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 access at Qatar Airways lounges
- Velocity access at Etihad Airways lounges
- Velocity access at United Airlines lounges
- Velocity access at Air Canada lounges
- Velocity access at Virgin Atlantic lounges
- Velocity access at South African Airlines lounges
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.