Virgin Australia is now offering upgrades at its airport lounges, enabling travellers to bump up to business class shortly before their domestic flight.
The scheme, trialled in recent months in Virgin's Melbourne and Brisbane lounges, lets you use Velocity Frequent Flyer points or trade in one of the four Complimentary Fare Upgrades issued each year to Platinum members.
Requests can be made at the lounge's service desk through to 40 minutes before the flight, but you'll need to be booked on a Flexi-grade fare – the cheaper Saver Lite and Saver fares don't qualify.
That will cruel the deal for many travellers – on a Sydney-Perth flight the gap between the Saver and Flexi fares are typically $200 one-way, with Saver Lite at $239, Saver at $259 and Flexi at $439.
A points-based upgrade at the lounge will cost the same as if it was requested through Virgin Australia's call centre.
That works out at 9,900 points for sitting at the pointy end between Sydney and Perth; 7,400 points between Melbourne and Brisbane; and 4,900 points for the debatable benefits of an upgrade between Sydney and Melbourne.
In related news, Virgin Australia has also added the prestigious Langham hotels group to its Velocity partner program, with frequent flyers now able to earn Velocity points with every stay.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.