Many frequent flyers take airline status and its benefits for granted. Recently though, a member asked a question about Virgin Australia lounge access without status. They knew it was possible on Qantas through the use of lounge passes, but were unsure if the same applied on Virgin Australia.
I’ve booked flights to Melbourne for February for my partner and I flying Virgin. I was hoping to pick up some lounge passes to use in Melbourne before out return flight to Brisbane as it’s a bit of a special occasion. However when I look around I’ve noticed that almost all of the passes available seem to be for Qantas. Am I missing something here or do Virgin passes seem a lot harder to find?
The problem stems from a change to the Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer scheme in 2012. Previously, upon attaining Silver status a member would be issued with two physical lounge passes, for one-time entry into a lounge. Further to that, passes could be purchased online for AUD$55 each. This was later enhanced in favour of electronic passes that were earned every 100 status credits. Finally, the whole concept was axed with the resultant scheme including passes that are non-transferrable if you do earn them, and only at the Silver frequent flyer level.
Nope, they are all electronic and as above, linked to a members FF card.
This is not to say that you cannot buy lounge passes anymore. You can, but only with 10,000 points up to 6 months ahead of time or for AUD$65 at the door. This may seem like a sound investment, but for a little more than 10,000 points and a small cash payment you could be sat in Business class on a shorter route, and this comes with free lounge access. Likewise, AUD$65 can go a long way at an airport coffee shop. There are also time limits placed on those using lounge passes, of a maximum 2 hours access.
There are other ways to gain access though. Virgin Australia allows access by a number of airline partners, including Air Berlin, Air New Zealand, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic elite members. They offer a paid annual membership, and select credit cards do provide lounge passes each year.
If you have a Velocity Amex, you get 2 free entry passes pa. Annual fee is $350 but they give you a return economy flight for that too. You generally get bonus points on signing up too. It varies but think it’s about 50K at the moment.
However, if you are faced with the prospect of air travel without a lounge, sometimes the best plan can be to post your details in our Lounge Meetups threads. Here an Australian Frequent Flyer member may be able to offer you the lounge access that you require. This is a two-way street though, so if you feel like repaying the favour in the future, you can also offer to guest members in through these threads.
Join the discussion HERE.