Virgin Australia is launching the first stage of its revamped Velocity frequent flyer program today, including the long-awaited platinum level.
Alongside two showstopper announcements that we've already covered this morning, the new platinum tier, and a status match offer for Qantas Frequent Flyer members (or any other airline), there are other interesting changes in the program.
Virgin's new Velocity Rewards program has been redesigned to be family-friendly -- an area that Qantas Frequent Flyer is particularly weak in, and something that will appeal to many businesspeople in the peak of building their career.
"Families will soon be able to automatically pool their points and status credits, as well as pause their membership for six months for parental leave without losing their status," says Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti.
“There are also plenty of other benefits for eligible members, such as the ability to earn free companion membership for their partners and complimentary lounge passes. I know this is very important to our customers who spend time away travelling and want to share their benefits with their families”.
Above: Virgin's new TV ad for the program
Other benefits that Virgin lists as being new to the program include:
- Redeeming points for any seat on any partner airline
- Status-linked points earning bonuses on all partner airlines and travel partners
- Recorded seating preferences
- Ability to upgrade using points
- Priority phone service for silver and above members
- Free cabin class upgrades for platinum members
- Priority economy seat purchase for platinum members
- Access to over 150 lounges globally for gold and above members
- Priority waitlisting for seats for gold and above members
- "Fly ahead" for gold and above members (the ability to catch an earlier flight even if not booked on a flexible ticket)
- Priority baggage for gold and above members
- Free elite membership with IGH PriorityClub Rewards or Hilton HHonors
- Free elite membership with Europcar Privileges or Hertz #1 Club Gold
- Family points and status credit pooling (coming soon)
- Membership pause for parental leave (coming soon)
- Free lounge pass for each 100 status credits earned (coming soon)
- Guaranteed reward seats for annual family trip for gold and above members
- Companion gold membership for platinum members
- Free membership with Secure Sentinel credit card protection (gold and above)
Velocity continues to buck the worldwide trend of airlines choking supply of reward seats, according to Borghetti.
“Our new Velocity program will change this, charging fewer points for reward seats and allowing members to redeem points for any seat with Virgin Australia, our international airline partners, and other airlines around the world.
“Members also want to be able to earn and redeem points and enjoy status privileges wherever they fly. With our international alliances in place, I’m pleased to say that our program provides global coverage, allowing members to travel on more than 600 services internationally with some of the best airlines in the world.
Virgin Australia has also added a range of new retail, car hire, accommodation and finance partners to the program.
“We know that partners are particularly important because people want to be able to earn Points for their everyday spending. Velocity now has Australia’s broadest range of credit cards, the largest range of car hire partners," said Borghetti.
"We will soon introduce points earn on electricity with Lumo Energy, one of Australia's largest electricity suppliers.
"We have also brought on Westfield.com.au as an Online Mall partner, meaning Velocity will have the widest retail offering with the ability to earn and redeem Points online with retailers in Australia and overseas."