The Virgin Status Run That Wasn'tIf you’re just a little bit short of the requirements to reach a higher airline status tier, it can be tempting to undertake a status run. This is exactly what clipped_wings and her husband decided to do recently. This member’s husband had already earned enough Velocity status credits to maintain Virgin Australia Platinum status, but still needed two more qualifying “VA” flight sectors.

To earn Velocity status, you need to catch a minimum number of Virgin Australia-marketed flights in addition to earning the required status credits. (Otherwise, it would be possible to reach Platinum status by flying on partner airlines and never actually setting foot on a Virgin Australia plane.) The target seemed easy enough and this member had some complimentary Virgin Australia flights courtesy of their Amex credit cards to use up. So they booked a Virgin Australia status run; in this case, a same-day return trip from Sydney to Melbourne.

The plan was simple – fly to Melbourne and back without telling the kids.

So we calculated a devious plan: Feed the teens breakfast, tell them we’re headed over to the factory (on a Sunday – yeah right) for the day, then do a quick return run to Melbourne before they’ve looked up from their Battlefront V consoles.

We were each owed an Amex comp flight and were running out of 2018 to redeem them. So we booked for January and copped the few bucks in fees. The deal was made even more attractive by Flight 830 SYD-MEL @ 10am – which was an A330. Ha! I rang Velocity and upgraded us to Biz with 20,000 points – which is probably a stupid move given the flight time of one hour. But as I said: it was an A330 people! I scored 1A/2A for this sector, then booked us on VA853 home on the dreary B738.

Clipped_wings and her husband had a most enjoyable day feasting in the Virgin Australia lounges and on board the flight down to Melbourne. The upgrade from Sydney to Melbourne came through and it was a great flight down on the A330.

The couple arrived back in Sydney on time and enjoyed one more visit to the Virgin Australia lounge for some dinner. (After all, Virgin offers arrivals lounge access to its Platinum members… so, why not?)

The Virgin status run seemed like a successful day of travel… but one small yet important detail had been overlooked. As with reward seat bookings and other non-revenue tickets, the complimentary Amex flights don’t count as eligible sectors for earning Velocity status!

Laughing like a pair of cheeky kids, we thought we were so very clever with this quick trip. But the last laugh was on us. Velocity politely advised today that our Amex comp flights were not eligible sectors. So it looks like we have to book another flight somewhere for the day…

What’s the odds we can fool the kids twice?

The goal hadn’t been accomplished after all, but at least clipped_wings had some fun along the way!

Read this entertaining trip report on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Who flies to Melbourne and back – just for Status? WE DO!

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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]