Virgin Raises Lounge Membership Prices

kangarooflyer88

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Saw this reported on ExecutiveTraveller:
From July 1, annual membership rises to $450 a year. At the same time, a $99 joining fee (which is waived at present) is also being reintroduced for all new non-Lifetime memberships, plus those renewed more than a month after they’ve lapsed.

Although it doesn’t impact me since Virgin lounge access is free when flying with them as an AmEx Platinum cardholder, but may be a big deal for those who don’t fly enough to earn status but do fly enough where a membership may be worthwhile. I also wonder at this point whether it might make more sense to get a Priority Pass membership given the similar price and the substantially more lounges one has access to.

 
I have both Priority Pass and Platinum Velocity. I like the Virgin lounges but I do fly internationally (and from lounge and PP less Launceston), so the PP is great (free with my credit card). Used both together in Sydney last week - better food at T2 than the lounge offering.
 
Do many people even pay for these? I mean, many who want access probably fly quite a bit so would likely or status.

My other half’s employer put out a QF Club offer many years ago for staff, nobody at all took up the offer at all, top asx employer also, no shortage of potential takers.
 
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who don’t fly enough to earn status but do fly enough where a membership may be worthwhile.
My hot take is that if you don't fly enough to earn VA Gold then you don't fly enough to make a membership worthwhile.

You need 500 SC to qualify and 400 to retain VA Gold, and the shortest domestic routes gives a minimum of 15 SC for a choice fare. That translates to at most 34 sectors to qualify and 27 to retain. If you don't make that number of segments that means you are flying, on average, less than 2 trips per month. That's excluding Flybus, AMEX or bouns SC promos as well.

VA domestic lounges are nothing fancy really. I'd spend my money at an airport restaurant for a proper meal. And it's not like you have to get to the airport super ealy for domestic flight either - I rarely find myself spending more than 15 minutes at the lounge on a normal day.
 
My hot take is that if you don't fly enough to earn VA Gold then you don't fly enough to make a membership worthwhile.

You need 500 SC to qualify and 400 to retain VA Gold, and the shortest domestic routes gives a minimum of 15 SC for a choice fare. That translates to at most 34 sectors to qualify and 27 to retain. If you don't make that number of segments that means you are flying, on average, less than 2 trips per month. That's excluding Flybus, AMEX or bouns SC promos as well.
and if you are not flying that much, then use the $450 to buy a sandwich and soft drink at one of the airport outlets.
 
I have both Priority Pass and Platinum Velocity. I like the Virgin lounges but I do fly internationally (and from lounge and PP less Launceston), so the PP is great (free with my credit card). Used both together in Sydney last week - better food at T2 than the lounge offering.
What's nice about Priority Pass is that you have access to the Rex lounge domestically which are at many terminals Virgin operates from. Additionally, you don't need to be flying Virgin to be using those lounges. Indeed, the Sydney Rex lounge was my lounge of choice when flying JetStar. I also find it tends to be more exclusive and cozy than Virgin.
Do many people even pay for these? I mean, many who want access probably fly quite a bit so would likely or status.
Where I could see this being useful is if you cut your teeth on short haul domestic flights with Virgin (i.e. Sydney to Melbourne). If you are, heaven forbid on a Lite fare, you'd need to fly a whopping 80 times just to requalify for Gold and if you are flying Choice, that'll still be 26 flights.
My other half’s employer put out a QF Club offer many years ago for staff, nobody at all took up the offer at all, top asx employer also, no shortage of potential takers.
Presumably they earned status through flying. I'd imagine if you work for a top ASX employer, you are booked on Flex fares due to an agreement the company has with Qantas, meaning it won't take much flying to get somewhere, especially if travelling domestically. And Qantas Gold is way better than Qantas Club. For one thing you can access partner lounges around the world. With Qantas Club it's just Qantas lounges, and a handful of JAL and AA lounges.
VA domestic lounges are nothing fancy really. I'd spend my money at an airport restaurant for a proper meal. And it's not like you have to get to the airport super ealy for domestic flight either - I rarely find myself spending more than 15 minutes at the lounge on a normal day.
They're nothing fancy but I'd argue that the catering is slightly better than Qantas domestic lounges.
and if you are not flying that much, then use the $450 to buy a sandwich and soft drink at one of the airport outlets.
I'd be surprised if you can even get a sandwich and a soft drink at an airport for only $450, these days!
 
What's nice about Priority Pass is that you have access to the Rex lounge domestically which are at many terminals Virgin operates from. Additionally, you don't need to be flying Virgin to be using those lounges. Indeed, the Sydney Rex lounge was my lounge of choice when flying JetStar. I also find it tends to be more exclusive and cozy than Virgin.

Where I could see this being useful is if you cut your teeth on short haul domestic flights with Virgin (i.e. Sydney to Melbourne). If you are, heaven forbid on a Lite fare, you'd need to fly a whopping 80 times just to requalify for Gold and if you are flying Choice, that'll still be 26 flights.

Presumably they earned status through flying. I'd imagine if you work for a top ASX employer, you are booked on Flex fares due to an agreement the company has with Qantas, meaning it won't take much flying to get somewhere, especially if travelling domestically. And Qantas Gold is way better than Qantas Club. For one thing you can access partner lounges around the world. With Qantas Club it's just Qantas lounges, and a handful of JAL and AA lounges.

They're nothing fancy but I'd argue that the catering is slightly better than Qantas domestic lounges.

I'd be surprised if you can even get a sandwich and a soft drink at an airport for only $450, these days!
Not quite that bad. $450 will get you quite a bit.
 
Plenty of peeps buy VA lounge and QP access. Unless you can do one or two international trips pa, it does take a lot of domestic whY flights to earn SG (let alone WP) and many are excited at getting to PS.
My other half’s employer put out a QF Club offer many years ago for staff, nobody at all took up the offer at all, top asx employer also, no shortage of potential takers.
That seems very unusual unless your other half’s business meant everyone was regularly flying around the would in J? Was it comp QP or a discounted corporate rate the employees had to pay?

I‘ve had both comp QP and VA lounge paid by my employer over the years and didn‘t hesitate a nanosecond to take the offer.
 
I initially bough the lounge pass (I'm gold now) as at the time I knew I would be flying a bit over the next 6 - 12 months.

The thing that made it worthwhile for me was that I could take my wife and 2 kids into the lounge (even when they were not flying).
 
Unless you can do one or two international trips pa, it does take a lot of domestic whY flights to earn SG (let alone WP) and many are excited at getting to PS.
And as long as you meet the minimum eligible sector requirements, family pooling can help to reach SC targets to attain/retain status. In future there’s always a chance VA ends family pooling, (hopefully not)
 
Good. Lounges are a zoo most of the time these days. As previously stated, if you cant get gold then you really are not a frequent flyer. I guess people will still buy it but its not going to affect me as if they dont fly enough to get gold, then their presence will be minimal.
 
Good. Lounges are a zoo most of the time these days. As previously stated, if you cant get gold then you really are not a frequent flyer. I guess people will still buy it but its not going to affect me as if they dont fly enough to get gold, then their presence will be minimal.

Really? I’ve found the VA2 lounges to be pretty sparse of late, maybe it’s just the time / routes I’m on though.
 
I seriously don't know why anyone would pay for a lounge membership, outside of obtaining it from status or business class. It's certainly not for the food offerings!
Umpteenth visit to MEL T3 in the past months and it's an ongoing supply of Vege and Chicken Empanadas on every visit.
Although right now they have lunch/dinner pancakes, to the children's delights.
 
I only go in to use my 2 VFF left over entry certs, think I have 1 left.
Since covid, havent flown that much, but VFF has carried on my PS status,still classed as that, FB gives a few SC, but I think I would probably fall back to NR soon.
Would I pay $65 per entry (again), nak, since VA2.5, (VolAdmin), a lot of things have gone downhill... in the lounge.
Things like coffee machines not working, or instead of 3, having only 1 working, or go to the barista to have one made up.
MEL T3 far left coffee station, facing the gates, used to be open to spread the # of people getting coffee or those small biscuits, but that far left one has now been closed.
Facing the bar, the right hand side coffee machine was out of order, dont know it was to save money, and has it been repaired.
Guess that Bain must need a ROI for their non core activities, til they sell off, so raising the lounge annual fee and joining fee, is one way of doing it without touching fares itself.
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Not sure, but if a person is a VA the lounge member, and flies Y to say, SIN and back, would that VFF member get SK basic lounge entry in SIN?
Yes, I do realize that VA does not have any lounges/liaisons in any Aus int airport anymore.
 
My hot take is that if you don't fly enough to earn VA Gold then you don't fly enough to make a membership worthwhile.
Some don't have the means to purchase flexible tickets or make Gold.

A sandwich and a couple of beers/wines in the terminal would cost $25-$30? If you fly once a month on cheap airfares you'd pretty much have the lounge membership fee covered? And if there are 2 of you travelling then even more value.
 
Some don't have the means to purchase flexible tickets or make Gold.
Choice costs $15-$25 more than Lite and have mostly the same cancellation/change policy until day of flight - its not a flexible fare by any measure. You can't be seriously suggesing you'd take the Lite savings yet immediately spend $500 on a lounge membership? As I've calculated, if don't really need to be flying that much to quanlify for Gold if you buy Choice not Lite.

If you fly once a month on cheap airfares you'd pretty much have the lounge membership fee covered?
If you are after cheap airfare, then it makes even less sense to be locked in by VA. Save the lounge membership fee for a sandwhich or Macca's at the airport and then save even more by flying with whatever airlines that offers the cheapest fare at that time. Jetstar fares are usually 20-30 less than VA Lite around the same time barring any major sales. Rex often provides great deals as well if you are not locked in by the FFP
 
Choice costs $15-$25 more than Lite and have mostly the same cancellation/change policy until day of flight - its not a flexible fare by any measure. You can't be seriously suggesing you'd take the Lite savings yet immediately spend $500 on a lounge membership? As I've calculated, if don't really need to be flying that much to quanlify for Gold if you buy Choice not Lite.
24 x $25 to earn 360 SCs still not enough for Gold.

Then there's those that earn Velocity points from cards or shopping.

We look at things from a frequent flyer perspective but we're a very small percentage.
 
I'm sure the VA lounge is getting worse as I sit here at PER. It's so limited in its offering. Scrambled eggs and baked beans ...how exciting! Bread and a toaster and some stale looking buns. It just looks sad. All the space and empty food counters ...
 

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