Unlike Qantas, Virgin Australia doesn’t offer Lifetime Gold frequent flyer status to its most-travelled passengers – but does allow anybody to purchase a lifetime of Virgin Australia lounge access.
The privilege doesn’t come cheap: you’ll need to fork out a whopping $9,750 for a standard Virgin Australia ‘Lifetime Lounge’ membership if you’re under 60 years old, while a ‘Senior Lifetime Lounge’ card can be purchased for a reduced $6,750 for those aged 60 and above.
Both provide the same level of airport lounge access – but for the rest of your life, rather than the rest of the year as with a regular annual membership.
Here’s where you can use that Lifetime Lounge membership, and how to decide whether it’s worth the investment.
Lounge access for Virgin Australia Lifetime Lounge cardholders
When travelling onwards with Virgin Australia the same day, domestic lounge access can be had in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth (Terminals 1 & 2), Adelaide, Darwin, the Gold Coast, Cairns, Mackay and Alice Springs.
In Sydney and Brisbane, Lifetime Lounge cardholders can also make use of Virgin Australia Premium Entry – a privilege not extended to annual lounge members – being a secluded entrance to the airport terminal, leading into a private security screening point with direct access to the lounge.
When flying Virgin Australia internationally between Australia and New Zealand, access is provided to the Air New Zealand lounges as well, found in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown and Wellington: plus the domestically-located Virgin Australia lounges in Adelaide and the Gold Coast.
As an added benefit, when travelling on Air New Zealand flights between the same two countries, or on AirNZ domestic flights within New Zealand, lounge access is also provided in Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Cairns, Christchurch, Dunedin, Gold Coast, Hamilton, Invercargill, Melbourne and Napier.
(You can click on various cities above to explore the lounges and amenities offered in each destination, and in all cases, Lifetime Lounge members can bring one guest with them into the lounges at no cost.)
However, lounge access anywhere else, or when flying from the same cities to other international destinations or with other airlines, is not offered – so if you’re planning to fly to Los Angeles in Virgin Australia premium economy or economy, lounge access is not available at either airport.
It must also be said that airline partnerships can and do change over the years, so access to Air New Zealand lounges on those itineraries isn’t necessarily guaranteed for the rest of your life: only for as long as annual lounge members enjoy the same access.
Is Virgin Australia Lifetime Lounge membership worth the cost?
With annual Virgin Australia lounge membership retailing for $420 (plus a one-off joining fee of $330), a price tag of $9,750 for a Lifetime Lounge card makes that cost on-par with around 23 years of paid lounge membership at the current prices.
Velocity Silver frequent flyers can instead grab a discounted annual membership for just $300 with no joining fee, parting with $9,750 only after 33 years of consecutive membership.
So, consider your age now, and then add 23 or 33 years as your current and expected future frequent flyer tier dictates… do you still expect to be travelling as much by the time you reach that age, and on the routes and airlines covered by this membership?
If yes, then a Lifetime Lounge card could make sense – especially if you’re able to tax-deduct that membership or expense it against your business following advice from your accountant – but if not, an annual membership in the years you plan to travel could work out better in the long run.
To use another yardstick: Virgin Australia also sells access to its own lounges for $65 per person per visit, which you can pay on the day you fly: the lifetime price being equal to 150 one-off visits for an individual or 75 one-off visits for a pair always travelling together (as Lifetime Lounge members can be joined by a guest with each visit).
Certainly, the one-off and yearly lounge costs may change over the years – the advantage of a lifelong membership being that you never need to pay another cent, with the obvious downside of the large lump sum required to do so.
Buying a Virgin Australia Lifetime Lounge membership
Crunched the numbers, spoken to your accountant and decided that a Virgin Australia Lifetime Lounge membership is right for you?
You can purchase your membership over the phone by calling 1300 287 202 during business hours (Monday to Friday), or can email [email protected] to get the ball rolling.
These memberships can’t be purchased online – but given how much you’ll spending, be sure to use a points-earning credit card to get the most bang for your buck.
For instance, the no-annual-fee American Express Velocity Escape Card delivers two Velocity points per dollar spent with Virgin Australia (uncapped), providing 19,500 Velocity points atop your Lifetime Lounge purchase or 13,500 Velocity points with the discounted senior membership.
Or, pay with the American Express Velocity Platinum Card instead to earn 2.5 Velocity points per dollar spent on the same, being 24,375 Velocity points for full-priced lifetime memberships or 16,875 Velocity points for seniors, aside a $375 annual fee which includes a free return Virgin Australia domestic flight each year: on which you could make use of your new Lifetime Lounge membership.