Virgin Australia, United Airlines partnership takes to the sky

There are plenty of perks for Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent flyers under the new alliance with United Airlines.

By David Flynn, May 24 2022
Virgin Australia, United Airlines partnership takes to the sky

Virgin Australia’s alliance with United Airlines is now live and in effect, opening up significant domestic and international networks to travellers on both airlines.

The Star Alliance member has replaced Delta Air Lines as Virgin’s stablemate for flights to the USA and onward to South America, with the long-standing partnership ending on June 12.

United Airlines not only allows Virgin’s frequent flyers to earn Velocity points and status credits on UA flights but also offers status-based perks such as access to United Club lounges plus priority check-in, security clearance and boarding.

“Virgin Australia customers will have significantly more options for travel from Australia to the States, with more than three-times as many services available to them, which is great news for Australian travellers,” Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said.

United has reopened Velocity point redemptions on its flights, with its upgraded Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners – sporting the airline’s latest Polaris business class suites plus its new premium economy seating – now flying between Australia and the USA.

That’s a lot to take in, so let Executive Traveller break it down.

Virgin-United codehare flights to the USA

As a starting point, United Airlines' flights between Australia and the USA carry a VA flight number as part of the codeshare agreement between the two airlines.

And whereas Delta maintained a solitary Sydney-Los Angeles route, United’s network currently offers three ways to get to the USA:

  • Sydney to Los Angeles
  • Sydney to San Francisco
  • Melbourne to San Francisco (from June 5, 2022)

Flights from Sydney to LAX and San Francisco have returned, with Melbourne to San Francisco returning in early June 2022; United says Melbourne to LAX and Sydney to Houston are "expected to resume later in 2022."

The ‘triple gateway’ approach of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston “gives Virgin customers much more travel via one stop to virtually anywhere in North or South America,” explains Patrick Quayle, United’s senior vice president of international network and alliances.

“Because of United’s vast network, they’re not having to double-connect or even triple-connect. It’s a real win for Virgin.”

Travellers now have access to a huge number of connections, including around 37 destinations from Los Angeles, 65 from San Francisco, and more than 100 from Houston.

“And that’s just the domestic US,” Quayle continues.

“Then you add on all the Mexican cities, where we serve 24 different cities in Mexico – and you add on our services to Central America and South America – and you can see how it’s very, very broad.

Polaris business class for all Australian flights

From next month, all of United Airlines’ Boeing 787 Dreamliners connecting Australia and the USA feature the Star Alliance member’s modern Polaris business class suites.

“Our stated goal is that by June 2022 the (upgrade of the) Boeing 787-9 fleet will be done, they will have the Polaris business class product and also Premium Plus, our premium economy product,” Quayle says.

United Airline’s Polaris business class.
United Airline’s Polaris business class.

“Even during the pandemic about half the aeroplanes going to Australia had the new interiors, the new configurations, and it’ll be a hundred percent this (Northern) summer, we guarantee it.”

Velocity access to United lounges

For many if not most frequent flyers, the opportunity to spend time relaxing or working in an airport lounge is one of the most important benefits of status.

Velocity Gold and Velocity Platinum members will enjoy entry to United Club lounges at domestic and international airports.

United Club lounges, such as United’s new United Club in Newark, offer the usual ranks of comfortable seating, fast-flowing WiFi and complimentary light snacks and drinks such as beer, wine and ‘wellness’ mixes – although you’ll usually be expected to put $1 into the tip jar for each free drink served. A separate menu offers premium cocktails, beer, and wine for an additional fee.

However, you can rule out access to United’s Polaris international lounges – unless you’re flying in United business class, of course. The decidedly upmarket Polaris lounges are exclusively for premium cabin passengers. Shiny status alone won’t cut it if you’re sitting at the wrong end of the plane.

United access to Velocity lounges

While United has no lounges in Australia, Virgin has confirmed to Executive Traveller that on international flights out of Sydney and Melbourne, Velocity Gold and Platinum members booked into United economy or premium economy will be ushered into the Singapore Airlines lounge.

Travellers in United business class will of course be able to choose between the Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines lounges, as both airlines are United’s Star Alliance partners.

United MileagePlus Gold members and above also have access to Virgin Australia’s domestic lounges when travelling on a Virgin Australia operated flight, regardless of whether it's a domestic or international itinerary. 

Velocity ‘priority perks’ on United

In most airline partnerships, status benefits are broadly aligned between the equivalent tiers of frequent flyer programs – and in the case of Virgin Australia and United Airlines, this is how we expect those tiers to line up:

  • Velocity Silver = MileagePlus Premier Silver
  • Velocity Gold = MileagePlus Premier Gold
  • Velocity Platinum = MileagePlus Premier Platinum

MileagePlus also offers an ‘above Platinum’ Premier 1K level plus an invitation-only United Global Services tier.

The baseline of ‘priority’ benefits which save both time and trouble during your travels will include priority check-in, priority security clearance (where available), priority boarding and priority baggage delivery (it feels good when your bags roll off the conveyor belt early, doesn’t it!).

Add a higher checked luggage allowance – such as an extra free checked bag – and you can appreciate these are some of the most practical perks going.

Earning Velocity points, status credits on United flights

An essential perk of the Virgin/United hookup is that Velocity Frequent Flyer members will earn points and status credits on United Airlines flights (likewise, United’s MileagePlus members will be able to rack up miles when travelling with Virgin Australia).

On flights between Australia and the USA, travellers will earn up to two Velocity points per mile flown, which will see your balance boosted by between 3,740 points for discount economy and nearly 15,000 points for United Polaris business class.

Beyond Los Angeles or San Francisco and on to your destination, the number of points you’ll earn depends on the fare type booked, with between 0.25 and 1.5 points earned per mile flown.

This same points earn rate applies to Virgin Australia domestic flights in Australia for passengers travelling on a United flight number.

Points bonuses also apply for Silver, Gold and Platinum Velocity Frequent Flyer tiered members, with an additional 50%, 75% and 100% respectively earned depending on the card you hold.

The new partnership will allow travellers to climb status ladders in both Virgin’s Velocity program and United’s MileagePlus scheme.

A one-way United flight between Sydney or Melbourne to the US will earn 45 points for Choice fares, 80 for Flex and 160 in Business. This means for a new member, a single return journey in United Polaris business class will be enough to elevate them from Red to Silver.

Similarly, once you reach the US, the distance travelled on a United domestic or regional sector will determine the status credits earned, ranging from 10 for discount economy up to 80 for a cross-country business class leg to New York.

Using Velocity points to book a United flight

Another welcome win for Virgin’s loyal Velocity members: the ability to use their Velocity points to book seats on United Airlines flights.

Virgin has already reopened Velocity-based ‘redemption’ bookings across all of its partner airlines – a roster which includes Singapore Airlines, Air Canada, Etihad Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Qatar Airways and Virgin Atlantic – and United now joins this fray.

Like Delta before it, United Airlines sits on the ‘Virgin Australia’ points redemption table, optimising the value for Velocity members to use their points on flights to the US in this partnership.

This means for a Reward redemption seat on the 7,500-mile (thereabouts) journey between Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles or San Francisco, only 71,700 points are needed for a premium economy seat, or 95,500 to fly up the front in United Polaris business class, plus taxes and any fees.

The same points can also take you onward to New York JFK, with the additional 2,475 miles keeping this fare within Virgin’s 7,000-mile to 8,500-mile redemption window.

Currently, only a selection of major US cities served by United are available to book on Virgin’s website, either with money or points. Smaller centres accessible through United Express and other interline partners are not yet available.

The same applies to destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean and South America which currently, can’t be booked online. Perhaps as the partnership develops, cities such as Lima or Buenos Aires will begin to appear for direct bookings..

Additional reporting by Chris Ashton and Matt Lennon.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 785

Nice, I wonder what the points rate will be like and if we can book business 355 days out from  our flight dates.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 785

Checking the points required for a business trip was just crazy in the Million and over $10,000.00 for a business class flight one way Sydney to New York on the Virgin web site. Better option for myself would be Singapore Airlines on a saver points fare 129,000, long way around but who really cares when you consider the price difference and if you like to fly.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 332

Good to hear!!! My United  -and they've extended PointsPlus and status (1K here) till jan 2023.  Polaris finally to Australia! Great to hear, since Ive been able to fly Polaris since 2018 transcon (intially JFK, then EWR) SFO, ocassionally LAX

Lets hope VA offers us something nice, especially for 1Ks and Global Services - finally we may have a Star Alliance Carrier (or proxy)  in Australia again after my beloved Ansett (a Star Alliance Airline)  was BUTCHERED by Australian (BA  shareholders )Airlines which became Qantas and also by then British airways shareheld Virgin Australia - the Aussie gov back then chose to support the pom airlines rather than the Australian airline

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

04 Mar 2015

Total posts 6

Curious if VA credit banks can be used towards UA flights? Has anyone heard? 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 576

Good question.  I've got a few thousand sitting in my Travel Bank account because of flights to LAX cancelled in May, 2020.  I wonder whether there will be an extension of their 'spend-by' and 'fly-by' dates, currently 31 July 2022 and 30 June 2023, respectively)?  It would be decent if VA gat least gave an update on their previously stated position, which I think I've accurately sated here. 

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2547

Virgin Australia PR tells us "TravelBank credit will be able to be used to book codeshare bookings with our partner airlines."

Hello David,

I'm just wondering if there is an update on this post as I can't seem to find anything on the Virgin site. I suspect there are many others like me, that have Travelbank $s to use before the deadline set by Virgin. 

cheers

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 332

Any news on VA benefits for  higher tier members of UA MileagePlus?  eg Premier 1K?

Nice rundown. Any theories on whether UA will allow long haul upgrades using Velocity points?

Cak
Cak

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Jan 2016

Total posts 2

Dismayed that there is no mention of any direct flights from Brisbane to LAX on United given Brissy is Virgin's home and when they expect to return - if at all.  It seems that Qantas will now have the monopoly on that direct route given VA (long haul) and United are absent.  As a Gold Velocity member, I will not be travelling via southern states to LAX. Looks like I will need to shift my loyalties elsewhere.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 316

UA will not likely be flying BNE-LAX (or SFO) for the foreseeable future. 

The Queensland Government however has recently announced a Aviation Subsidy Program for International Airlines to fly into Queensland, so maybe UA could apply for that if they feel that the subsidy may help them.  This will however mean that international airlines that apply for the program (including UA) will have part of their operating costs subsidised by the Queensland Government

However, it's possible that VA will resume flights from BNE to AKL to connect to UA flights from AKL, so there's that option apart from going via SYD/MEL.

Wonder if UA domestic USA flights & UA USA to Canada flights using Virgin points will include 1 checked bag ?

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 127

@Cak

Seriously, Sydney is ONLY an hour away. I live in Brisbane too. But I'd never 'cut my nose to spite my face' by refusing to fly to Sydney or Melbourne. Connecting flights are a way of life for modern travellers. And I say this matter-of-factly, without any sarcasm or eye-rolling.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 576

With "the troubles" in Europe and air space concerns, it'll be interesting to see Virgin provide an Eastward route to the UK via LAX (which I hope they do), as existed before the March 2020 Administration.  And if those hopes prove true, whether the LAX-LHR sector will be with United Airlines or Virgin Atlantic.  The Virgin Atlantic sector was code shared with Virgin Australia, I hope UA offer the same.  Would be super if UA offered a choice of LAX-LHR via New York (EWR).    

Look forward to learning more ... here ...  soon.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 316

I'd say any eastward routes to the UK would be provided by SQ (or EY, if they remain a partner).  Unlikely VA will operate their own long haul services for the foreseeable future.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 785

I'm keen to use these services specially into San Fran and Houston but I'm starting to wonder if VA really cherish their flyers who clock up over 2000 status credits a year. Trying to get a business class seat for 1 person is getting hard let alone for 2 or more people then finding out Club members are getting free upgrades and that is another seat in business gone.... I'm really starting to think just get 800 status credits with VA, P1 with Qantas and then fly REX as well.  

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2015

Total posts 52

I’ll admit I have not stepped on a UA flight for many years but I just can’t get excited about this and very disappointed  that the JV with Delta and Virgin has come to an end

I have always enjoyed Delta and have had many domestic flights with them in the US. All I’ve seen and read about United over the past 3-4 years does not inspire me. Not sure I’m ready to change as my US travel ramps back up again soon.

What am I missing?

30 Jun 2020

Total posts 5

Ah, nothing.  I'm in the same boat, and don't think it's a great move.  Delta seems to be lifting their game a bit, so maybe they don't fit with the 'value' philosophy Virgin is chasing.  On a side note, we visited the Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta in January on a whim.  I didn't realise just how close the relationship was between VA and Delta.  Lots of fanfare about it at the museum.  Was a bit sad reading all about it with the knowledge it was gone! 

24 May 2020

Total posts 9

Does anyone have any idea what is going on with this.  It's meant to go live in April and it's already mid-March and there's no announcement or firmer details.

I need to book a work trip to London in late April with a quick stop on the US West Coast returning.  Would normally use Singapore to London, but given required stop in US am planning on using United... no chance of me booking the UA flight unless this looks it's got legs and I'll be 'covered'.

Have searched everywhere online and this is the most up to date article.  Have called VA and instead of going through to the Platinum Service center, I was stuck with someone in South East asia who literally read the paragraph from the VA website to me!

24 May 2020

Total posts 9

Unimpressed.  Booked work trip to London with United in late April as VA-UA partnership (according to their PR, media & website) starts early April. I've called VA agents/service center several times in last month for advice and they just read from website.  I delayed booking as long as possible but had to last week to secure the UA flights. There were cheaper fares with other airlines, but Ive been loyal for years (often paying higher fares for VA partners!) and required the status to maintain Platinum of many years.  Just spoke to your service centre - turns out this won't go ahead in April, nor for several months! So I can kiss away status, points and benefits, I can sit in the terminus at LAX doing work for 4hrs. Unlikley to keep Platinum and I've paid MORE for this.  So much for loyalty.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Apr 2018

Total posts 4

I sympathise AvGeek, have also been holding out on bookings and not getting any clarity on this much hyped alliance. I got told they couldn't confirm but 3rd or 4th week of April but who knows.....

24 May 2020

Total posts 9

Hi Empty,  I booked and 'held' my United airfare for a couple of weeks.  I did notice that when I went back to pay for the fare the 'Frequent Flyer Account' details had Virgin Australia in it which I'm pretty sure wasn't an option when I initially booked the flight a fortnight earlier.  Whilst that's some reassurance this will happen at some point, its not particularly great that not even the Platinum Service Center knows whats going on AND that the VA website still has 'Commencing in April 2022.

26 Apr 2022

Total posts 1

I too have booked United late May on the basis that this partnership was starting April as per their email communication to members. I have also called them multiple times. It is very misleading. I might be lucky given i am travelling late May, but if not I will be calling them again as it was false information shared to all members. 

13 Apr 2022

Total posts 2

I just noticed that as of yesterday (12/4) the velocity website updated to say "late May 2022" would be the date that the partnership would start. I'm quite annoyed that Virgin airlines didn't really announce this delay anywhere and I've been anxiously awaiting an announcement to book a flight. Please update this article to match. 

21 Apr 2019

Total posts 21

Wondering if points can be used to upgrade?

Good to see they are offering up Houston as an option rather than LAX or SFO.  Makes getting into eastern and north eastern US and Canadian locations a tad easier so long as the arrival time into Houston is early in the day enabling time to connect and arrive at onward destinations at a reasonable time and not in the middle of the night. 

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

14 Jan 2019

Total posts 3

It seems everything has been written about VA flyers travelling on a UA flight.

Will UA Gold gain entry into VA lounges?

Will UA Gold flyers earn points on VA flights?

The details of the partnership benefits have not been formally or fully revealed, but I would think that if VA Golds gain access to UA Club lounges then UA Golds would gain access to VA lounges, and ditto for UA miles on VA flights. That's the whole basis of these reciprocal arrangements, they are "reciprocal" and work both ways, but again we won't know until VA and UA share all the details of their partnership benefits. With this alliance launch now not happening until late May, I don't think we will see those details until the early May.

Before the pandemic, a core part of DL’s value proposition for VA elites was the Economy Comfort offering, which bundled enhanced drinks and snacks with extra legroom and priority overhead bins for seats in the for. It would be a significant downgrade should UA fail to offer even an Economy+ benefit in line with its own elites for VA flyers, and frankly it shows a lack of respect on the part of VA leadership that this isn’t yet part of the alliance benefits conversation.

"frankly it shows a lack of respect on the part of VA leadership that this isn’t yet part of the alliance benefits conversation", I think that's a bit premature unless you have insight into "the alliance benefits conversation", because the VA-UA alliance benefits have not been fully or formally announced yet.

24 May 2020

Total posts 9

Virgin, so what does this mean for those chumps who have bought United airfares in late April and May because all your PR material, your press-releases and your website stated this would happen in April?  What happens to the points and to our status?  Why have you left if AFTER the launch date to announce? Surely you knew over the last month or two this wasn't going to come together.  This VA Platinum member of almost 10 years is bloody unimpressed.  I paid more to fly with United.  It's one alliance one day, another airline the next, new venture the following month.  The chopping, the changing, the inconsistent product, the different lounges in different cities, the perks here but not there, priority one day but not others.  I'm so sick and tired of this.  It's like you're going out of your way to lose anyone who stuck with you.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 657

One United experience :-/.......never again.

seems strange that SYD will have 3 nonstops to USA, MEL 2 & BNE none ?

Market out of SYD & MEL bigger, but surely BNE could get 1 nonstop, especially now that Qantas offers only nonstop to anywhere in USA & extremely expensive (no one from BNE wants to fly via awful SYD or MEL to get to USA)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 316

"seems strange that SYD will have 3 nonstops to USA, MEL 2 & BNE none ?"

It's not that strange.  Considering news reports in the Courier Mail of Queensland Tourism (Queensland Government) on behalf of BAC approached representatives of the US3 to fly into Queensland by enticing them with subsidies, and this was after the UA/VA deal was signed, and that there was no formal interest from them suggests that the yields into BNE isn't as high.

Any UA entrance into BNE in the short term has a high chance of being partially subsidised by the Queensland Government.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jun 2020

Total posts 15

I really liked the delta partnership. The added benefit was book with delta economy c seat and it’s cheaper and better status credits. It’s wasn’t codeshare but a much more valuable flight. Did this internally as well and allowed me to get platinum. I have flown United business Huston to LA just because cheaper as I had extra bags (go figure). I hope they have a economy x style offering

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 May 2018

Total posts 5

Anyone knowledgeable on this: When they start the partnership in "late May" - do they make it retrospective, will one be able to credit earlier flights done with United to Virgin's Velocity?

I have a flight to US coming up early-mid May, would be a waste to credit this to Unite's MileagePlus. Could I just leave out Frequent Flyer details and retrospectively claim the flights through Velocity once the partnership has started?

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 379

Ask Virgin Australia or Velocity, this is their decision to make.

24 May 2020

Total posts 9

Hi Hellboy, I'm wondering exactly the same thing having purchased United airfares for travel next week based on all their PR and marketing.  The above announcement came only a week after I purchased the fares, despite esquires to them to confirm this over the previous month.  Have written to Velocity and Plat service Center, but nothing so far.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 May 2018

Total posts 5

Not a too bad advice to check with Velocity, have done that too and got a reply but as expected you don't get anything tangible and they saying "nothing can be shared" - wrapped in the usual nice "customer experience is our most important" etc. Frustrating :(

When are we going to get updates on the actual launch date?  I have had to cancel 3 different United Flights here in the US, with the expectations set by VA always getting pushed back. Is there any concrete date that is not 'late May'?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2547

"Ask and ye shall receive" – well, if you're lucky, which in this case you are, as Virgin has this afternoon confirmed to us that the launch date is May 24  :)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 576

Seems to have been a busy day at VA2 HQ !!  All good news.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 332

Any news on Virgin's  reciprocal benefits for United status holders?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jan 2015

Total posts 77

Bit of a shame that UA Mileage Plus members won't earn Premier Qualifying Miles on VA flights. I was going to send my Q3 flying over to Virgin. I'll stick with Qantas. As P1 its a better situation

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Nov 2015

Total posts 15

Details are live on the Velocity website now: https://experience.velocityfrequentflyer.com/partners-offers/airlines/united-airlines. Lounge access a bit ordinary, domestic lounges only in conjunction with an international ticket which is a shame. Velocity Platinum access to the Delta lounges was great as even business class tickets don't generally include lounge access domestically in the States. Anyway I'm pleased this is up and running, I'm testing out United Polaris to LAX in a month.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

24 May 2019

Total posts 1

UA Business reward seat for 2 is non-existent. I rather Delta - at least they had reward seats available..

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 332

Again great to hear this again,  and is there any update on United elite flyers eg Premier 1K like me on Virgin?

just looked up LAX/YVR for DEC on velocity site & only option showing was Delta ?

21 Mar 2022

Total posts 3

Zero PE and Biz even on release days…pathetic 

21 Apr 2019

Total posts 21

I wonder if you can use Velocity points to upgrade?

13 Apr 2022

Total posts 2

So much for the new Polaris business class,  can't find Business rewards seats on United either from Sydney to LA or NY to Sydney in August/September. Been waiting for this for so long only to fly economy despite saving up velocity points. Hopefully will be able to upgrade closer to the date. 

09 Sep 2020

Total posts 13

Will we have direct flights from Brisbane, or will we have to  launch from Brisbane then to Sydney , why is Brisbane being denied by Virgin/ United an airhead for customers,just my  thoughts ,come on Virgin  help us  a little. With QANTAS and possibly Air New Zealand with airheads in Brisbane, for international  long haul,  where does that leave Virgin/United.I know that Virgin will not respond  to the question

I was so excited about the partnership! Ten minutes after midnight on the 24th of May, I went online and tried to book 2 Business class tickets using points to SFO in October. There was nothing to be had. LAX the same! I am only a lowly Silver member so that might be the reason. So I can either pay $13,000, go economy (plenty of tickets available for point redemption) and try my luck with the famous United cabin crew or take a little longer trip and go with Singapore Airlines where the crew fall over each other to help you and they always have redemption (Business) tickets. Now what am I going to do with all the Virgin points I have????

26 Jan 2020

Total posts 2

It's disappointing to see that United are only flying from Sydney and Melbourne at this stage and Virgin haven't restarted flights to the US. This is very frustrating for Aussie travelers from other states as it means an extra domestic flight and it is a pain to transfer from domestic to international in Sydney.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 421

I cannot speak for all of Australia but in Adelaide currently this would be the alternative to Qantas if going to LA which is also via Sydney.I hear Air New Zealand is returning soon to the South Australian market for those of us who find flying via Auckland that much easier without the domestic to international issues.but be warned ADL/AKL on NZ has one on an all Economy Airbus A321 before doing the LA run on either a 777 or 787.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

23 Jun 2022

Total posts 1

You have my sympathy trying to get benefit from United.... I'm 2 million miler ++ with them and it's a seller's market - The good news is their lack of support has caused me to use other airlines which opened my eyes how much others have improved while UA has sunk..... Like you all down under, I hoped the Virgin relationship would help me - I need 10 different domestic Australia segments.... I've tried very hard to understand what Virgin will do for me as 1K, Gold Star Alliance - the person on the phone didn't understand the question. She alleged she was instructed on the program but could not describe any benefits or details. I'll be in Oz 30 days so extra luggage is important - she had no idea if that benefit would transfer, ditto with complementary premium seat assignment, etc.... If anyone sees news on Virgin's website about benefits for United customers, please post it here. Many thanks.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 576

Has anyone recently flown United Polaris?  If so, can they share comments on the quality of cabin service, please.  I flew in United First SYD-LAX and then SFO-SYD back in 2010, when years of tenure was the basis of cabin staff selection, and the service back then was worse than anything experienced on Qantas.  Really do hope things have changed (hence this appeal for news of recent experiences).

I've flown United Polaris several times AU-US and the quality of service is SO much better than in those old days you refer to. I know those well, did some UA SYD-SFO flights after Qantas pulled out of the route, and the service was appalling, the old saw about 'superannuated grannies' was 100% true in those days. But my last few UA Polaris trips show the airline has boosted the service and f&b to match the product. I'd have no hesitation in flying UA Polaris again now, and the excellent business-only Polaris lounges at SFO and LAX are just icing on the cake.


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