Virgin Australia aims to dramatically boost the number of members of its Velocity Frequent Flyer scheme in the next three years, by which time the airline’s CEO John Borghetti expects Velocity to be transformed “from a frequent flyer program to a broad-based loyalty program in its own right”.
Borghetti wants to see Velocity’s membership base grow from a current tally of 3.2 million to 5 million, and he says the program is already growing at “1,600 to 1,700 people per day”.
Velocity enjoyed a growth spurt of 700,000 new members over the past 12 months, including an ambitious status match against the Qantas Frequent Flyer program which piped high-value business travellers rather than point-earning supermarket shoppers onto Virgin’s books.
The uptake of the status match program and the subsequent retention rate was “way above my expectation and the business case we put together” Borghetti tells Australian Business Traveller, “even allowing for some people who retained Velocity membership but earned at a lower tier, such as going from Platinum to Gold.”
But there’s much more to come, Borghetti says, speaking of a “quantum step change” which recently-appointed Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Neil Thompson – a former top-ranking manager of Qantas’ own frequent flyer scheme – is charged to deliver.
Rumours of a retail alliance with the Coles FlyBuy program are certain to swirl once again, and would of course position Virgin directly against the highly successful Qantas-Woolworths partnership.
Virgin this week also announced a Velocity double points promotion in which all bookings made through to September 30 for flights from October 1 to November 30 will earn twice the number of Velocity points.
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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.