To the dismay of many, Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer has released a program update that announces cuts to several member benefits when travelling with airline partners. These changes come as a significant blow to Velocity members, continuing the reduction of benefits for those members who hold elite status. In addition, the airline has announced CEO Paul Scurrah will leave Virgin Australia in early November.
In separate and somewhat humorous news, these developments follow reports of Virgin Australia crew taking sick leave to avoid being forced to serve business class passengers two-minute noodles.
In this post:
Velocity Frequent Flyer members will no longer earn Velocity Points, Status Credits or a Tier Bonus on codeshare flights. That includes those flights on partner airline metal with a Virgin Australia ‘VA’ flight number. Any retrospective claims for missing points and status credits must be submitted by 14 April 2021.
Although, in a rather strange move, Velocity members will continue to earn Points and Status Credits when travelling on partner airlines under their own flight numbers (eg. ‘EY’ for Etihad Airways and ‘SQ for Singapore Airlines)
In addition, Velocity members will continue to earn Tier Bonus when flying with Virgin Australia, Delta Air Lines and Etihad Airways.
Partner Airline Lounge Access
Velocity Platinum and Gold members will no longer have access to Alitalia, Hainan Airlines and Hong Kong Airlines airport lounges. Velocity Platinum and Gold members can continue to access all other eligible Velocity airline partner lounges.
Delta Air Lines
Velocity members will not be eligible for Complimentary Upgrades to Delta Comfort+ or have the ability to upgrade using points on Delta operated flights booked with a ‘VA’ flight number.
Velocity members will continue to receive frequent flyer benefits including the ability to earn and redeem points when flying with Delta, and lounge access still available to eligible members.
CEO Paul Scurrah resigns
Virgin has today confirmed that CEO Paul Scurrah will depart in early November as Virgin Australia completes its final handover to Bain Capital. At this stage, Jayne Hrdlicka is set to take up the position, with Bain citing her “strong aviation credentials” in a press release. Hrdlicka was a former senior partner with Bain Capital, and a key part of Bain’s successful bid to take control of Virgin Australia. She was also CEO of Jetstar from July 2012 to October 2017, which has sparked fear among many about Virgin Australia moving towards a low-cost model.
Despite this, the airline’s administrator today claimed that “Virgin Australia will not be repositioned as a low-cost carrier. Virgin Australia will be a ‘hybrid’ airline, offering great value to customers by delivering a distinctive Virgin experience at competitive prices. This will appeal to the full spectrum of travellers, from premium corporate through to more budget-focused customers.”
For now, we’ll have to wait to find out if this remains true when Bain Capital officially takes control next month.