Virgin Australia expands international lounge access

Velocity frequent flyers can enjoy some great lounges ahead of their flights with Virgin Australia partner airlines.

By David Flynn, September 7 2022
Virgin Australia expands international lounge access

Airport lounges make every journey better, especially when you’re flying in premium economy or economy – travel classes which don’t include lounge access in the coast of the ticket.

And as Australians continue heading overseas once more, Virgin Australia’s suite of international partner airlines provides Velocity Frequent Flyer members – and Beyond members, of course – with access to some superb lounges at airports around the world.

In most cases Velocity Platinum and Velocity Gold members are also entitled to bring one guest (including a child) into the lounge if they’re on the same flight.

Some of these arrangements have changed in recent months with the arrival of new partners such  as United Airlines and Qatar Airways, while other airlines have updated their access agreements: here’s a quick rundown of Virgin Australia international lounge access for Velocity frequent flyers.

 

Velocity access at Singapore Airlines lounges

Velocity Platinum and Gold members can look forward to beginning their Singapore Airlines flight at any Singapore Airlines’ SilverKris business class lounge, with the exception of SQ’s Changi T3 hub, where there’s a dedicated KrisFlyer Gold lounge set aside for frequent flyers.

Singapore Airlines' impressive new KrisFlyer Gold lounge at Changi T3.
Singapore Airlines' impressive new KrisFlyer Gold lounge at Changi T3.

This isn’t the dire KrisFlyer Gold lounge of years gone by – the newly-built lounge is not only much larger and more comfortable, it has upgraded dining and even its own toilets and showers.

Velocity access at Qatar Airways lounges

Gulf colossus Qatar Airways is Virgin’s newest partner, and QR’s hub at Doha recently opened several dedicated frequent flyer lounges for its own Privilege Club rewards members along with top-tier frequent flyers of partner airlines ranging from Virgin Australia to Qantas and other Oneworld airlines.

(That’s because Qatar Airways’ polished Al Mourjan Business Lounge and Al Safwa First Lounge are primarily for the carrier’s own first class and business class passengers.)

Velocity Platinums should head to the Qatar Airways Platinum Lounge South, while Golds can make a beeline for the Qatar Airways Gold Lounge South – both lounges are located at Hamad International Airport’s Concourse A.

Qatar Airways' new frequent flyer lounges at Doha will make your transit more enjoyable.
Qatar Airways' new frequent flyer lounges at Doha will make your transit more enjoyable.

The +1 guest arrangement can work very well here if you’re Velocity Gold but your travel companion is Velocity Platinum, because the Qatar Airways Platinum Lounge is a clear notch up from the Gold Lounge with an à la carte dining area and showers.

Qatar Airways also maintains Premium Lounges at several international airports including Singapore, Bangkok, London and Paris – but those are only for business and first class travellers, not frequent flyers. 

Velocity access at Etihad Airways lounges

Virgin’s second Gulf partner is Etihad Airways, which maintains a very reasonable policy that for Velocity Platinums and Golds, “lounge access is available … to all Etihad-operated and third party-operated lounges.”

This includes contract lounges at airports where Etihad doesn’t have its own lounges, such as Aspire’s The House in Sydney and Melbourne – which, ironically, used to be Etihad lounges when they first opened!

At Etihad’s Abu Dhabi T3 home, Velocity Platinums can while away the pre-flight hours at the Etihad First Class Lounge; Velocity Golds are directed to the Etihad Business Class Lounge.

Velocity Platinums flying on Etihad are treated to its best lounge at Abu Dhabi.
Velocity Platinums flying on Etihad are treated to its best lounge at Abu Dhabi.

Velocity access at United Airlines lounges

Another fresh partner for Virgin Australia, United Airlines rolls out the welcome mat to Velocity Platinums and Golds (each with a guest in tow) at its United Club lounges, but there are a few caveats here.

Your United flight will need to be “part of an international itinerary” – a stand-alone domestic leg won’t qualify. For example, flying from Sydney to San Francisco to Las Vegas would see a Velocity Platinum or Gold member able to use the United Club during that San Francisco stopover, but not if you booked just that San Fran to Vegas flight on its own.

United Club lounges are available to top-tier Velocity frequent flyers.
United Club lounges are available to top-tier Velocity frequent flyers.

Of course, there’s no frequent flyer access to United’s upmarket Polaris Lounges, which are reserved for business class flyers.

In addition, the lounge must be owned and operated by United Airlines – partner or third-party ‘contract’ lounges don’t come with Velocity access.

In the case of United Airlines flights departing from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, where United doesn’t have its own lounges, Virgin Australia notes that Velocity Platinum and Gold members “may also have access to the Singapore Airlines lounge.” 

Velocity access at Air Canada lounges

Virgin’s other North American partner is Air Canada – a fellow Star Alliance member to United – which has an extensive network of Maple Leaf lounges across Canada and at a handful of international destinations including Los Angeles and New York, London, Paris and Frankfurt.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges are the go-to for Velocity Platinums and Golds.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges are the go-to for Velocity Platinums and Golds.

Velocity Platinum and Gold members, with one guest air child in tow, can visit the Maple Leaf lounge before their Air Canada flight.

(In common with United Airlines, Air Canada also has seperate business class-only lounges dubbed Signature Suites in Vancouver and Toronto.)

However, there’s no Air Canada lounge in Sydney or Brisbane, with Virgin Australia footnoting that “no lounge is available” ahead of those Air Canada flights for Velocity frequent flyers. 

Velocity access at Virgin Atlantic lounges

Virgin Australia’s UK-based stablemate welcomes Velocity Platinum and Gold members (each with one guest) at its Clubhouse lounges.

An additional Platinum perk is that Velocity Platinum members (albeit solo, without a guest) can also pop into Virgin Atlantic’s Revivals Lounge on arrival at London Heathrow Airport.

The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounges have a distinctly Virgin vibe.
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounges have a distinctly Virgin vibe.

Velocity access at South African Airlines lounges

Velocity Platinums and Golds, each with one child or guest, can visit any South African Airways lounge ahead of their SAA flight.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 827

If I was flying economy to Europe I would go Etihad, the first class lounge is great, business or first I would pick Singapore or Etihad due to the lounge access.

The downside to Qatar is the lounge access guide lines. Qatar needs to lighten up on VA Platinums.

SYD
SYD

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 12

QR’s policy is the same for OWE/OWS - there are lounges in DOH for those flying in Y.  SQ is basically the same at Changi - in general only F/J PAX get to go into the better lounges. Although both QR and SQ give their own high tier members some extras benefits.

What this article doesn’t cover (far too many combos) is the hodgepodge 3rd party lounge arrangements for VA status PAX flying in Y. At least with the main alliances you know where you stand (or sit preferably).

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 526

Whatever your allegiance is with respect to frequent flyer programs, there is no doubt JH and her VA exec team scored a scoop on these lounge tie up which made a difference for those business travellers with overseas connections for relatively little reciprocal commitments (I think more Aussie travellers will enjoy the access overseas than foreigners coming to Australia to use the VA lounges)

Definitely puts AJ and QF on notice on their international arm. 

Frankly VA is now showing its wings to challenge QF again, but this time QF brought itself down to a lower level through overconfidence and Union busting (sold as “cost cutting” measures during the pandemic). The ABC’s four corners expose is frankly no big surprise but the fact that the QF executives think they can keep blaming the pandemic is

I understand the executives wanting to break the Union hold on the airline but I do have a big problem with selling tickets to flights which has very little chance of fulfilment at a premium which is not matched by delivery. 

Strangely VA doesn’t seem to have this kind of undercurrent issue with staff compliant on show despite the same pandemic conditions. It will be interesting to see  at what stage Bain will try to sell VA and how it will affect industrial relationship with the new owners 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 353

Unfortunately still no lounges for their own VA flights to NZ, Bali, Fiji etc.

I have heard to expect an announcement before Xmas, fingers crossed.

The big issue is that if fly internationally with Virgin Australia either as a Platinum or Gold or a Business Class flyer you get no access

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 195

What lounge access is there before a Virgin international flight from Melbourne? Also what do lounge do Virgin business flyers get access to in Nadi airport in Fiji?


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