Virgin Australia's frequent flyers will soon be able to enjoy preferred seating and even upgrades at concerts and sporting events as well as on the plane.
The airline’s Velocity Frequent Flyer arm has fired its latest salvo in the loyalty war against Qantas with the launch of the Velocity Live program for "live experiences and events."
Benefits will range from access to a limited number of ‘premium seats’ at selected events such as Keith Urban’s forthcoming Australian tour, while the Melbourne run of Cyndi Lauper’s musical Kinky Boots will allow members to “purchase A Reserve tickets at B Reserve prices” on selected evenings.
In addition to “pre-sale tickets” available before tickets for some events go on sale to the general public, booking through Velocity Live – which will operate as a partnership with Ticketek parent company TEG – will offer the ability to earn one Velocity Points per dollar spent on tickets.
Open to all frequent flyers
Also in the Velocity Live mix are what Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Karl Schuster describes as "money-can’t-buy competitions and experiences."
The program will be open to all Velocity members, not just top-tier Platinum card-holders.
“Velocity Live will make our members feel like VIPs regardless of their Velocity status, and give them access to once-in-a-lifetime experiences and the opportunity to earn Velocity Points in the process” Schuster says.
Velocity counts some six million members on its books and has most recently enjoyed a boost from a partnership with BP which lets members earn points at the petrol pump.
Qantas enjoys the incumbent’s advantage, with the competing Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme now closing on 12 million members and grocery giant Woolworths once again issuing Qantas Points at the checkout.
Playing the 'experiences' card
Offering unique ‘experiences’ has become a new drawcard for loyalty programs.
Platinum One members of the Qantas Frequent Flyer scheme receive invitations to special events held by Qantas and its partners plus entry to special Qantas marquees such as at Melbourne’s F1 Grand Prix.
The Starwood hotel group takes a different approach through its SPG Moments program, which invites members to use their points for “extraordinary events and once-in-a-lifetime experiences” such as VIP tickets to concerts and sporting events, and even a red carpet invite to Hollywood movie premieres.
At the time of writing, 15,000 Starwood Points could for example buy your way into the SPG Luxury Suite box at London’s O2 Stadium for a Status Quo, Andrea Bocelli or Rod Stewart concert.
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