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This article is part of our ongoing Business Travel 101 series for newcomers to the world of business travel and was last updated in January 2019.
If you’re regularly jetting about with Virgin Australia and its partner airlines, Platinum status in the Velocity Frequent Flyer program is worth aiming for whether you’re normally perched in business class or sitting down the back in economy.
Among the list of perks, four free upgrades from economy to business class each year, access to top-grade lounges in Los Angeles and Hong Kong even when booked on the cheapest economy ticket, and double points on eligible flights.
How to earn Virgin Australia Platinum frequent flyer status
You’ll reach the lofty heights of Platinum after racking up 1,000 status credits in a 12-month period, while also travelling on at least eight flights with a Virgin Australia VA flight number.
To keep the shiny card in your wallet, you’ll need the same eight ‘eligible sectors’ and to earn just 800 status credits in future years.
Naturally, flights taken with Virgin Australia count towards that tally, as do those with VA’s partner airlines including Delta, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and SilkAir.
Crunching the numbers, 34 return trips on an economy Elevate fare between Sydney and either Melbourne or Brisbane would get you over the Platinum line for the first time, as would 10 return treks in business class between the same cities.
Weekly travel in economy or even monthly flying in business class can sound a little daunting, but once you’ve mixed in a few international flights, you’ll be there in no time.
From Australia’s east coast to Singapore with partner Singapore Airlines, five business class return trips or 17 economy return trips are more than enough to do the trick.
Or, if you’re making that journey a full Sydney-London jaunt with a Singapore transit or stopover, a mere two return business class trips gets you Platinum status, provided you’ve also travelled on at least eight VA-coded flights in the same 12-month period.
Lounge access for Virgin Australia Velocity Platinum members
Platinum frequent flyers can stop by Virgin Australia’s domestic lounges before or after a VA flight with an impressive five guests – including two children aged between three and 12, plus three teens or adults.
And when departing from Sydney and Brisbane, these top-tier travellers can also use the private Premium Entry to access the lounge without venturing into the terminal itself, and can exit VA’s Melbourne lounge and clear security in a private room via Premium Exit:
Internationally, Virgin’s partner airlines normally provide lounge access for the Platinum member and one adult guest, while Virgin Australia’s lounge finder does a great job at highlighting what’s available across the globe, along with any caveats that could sting you along the way.
One example is in Honolulu, where Velocity Platinum members can access the Delta Sky Club ahead of Hawaiian Airlines flights – but only if travelling to Australia rather than connecting onwards to the continental United States.
Elsewhere, Etihad’s First Class Lounge and Spa in Abu Dhabi are open to Platinum members ahead of Etihad services.
Checked baggage allowance for Virgin Australia Velocity Platinum
On domestic and short Virgin Australia international flights, Platinum members can check three 23kg bags on economy tickets and a generous 96kg in business class, split over three bags of up to 32kg each.
Three bags are also allowed when bound for Los Angeles and Hong Kong, at a maximum of 23kg per bag in economy and 32kg per bag in both business class and premium economy.
Higher baggage allowances are also available with some, but not all, of Virgin Australia’s international airline partners.
You’ll be able to check an extra 20kg when flying with Singapore Airlines and Etihad on any fare type to most destinations, while Singapore Airlines gives you one extra bag when flying to America – where flights tend to use the ‘piece’ system rather than relying on the total overall weight.
Delta treats Velocity Platinums the same as its Gold Medallion frequent flyers and SkyTeam Elite Plus guests, with two free 23kg checked bags in economy on most flights, an extra bag on its Sydney-Los Angeles service and three 32kg bags when flying in business and first class.
Bonus points and perks for Virgin Australia Velocity Platinum
You’ll pocket double points on Virgin Australia and Virgin Samoa flights, on journeys booked as a VA codeshare taken with other airlines, and with some of Velocity’s partners on the ground including Hertz, Europcar and Thrifty on car hire, and Agoda when booking hotels.
When flying with Etihad, you’ll instead earn 50% more points, and if you’re stuck in economy with Delta, you can upgrade to its extra legroom Comfort+ seats free within 72 hours of departure, which also come with free alcoholic drinks and premium inflight entertainment.
New Velocity Platinum members are given free Hilton HHonors Diamond or IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status, and a Europcar Privilege Elite or Hertz Gold Plus President’s Circle card to provide top-tier perks across all aspects of their journey.
Once you’re at the airport, there’s also priority check-in, security screening and boarding with Virgin Australia and most of its airline partners, along with priority baggage delivery to get you on the road faster.
If you’ve arrived well ahead of your flight and in time for an earlier departure, you may be able to ‘Fly Ahead’ by jumping on the next available flight at no charge. Platinum members are also able to request a 'Fly Ahead' over the phone, on the day of travel.
Business class upgrades for Virgin Australia Velocity Platinum
The most coveted perk at the top of the Velocity food chain? Free domestic business class upgrades four times per year from Freedom economy fares, including on the airline’s Perth flights, which come with lie-flat beds on the Airbus A330s:
Platinums can also use their Velocity points to upgrade to business class in Virgin Australia’s lounges, or at the priority check-in desks in Hobart and Darwin – where lounges aren’t available.
On VA’s Los Angeles and Hong Kong flights, Gold and Platinum members can trade Velocity points for a confirmed upgrade to either premium economy or business class from the moment the flight has been booked.
That’s a significant advantage over the ‘upgrade lottery’ system at Qantas, where better seats are only dished out closer to departure.
More Velocity Platinum perks
Unable to upgrade? Platinum members stuck in economy can select Economy X seats on most flights, which give a little more legroom akin to that of an emergency exit row seat, but without the extra charge.
Friends and family of high flyers can also benefit from their time away, with Partner Gold status awarded after reeling in at least 500 status credits in one membership year over and above that needed to reach or retain Platinum.
After earning a further 500 status credits – 1,000 more than required for Platinum in a 12-month period – the nominated companion is bumped up to Platinum as well.
Virgin Australia also offers priority phone support to top-tier Velocity members, so if you’re hunting for a business class upgrade or need to make a flight change, be sure to enter your membership number when calling the airline to side-step the queue.
Finally, Platinum members can book seats in economy on full Virgin Australia flights and use their points to reserve economy seats for up to four passengers once a year on any domestic or international codeshare destinations.
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