Will Virgin Australia launch lifetime Velocity status?

Lifetime status and ‘above-Platinum’ perks are both under consideration.

By David Flynn, October 20 2022
Will Virgin Australia launch lifetime Velocity status?

2023 could be the year which brings a lifetime of rewards for Virgin Australia’s frequent flyers, with lifetime Velocity status under consideration in a wide-ranging review of how the airline rewards the loyalty of travellers.

Also in the mix is the current trio of elite tiers – Silver, Gold and Platinum – and the perks assigned to each, which serve to differentiate each rung of the loyalty ladder and incentive flyers to keep climbing.

Executive Traveller understands a key part of this is the proposition for Velocity Platinum members who earn well above the 800 status credits per year needed to retain their top-tier status.

Virgin Australia is looking for ways to keep frequent flyers happy well above the perks of Platinum.
Virgin Australia is looking for ways to keep frequent flyers happy well above the perks of Platinum.

One option is to create an above-Platinum tier, similar to the Platinum One card awarded to Qantas Frequent Flyer members who clock up 3,600 status credits in a year.

While Executive Traveller understands this hasn’t been ruled out, part of the challenge is identifying the appropriate set of unique ‘Platinum Plus’ benefits.

Speaking with Executive Traveller earlier this year, Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Nick Rohrlach confirmed lifetime Velocity status was “something we’re looking at as part of that review,” while a higher-than-Platinum tier was also “in the scope of what we’re looking at… but we’re not looking to just copy and paste what what anybody else is doing, we'll look at fresh.”

“I think there are many ways to recognise the people that fly with us very frequently, and a new tier is only one of those ways.”

Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Nick Rohrlach: "I think we'll find a very Virgin and a very Velocity way to shake things up a bit."
Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Nick Rohrlach: "I think we'll find a very Virgin and a very Velocity way to shake things up a bit."

However, an alternative to the relative complexity of creating a whole new tier is to develop a suite of mid-tier benefits, which are awarded at specific status credit milestones.

For its part, Qantas offers frequent flyers who reach 2,400 status credits a choice between 50,000 Qantas Points or complimentary Gold status membership to gift to a family member, friend or colleague.

Cathay Pacific’s recently-rebooted Cathay loyalty program has a more developed suite of ‘mid-status benefits’ ranging from passes to its business and first class lounges to ‘bookable upgrades’ and a Gold companion card.

While Rohrlach and his team have been casting their eyes across the entire loyalty landscape – from airlines and hotels to “other consumer offerings from other industries as well” – he wants the end result to be unique to Velocity.

In the same way that “Virgin is being Virgin”, Rohrlach remarked, “the cool thing for Velocity is that allows us to go our own way as well, to think about that differently… we're not just a copy of anyone else.”

“I think we’ll find a very Virgin and a very Velocity way to shake things up a bit.”

I think lifetime status is a double-edged sword. Yes it rewards somebody for years of loyalty, but the risk is also that if they have lifetime Gold or Platinum they might be tempted to shift their flying away from Virgin to get status elsewhere. Plus Velocity has been around for a long time, if Virgin created Lifetime Silver, Lifetime Gold and Lifetime Platinum and counted SCs earned from day one, you'd have to think there would immediately be tens of thousands of Lifetime members.

I think mid-tier benefits make a lot of sense above Platinum. Those could include Beyond lounge passes, more upgrades and even partner Gold status.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1175

I wouldn't see the creation of a whole lot of lifetime status members immediately upon creation as being a bad thing; surely that would be part of the attraction of doing it.  VA wants to lock in loyalty.  If they say your previous loyalty doesn't count for anything, I think that could be perceived as a massive negative.

Point taken but giving somebody lifetime status isn't always going to lock in their loyalty, look at how many Qantas Lifetime Golds start flying with Virgin or SQ to earn useful annual status because they've already got what they need from Qantas.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 870

@LostInTransit when I hit 1800 status credits I get a second platinum card for whoever I want to give it to with Velocity, I give the first one to my wife which gives us 8 upgrades into business. Forget about the partner Gold I get partner platinum.

You point about loosing passengers is a risk but from my point of view does not affect my loyalty. I have lifetime Gold with Qantas. I am retired and enjoy the benefit of using the lounge when flying economy. The cost to Qantas is a cup of coffee or a couple of glasses of red wine, the benefit I choose to fly with them above other carriers. I had at one time Platinum status with Emirates, PPS solitaire with Singapore for over ten years. Both status have now evaporated  so chose Qantas (and One World) over the those airlines. Given I re-earned Platinum three years ago and Qantas has looked after me by extending the status during Covid I feel they have earned my loyalty.

I would say as a criticism, the lifetime Platinum level of 75,000 status credits is a bit rich compared to BA's 32,000, which I exceeded a long time ago but will never get to such a high bar. I your listening Qantas please consider lowering the lifetime entry level to something like BA's

Citing CX is a good example for mid-status benefits, Velocity really could do something there. But I would honestly wonder if they shouldn't also raise the qualification and requalification points for Gold and Platinum too, lift them up a bit and also put more of a gap between them while adding mid-status benefits for 'Gold+' and 'Platinum+'.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 870

One thing they (Velocity) need to remember is those who achieve over 2400 status credits a year are normally out-of-the-ordinary people. A good example is my brother who wanted to achieve Life Time Gold with Qantas, he blew off $45,000.00 on a double status credit offer to get LifeTime Gold, once he dies he told his children to bury him with his LifeTime Gold Card in his top pocket (True Story).  I'm happy to blow off the money and follow if VA doesn't do something for me like, Beyond access (dress code of course and etiquette in lounge) etc.

Call it Beyond Platinum

Beyond Platinum with Beyond phone access and some of the perks including Beyond access.......

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 605

'Beyond Platinum', very clever. 

I think your brother spent too much. Earlier this year in the DSC offer there was a concurrent special on business class to NZ. I did BNE-MEL-CHC (return) for $1126 and 560 SCs. 

25 trips like that is only $28,150 😀

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 870

From memory in 2018 he did Sydney, Perth, Auckland back and forth and Melbourne or Sydney to Bangkok back and forth and has maintained Platinum Status be since then with the help of Covid.

I talk to a lot of those crazy people who have earned over 3000 status credits this year at VA, most of them are over the chaos of flying in Australia at the moment and are starting to back off flying. VA really need to hand out an olive branch to those people and offer a "Thank You" like 5 Beyond passes. One example is trying to get through Sydney T2 security which is just crazy, I get txt messages weekly from people who earned over 2000 status credits prior to covid saying there over it. A Thank You, 5 Beyond Passes please Nick and Jayne.

21 Jul 2020

Total posts 19

Who cares about more perks? 

Just bring back the sandwich press and open more lounges, Darwin, Townsville and Cairns for starters.

08 May 2020

Total posts 80

This year will be a struggle to maintain my 10 years of Velocity Platinum which would have been easily done had Virgin been still serving New Zealand. Numerous travels to and from NZ on Flexi Fare are to waste with the Monopoly players Qantas and AirNZ. 

26 Jul 2011

Total posts 12

Virgin rolls this "rumour" every so often, to keep stringing FF's along. I've been platinum for 8 years plus (may struggle to renew this year since NZ and USA routes are both not available), and I have been suggesting and waiting for lifetime status the entire time.

Ironically, had I been flying with Qantas, I'd be lifetime Gold by now

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 37

not having NZ was a hit to my earn, but I surprised myself when a huge number of SCs showed up requalifying 10th year as WP with routes on SQ (to the point I had full platinum SCs needed but zero sectors). I feel like this about Velocity dangling the lifetime status carrot every so often... but I always click and live in hope....

I wish they'd just click on the golden handcuffs

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Nov 2017

Total posts 16

Can we just have our Premium Entry back in Sydney please. It's the little things that make the difference. 

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 870

And for your next wish?

This would be a great move.

05 May 2016

Total posts 630

One of the main reasons I try to fly on QF on their partners as much as possible is that QF offers lifetime status.

08 Jan 2012

Total posts 7

I agree with Davedownunder. The 75,000 SCs required for Qantas LP is ridiculous. I have been Qantas Platinum for over 20 years and reached LG well over a decade ago. Now my business travel is reducing I have little incentive to continue to pay extra to fly Qantas. Something like 42,000 (3 x LG) would be much more realistic.

07 Apr 2022

Total posts 3

Can't see Virgin doing anything, as someone said above every couple of years the rumour comes out again, and again. Qantas will pick up its act next year and all those converted QF Flyers will go back flying Qantas again. I'd say Virgin only has a 3-month window to hold as many of them as possible.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 870

Seeing the body language of JH when asked about the impact of the US$ on fuel and aircraft leasing was interesting when questioned by channel 10 news.


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