Virgin Australia, Qatar Airways partnership takes flight

Velocity frequent flyers can now turn their points into flights across Qatar Airways' extensive worldwide network.

By Chris Ashton, September 6 2022
Virgin Australia, Qatar Airways partnership takes flight

Virgin Australia and Gulf carrier Qatar Airways are officially joining forces from today, with the partnership unlocking a trove of perks including greater routes, reciprocal lounge access, and full points earn and burn, to name just a few.

A big win for travellers, the fresh pairing significantly expands the networks and loyalty programmes of both airlines, allowing frequent flyers to seamlessly broaden their horizons, jetting across Australia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East on a single ticket.

It also opens up more upgrades and reward seats. Virgin’s 10 million-plus Velocity members can now earn Velocity Points and Status Credits for flights operated by Qatar Airways, as well as use points to book flights across all Qatar Airways cabins, including first class and the superb Qsuites business class.

On top, members of Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club can now also earn Avios and QPoints on flights operated by Virgin Australia. 

Flights are available to book now for travel from September 12.

Putting their best foot forward: new partners Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways.
Putting their best foot forward: new partners Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways.

Here are the essentials you need to know.

 

Virgin, Qatar codeshare

Travel is now easier thanks to a joint ‘codeshare’ pact extending across the full network of both airlines.

Qatar Airways flights to over 140 destinations worldwide will sprout a VA code, while the QR prefix will appear on all Virgin Australia flights – allowing passengers to journey all the way from London to Sydney (as an example) on Qatar Airways and then seamlessly connect to a Sydney-Cairns flight by Virgin Australia, all on one booking. 

Virgin, Qatar ‘earn and burn’

Under the Virgin Australia / Qatar Airways partnership, frequent flyers can choose which ‘currency’ they earn when travelling on either airline – Velocity Points or Avios –  according to which rewards program membership is entered against their booking. 

The same applies to Virgin Australia’s Velocity status credits and Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club Qpoints.

Velocity members flying on a Qatar Airways operated flight with a VA flight number earn:

And on a Qatar Airways operated flight with a QR number, they receive:

The other side of the coin is Virgin Australia frequent flyers can use Velocity Points to book seats on Qatar Airways, while Qatar loyalists can turn their Avios into a Virgin Australia flight.

This includes award redemptions on Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways business class.

The exact number of points and status credit earned by Privilege Club members of Virgin Australia operated flights is yet to be revealed.

Redeeming Velocity points with Qatar Airways

Frequent flyers keen to step aboard Qatar Airways can now redeem Velocity points for flights in economy, business and first class across the Middle Eastern airlines’ full network.

Reward pricing is determined by zones/miles flown, based on the same Reward Points table used on Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways flights. Simply search the route on Virgin’s Mileage Calculator to find the number of miles, which then correlates to the table. 

You can now trade in your Velocity Points for a flight in Qatar Airways' superb Qsuite.
You can now trade in your Velocity Points for a flight in Qatar Airways' superb Qsuite.

As an example, a one-way flight from Sydney to Doha is 7,691 miles (12,305 kilometres). This equates to 8 zones in the current Reward Points table, with a minimum of 104,000 points required for a business class flight, and 152,500 for first class.

It’s worth noting the above is correct until October 4, 2022. After this, a new redemption table comes into play, with the number of miles from Sydney to Doha equating to 10 zones, although minimum points needed for business and first class remain unchanged.

Bonus Velocity Points on Qatar Airways flights

One of the appreciated perks of status is the ability to earn bonus points. That continues under the partnership, with Velocity Platinum, Gold and Silver members travelling on a Qatar Airways operated flight with a VA flight number, earning Points bonus on miles flown in addition to the Base Points earned.

Silver members earn 50% bonus Points; Gold members earn 75% bonus Points and Platinum members earn 100% bonus Points in addition to the Base Points earned.

Virgin, Qatar lounge access

Top-tier members of the Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways frequent flyer programs also enjoy access to the other airline’s lounges.

For Qatar Airways, Privilege Club Gold and Platinum members will be able to visit any Virgin Australia lounge (excluding the invite-only Beyond, of course) ahead of their domestic VA flight.

Privilege Club members can enjoy access to Virgin's extensive domestic lounge network.
Privilege Club members can enjoy access to Virgin's extensive domestic lounge network.

And if there’s a Velocity Gold, Platinum or Beyond card tucked into your travel wallet, that’s your pass into Qatar Airways’ premium lounges around the world.

However, at Qatar’s Doha hub, lounge access is restricted to the same lounges as frequent flyers of Qatar Airways and Oneworld partner airlines – with the branded First Class and Business Class lounges for Velocity Platinums and Golds, respectively – rather than the more salubrious Al Safwa First Lounge and Al Mourjan Business Lounge, which are the nominal home of Qatar Airways’ own first class and business class passengers.

As a bonus, the Virgin Australia / Qatar Airways partnership turbocharges elite membership of Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club, given Qatar’s Oneworld membership, with a Gold or Platinum card set to open the doors of both Qantas and Virgin Australia lounges.

Virgin, Qatar status benefits

While lounge access is generally the most appealing and obvious benefit of status, there are plenty of other perks which will also cascade down to Velocity and Privilege Club frequent flyers – such as priority check-in and boarding, a more generous luggage allowance and a bonus serve of Velocity Points or Avios.

It’ll be easy to determine which perks your status attracts, as the Virgin Australia Velocity and Qatar Airways Privilege Club tiers are neatly aligned:

  • Velocity Silver = Privilege Club Silver
  • Velocity Gold = Privilege Club Gold
  • Velocity Platinum = Privilege Club Platinum

There’s certainly some irony in the fact that just two years ago, Qatar Airways targeted Virgin Australia for an instant status match into its Privilege Club loyalty scheme.

The wildly successful offer reportedly saw tens of thousands of Velocity Gold and Platinum members immediately minted as Privilege Club Golds and Platinums.

Virgin, Qatar and Qantas

So how does Qantas feel about all this? Executive Traveller understands the Flying Kangaroo has no plans to change how it treats Qatar Airways as a Oneworld partner, given that ‘side deals’ are a reality of the global airline industry.

But Qantas would certainly suggest Emirates trumps Qatar Airways when it comes to the size of their respective networks.

And it’s not the first time a Oneworld member has sided with Virgin: frequent flyers with long memories will recall Air Berlin was both a Oneworld member and Virgin partner before the bankrupt German challenger collapsed in 2017.

A new SME tool coming soon

In another surprising development, Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways will soon launch what they call “a market leading proposition for corporate and SME travellers”, one intended to offer “more choice and value” for business flyers travelling between Australia, the Middle East and Europe.

Additional reporting by David Flynn

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 834

@Chris A, how many weeks / months in advance can you book a Qatar flight on the Virgin Website?

Also if you are talking with Virgin how about the option of converting Velocity points to Avios as well, the down side is the taxes on Singapore are cheaper than both Etihad and Qatar.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1140

All the alliances and cross-deals can make the whole airline world very confusing with Byzantine webs.  Here is an example.  VA has entered into a partnership with United.  United has entered into a partnership with Emirates who has a joint venture with Qantas which is also aligned to Qatar via Oneworld but Qatar has also entered into a partnership with VA which also has a codeshare with Etihad who is a competitor of both Emirates and Qatar.

 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Aug 2022

Total posts 13

If I was QF i would feel kinds betrayed as Qatar is one of their Oneworld partners. They also don’t let lots of Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire travellers into their lounges. Not upholding their end of the bargain if you ask me.

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 231

It’s called business 

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1140

If QF was so wedded to Oneworld loyalty, it would have walked away from it Emirate's partnership as soon as Qatar joined.  I think it, like all airlines, understands global alliances aren't the only thing guiding airlines into who they choose to partner with.

03 Jun 2019

Total posts 19

OneWorld, like the other two global airline alliances, is essentially a management company dedicated to serve airlines (passengers are not their customers directly). There are some rules/taboos within each alliance, e.g. Lufthansa prevents other alliance members to cooperate with gulf carriers, but that "restriction" seems no longer in effect in light of the recent Air Canada - Etihad partnership. It all shows that the airline alliance per se is getting looser and looser, which is inevitable. The future of the alliance, from my humble opinion, will be either bilateral codeshare (a step back from alliance) or joint venture (a step forward from alliance). With that said, reciprocal recognition of frequent flyer status and perks that come with it still makes the alliance shine.

What dates are business or First class seats available between east cost and LHR?   I'd like to know that one......LOL

03 Jun 2019

Total posts 19

Every time when a QR elite visits a QF Lounge, QR pays (from what I heard, it is quite expensive), so in the short run I don't see why QF would have an issue with this QR-VA partnership.

Australian-based VA members are better off, and most of them have already benefited from the QR status match, and now they can double dip no matter it is QF or VA that they are flying. Really happy to see some competitions in Australia.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Sep 2022

Total posts 1

Not seen a Qatar Business Class seat available as a Classic Award on the Qantas website for a long time, Economy only! With Emirates only offering a limited service into Australia, there is a complete lack of Classic Award Business Class seats from anyone on the Qantas website, besides, have you seen the taxes you have to pay for Emirates BC seats, extortionate! To compound matters further, Qantas is not releasing additional BC seats to make up for the shortfall, the perks of being a Qantas Frequent Flyer are slowly evaporating into oblivion, can only hope that Qantas join up with Avios one day as this is the way to go!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jul 2017

Total posts 27

David/Chris

Do you know if Virgin will have Codeshare with Qatar and if one wishes to fly to Europe with Qatar and only has the lowest status with Virgin, so far, is there provision to put in either Virgin status or Q status or OW status to assist in gaining QR status/points? Thanks D

17 Feb 2015

Total posts 6

Platinum privilege club members are allowed to access the Al Safwa lounge when travelling on a business class ticket. 

Will velocity platinums be able to do the same? 

30 Jan 2015

Total posts 24

Thanks, I came here to ask this, with specifically the above "Velocity Platinum = Privilege Club Platinum" in mind.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2547

Our understanding is no, Al Safwa Lounge access is only for QR Platinums in business class: Platinums and their equivalents on partner airlines are relegated to the dedicated 'Platinum' lounge. That's the case for Qantas Platinums and Oneworld Emeralds, so it'd also be the case for Velocity Platinums.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 341

I thing it will be the same for VA Platinums.  Al Safwa First Lounge is fantastic, and I actually find it too big and empty the times I've been in there. It is SOLELY for QR First pax (and some Business flights are designated First although actually in Business eg DOH-AMM), so unless you pay an large entry fee, you will be relgated to the acceptable but small First Lounge

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 594

Had a look and found no premium cabin availability for redemption from MEL-LHR or vice versa for anytime in june/july next year.  Tried individual sectors and still didn't come up with anything for QR premium...VA's website also doesn't let me enter specific destinations in QR's network so clearly they haven't done this properly.


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