Virgin Australia’s Velocity members can now register their interest in using Velocity frequent flyer points to secure a premium economy or business class upgrade where one isn’t already available on their chosen flight.
Known as ‘waitlisting’ in industry terms, it allows members to have their upgrade automatically confirmed closer to departure (where commercial capacity allows), rather than the previous process which required guests to constantly re-check their booking to see if upgrades became available.
Dubbed ‘UpgradeMe Points Request Waitlist’ by Virgin Australia, it’s similar to the process Qantas employs for frequent flyers on its own domestic flights, in that if an upgrade is available it can be immediately locked-in, and if not, travellers can file a request and find out closer to departure.
UpgradeMe Points Request Waitlist: the basics
When a frequent flyer points upgrade isn’t available via the ‘manage my booking’ section of the Virgin Australia website or via the call centre, you’ll now be given the option to join the upgrade waitlist to increase your chances closer to departure.
That doesn’t mean your waitlisted upgrade is a ‘sure thing’ or that Virgin Australia will process upgrade requests until every seat in business class (and premium economy on longer flights) is full – it simply means that the airline will review the possibility before wheels-up.
Upgrade requests can be filed on all Virgin Australia domestic flights from the moment you make your booking right up until four hours before departure when travelling on Saver and Flexi fares, and on international short-haul flights (including to New Zealand and Fiji) when booked on Flexi fares.
On Virgin Australia’s longer flights to Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi (although not the return Abu Dhabi-Sydney leg), Gold and Platinum members can waitlist for a premium economy upgrade only on Flexi economy fares, and for business class from Premium, Premium Saver and economy Flexi fares.
Points upgrades and waitlisted upgrades aren’t available on Virgin Australia’s codeshare partners such as Delta and Etihad, although the number of points needed when upgrading via a waitlist is no more – but no less – than for a standard, confirmed upgrade.
UpgradeMe Points Request Waitlist: processing order
Virgin Australia will begin assessing – and where possible, approving – waitlisted upgrade requests up to five days before each flight’s scheduled departure, with top-tier frequent flyers given the highest priority.
Upgrade requests from Velocity Platinum members will be processed from 120 hours before departure, and up to 73 hours in advance for Velocity Gold flyers.
However, a Virgin Australia spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that ‘UpgradeMe Premium Bid’ requests from all members are next in line at 72 hours before departure, processed before points requests from Silver and Red frequent flyers.
Should frequent flyer upgrades still be available after any cash offers have been accepted via the Premium Bid system, points upgrades from Silver and Red members would then be considered within 48 hours of departure.
Final tip: Waitlisting doesn’t mean your upgrade will automatically clear if and when a confirmed frequent flyer upgrade becomes available on your flight ahead of the 120-hour window, so it still pays to check back periodically and to jump on a confirmed upgrade if one pops up.
For more information, head to the Virgin Australia website.
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