EXCLUSIVE | Virgin Australia’s Velocity Gold frequent flyers will no longer enjoy airport lounge access at Los Angeles prior to Virgin's flights to Australia when travelling in premium economy or economy class.
It's a tough blow for travellers who are about to make the long overnight trek to Sydney, Brisbane and soon Melbourne, and follows last year's lounge access shake-up across the Virgin Australia network.
Velocity Gold-grade flyers have previously been able to rest up in the highly-rated Star Alliance business class lounge...
... but as of Wednesday January 11, 2017, they'll instead receive a US$40 (A$54) food and beverage voucher to spend within the LAX international terminal along with 10,000 Velocity frequent flyer points as additional 'compensation'.
As Gold members can bring one guest into an airport lounge, Virgin Australia will also issue a second US$40 voucher (but not a second serve of points) to Velocity Gold members travelling with a companion on the same flight.
Star cracks down on LAX lounge access
Australian Business Traveller understands that Star Alliance has pulled down the shutters on non-alliance use of the lounge due to an increase in Star Alliance airlines flying to Los Angeles and a subsequent boost in Star Alliance passenger numbers.
“Due to current capacity limitations in Los Angeles International Airport, our Gold members travelling in Economy or Premium Economy are currently unable to access a lounge prior to departure,” a Virgin Australia spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller today.
“We sincerely apologise to these guests," the spokesperson added. "This is a temporary situation and we are working on a solution as a priority."
It’s also understood that capacity at the Etihad Airways First and Business Class Lounge available to Velocity Platinum members and Virgin Australia business class guests is also at a premium, as is space in the terminal’s other lounges in the evenings when Virgin Australia’s flights depart.
All of the airline’s business class passengers (including those with Velocity Gold status), plus Velocity Platinum and The Club frequent flyers travelling in premium economy or economy can continue to relax in the combined Etihad Airways First and Business Class Lounge.
In addition, Velocity Gold and Platinum members will still receive access to the Delta Sky Club lounge in LA’s Terminal 5 prior to flights with Delta (including to Sydney), and the Star Alliance business class lounge prior to flights with Air New Zealand (including to Auckland).
Other options for Velocity Gold flyers in Los Angeles
Stuck out in the terminal under these lounge changes? You may have other options, depending on which credit cards you hold and if you’re a member of a paid international lounge program.
For instance, some premium cards such as the American Express Platinum Charge Card include a complimentary and unlimited Priority Pass airport lounge membership, which you can use to access the Korean Air business class lounge at LAX prior to your Virgin Australia flight.
Other cards like the Westpac Altitude Black AMEX + MasterCard duo also feature a complimentary Priority Pass membership but with two single lounge visits included rather than a year-round pass, which you could too use to visit the Korean Air lounge.
Korean Air’s lounge also welcomes Airport Angel, Lounge Club and Dragonpass lounge members travelling from Los Angeles with any airline in any class of service, along with Australian Diners Club charge card holders: simply present your Diners card at reception for complimentary access.
Later this year, Virgin Australia will also move its Los Angeles flights from the Tom Bradley International Terminal to LAX Terminals 2 and 3 to coincide with a move by alliance partner Delta Air Lines, where it’s hoped that new Delta Sky Club lounges will welcome all lounge-eligible flyers.
- Virgin Australia and Delta are moving to LAX Terminals 2, 3
- Latest tweaks to Virgin Australia airport lounge access
- Using your Diners Club charge card for airport lounge access
- The Aussie traveller's guide to Priority Pass airport lounges
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