tickets having to be re-issued or hassling the corporate travel agent for a better seat.)

Economy X seats can also be purchased at the airport on departure day at the same price.

However you get yourself into an Economy X seat, present your Economy X boarding pass at any of Virgin Australia’s domestic lounges, along with your Qantas Club or Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold, Platinum or Platinum One membership card, for lounge access.

Virgin Australia’s lounges can be found in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide, Darwin, Cairns, Gold Coast, Mackay and Alice Springs, with Qantas members able to enter up to two hours prior to their Virgin Australia flight’s scheduled departure time.

Eligible Qantas members travelling in Economy X can bring one guest into Virgin Australia’s lounges during this period, although that guest must also be travelling in Economy X with the Qantas cardholder on the same flight.

Lounge access is not available to Qantas Club or Qantas Frequent Flyer members booked to fly in ‘regular’ Virgin Australia economy – as opposed to Economy X – unless the traveller is also a Velocity Gold or Platinum frequent flyer, holds Virgin Australia Lounge membership or pays $65 at the door.

This promotion isn’t available to Economy X passengers on Virgin Australia international flights, and once more, covers domestic Economy X flights taken until August 31 2017 only.

For more information on this offer, head to the Virgin Australia website.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Zac

Zac

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2014

Total posts 129

Smart promotion. Hopefully this helps sway a few QF flyers over to Virgin longer term... although there are definitely going to be some Velocity Golds and Plats who aren't happy with this in the meantime.

Now fingers crossed Qantas run a competing promotion where Velocity Plats get access to the Biz and Intl First lounges! ;) (won't happen)

ashnic7g

ashnic7g

Qatar Airways

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 26

Nice work Virgin Australia

Serg

Serg

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

Just promo.....

Boof

Boof

29 Aug 2013

Total posts 60

Of course when these QF members get served on board their flight a small bag of pretzels at dinner time or an inch long muesli bar for breakfast they will be thankful for the toasted sandwich in the lounge. 

If VA want to poach more customers they need to lift the product standard they offer as that would help...

SteveCF

SteveCF

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 171

Totally agree. I flew Virgin for the first time in awhile and the in flight product is not as good. They can't call themselves a full service airline when serving a mini muesli bar. 

However, at least they're trying. We need a strong competitor in our skies.

UpUpAndAway

UpUpAndAway

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 295

Common sense would be to give Economy X passengers something from the cart for free John and John.

BLAMEX

BLAMEX

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2017

Total posts 63

Not the smartest move by Virgin. The QF lounge is way ahead of Virgin.  Whilst the X product is a good idea I would actually not introduce high tier QF members into the Virgin lounge as they will not see the QF. member again. If they are Platinum with QF. you would not compare it to Virgin very average lounge

Bob Burgess

Bob Burgess

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 184

I think this is more about Virgin trying to get high-value Qantas passengers, in terms of their QFF status, who normally fly economy but hate the cramped legroom so Virgin wants to give them an added incentive to try Economy X, because lack of lounge access is a big barrier to having someone with status in one airline try out another airline.

I would agree that the Virgin lounges have slipped below the Qantas Club lounges, partly because Virgin has lets its standards slip but also because Qantas has improved the F&B offering at its Qantas Clubs. If a few QFF Gold or Platinum members end up switching to Virgin it'll be because of Economy X, not because of the lounges.

And all it will take for Qantas to counter this will be to remind QFF members of other perks they get, to give them a few "surprise and delight" moments such as upgrades to business class, or of course to create their own Economy Plus seating rows which I would certainly not rule out!

aussiflyer

aussiflyer

27 Jan 2016

Total posts 53

I think also a key benefit of Economy X is the added legroom which QF do not offer up front (except for the first row). Those extra 3 inches make a difference. It also permits for priority boarding which would be expected as a Gold/Plat/Plat One. VA still have a ways to go on the catering front to catch up to QF if they are going to be serious as "full service".

Jazzop

Jazzop

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 84

I'm in agreement with @boof about the on board 'snacks' as VA puts it.  Compared to QFs actually meal.

But, the problem here is, where will all these QF FFs sit?  Have you been to a VA lounge recently?  Sydney domestic is terrible and Melbourne isn't much better.

markpk

markpk

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 456

Keep in mind you'll be noted at the door and will no doubt come in for some extra special VA marketing...

sosso172

sosso172

23 Jun 2017

Total posts 2

"Lounge access is not available to Qantas Club or Qantas Frequent Flyer members booked to fly in ‘regular’ Virgin Australia economy – as opposed to Economy X – unless the traveller is also a Velocity Gold or Platinum frequent flyer, "


If you're also a gold or platinum velocity member, you have Virgin Australia lounge access anyway when booked in economy so the whole Qantas thing doesn't really matter in that instance. 

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2950

Correct, but we've written this article primarily for Qantas flyers (who are the ones poised to take advantage of this promotion), so it makes sense to clarify that lounge access isn't available on regular economy fares, unless that traveller has a separate entitlement to lounge access via Velocity or Virgin Lounge memberships: in which case the usual rules apply.

MEL Traveller

MEL Traveller

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Dec 2014

Total posts 55

I'm platinum on both Virgin and Qantas, and since the introduction of Economy X I am much more likely to book Virgin domestically - the extra legroom is something Qantas doesn't offer, and to me the comfort in the air outweighs the comfort of the lounge before the flight. This is a smart move by Virgin to get QF frequent flyers to experience the additional space.

markpk

markpk

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 456

Honest question...

Would you rate the overall terminal to terminal experience with VA when flying VA Econ-X above the Qantas domestic experience - taking in lounge, seating etc? 

Is the space on board really that good?

eminere

eminere

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1136

I too query this. Row 4 on QF's B738 flights offer unlimited legroom at no additional cost. All the other benefits with VA's Economy X you can get with QF when you have status. I just don't find VA's proposition compelling personally.

MEL Traveller

MEL Traveller

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Dec 2014

Total posts 55

As QF Platinum I can't access Row 4 until 2 days out (I assume they hold for Platinum One and Chairmans Lounge). With VA I can select any seat at time of booking. I also don't like the fixed arm rest of QF Row 4 (or VA Row 3), so it is attractive to me to choose VA Rows 4 or 5 with extra legroom.

MEL Traveller

MEL Traveller

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Dec 2014

Total posts 55

I really don't see much difference between the two airlines now, except as QF Platinum I get Business Lounge access, which is nicer. But extra legroom wins for the ability to work or just stretch out. And VA now has two more rows than Qantas with this ability.

quick_dry

quick_dry

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 26

How has "Economy X" changed your Virgin booking behaviour? The seats have not changed, and the same seats in Econoy X were already free to you as VA Platinum - if anything, the VA promos related to Economy X have devalued your Platinum status by diluting the access chances to those better seats.

MEL Traveller

MEL Traveller

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Dec 2014

Total posts 55

Rows 4 and 5 are now available as Economy X with extra legroom. I don't like the fixed armrest in Row 3 so can now choose 4 or 5 instead.

Steve987

Steve987

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 254

As a platinum you will almost always be able to secure an exit row, so x (based on what I am reading) has minimal incremental value. Is that correct?

MEL Traveller

MEL Traveller

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Dec 2014

Total posts 55

Only that Rows 4 and 5 are closer to the front for quicker exit. And there are now 12 more seats with legroom than previously.

LOTB

LOTB

28 Jun 2017

Total posts 1

It would be great if VA opened up International Lounges rather than relying on partners who typically don't match VA entitlements.  I've been caught out travelling with family a number of times now when departing Aus.

So don't worry about Qantas members, look after your own members.

Matt_01

Matt_01

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Feb 2016

Total posts 44

I agree with MEL Traveller, I'm platinum 1 with QF and platinum with VA and have recently flown in economyX. I like the extra space, and on the flights I took rows 4 and 5 seem to get shadows, I would be more inclined to travel in these rows over row 3. Also a consideration for myself is the expense my business has to pay and time of travel. VA are generally cheaper so I would use VA for early morning flights or flights were QF only offers light refreshments. It is unlikely that I would VA at time when QF does provide food in a box, may not be the best but it is better than VAs offering. 

I personally consider QF row 4 to be much better than the economyX offering but as there is only one row in QF Y with this much leg room shadows are not common. I am fortunate that I have access to row for at the time of booking. 

Lounges - agree that QF are generally better, I tend to fly at rush hour so both the VA lounge and QF are normally as equally busy. 

Personally I prefer QF over VA so if the economyX option was not available it is unlikely I would VA. If QF introduced a similar product I would likely just stay with QF, especially when I start to drop down the status ladder. 

quick_dry

quick_dry

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 26

VA don't do shadows, you just got lucky. It sounds as if Matt_01 and MEL Traveller are under the impression that the seating has changed on VA, it hasn't. Those seats had that much room before "Economy X" they just weren't selectable by anyone except VA Plat at time of booking, it would open up to other tiers closer to check-in. The only change VA has made is making the seats generally available for a fee - if you were VA platinum how much of that status was "bum in seat" travelling economy? 

MEL Traveller

MEL Traveller

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Dec 2014

Total posts 55

That's not correct, @quick_dry. There is now more legroom at Rows 4 and 5. While there is no change for Row 3, 12 more seats have additional room, which Qantas doesnt offer. 

amitchell

amitchell

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 10

smart way of getting the QF loyalists to give Virgin a try but don't assume you will get your bags above your seat as part of the offer - the in flight staff are not even trying to control this rule and as a platinum member I am pretty sure my saet allocation will be under pressure so I can only see myself being worse off

Howdy1956

Howdy1956

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Dec 2016

Total posts 10

Having the leg room is for me a no brainier having a snack or drink on board for the hour or two is all one needs, for goodness sake short flights who needs a meal, lounge access before is a benifit and offerings in most lounge are ample and varied enough. QF service on board in all my flights does not match VA only look at the latest position of Virgin vs Qantas. So X seats for me any day

Markspark

Markspark

16 Dec 2016

Total posts 28

Smells of desperation to me and a slap in the face to those who are loyal to Virgin. 

aussiflyer

aussiflyer

27 Jan 2016

Total posts 53

Those who are loyal (platinum) get it for free. 

vickiej

vickiej

13 Mar 2017

Total posts 4

I've been flying Economy X since they introduced it.  It's only the extra leg room that I get as I'm also VA Gold. I'm happy to pay the extra $$ for this but would love it if they introduced a few things like Delta in the US.  A better snack for Economy X customers (I think the current snacks are pointless but that's a personal opinion) and treat it as Premium Economy for status credits, so more status credits obtained for an Economy X seat compared to straight Economy.  

wheatbeltflyer

wheatbeltflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Jul 2017

Total posts 5

Just tried this out in Perth - the chap at the desk hadn't heard of it so had to part with a complimentary lounge pass despite being QF gold - looks like the news hasn't travelled this far!

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