Virgin Cuts Status Credits on Cheap Tickets

virgin-austThe number of Velocity status credits you’ll earn on Virgin Australia’s cheapest tickets will soon decrease by up to 50%.

Status credits count towards qualifying for elite status with the airline. 500 status credits must be earned within 12 months to qualify for Virgin Gold status. Platinum membership requires 1,000 status credits.

The changes come as Virgin rebrands its fares and introduces a new pricing structure. Previously, cheap “Saver” and more expensive “Flexi” fares were offered on domestic flights. But on 7 September 2016, Virgin Australia replaced these with three new fare types: Getaway, Elevate and Freedom.

The “Getaway” and “Freedom” fares appear to be priced identically to the former Saver and Flexi fares, respectively. However, from 30 January 2017, the number of status credits earned on a Getaway fare will be slashed. Flights up to 750 miles in length, such as Sydney-Melbourne and Adelaide-Sydney, will now earn just 5 status credits (down from 10, or a 50% reduction). Plus, Gold and Platinum frequent flyers will no longer be able to Fly Ahead on a Getaway fare. The bonus points usually afforded to flyers with Velocity status will also be forfeited when booking a Getaway ticket.

But it’s not all bad news. Flyers on more expensive Elevate or Freedom tickets will see a modest increase in status credits over previous levels.

Many members are angry at Virgin’s move to reduce benefits for passengers booked on the cheapest tickets, without decreasing ticket prices accordingly.

The new lower-level fares are precisely the same as the old lower-level fares, but we are to receive fewer status credits. So, it’s a substantial devaluation of the program for self-funded travellers, and at this point I can’t see any advantage for that group in remaining with Velocity over QANTAS.

Numerous Virgin flyers are considering jumping the loyalty ship to Qantas over this latest devaluation to the Velocity program.

So after careful evaluation of earning rates with my flight patterns I have come to the conclusion that VA are not worth continuing with.

I have just booked a whole bunch of QF flights for myself and my family that would have otherwise gone to VA. If they think they can halve the SC earn rate on the cheapest fares, then increase the price to earn the same SC as before they are delusional… Goodbye Virgin, it has been fun, but you got greedy.

However, some members believe they will actually benefit from these changes.

To be honest, I was really worried [status credit] earning would be made a lot worse than this. I think this new structure will benefit me.

Further, one member opines that Velocity Frequent Flyer still has a competitive advantage, due to the lower number of status credits required to maintain status and the family pooling scheme.

Don’t forget that even if Getaway SCs are going down, the requirements to attain status with VA are still pretty low, particularly compared to QF. And, they still have pooling.

Will you be affected by these latest changes? Have your say HERE.


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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]