This article is part of our ongoing Business Travel 101 series for newcomers to the world of business travel.
Virgin Australia Velocity Gold status is the target of many frequent flyers as it's easier to obtain than Platinum, while still providing many premium perks like airport lounge access and other priority benefits.
This shiny Gold card is yours after earning 500 status credits and notching up four eligible flights in a year: then, you'll only need 400 status credits in future years (plus one eligible flight) to extend your status for another 12 months.
Australian Business Traveller takes a look at the main drawcards of Velocity Frequent Flyer Gold status.
1. Lounge access for two
You now have Virgin Australia lounge access for the duration of your Gold status, allowing you and a guest to visit one of the airline's twelve lounges across Australia, before a Virgin Australia flight. Two children aged 3-12 years may also join you, as can infants aged two years and under.
Domestic lounge access after a Virgin Australia flight is also allowed, subject to availability, making it a perfect place to relax after reaching your destination, even if just for a quick coffee before continuing with your day.
2. Priority check-in, security screening, boarding and baggage delivery
The fast-track lanes for check-in really do cut down queue times during peak periods of travel, especially in places like Sydney and Melbourne where the setup is still mainly counter check-in desks.
Premium Entry to the lounges also cuts down on security screening time, although dedicated priority lanes in the general security area do exist in other major airports, and in Brisbane for guests who don't want to walk down to the Premium Entry facility, or for when it's closed.
At the boarding gate, Gold frequent flyers, along with business class passengers and Platinum cardholders, can also board via the priority lane.
All your luggage will be tagged with a priority tag, but the execution can still be hit-and-miss, depending on the ground staff at your final destination.
3. Fly Ahead: moving to an earlier flight for free
If you arrive at the airport earlier than your flight, you can request to Fly Ahead on the next available flight free of charge, as can up to three companions travelling with you on the same journey.
This isn't available when travelling on the lowest-cost Getaway economy fares, but is available on the mid-level Elevate fares, fully-flexible Freedom tickets and when travelling on flights booked using frequent flyer points.
When flying with carry-on baggage only, you can make your request at the Virgin Australia Lounge or the Service Desk, although if bringing along a checked bag, you'll need to ask at the priority check-in counter before your bags are checked-in.
Fly Ahead may not be possible if you're in the middle of a multi-flight itinerary, however, and a seat must be available on your intended flight so that no other travellers are displaced.
4. Guaranteed economy reward seats for an annual family trip
Once a year, you can request up to four return economy reward seats to any Virgin Australia domestic destination.
This is a useful, under-publicised perk that could see you nab seats to a popular place during peak school holiday periods, or to fly somewhere that is usually expensive, such as regional towns.
If there aren’t many options from your home city, Velocity may offer to fly you to a different city to commence your journey, free of charge.
The only drawback is the need to request at least six months in advance, and have a three-day window for departure and return (one day on either side of the desired date). But if you know you want to visit family during Easter next year, then be sure to pick up the phone before October this year.
5. One-off status match with a hotel and car hire partner
A Velocity Gold flyer can request a one-off ‘instant status’ deal valid for at least 12 months of:
- IHG Rewards Club Gold or Hilton Honors Gold, and either
- Europcar Privilege Executive or Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star
If you know that you’ll maintain Gold for a few years, it’s best to hold off on these until there’s a year you can make the most of it, as these are one-off offers and will not be granted again in future years, even if you drop down from Gold and requalify again at a later date.
However, if you use these Gold matches and subsequently become Platinum, then you’ll still be able to access the Platinum-level offer.
Along with perks listed above, you can also bring an extra checked bag when travelling domestically (as can Velocity Silver), and if requesting an upgrade using Velocity points that's not confirmed straight away, will benefit from increased priority on the upgrade waitlist.