✅ Trip Verified
| Virgin Australia (VA) touts their Velocity frequent flyer programme as award-winning and internationally acclaimed. I am a Platinum Velocity member and have had that status for two years. As a frequent international business traveller, Velocity simply doesn’t stack up, and the claims Virgin makes are pretty bogus. VA is a small, domestic Australian airline with virtually no international routes. It is not a member of any of the major alliances, and that is unlikely to change. VA is in financial dire straits (so can’t afford alliance membership fees), and its owners will not allow it to join an alliance that will cause direct competition to aforesaid owners. So when you fly internationally, even as a high status Velocity member, you will not have access to any of the benefits normally afforded to high status members of StarAlliance, OneWorld, or SkyTeam. That means if you fly economy or premium economy (as I mostly do), when you fly internationally, even on an airline that has a formal alliance with VA, you will not have lounge access abroad, quite often won’t have access to priority boarding, and cannot ever use flyer miles or status credits to upgrade. And as mentioned, when flying abroad, at best you will be on a VA partner. Never on VA itself. It then becomes even more complex: if the flight is booked directly with VA or the partner airline, there might be exceptions to these rules. If the flights are booked through a travel agent, you’re completely excluded from enjoying any benefits usually accorded to high-status frequent flyers. On top of that, VA has no lounges at any of Australia's international departure points. They buy access to a 3rd party lounge called The House (where the service in my experience has been pretty awful). But on a recent trip to China, flying a VA partner (Hainan Airlines), departing from Melbourne I was not able to get access to a lounge before departure - even as a VA Platinum member, flying a VA partner, and while in Australia. In addition, as a VA Platinum member VA provides 4 Business Class upgrades a year. Good luck trying to use them! Despite the frequency of my travel, I am able to use 1 or 2 a year at most. The T&Cs are so complex, and so clearly designed to make their use impossible, that the offer of upgrades to high status flyers should be regarded as misleading. I’ve communicated these issues to the Velocity CEO. It’s made no difference at all. Why bother? So if you are contemplating throwing in your lot and restricting your travel to one or other of the Australian airlines in order to avail yourself of the benefits accorded to high-frequency travellers, go with Qantas. Virgin’s Velocity is like Virgin Australia: a rinky-dink minnow pretending to operate in the same space as the behemoth that is Qantas. Virgin’s Velocity is simply a waste of time.