Loyalty Dilemma: Qantas or Virgin?

Loyalty Dilemma: Qantas or Virgin?Choosing between Qantas and Virgin Australia is a common dilemma facing Australian frequent flyers. Although Qantas has a stronger route network – both domestically and internationally – sticking with Virgin can have its advantages.

Last year, AFF member juliusg flew a mixture of both Qantas and Virgin Australia in Business class. This year, this member has decided to direct their loyalty to just one airline. In deciding between airlines, juliusg compared them on 11 different criteria and ultimately decided to stick with Virgin Australia and its Velocity Frequent Flyer program.

When choosing an airline, there are a few different things to consider. The quality of the on-board service is definitely important. But if you fly regularly, the benefits offered by the airline’s frequent flyer program can also be a deciding factor.

In comparing the on-board service, juliusg‘s criteria included seat comfort, cabin crew, catering and entertainment. Virgin Australia came out on top overall for the check-in and boarding process – Qantas does priority boarding extremely poorly – as well as food and on-board service from the cabin crew. But Qantas was given a better score for in-flight entertainment and lounges, as well as its meals on domestic Economy flights.

The Qantas Frequent Flyer and Velocity Frequent Flyer programs each have their own advantages and disadvantages, many of which have been discussed ad nauseam on AFF. In Velocity’s favour, it takes far fewer status credits to earn status with Virgin AustraliaFamily pooling can also help. However, Qantas is the only Australian airline to offer lifetime status.

Redeeming points for long-haul Business flights (this member uses Los Angeles as a point of comparison) can be challenging with both programs. With Qantas, Business reward seats to Los Angeles are often sold out before they’re even made available to Bronze and Silver frequent flyers. But Virgin doesn’t typically release any seats at all until about a week before departure.

Other AFF members have mixed views about Qantas and Virgin, and there are many different reasons given for choosing one airline over the other.

Instead of earning Platinum status with one airline, some frequent flyers choose to go for “double gold” or Gold status with both airlines. This can bring the best of both worlds if you’re not completely loyal to one airline, or perhaps your work travel uses a mixture of both carriers.

Which airline are you loyal to, and why? Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: VA and QF Plat. Now we choose one


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]