LATEST | Virgin Australia has now opened its first invitation-only lounge, called 'The Club', at Sydney Airport – and as you'd expect, we're first with the details.
PREVIOUS | Virgin Australia is gearing up to launch its own version of the elite Qantas Chairman's Lounge with a VIP programme codenamed 'Invite+' as it battles for a larger slice of Australia's government and corporate travel pie.
The invitation-only club will be pitched towards Virgin's most highly-valued passengers – including politicians, celebrities and the upper ranks of Australia's largest companies.
Guests will reportedly have access to exclusive high-end airport lounges planned for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra.
When approached by Australian Business Traveller a Virgin Australia spokeswoman deftly declined to comment on Invite+.
Virgin serves up the VIP treatment
Also in keeping with the Qantas Chairman's Lounge playbook – a book which Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti wrote during his time as one of The Red Roo's most senior executives – guests at the invitation-only lounge will enjoy "premium guest services".
Earlier this year Borghetti revealed to Australian Business Traveller his plans for a Concierge service intended for the crème de la crème of Virgin's Velocity Frequent Flyers, saying it's for "certain -- obviously high-status -- people."
"There'll be someone meeting and greeting you on arrival at the terminal and taking you through. It's to make sure the experience through the airport is all fine. And if there's any issues you need help with, well, that's what they're there for."
Virgin Australia's push to expand its Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane lounges is well into the planning stage.
As previously reported, Virgin's flagship Sydney lounge will adopt a split-level design, while we believe Melbourne's lounge will expand lengthways through the curtained area on the far end of the lounge (as shown below).
Previous rumours suggested these airport lounges would boast dedicated areas for business-class passengers and Platinum members of its Velocity Frequent Flyer scheme – similar to the Qantas Business Lounges.
So who gets in..?
It's worth noting that the Chairman's Lounge and Invite+ programmes are less about frequent flyers and business traveller than the executives of companies which shovel a substantial amount of their travel budget towards the airline, as well as politicians and high court judges, along with the chair and CEO of major corporate accounts.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce once told Australian Business Traveller that the invitation-only Chairman's Lounge “is probably the most exclusive club in the country.”
“Membership is very sought after and it's a great asset for Qantas to utilise for our commercial endeavours.”
Membership to The Chairman's Lounge is restricted to 7,000 at any time, and the lounge is aptly named: the Chairman of Qantas, Leigh Clifford, personally signs off on each membership application, which lasts for two years.
Stephanie Tully, Head of Airline Loyalty at Qantas, says that membership of The Chairman’s Lounge "tends to be decision-makers, CEOs and celebrities" rather than super frequent flyers.
More news on executive airport lounges from Australian Business Traveller