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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By Gary1 | Aug 18, 2017, 03:11 PM
There would be a lot more seat available if people did not sit their bags on them, they sit i one seat and their bags on another, always a problem at every lounge across OZ
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By Jazzop | Aug 21, 2017, 02:28 PM
There would be a lot more seat available if people did not sit their bags on them, they sit i one seat and their bags on another, always a problem at every lounge across OZ


I don't see this at all.  SYD, OOL, and MEL last week were all full when I was there.  PER at 6am in the morning was good though. Plenty of people but it's a nice big lounge.

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By Luke49 | Aug 23, 2017, 11:39 AM
I'm one of the ones that has just reached Gold. For myself being in Melbourne and flying to Europe the choice was easy to go for Velocity. 
Qantas has shafted MEL pax and soon won't even fly to Dubai. Push you onto Emirates which doesn't have Premium Economy (yet anyway) and Cathay Pacific doesn't  fly where I want to go. 
SQ on the other hand does. I like PE being 6'5.
I also find it easier to earn Velocity Points then QFF points.
Maybe one reason MEL lounge getting busier. 
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By Brad Vincent | Aug 27, 2017, 12:16 AM
VA are slipping backwards daily. 

As a flyer doing 2-6 sectors a week and four time platinum velocity member .... I think my VA days are nearing an end.

- First three rows (economy x now) available to anyone who wants to pay!  Really .... 
- priority boarding ques are as long  as the general boarding.  And the VA staff don't monitor who's in the cues....
- no fly ahead on a getaway fare.
- Bags with priority tag hardly EVER come out first,
- A lounge that is more crowded than the outside waiting areas. 
- a boring food selection that never changes! ( and when lounge food becomes your staple diet ... it does matter! 
- terrible and badly handled status benefits with other airlines internationally. 
- No status greater than platinum.  Apparently there's a 'secret' invite only room inmelbourne (perhaps other cities) but if I'm 4 x platinum and never been invited ... not sure how you get in there.... 
- and don't even get me going on the 'snack' offered during service ..... Jesus!

All the money VA spend acquiring business travellers to commit to them and perceiving themselves as a premium airline ... yet in reality they offer not much to keep people loyal.....

We are only dedicated for so long .... there is another choice out there .     


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By declanr | Nov 30, 2017, 05:18 PM
Totally agree with the OP. I am into my fourth consecutive year as platinum and have seen a gradual change over that time, and not change for good. The priortiy boarding issue doesn't worry me so much. My real issue is with the lounges being so packed. Most of us fly peak times early morning or late afternoon. During these times you cannot get a seat. Sydney is a nightmare. Just last week my flight out of Sydney was delayed by an hour (no fault of the airline) - I ended up leaving the lounge as there was no room at all with standign room only. They need to make it more challengin to obtain gold.
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