Is it time for changes to Velocity?

By Jazzop | Aug 12, 2017, 08:13 AM
I've been flying regularly with VA for 4 years now.  I'm on my third year as Platinum.  Over the past 12 months I've noticed a significant increase in Gold and Platinum flyers.  On Some flights there are more people in the priority boarding queue than the normal queue. And the Sydney lounge is generally standing room only (even with upstairs open).  Have had similar experiences in BNE, OOL and MEL.

So, has the relentless pursuit of Velocity members and more importantly making it easy to get Gold and Platinum for business flyers mean VA now have a de-valued product?  No point having lounge access if you can't get a seat (or get in as has happened in OOL).  No point having priority boarding if half the plane is there with you.  No point getting access to economy X if you can't get a seat.  No point having the upgrades (for Platinum) if you can only use them on non-peak flights (noting that VA seem to be releasing less and less business seats for use with the upgrade passes). 

Of course not every flight or trip to lounge is like this, but the Sydney lounge is always at or near capacity.  Also this is my experience on the routes I fly most.

So, if my experience is similar to the majority, is it time for VA to tighten the earning tables.  Perhaps no more family pooling for status credits?  Remove status credits from Fly Buys (although this would be a negligible contributor)? 

Thoughts?
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By trisreed | Aug 12, 2017, 01:47 PM
Totally agree with you re: SYD lounge. Yet to find it "packed" at PER, CBR and MEL myself.
Perhaps this might be an effect from the "Pilot Gold" memberships that are offered to businesses in their Accelerate program  (and flybuys customers it seems on occasion), as well as the complimentary lounge passes from the myriad credit cards that now offer them. 
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By Brassy | Aug 12, 2017, 02:31 PM
You may see it start to decrease once status credits from AirNZ dry up later in the year. It's the only way I've managed to reach WP; combining VA family pooling with a long haul AirNZ flight. 
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By lonetraveller | Aug 12, 2017, 03:34 PM
I haven't flown a Virgin flight in around 10 years i would say, received an email from Virgin providing me with complementary Gold membership (I think i must have advised someone that i was QF Platinum), i tried it for the first time a few weeks back in Sydney, have to say i loved the kerb side check in, but the lounge i totally understand what you mean, i said to my work colleague 'this lounge looks like a food court'. So many people, i assume they are chasing a customer base and the 'priority' check in, yeah, not so priority!
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By russell | Aug 12, 2017, 08:01 PM
Regarding lounges, the Qantas Club in Sydney is not much better. Always crowded.
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By mcglynp | Aug 14, 2017, 10:09 AM
This is a good question,  not sure what changes Velocity can make.   The weakness of Velocity is that their points have limited value due to the lack of good redemption partners and general international availability.  To compensate they have used family pooling of status credits.  Which makes the program attractive as you can get status easily.  But then leads to lounges that can resemble a zoo on any given day. 

 Any tightening of status earn ( i.e Drop pooling ) , would need to be matched by a substantial improvement in status benefits to incentivise the accrual of points.  The current platinum offering is fairly woeful, so there is plenty of space to move.   Even without creating plat lounges, you could make the near useless upgrade certificates useable for all fare types,  open up free economy x on international not just domestic.   Increase award availability for gold/platinum.  etc The other benefit would be to free up some lounge space which would also improve the experience. 

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By xtfer | Aug 14, 2017, 03:03 PM
VA could do a lot more with outreach and communications with its Platinum's, if it wanted to. For example...

  • Chauffeur pickups
  • Loyalty events
  • Freebies
  • Lounge renewal (and perhaps, segregation)
  • Better inflight food
  • etcetera...

But all this costs money, which they don't seem to have.
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By Steve987 | Aug 14, 2017, 06:05 PM
I've often thought about switching but have always held back at the last minute because of feedback that the hard product is somewhat equivalent but that the soft product and lounge products are inferior (lounges - very much so, in-flight closer but still behind), the international network being no where near equivalent to One world and there is no lifetime status equivalent.

That is a lot to change before they are competitive, but they really either need to compete harder on price or match on service if they want to exist in ten years. Given we know Qantas will chase them down if they go the price route, Virgin has no choice but to improve the way it operates and fast.
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