Qantas & Virgin to Give Prizes for COVID-19 Vaccination

Qantas and Virgin Australia 737s
Qantas and Virgin Australia will both offer incentives for all Australians to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Photo: Jonathan Wong.

Virgin Australia has joined Qantas – plus a growing number of other airlines & tourism businesses – promising prizes and other incentives to anyone who gets vaccinated against COVID-19.

Last month, Qantas announced plans to offer generous prizes to Australians who can prove they have been immunised against COVID-19, which could include things like frequent flyer points, status credits or flight vouchers. Qantas has also hinted that it would give away 10 generous “mega prizes” which could include free flights for a year and free hotel accommodation.

“There are already a lot of good reasons to get a vaccine as soon as you’re able to, and we’d be happy to add another one to the list. Hopefully, other companies are looking at incentive options as well,” Qantas Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully said at the time.

Indeed, they are. Virgin Australia yesterday revealed that it will also run a national competition which the airline is calling “VA-X & Win”. One lucky winner will receive a million Velocity Frequent Flyer points, while other prizes will include free Business Class flights and smaller quantities of Velocity points. The competition will be open to all Australians over the age of 18.

Virgin is also running a separate competition for its staff members, with prizes to include additional annual leave and lounge memberships.

Free Luxury Escapes vouchers

Luxury Escapes is already offering free $200 vouchers to the first one million vaccinated Australians who request a voucher by 30 September 2021.

To be eligible, you would just need to have received your first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Luxury Escapes vouchers will be redeemable for international “Lux Limited Time Exclusive” offers (outside of Australia) and will expire on 30 June 2022.

Other airlines are also running competitions

Qantas and Virgin Australia are not the only airlines offering their customers an extra incentive for getting vaccinated.

For example, United Airlines is running a competition where Americans can upload a copy of their vaccination certificates to enter a draw to win one of five grand prizes of a year’s worth of free United flights for two people to anywhere in the world, and in any class of travel (including Polaris Business Class). An additional 30 lucky winners will receive a free roundtrip flight to any United destination – again, in any class of travel.

The United Airlines "Your Shot to Fly Sweepstakes" promotion.
The United Airlines “Your Shot to Fly Sweepstakes” promotion.

Cathay Pacific, meanwhile, is offering a private party on board an A321neo as the grand prize in its competition for Hong Kong residents, along with lots of prizes of Asia Miles.

Why are airlines doing this?

“With more dream destinations reopening for travel (ciao, Roma!), your COVID-19 vaccine is your ticket to the world”, United Airlines says on the webpage promoting its competition.

Unfortunately, Australia’s international borders are still largely closed. But this could change once a majority of Australians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The airlines know this, and of course it’s in their interests for borders to reopen as quickly as possible.

“What the latest lockdown in Melbourne and the evolving situation in Sydney has taught us, is the sooner we can all get vaccinated, the sooner we can get on with our lives, without the constant fear and uncertainty that come with lockdowns, restrictions and closed borders,” a Virgin Australia Group spokesperson said.

But the airlines are also selling these competitions as a way of assisting the government with the vaccine rollout and helping to protect more Australians.

“We are proud to have served the Australian community in so many ways over the past twenty years. The VA-X & Win competition is just the next instalment of our service, and is our way of helping boost vaccination numbers to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Australians,” the Virgin Australia spokesperson said.

The Qantas and Virgin Australia competitions will open later this year, once all adults are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

If this idea catches on, many more Australian businesses could offer similar incentives once the vaccine rollout in Australia gathers pace.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qantas proposal to reward people who vaccinate with flight credits/points

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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]