Virgin Australia will soon allow travellers to swap their frequent flyer points for an upgrade to business class when booked on Saver-level economy fares, with a trial kicking off later this month.
Passengers at the airline’s lounges in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and the Gold Coast from November 24 through to Friday December 19 are all in with a shot – which includes all Velocity Gold and Platinum flyers, paid-up lounge members, and any guests of the above.
However, there are a few hoops to jump through before 1A lands on your boarding pass… here’s what you need to know.
Upgrading to business class during the trial
If you’re flying during the dates above and have booked a Saver fare, you’ll be able to request an upgrade between three hours and 40 minutes before your flight’s scheduled departure.
Upgrades aren’t guaranteed – there needs to be a frequent flyer award seat available on your chosen flight, and full catering may not be available when you’ve been bumped up at the last minute.
Only five lounges are participating in the trial, so if you’re visiting the lounges in other cities such as Cairns and Adelaide, or are flying out of airports that don’t have a Virgin Australia lounge, last-minute upgrades won’t be available to you.
Of course, you can always call Virgin Australia at least three hours prior to take-off to request a business class upgrade from a Saver fare, while travellers booked on the more expensive Flexi fares can continue to upgrade in all of the Virgin Australia lounges.
Business class upgrades: the fine print
To swap your Velocity points for a business class upgrade in the lounge, you’ll need to be travelling on a Virgin Australia flight with a VA flight number, and you must also have booked the journey through VA rather than one of its partner airlines.
Reservations made via other carriers such as Air New Zealand or Etihad don’t qualify, in which case you’ll be stuck in economy.
The cheapest Saver Lite fares also aren’t eligible for points upgrades, regardless of how the booking was made.
Finally, the four free upgrade certificates given to Velocity Platinum members each year continue to be valid only on Flexi fares – not Saver or Saver Lite tickets.
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