Virgin Australia has issued "several thousand" members of its Velocity frequent flyer program with free one-time passes to the airline's lounges around Australia, as it trials the concept ahead of a 2012 launch.
One of a laundry list of benefits spruiked when Virgin relaunched its Velocity program in August, frequent flyers were promised a free pass to any Virgin Australia lounge for each 100 status credits earned.
However the scheme will now be rolled out sometime in the new year, with both the use-by period of the pass and the number of status credits required to earn it under consideration.
“We chose to delay the lounge pass partly because Velocity has become so successful that we want to match the capacity increase in our lounges due to these passes being issued" explains Phil Gunter, Virgin Australia's General Manager for Velocity Frequent Flyer.
"We’ll still implement it but we want to make sure we have the right balance" Gunter tells Australian Business Traveller. "The issue I’m concerned about is over-promising.”
Gunter revealed that "several thousand lounge passes" were issued this month to a group which he described as a “cross-section” of Velocity members.
The airline is now tracking how those passes are used – including at what lounges, in what numbers and how long after being issued they are redeemed.
"Through analysis we’ll refine the length of time the lounge pass is valid for and also how you earn them."
Meanwhile Velocity is hurtling towards the three million member mark, having already passed 2.75 million members and rocketing up 10% in the past four months – a spike of some 250,000 new members contributed by an aggressive status match deal for members of the Qantas Frequent Flyer programme.