Virgin Australia overhauls fares, Fly Ahead; introduces seat selection fees

Virgin Australia overhauls fares, Fly Ahead; introduces seat selection fees

Virgin Australia will revamp its line-up of economy, premium economy and business class fares from September 7 2016, expanding to nine ticket categories which will be marketed under the 'Fares For You’ banner.

The airline will also begin charging seat selection fees to travellers on lower-priced fares, including Velocity Gold and Platinum frequent flyers, from the same date.

Restrictions on the popular 'Fly Ahead' perk are too being introduced for the airline's high flyers, with tier bonuses for Silver members and above also axed from the cheap seats and new restrictions placed on some flight upgrades.

Here’s what’s changing and how it affects you.

Domestic fares rebranded, new fare types introduced

Guests flying in domestic and international business class currently see a single Business fare when booking. From next month this will be joined by Business Saver, offering a lower price but with less flexibility on flight changes and cancellations.

Domestic economy fares are reinvented under the Getaway, Elevate and Freedom banners.

Those will all continue to include checked baggage, inflight snacks and access to inflight entertainment, with Freedom positioned as the new fully-flexible ticket while Elevate fares offer a little flexibility for changes in your travel plans.

Five new trans-Tasman fares

In addition to Business Saver arriving for business class flyers, the current array of economy Seat, Seat+Bag, Saver and Flexi fares across the pond are replaced by Go, Go Plus, Getaway and Freedom.

Go fares will include beverages but exclude checked baggage – much like the old Seat tickets – with Go Plus offering a checked bag; Getaway adds food, and Freedom gives you the whole shebang.

Premium Saver fares will remain available on Virgin Australia codeshare flights operated by Air New Zealand, while the full-price Premium Economy fares will now be known just as Premium.

New carry-on only international fares

As across the Tasman, Go fares which exclude checked luggage will also be sold en route to all other Virgin Australia short-haul international destinations, including on flights to Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The other Go Plus, Getaway and Freedom choices will also replace the current fare structures on these routes, while Business Saver again joins Business at the pointy end.

More new fares on Los Angeles, Abu Dhabi flights

Saver and Flexi fares are also out on Virgin Australia’s longer flights to Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi, replaced by Getaway, Elevate and Freedom fares to mirror the airline’s new domestic ticket types.

Business Saver again joins Business to offer more variety in business class, while the existing Premium Saver and Premium fares remain.

New seat selection fees on discounted seats

Choosing your seat before you fly may now cost a pretty penny – even if your wallet holds a Silver, Gold or Platinum Velocity frequent flyer card.

While Virgin hasn't yet revealed how much seat selection will cost, that surcharge will kick in when choosing your seat more than 48 hours before departure on all international Go fares (including to New Zealand), and also on Go Plus fares, except across the Tasman.

You may still enjoy lounge access, but choosing your seat could cost you extra...

It will also apply before check-in opens if you're booked on a Getaway fare on all domestic and some international flights (including to Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi), with the exception of Getaway fares between Australia and New Zealand where no fee apples.

Velocity Platinum, Gold still get front row seats

However, Platinum and Gold members of the Velocity scheme will continue to be automatically seated in the front of the economy cabin – including the prized Row 3 for Platinums – under the new fare scheme.

They'll need pay the as-yet-unrevealed seat selection fee only to nominate a specific seat within that block.

Read more: Virgin Australia clarifies frequent flyer seat selection under new fares

'Fly Ahead' discontinued on cheap tickets

Velocity Gold and Platinum members may no longer switch to an earlier flight in the Virgin Australia lounge when booked on the least-expensive domestic economy tickets.

Selecting a domestic Getaway fare will see you confined to your original flight, unless you pay a flight change fee and any fare difference, as you would for a regular flight change.

Gold and Platinum travellers on the higher-priced Elevate, Freedom, Business Saver and Business domestic fares may continue to request a 'Fly Ahead', but as Virgin Australia notes, "fees may apply":

[Click the image above to enlarge it.]

Changes to Silver, Gold, Platinum tier bonuses

Silver, Gold and Platinum Velocity frequent flyers currently earn a 'tier bonus' on Virgin Australia flights: that's 50% more points at the Silver level, 75% more points for Gold members and 100% – or double points – for Platinum cardholders.

But from September 7, flying on a domestic Getaway fare also means no tier bonus: or in other words, top-tier Platinum members will earn no more points than a Red-level member taking their first Virgin Australia flight.

Members will continue to earn tier bonuses on Getaway fares to all international destinations and on all other fare types.

Upgrading with points, Platinum certificates

When it comes to upgrades into Virgin Australia business class, Freedom fares are the new Flexi, and are what you'll need to book if hoping to use one of the free upgrade certificates given to Platinum members each year.

Gold and Platinum travellers wishing to use points for business class or premium economy upgrades from economy on flights to Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi will also need to book a Freedom fare – or be flying on a paid premium economy ticket.

Top-tier flyers can still upgrade to 'The Business' on long Virgin Australia flights...

AusBT review: Virgin Australia The Business, Sydney-Los Angeles

On domestic flights, upgrades using points will continue to be possible from all tickets, with Getaway and Elevate fares treated as 'discount economy' and Freedom fares as 'flexible economy' in terms of how many points are required.

Upgrades using points won't be offered on trans-Tasman and short-haul Go fares, although it's understood that points upgrades will be extended to 'discount economy' fares in these markets for the first time, being available from Go Plus, Getaway and Elevate fares.

Also read: Qantas axes seat selection fees on most international flights

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter:  we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin (ChrisCh)

[email protected] / @ChamberlinChris

Australian Business Traveller journalist Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

80 Comments

  • Matt J

    MattJelonek

    9 Aug, 2016 12:00 pm

    So much!

    No member give thanks

  • romaau

    romaau

    11 Aug, 2016 01:16 am

    I am just waiting for all the major newspapers to have the headlines "Virgin Australia is now a low cost carrier"

    No member give thanks

  • Cheyne Jonstone

    cheynejonstone

    9 Aug, 2016 12:09 pm

    I was curious as to how they were going to introduce higher business class fares for 'The Business' - now I have my answer. The business saver will take on the current fare value but remove flexibility while the business fare will be more expensive with more flexibility making the business saver appear to be better value but not really.

    It smells of the Amaysim "28 day billing" tactic and I think frequent flyers will smell a rat a mile away.

    No member give thanks

  • Stephen Gillies

    max_au

    9 Aug, 2016 12:15 pm

    charge me to select my seat as a loyal frequent flyer? that certainly makes me think twice about flying Virgin Australia when there are so many other options which are INCREASING their benefits not taking them away

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  • AnthonyvB

    AnthonyvB

    9 Aug, 2016 12:35 pm

    Totally agree Stephen - so as a Platinum member I will get charged to select a seat on lowest fare type.  What a joke!  I have started my transition away from Virgin and will continue to do so.  

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  • Dean

    deanr

    9 Aug, 2016 12:37 pm

    So let me get this straght. As a Velocity Platinum member:

    • If I want to choose a seat, I'll probably have to pay for it.
    • If I want something to drink other than the "tea, (instant) coffee, juice or water", I'll still have to pay for it, even though I'm Platinum, even if it's just a Diet Coke and even if I bought a flexible fare, unless I fly within a three hour period on five of the seven days of the week.
    • If I want something to eat beyond the measly little snack they provide, I'll have to buy it, again, even if I've already paid $100s more for a flexible fare.
    • If I want to watch something on the flight, I'll still need to bring my own screen to watch it on.

    This is better than flying with Tiger or Jetstar, how??

    Seriously Virgin, you have a long way to go before you stop being a low cost carrier!

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  • Kogglogs

    Kogglogs

    9 Aug, 2016 01:39 pm

    Couldn't have said it better Dean - Precicely what I was thinking too. As a Plat VA flyer, glad I moved over to QF two months ago. 

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  • Dean

    deanr

    9 Aug, 2016 03:27 pm

    Came back to read the comments and noticed that even more "enhancements" have been announced. Can't fly ahead on cheap tickets, fees may apply when flying ahead on more expensive tickets, no bonus points given on cheap tickets.

    It's as if somebody from Qantas is now in charge at Virgin Australia. Oh wait...

    No member give thanks

  • mviy

    mviy

    10 Aug, 2016 12:23 am

    At least you may have the choice of getting Diet Coke.

    I've asked several times for a Diet Coke on QF and they only have Coke Zero these days. It's quite annoying for someone who doesn't like the flavour of Coke Zero. So I've opted to get Coke (non diet) or something else.

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  • russell

    russell

    9 Aug, 2016 12:59 pm

    I dont fly Virgin, but how is this meant to entice me to do so? Charging a Platinum to pay for seat selection is the funniest thing i have ever heard.

    Glad I am in the QF camp, and suggest these "enhancements" will simply drive other people there also.

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  • RTWFF

    RTWFF

    9 Aug, 2016 01:03 pm

    Fortunately (?) I'll be downgraded from Platinum at my next review; the only benefit to me of my elevated status is one I'm not prepared to nominate since it will doubtless subject to an additional fee if they ever wise up. I sit in a middle seat often enough to know that on Sydney-Melbourne it really doesn't matter; for everywhere else there's Singapore Airlines (to Asia) or Emirates (to Auckland)

    I've always assumed that when merchants (including airlines) talk about loyalty programmes the loyalty always flows one way - they reward my loyalty, but show me none in return

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  • sgb

    sgb

    9 Aug, 2016 01:20 pm

    And how long will this disaster last for...

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  • aussiflyer

    aussiflyer

    9 Aug, 2016 01:20 pm

    I guess it is no surprise with the current financial woes. As a silver member I remain hopeful this will allow them compete on lead in price more aggressively, but time will tell. I still think as a predominantly leisure traveler that VA are competing with JQ on many markets domestically and these ancillary products drive so much profit for them. It is a blow for FF's but this new seat fee could be limited to a small amount of inventory in this new brand. Hopefully there will be other benefits in the detail.

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  • Jorge_fly

    Jorge_fly

    9 Aug, 2016 01:24 pm

    As a new platinum member, Bye Virgin...

    No member give thanks

  • bmc

    bmc

    9 Aug, 2016 01:51 pm

    The only real benefit of platinum over gold was seat selection.  Dropping to gold this year anyway (SCs going to my wife to maintain her gold) so no real loss.  I'll miss row three.

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  • CBRQF

    CBRQF

    9 Aug, 2016 02:33 pm

    Um...I thought that were moving away from being a LCC? 

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  • CBRQF

    CBRQF

    9 Aug, 2016 02:39 pm

    They*

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  • sgb

    sgb

    9 Aug, 2016 03:08 pm

    Sounds totally LCC

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  • jamesw5620

    jamesw5620

    9 Aug, 2016 02:42 pm

    Paying extra as a Gold or Platinum member to pick a seat on a domestic flight is absolute garbage. It's already a joke you have to pay for a mineral water if you don't want a juice. Watch the Business travellers flock to Qantas (if they're not already there!) What benefits are there being a Platinum member on Virgin? Qantas Platinum members get the best seats in the house no questions asked, that should be a given.

    No member give thanks

  • eminere

    eminere

    9 Aug, 2016 02:49 pm

    Charging your most frequent flyers for advance seat selection is a new low. I am honestly dumbfounded. I really, really, really hope this doesn't give Qantas any ideas.

    No member give thanks

  • AnthonyvB

    AnthonyvB

    9 Aug, 2016 03:10 pm

    I think this line for Chris's article says it all

    "But from September 7, flying on a domestic Getaway fare also means no tier bonus: or in other words, top-tier Platinum members will earn no more points than a Red-level member taking their first Virgin Australia flight." 

    The more I think about this, the more insulting Virgin Australia's decision is to Plantinum FF members.  

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  • AnthonyvB

    AnthonyvB

    9 Aug, 2016 03:11 pm

    *Platinum I mean (sorry bit fired up over this lol)

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  • Kogglogs

    Kogglogs

    9 Aug, 2016 04:07 pm

    Ooooh. I missed that line. 

    SO pleased I moved over to the roo. 

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  • airADL

    airADL

    9 Aug, 2016 03:18 pm

    Seems a lot of airlines like adopting this sales pitch.

    No member give thanks

  • aldrigsomandre

    aldrigsomandre

    9 Aug, 2016 03:23 pm

    I got tired reading this. With increasing competition, customer loyalty is the key to success. Wrong move. As a gold flyer, I won't be rushing to up my membership tier anytime soon..

    No member give thanks

  • rob01

    rob01

    9 Aug, 2016 03:29 pm

    Wow ... this is terible. I'm VA Platinum but like many people now I have no choice under the work travel piolicy but to choose the cheapest fare available, so now I can't select a seat, get bugger all points, and can't fly ahead? I've been very loyal and have manouvered all my domestic flying to VA, even switched all my international flying to SQ but this is just a bit too far.

    If Qantas announce a status challenge this afternoon I'm outta there.

    No member give thanks

  • airADL

    airADL

    9 Aug, 2016 03:55 pm

    So how many business travllers get to choose flexi or freedom fares? 

    Virgin is aiming this at the business client so it will be interesting to hear back out there who gets a choice.

    My work sometimes allows flexi fares but usually we have no say and its cheapest QF fare...

    No member give thanks

  • flyingvisit

    flyingvisit

    9 Aug, 2016 04:04 pm

    Qantas may be prepared to offer a status challenge,  (they dont seem to do outright matches these days) so suggest you give QF FFP a call and discuss!    They offered me a challenge recently on BA Gold (equivalent to QF Plat) when I wanted to switch  to QF so they're flexible.

    No member give thanks

  • DBPZ

    DBPZ

    9 Aug, 2016 03:53 pm

    Have two VA's gold membership (wife and me), but VA to us is only a ticket reseller of SQ and NZ (and soon HNA's subsidiaries we hope). The domestic flights operated by VA is just like its DJ era with very limited improvements. If VA has decided to rebrand itself as a full-service airlines, maybe it can follow SQ's way -- give a small part of seats to saver-fare PAX for selection, and open all seats to full-fare PAX, but still free of charge (except the extra leg space seats). 

    No member give thanks

  • Daryl Horsfall

    4WDazza

    9 Aug, 2016 03:54 pm

    the degrdae in economy "meals" on the domestic A330 runs to Perth has me buying a burger before the flight and thinking of changing airlines.

    I've been Platinum for 5 years .. but these changes are making me rethink my loyalty and if QF is looking to match my status.. I'm listening

    No member give thanks

  • AnthonyvB

    AnthonyvB

    9 Aug, 2016 03:55 pm

    Interesting you should mentioned the food - was on VA2 (LAX to SYD) about 6 weeks ago, what they served at meal times I would hardly even consider food (would not have given it to my dog).  Not many options on a 13 hour flight however

    No member give thanks

  • sgb

    sgb

    9 Aug, 2016 04:24 pm

    Thats disappointing for J food.

    No member give thanks

  • Dave

    Grannular

    9 Aug, 2016 03:56 pm

    I hope Virgin reads the comments of their customers on sites like this as i think it would be wise for their to quickly reverse this discision and admit that it was a bad idea to insult their most loyal customers.

    They like to call themselves a premium carrier, but this just screams low cost carrier

    No member give thanks

  • Cheyne Jonstone

    cheynejonstone

    9 Aug, 2016 04:05 pm

    I have a feeling that this may be a system limitation and not a policy decision - but I base that on nothing other than speculation since I've always assumed that the gap between Sabre and the Velocity system was very wide. So basing seat selection on fare purcahsed was the next best thing.

    No member give thanks

  • sgb

    sgb

    9 Aug, 2016 04:37 pm

    I think they'll be reaching for the band aids very soon, nothing like patching things up after a total stuff up.

    No member give thanks

  • Charles

    SteveCF

    9 Aug, 2016 04:12 pm

    I was platinum with Virgin but now all my flying is with QF, however I did fly Virgin last week and still holding onto silver I used a lounge pass, so effectively got the gold qf experience Virgin style. Unfortunately it wasn't QF standard.

    I was a big fan of virgin, they were making big strides catching up to Qantas but have stalled. They can't shake the LCC feel of their inflight product. They've done a great job at Business class end but it's a big drop off the side of the cliff from there.

    The reality is their not profitable, they need to be very careful how they roll out profit generating schemes from here, people will return to QF and quickly remember the difference.

    No member give thanks

  • Dean

    deanr

    9 Aug, 2016 04:13 pm

    Come to think of it, how ironic that Virgin named its new bottom fares Getaway and Go.

    I'll take that advice and will getaway and go fly with another airline, unless Virgin is my only option or significantly cheaper, but recently they've been more expensive than Qantas!

    No member give thanks

  • airADL

    airADL

    9 Aug, 2016 04:38 pm

    EXPAND the QF lounges again!!!

    No member give thanks

  • Tracie

    Tracie

    9 Aug, 2016 04:55 pm

    What an insult.... 2 Platinum & 2 Golds in my family....... when will they start charging for the toilet? Even the US carriers treat the top tiers with more respect. 

    No member give thanks

  • sgb

    sgb

    10 Aug, 2016 03:02 pm

    You'll find that out when you notice the Gold Coin operated lock installed on the lavatory door!!!

    No member give thanks

  • airADL

    airADL

    9 Aug, 2016 05:02 pm

    I am so glad i am LTG 

    the ADL virgin lounge is a disgrace and now they treating there loyal people like dirt

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  • dandandan

    dandandan

    9 Aug, 2016 05:04 pm

    This will end in disaster, mark my words. 

    No member give thanks

  • Ryan Hogan

    justcallmeryan

    9 Aug, 2016 05:23 pm

    Well this is pretty crap. Fly ahead was the single reason for me to continue flying Virgin over QF, particularly as fares are more or less the same..

    Shame. Time to move on I guess.

    No member give thanks

  • Ben

    bbowring

    9 Aug, 2016 05:29 pm

    I can't believe that, amongst all of these changes and the increased number of fare types, they still don't have a "carry on only" fare for Aus domestic. I for one am always annoyed that I can't shave $10 or so off my fare by electing to only have carry on. Most of my flights these days are day-trips or overnights for business; as I suspect they are for a number of other VA frequent flyers. Meanwhile, they offer carry-on only for international short haul, where I'm sure the vast majority of people will have checked luggage.

    Topped off by a "seat selection" fee (the dumbest of all fees, as there is clearly no "cost" associated with selecting a seat) and some pretty hefty decreases in loyalty rewards.

    Smart stuff, Virgin.

    No member give thanks

  • deany83

    deany83

    9 Aug, 2016 05:36 pm

    Someone must have read there Woolworths guide to loyalty programs.

    it all sounds too confusing and complicated for my liking.

    No member give thanks

  • romaau

    romaau

    11 Aug, 2016 12:44 am

    Wouldn't surprise me if the people fired from Woolworths loyalty found new jobs at Virgin.

    When will companies learn it's all about the customer?

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  • Colin Steven

    colin5353

    9 Aug, 2016 05:36 pm

    Didnt they just change it a year ago to make in simpler?

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  • Ben

    bbowring

    9 Aug, 2016 06:05 pm

    If I was King (John Borghetti) for a day, I'd get rid of all this complexity and just use a single fare structure for Aus. domestic, trans-Tasman and int'l shorthaul. I'd use the proposed trans-Tasman structure as the base (it certainly has the best nomenclature of the new options!), and maintain the existing FF tier benefits across all fare types (i.e. complimentary baggage, lounge, no seat fees, fly forward and bonus points etc.)

    This basically delivers a LCC model for Red FFs and non-members (which I'm actually OK with), some perks for Silvers, and something approaching a full service experience for Gold and Platinum. I really liked Borghetti's original philosophy of catering to all needs in one airline/aircraft; this model would bring us closer to this idea (unlike the current proposal, which takes us further away!)

    If they want to crunch costs, perhaps they should consider charging an annual fee for family pooling? Whilst I love this feature (and make rampant use of it), it does seem to offer some pretty significant benefits for no additional cost.

    And here's another bold idea (although I'm still a bit on the fence about it myself, as I know how much people dislike brand blurring): Give Lounge access to Gold and Plat Velocity members who fly with Tiger on a full fare econ ticket (called "Express" currently). Or, add some sort of "bundle" option to Tiger tickets to enable this. I work for a not-for-profit, so while I prefer Virgin, I am happy to go with JQ of TT if fares on VA are too steep. As a Gold VA, there is nothing currently attracting me to choosing TT (Virgin-owned) over JQ. This seems very silly!

    No member give thanks

  • Tim

    timhill

    9 Aug, 2016 06:28 pm

    Ben for CEO!

    No member give thanks

  • Matt_01

    Matt_01

    9 Aug, 2016 06:13 pm

    I am glad I switched back to QF 12 months ago. Still P with VA till next May but I can not see me booking a single flight. The only booking will be a SG redemption to use the last of the velocity miles, then that will see out my time with VA. 

    Maybe I should get in early for flight redemption, maybe there is a surcharge coming for high tier fliers requesting redemption flight.

    No member give thanks

  • Tim

    timhill

    9 Aug, 2016 06:21 pm

    This is a totally complicated fare structure vs what they had before.

    As a WP, like most people have said on here, the big advantage with VA was Fly Ahead. What's incredible is the level of ambiguity with the charge. So fees MAY apply for any fare type. Thereby introducing complexity.

    But add to that the tier bonus limitations on the cheaper ticket and of course the seat selection fee.

    Strategically they've gone with ripping the band-aid off and introducing all of these enhancements in one hit. What they should have included was at least 1 piece of good news for WPs.

    They could have also just slowly turned the screw over time and progressively enhanced...

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  • ozind95

    ozind95

    9 Aug, 2016 06:58 pm

    The airline will lose many loyal and also prospective customers.

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  • CRAIG HARDIE

    craigj77

    9 Aug, 2016 07:10 pm

    mmm, have been VA Gold or Plat since 2011 and a number of the perks which have kept me loyal are now on the chopping block.  That new fare structure is overly complicated.  Very odd you go get a 'no checked baggage' option on a flight to NZ, but not when you jump on a 1 hour flight to Sydney for an overnight.

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  • Matt J

    MattJelonek

    9 Aug, 2016 07:43 pm

    Depending on how many points it takes to up-grade to J-class now with the "Freedom" ticket, I might leave VA. 9900 points is great, but 30,000 points to upgrade from lesser/cheaper tickets too earning less SC's, I might be out, as I am now more looking at who to fly overseas with and which Alliance I should join. Etihad gave us a bad experience being Gold with VA in both Economy and Business so I won't be flying them again. I'm Gold with VA for another 12-17 months and looking at flying again soon, shortly after September... let's see how it goes.... :/ 

    No member give thanks

  • aussiflyer

    aussiflyer

    9 Aug, 2016 08:00 pm

    Are there any good things out of this? Given the move to 3 domestic economy brands, what is happening to SC?

    No member give thanks

  • Ben

    bbowring

    10 Aug, 2016 08:22 am

    Great question about SCs, will be very interesting to see what happens here. If it's anything like the other changes, it's likely that there will be a reduction in SCs earned across all fare types, with low or no SCs for the base "Go"/"Getaway" fares.

    Hell, why do things by halves? Maybe they'll just eliminate SCs entirely and gradually phase out Velocity membership. That would make about as much sense as the membership (dis)incentives they've announced! 

    No member give thanks

  • Robert  K

    RobertK

    9 Aug, 2016 09:33 pm

    Well well Virgin all good things must come to an end , fly ahead kept me with you and your upgrades on my Perth flight kept me commit , it looks likes Mr B has forgotten why and how you got your QF Plat FF and being a VA plat with no first lounge/ business lounge and global alliance , its time to returned to QF as you offer less including food , good bye 

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  • City slicker

    City slicker

    9 Aug, 2016 09:34 pm

    So it's $5 to book a seat ahead of 48 hours.... Phoned our virgin rep and got the details today.  Not sure how this will go down for our Platinum and Golf flyers at work....

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  • City slicker

    City slicker

    9 Aug, 2016 09:35 pm

    And it's Gold even :-)

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  • Dale

    hakkinen5

    9 Aug, 2016 10:29 pm

    Some things I can understand.  But charging Platinum and Gold FF to select a seat? Epic Fail. Time will show that. Removing Status Bonuses on most fares. Same again.  I agree with another poster here - if you want to raise more money, charge for the generous Family Pooling scheme. Don't force your most valued customers to travel in the middle seat in row 28. They are also removing travel ahead? One massive benefit over QF.  Standby now for QF to introduce travel ahead to it's Plats and Golds.

    No member give thanks

  • dandandan

    dandandan

    9 Aug, 2016 11:14 pm

    The more I review this, the more riseable it is! I can see some marketing department has promised more revenue with add ons etc, as it is, flight prices have been ramped up in domestic and as a Platinum I now question the value of needing status for short domestic flights. It's cheaper to fly o/s than to the gold coast or other domestic leisure destinations. These measures simply confuse general flyers and disengage loyalty customers. I think Borghetti is desperate and has lost the plot or he is on the way out and is merely a puppet for the board. Probably a combination. Happy to be wrong but the turnaround has just got harder, who would want to be a shareholder. 

    No member give thanks

  • Macca

    Macca

    9 Aug, 2016 11:28 pm

    I'm a former VA Gold member who has been living in Norway for about a year. Norwegian Air Shuttle, Europe's 3rd largest LCC, has quite a simple and effective reward program with it's own "tier" structure. After every 6 flights, you choose what the next benefit will be from:

     

    • 2% CasPoints boost (their points scheme, equivilent to Norwegian currency redeemable for flights) - choosable 5 times over
    • Free fast track at security & boarding
    • Free seat reservation
    • Free luggage (choosable after 18 flights)

     

    This is on top of their standard 2% for "low" fares and 20% for "flex" fares in CashPoints of the fare component (yes, you earn very little on the cheapest fares).

    I find this system simple, rewarding and effective. And yet this is a LCC. Better than Velcoity in my opinion.

    No member give thanks

  • Elijah ELIOPOULOS

    Flyspy

    10 Aug, 2016 08:37 am

    The seat charges are only for people travelling on the cheapest fare - T class.  Also People abused the system by buying the cheapest off peak fares and demanding to fly forward at more peak times- sometimes 6 hours before their original departure time. Not good for the airline, so really those doing the wrong thing have ruined for the rest. 

    Remember only those on T class fares pay the seat fee on domestic flights.   This wasn't really very clear. 

    No member give thanks

  • Kogglogs

    Kogglogs

    10 Aug, 2016 09:59 am

    Disagree - I understand that there were people rorting the system for Fly Forward. But you don't erode your value base for the significant majority of top tier users by removing the misused benefit all together. As the program owner, and under the T&Cs you're within your right to rather, redefine the usage terms, introduce a 'fair use' policy, or maybe put a restriction on how many hours you can fly forward. Makes far better sense.

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  • ap_spd

    ap_spd

    10 Aug, 2016 12:04 pm

    OK, lets agree this is to "rot" the system, but going by the number of flights you end up taking to hit Gold or Platinum I dont think it is rotting. SG and WP pay enough to VA over the year to be able to "rot" the system. Sorry, dont mean to sound rude but when you are flying every alternate day (even on cheapest ticket) I think it is fair to get a fly ahead if the meeting finishes early.

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  • Jono

    Jono

    10 Aug, 2016 09:11 am

    I’m a little confused here. So it looks like they are introducing an unavoidable $5 seat fee for the lowest and cheapest fare, ending fly ahead and introducing cutesy yet unnecessarily complex names for their fares? However, (snacks + bags + BYO device inflight entertainment) stays the same?

    Is that it? I got confused by some posters talking about food changes.

    Pissing off Platinum and Gold members seems a very strange and risky choice. However, to play devil’s advocate, I can see ‘Fly Ahead’ being mis-used by some as one poster has already mentioned and surely the airline wasn’t going to put up with that indefinitely. I suppose the new ‘Business Saver’ also makes a little luxury more attainable for the budget conscious. 

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  • sgb

    sgb

    10 Aug, 2016 09:48 am

    I don't see anything cutesy at all about any of it.

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  • Jono

    Jono

    10 Aug, 2016 10:46 am

    Perhaps cutesy was the wrong word. I was refering to them using 'Getaway + Elevate + Freedom' instead of normal words like 'Discount Economy, Flexi and alike'.

    It's like I told the guy at Starbucks. I'm saying 'small, medium and large'. 

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  • Jorge_fly

    Jorge_fly

    10 Aug, 2016 09:27 am

    Let's all take a stance and communicate this to the people who matters.

    Both John Borghetti and Karl Schuster's email address are on the VA website. Take some time and let them know your thoughts. Collectively, this could make a difference.

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  • sgb

    sgb

    10 Aug, 2016 09:58 am

    See if JB personally replies as he claims he does.

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  • Ben

    bbowring

    10 Aug, 2016 05:21 pm

    For anyone who is interested, here is my message directly to Virgin (which I've also sent to JB and KS via email). It reflects some of my posts above, but with a bit more coherence :)

    Feel free to plagiarise, if any of it takes your fancy!

    https://www.facebook.com/virginaustralia/posts/10153602671577172

    Dear VA social media team,

    I just wanted to let you know how disappointed I am by the recently announced changes to your fare structure and associated benefits/conditions (see this article for details: http://www.ausbt.com.au/virgin-australia-overhauls-fares-introduces-seat-selection-fees). I really hope that this is just an accidental leak of a thought bubble from the accounting team, and not a change that will actually take place. I am astounded that the airline's senior executive would sign off on such a backward change, which unnecessarily complicates the fare structure and significantly reduces incentives for frequent fliers to remain loyal to the brand.

    Starting with the many reductions to loyalty incentives you have introduced: these totally undermine VA's stated objective of becoming a full-service competitor to Qantas. I do not know of another major airline that charges (the equivalent of) its Gold or Platinum frequent fliers to choose a seat. Similarly, the significant reductions to benefits you have put in place for the cheapest Y-class fares (no fly-forward and no bonus points earn) will be a big hit to frequent business travelers. Most corporate travel policies dictate that the lowest possible fare must be chosen, meaning that even Platinum frequent fliers, who bring in tens of thousands of dollars of revenue, will be unable to access the great benefits they were previously entitled to.

    In sum, these changes significantly reduce the incentive for frequent fliers to stick with Virgin, and I expect that a number of the individual and corporate travelers that VA was able to entice over from Qantas will be heading straight back to QF as a result. Surely whatever modest increases in per-passenger profit these changes are meant to provide will be totally outweighed by significant loss of revenue created by frequent fliers fleeing for the exit.

    Regarding the new fare structure: why have you developed such complex and varied fare types across your domestic, trans-Tasman, SH and LH international networks? While the needs of a LH traveler are different to those of a SH domestic flier, can’t this be accounted without creating an entirely separate (and very confusing) naming system and set of inclusions/exclusions for each network type? Similarly, I cannot understand why you have introduced carry-on only fares for international flights, where almost everyone has check-in luggage, but have failed to do so for domestic flights, where many passengers have carry-on only and could save a few dollars by dropping the included baggage on their ticket. You are providing choice where none is required, and denying choice where it would be of benefit to the customer.

    Surely the most sensible thing to do would be to have a single, clear set of fares across all network types that provides flexibility and potential cost savings for budget-conscious travelers, while also rewarding regular fliers with complimentary inclusions and benefits. The proposed trans-Tasman fares would be a great starting-point: a truly bare-bones Y-class fare (no checked luggage, strict change rules, seat selection fee, no food), which can be gradually added to with meals, luggage, flexibility etc. to suit each individual traveler’s needs. Combine this with a proper set of benefits for frequent fliers (complimentary food, complimentary baggage, bonus points etc.) that extends across all fare types, and you would have a very attractive product.

    It’s ironic that the trans-Tasman fare structure described above only exists due to the requirements of your partnership agreement with Air New Zealand. They say that mimicry is the greatest form of flattery; my strong suggestion is that you should start flattering Air New Zealand ASAP!

    While I completely understand the financial pressures VA is battling against, these changes are likely to do much more harm than good. I would strongly urge you to reconsider these changes, which will surely only result in a significant drop in both general and frequent-flier passenger numbers, and therefore revenue. Instead, come back with a clear, simple fare structure that caters to all passenger types: an innovative, flexible and budget-friendly low-cost offering; a best-in-class business/full-service offering; and a frequent flyer program that rewards loyalty at all fare levels.


    Yours in hopeful disillusionment,


    Ben

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  • Ben

    bbowring

    10 Aug, 2016 06:06 pm

    Sorry everyone, I didn't mean to copy and paste the whole thing above! In any case, for those playing at home, I got a reply from KS within 10 minutes (pretty impressive I think!) :

    "Ben,

    Thanks for connecting.  I’ll get one of our team to brief you more fully on the new fare structure.

    Regards

    Karl"

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  • pdaniels62

    pdaniels62

    10 Aug, 2016 10:21 am

    Fly ahead was one of the biggest points of difference between VA and QF. Now that it will effectively disappear the only benefit will be lounge access .......only because our company more often than not flies Virgin domestically. Well that and the fact that points can be transferred to SQ. With these changes most top tier ff would fly QF if they had a choice. Other than the 4 upgrades what's the benefit of platinum vs gold. 

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  • pdaniels62

    pdaniels62

    10 Aug, 2016 10:21 am

    Fly ahead was one of the biggest points of difference between VA and QF. Now that it will effectively disappear the only benefit will be lounge access .......only because our company more often than not flies Virgin domestically. Well that and the fact that points can be transferred to SQ. With these changes most top tier ff would fly QF if they had a choice. Other than the 4 upgrades what's the benefit of platinum vs gold. 

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  • Alex

    tm_smile

    10 Aug, 2016 12:34 pm

    Its not exactly a benefit, but QF is pretty lenient with letting you fly ahead generally. From my experience anyway, particularly for Plats and Golds

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  • Rkwm

    Rkwm

    10 Aug, 2016 10:37 am

    The benefits of Platinum have been diminished to such a level that I will not continue my support. Seat selection with a charge is just a way of ensuring Platinum level support is no longer an option .Obviously the airline has no interest in retaining its top level supporters .I honestly thought this was a joke unfortunately seems not .....the joke is on the airlines loyal supporters!

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  • Kogglogs

    Kogglogs

    10 Aug, 2016 10:43 am

    Another aspect which this move by VA reveals is the gap between VA and Velocity. Like QF and QFFF, they're defferent operational entities, but we like to think of them as one VA, or one QF. QF and QFFF seem to have a very strong strategic aliance. The QF operational needs are well balanced against the strategic intent of QFFF's activity (largely, but not perfectly). 

    This move by VA however draws the cover on just how disjointed the alignment between VA and Velocity is. 

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  • rob01

    rob01

    10 Aug, 2016 11:36 am

    I've written to VA to voice my dissaproval. I urge others to do the same!

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  • pdaniels62

    pdaniels62

    10 Aug, 2016 11:43 am

    Perhaps someone should recommend that JB read these threads. The changes are significant enough for loyal VA fliers to switch or at least focus on QF platinum. Im VA and QF so I know what I'll be doing when I get a choice

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  • eminere

    eminere

    10 Aug, 2016 04:19 pm

    If their marketing department is doing their job, they should be collating all these press clippings for management anyway.

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  • Yaf

    Yaf

    11 Aug, 2016 11:17 pm

    Let us know if and when u get a reply

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  • Yaf

    Yaf

    14 Aug, 2016 06:56 pm

    Virgin used to call you when you gave feedback. Now you are lucky to get an email reply

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  • Martin  Slobodnik

    msport2012

    10 Aug, 2016 12:48 pm

    After reading this and trying to make sence of it all, I will no longer be flying with VA where possible. I am a Platnium FF in both VELOCITY & QFF and I will be changing our company travel policy to firstly choose QF over VA. 

    JB and the entire managment team really need to review these changes and start to treat its Plats and Golds with more respect otherwise in the end VA will loose and QF will win.

     

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  • rRamjet

    rRamjet

    10 Aug, 2016 03:35 pm

    As a Velocity Platinum sitting in the lounge right now this disapoints the shit out of me.  Fly forward is a godsend.  Row 3 is great... take that away and what do I have left?

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  • Raymond Rogers

    Travel CEO

    10 Aug, 2016 03:42 pm

    As a CEO I consult on all major travel requirements for our and our own and our associated companies.    I cannot believe these Virgin Australia changes and as a Platinum Member I think they are a disgrace.   We will be moving all our business back to QANTAS and I am already preparing emails to that effect.

    By the previous comments alone, the 'backlash' on these changes is going to hurt them severly...I hope the read thes and all other comments.

    We will be buyong QANTAS shares.         Ray

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  • sgb

    sgb

    10 Aug, 2016 04:22 pm

    Virgin shares are 4 for $1.00.

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  • quick_dry

    quick_dry

    10 Aug, 2016 03:43 pm

    so... I'm just wondering what incentive VA are providing to maintain WP membership level?

    I'm having trouble 'buying' that Fly Ahead was being rorted to the degree that people have claimed, the number of high status people on a plane is small, the number of people who know all the perks a fraction of that, the number of people who agressively work loopholes even tinier - I think it is magnified in here because we're inside the FF echo chamber.

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  • rob01

    rob01

    10 Aug, 2016 04:41 pm

    I can't believe it was being rorted TBH. I never booked a late flight hoping to get an earlier one as there was always the chance that there'll be no seats available and then you're in the lounge for 5 hours.

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  • Gareth Hooper

    Hoopega

    10 Aug, 2016 04:01 pm

    I guess Virgin won't be winning anymore loyalty program awards.  This is an absolute disgrace and an insult to every FF that has been loyal to them.

    If Qantas are smart they will act on this as a lot of people I know as well as many who have commented below will be looking to jump ship/plane.

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  • kiwiscanfly

    kiwiscanfly

    10 Aug, 2016 04:27 pm

    I am a VA Plat member as well. I saw these new charges for choosing a seat on a flight I was booking to Chicago via LAX for November. Very sad what your about to do Virgin. Looks like I will be going back to Qantas..... Seeya Virgin!

     

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  • Gregie

    Gregie

    10 Aug, 2016 04:39 pm

    I am utterly dsigusted and disappointed they would make these changes to their most loyal customers. This is a very bad move especially reducing tier accelerated points and charging for seats for Platinum FF like me.

    I have been a Platinum FF for the past 4 years flying nearly every week and have chosen to stay with VA over Qantas even though I was Platinum and now lifetime Gold on Qantas. I cant believe they are wanting to ruin the loyalty built up with their most frequent business customers.

    I have written an email to Karl Schuster and John Borghetti and would encourage others loyal FF like me to email them as well.

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  • Matt_01

    Matt_01

    10 Aug, 2016 04:43 pm

    At this rate VA may be able to finally join an Alliance, not “Star Alliance”  but “Value Alliance” with their LCC subsidiary Tigerair.

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  • Charles Burfitt

    Charles Burfitt

    10 Aug, 2016 04:45 pm

    I am a Platinum with Virgin. Fly ahead was the main reason why I switched to Virgin. Fly ahead without penalty was why I switched to Virgin. It looks like I will have to rethink.

    Will you be able to fly ahead on a reward ticket?

    Charles

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  • rory cowan

    irishman

    10 Aug, 2016 04:48 pm

    Been with VA since the start and always a gold or plat member. One domestic flight booked in for next week and an international booked for Dec. Thats it finished for my colleagues, family and I. The absolute most silly business decision I have heard in a long time. Good luck to them!

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  • Gregie

    Gregie

    10 Aug, 2016 04:58 pm

    Can't agree more?  What are they trying to achieve? Prove that they are not wanting loyal customers any longer? Charging a Platinum FF for a seat is a disgrace!

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  • Gregie

    Gregie

    10 Aug, 2016 04:58 pm

    Can't agree more?  What are they trying to achieve? Prove that they are not wanting loyal customers any longer? Charging a Platinum FF for a seat is a disgrace!

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  • Mal

    Mal

    10 Aug, 2016 04:57 pm

    A lot of people are getting fired up over the removal of Fly Ahead for Platinums on the cheapest fare. Yes, note that this will only apply to the cheapest fare, which is supposed to be a 'no changes allowed fare' anyway.

    I think this illustrates the reason WHY Virgin has removed Fly Ahead from that fare. Because clearly a lot of people are obviously booking the cheapest fare which is usually the one for the very last flights of the day when there is least demand, and then habitually turning up to the airport at maybe 3pm-6pm and requesting Fly Ahead, so they are moved onto a fare which would have cost them a lot more if they booked thar in the first place.

    So what you have it a bunch of people rorting the system which is exactly why Virgin is removing this 'perk'. In other words, if you were doing this then you are to blame for Fly Ahead being removed on the cheapest fares!!

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  • Gregie

    Gregie

    10 Aug, 2016 05:02 pm

    So if FF are abusing this they should stop them doing it. But these other changes are just insulting for guys like me who have not been abusing the system.

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  • AnthonyvB

    AnthonyvB

    10 Aug, 2016 05:03 pm

    Ouch. When you work for a company who has 'cheapest fare' policy (which many of us do) then YOUR analysis is a bit harsh.  Sorry everyone, I used the Fly Forward twice in the last 12 months on a SAVER fare.. According to Mal I contributed to this being taken away.  

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  • Mal

    Mal

    11 Aug, 2016 01:45 pm

    You must have been in the minority Anthony, but if people want to have the option to Fly Ahead now they can just pay a bit more for the middle Economy fare. If their company has 'lowest fare of the day' rules then they either need to convince the company to make an exception for them due to Fly Ahead and the need for flexibility and being efficient with their time and not sitting around the airport for hours, OR they need to just accept that these are the new rules.

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  • Yaf

    Yaf

    11 Aug, 2016 11:21 pm

    With that logic, if u turn up at a hotel and chek in early because the room is empty u are also rorting the system

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  • Justin Troy

    starship

    10 Aug, 2016 04:58 pm

    Wow. Just gobsmacked by this decision. Like many of the other comments in this post, am a long term platinum flyer having moved to VA with the rebrand several years ago from QF. This comes on the back of me spending the past week trying to find any availability to Europe in June/July 2016 in J class on the velocity website, except for the redemptions available in the high hundreds of thousands of points with Etihad. Now these changes. Sadly, it's time to go Virgin, you are now no longer my carrier of choice. 

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  • Peter Lyons

    Fenguy

    10 Aug, 2016 05:04 pm

    Most of the postings have said it already, but here goes anyway...

    Really shabby, disappointing changes from Virgin.  As several have said, 'loyalty' is a one-way street - from us to them only, apparently!  I am Platinum but revert to Gold soon.  Until now I wasn't too worried since Gold appeared to be the sweet spot in their tiers.  But now these 'enhancements' have seriously wounded the benefits many of us enjoyed. No fly ahead?  *Pay* for seat choice?  You must be joking, John Borghetti.

    Doesn't Virgin realise that business customers often don't have the discretion to pay for more expensive fare classes?  Clearly Virgin thinks business customers are a compliant, sucker market, to be milked.

    OK, first-world problems maybe.  But on a more serious note (and to add insult to injury), there seems to be a deafening silence from Virgin regarding the damning report on their ATR 72 flight from Sydney to Canberra in 2014 (Canberra Times, July 31, 2016).  Please tell me the author (Martin Aubury) has it wrong...

    I was a Qantas Club member for over 20 years before defecting to Virgin.  Qantas is looking better every day.

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  • Polbathic

    Polbathic

    10 Aug, 2016 05:12 pm

    Well this reads like a bit of a kick in the guts for the Velocity high flyers. I've been Platinum for 2 years and another 15 months to go and yes, mostly thanks to a little help (not much) from family pooling. But I kinda wondered why I went to the extra effort  to get there (a couple of higher level fares, paying rather than redeeming etc) for very little difference between P and G. Now there is even less incentive. I was hoping that VA were going to announce enhancements .... Not downgrades on VFF. The devil will be in the detail.... As it is the product/P flyer experience is somewhat hit and miss but I'm not ready to commit to QF until the new arrangements are in place and I see how it really affects me. Btw, my P status versus G gets me front row mostly (if I want it)(but not on Air NZ), sometimes a friendly staffer (but only on Air NZ operated flights) and that's about it. The upgrades are pretty close to useless on my pretty regular itinerary (ADL-MEL-AKL monthly pay my own way) so it's a big thing to get through them each year. So hunting P becomes less of interest which means other carriers become more of interest !

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  • ATreeFiddy

    ATreeFiddy

    10 Aug, 2016 05:30 pm

    Another disgruntled VA Plat to add to the growing list here. Can only echo the thoughts of those above and encourage all to write to VA to express their thoughts on this.

    What I'm particularly interested in, which I haven't seen mentioned above, is the implication for bookings already made for after Sept 7 (in particular Saver Fares). Will these also be subject to the Fly Ahead restrictions, in particular, but also Tier Bonus? I would assume seat selection has already been made for these.

    While I've seen FAQs from VA aluding to Fare Rules not changing for existing bookings, does this also extend to the Velocity privileges that were applicable at the time of booking? 

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  • Jay CEE

    townreach

    10 Aug, 2016 05:39 pm

    I have this distict feeling that, after the tie up with Hong Kong based airline/s, that VA will cease to exist as a name in Australia. With SQ as a major stake holder we could see VA renamed to ????Air. Only a feeling ! 

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  • Yaf

    Yaf

    10 Aug, 2016 07:44 pm

    Guess someone at Virgin Australia has not done the maths, take away the $8000 a year at the least Platinum spend and $4000 a year at the least that Gold members spend, because I like most of the people who have commented here will be spending my $8000 + a year with Qantas. Guess if someone opens another airline, Virgin will go the way Ansett went or maybe they will listen just like they change the entr to the Bisbane lounge a dozen times till they got it right

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  • Peter Lyons

    Fenguy

    10 Aug, 2016 07:50 pm

    As far as I'm concerned, from now on Virgin Australia is on probation.

    Virgin Velocity, if you don't reconsider and moderate these appalling changes, you're DUMPED.

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  • JacksonCBR

    JacksonCBR

    10 Aug, 2016 08:38 pm

    This is the latest in a clear trend towards ripping all value out of Virgin - it's back to the low-cost carrier days... and now a slap in the face for the most loyal and high-value customers.  Sheer strategic idiocy.

    I'm lucky to fly business on the majority of flights and I've been actively questioning the value for the last year.  Their clear cost cutting strategy is apparent in everything from the terrible state of their business cabins to the pitiful quality of the meals that are now no better than economy fare in the 1990s (when they're even available...).   I seriously wouldn't care about any of this if I were a.) flying Virgin Blue (i.e. a low-cost carrier) or b.) wasn't paying four times the economy fare for a product that is frankly second-rate.  But I'm not, I'm paying top dollar for an advertised premium product. I chose to stay loyal to Virgin (I've been gold/plat. since Velocity existed) and now this loyalty is being rewarded by having my earned benefits slashed.

    Sorry Virgin, this is the end of the line.  If this insulting decision isn't reversed then I'm taking my travel back to Qantas (which is not a decision I wanted to take).  Sorry, but my 300+ staff are coming with me, too.

    This is a step too far. I've been a vocal advocate of Virgin over the last decade and stood firm while others in my business pushed to take up Qantas's very compelling offers (they obviously want to attract business, not kill it).  Virign is killing its brand and alienating their most valuable and high-yield customers.  Why?

    Seriously John, sack whatever mega-dollar consultants you're using - they're killing your business.  Perhaps try getting a bit closer to the people that matter - your loyal customers.

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  • Tim L

    Tim Lord

    10 Aug, 2016 09:32 pm

    Agreed Jackson. I have also championed the cause of VA since they were DJ and flying around with just four 737's. Their history of bringing competiton and innovattion to the market was unparraled. That is why this change feels like a stake through the heart. They have started a race to the bottom and it will be hard to support. Fly forward was a massive benefit over QF (although they appear to be lossening), and along with status driven seating allocation was a key driver in my choice of carrier. 

    Perhaps where we diverge in thinking is the cause. I'm not sure about the consultants, but to me this seems like the first taste of chinese board influence. In a domestic market with a potential 1.4 billion customers, I suspect there is a limited acceptance of anything non traditional when it comes to marketing and loyalty. 

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  • sgb

    sgb

    11 Aug, 2016 02:52 pm

    Bravo

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  • bl812

    bl812

    10 Aug, 2016 08:46 pm

    soon you will have to carry a dictionary to understand all these charges and renamed fares-simply a waste of time-and I meant for the traveller's time-airline should focus on the services not rebranding their whole system every 2-3 years--BA doing the same for years even for business class passenger -you have to pay for the seat selection-so grow up and understand -all airline try to pull as much skin of you as they can get away with it.-probably the competition getting tougher for VA so they try to cut their losses by limiting the free rides....

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  • Paul Slattery

    Sparky

    10 Aug, 2016 09:45 pm

    Sorry I must have missed the announcement of John's re appointment to the board at QF

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  • rockangel007

    rockangel007

    10 Aug, 2016 10:01 pm

    As a Platinum FF i regularly took advantage of fly ahead - having no idea of when I am going to get away so booking the last flight of the day and then moving to the first available flight when I actually got to the airport suited me perfectly.

    This may be considered one of the "rorts" of the system but let's look at it from an airline cost perspective - an empty seat is an empty seat doesn't matter what flight it is on and it is unlikely to be sold within an hour of the flight commencing, so there is no lost revenue by letting someone fly ahead - it may actually free up a seat on a later flight that can be sold!

    If I arrive at the airport hours before I am due to fly and dont fly ahead as a Platinum what am I going to do - go sit in the lounge for hours eating and drinking (even coffee has a cost) put me on a plane - honestly virgin it doesn't cost you anything if there is a seat available - and leave that lounge seat for someone else.

    Now look at how loyal a customer has to be if they are only flying on low cost fares and still get to Platinum - they probably spend as much as someone on just a few higher fares but have to fly an awful lot more to get the required SC's. That's loyalty - don't penalise it by being stingy with points on the lower fares. Yep I am pretty sure that my QF Gold will be Platinum next year and my 4 years of VF Platinum will be reduced to Gold or lower - I know where my loyalty is now going, the benefits just aren't there any more.

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  • Brett G

    brettg

    10 Aug, 2016 10:06 pm

    Wow, who let the bean counters take over? As a long time VA Platinum and fan boy, I am completely disappointed. I have just returned from an RTW trip with Qantas (first time away from VA for years) because the possibility of doing it with Virgin just wasn't realistic. Now, what little value was left at Virgin is vanishing before my eyes. This is just appallingly stupid.

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  • aviatorpj

    aviatorpj

    10 Aug, 2016 10:58 pm

    JB sold off the silver 2-3 years ago. Velocity was hived-off. We should not forget this. I'm unsure if JB can really do much about this "other" company's strategies? I'm withh Matt01, above. Has JB been sighted recently on VA flights doing his round of the cabin or lounges to get direct feedback?

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  • Charles

    SteveCF

    10 Aug, 2016 11:08 pm

    I think Borghetti has over extended, introducing the A330 business class only to overhaul it so early in the product cycle must have been a big hit on the books, then invest big on the 777's business product on what is already an underperforming part of their business. Plus the cost of all the lounges and then getting into a capacity war with Qantas has probably come close to crippling VA, the fact is they're just not profitable.

    I fear their vulnerable now, especially because for all the investment virgin still cannot say their a premium airline, so what are they? LCC or premium, they better make a decision quick because they could quickly loose their premium clients and be left with a high cost holiday travel product, and who's going to buy that?

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  • CCampbell

    CCampbell

    11 Aug, 2016 07:36 am

    I moved from Qantas FF a little over a year ago I am around 1800 Status credits with Virgin in this time, I moved from Qantas, because I did not like what they were doing at the time.

    Looks like I will be moving back, as I like this less.

    To the Bean Counters and Decesion makers at Virgin, think really hard about your job and decesion here. Clearly the money my company spends on air travel will be going back to the Flying Kangaroo, as I have choice.

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  • Lindsay Wilson

    QF WP

    11 Aug, 2016 09:53 am

    If they are going to "enhance" the system, I'm going to find ways to use it to my best advantage. This will mean I'll probably just re-qual Gold every year (utilisig Family Bonus) and keep throwing everything else to QF.  Time to make good use of the discount codes then for VA, so we  can buy Elevate or Freedom for not much more than Getaway. 

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  • C Kan

    ckan747

    11 Aug, 2016 10:48 am

    I am a QFF platinum and feel sorry for VA Flyers. What a pathetic change they try to dress up as an enhancement.

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  • Raymond Rogers

    Travel CEO

    11 Aug, 2016 11:50 am

    Here comes QANTAS...!

    Last year 'Hilton Hotels' loyalty program (Hilton Honors) offered members of other companies loyalty programs free 12 months membership at the same equivalent levels.

    As we were Platinum members with the ACCOR hotels group we receive all the perks awarded to this level. All we had to do was prove our ACCOR Platinum status to Hilton and we were given their equivalent membership level, 'Diamond Status' with 'Hilton Honors'.

    This was a huge bonus for our company as it brought immediate and great competition into play.  After the feedback from our staff and our own experiences with them we are now continuing our business dealings with the Hilton Group 

    VIRGIN AUSTRALIA have set themselves up beautifully for QANTAS to do the same.   VIRGIN AUSTRALIA  travellers are already obviously ready to 'jump ship' in droves, so this offer would be more than many would need to convert to QANTAS.

    As Platinum members with VIRGIN we are disgusted in these new changes and we are now moving all our business to QANTAS.  

    Thanks for YOUR loyalty VIRGIN AUSTRALIA !

     

    No member give thanks

  • pdaniels62

    pdaniels62

    11 Aug, 2016 12:36 pm

    If all the changes are driven by the manager that drove changes in the US airline industry, someone should tell him he is not in the US anymore. A large number of US routes are hub driven and you may not have a choice in who you fly with if you want a direct route. In Australia QF and VA compete on the same routes. People therefore have a choice and more often than not, QF provides more

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  • David Flynn

    David

    11 Aug, 2016 01:16 pm

    Update: Virgin Australia has confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that Velocity Platinum and Gold flyers will be automatically seated in the front of economy (including the prized Row 3 for Platinums) under the new fare scheme. They'll need pay the as-yet-unrevealed seat selection fee only to nominate a specific seat within that block (eg "I want 4A!")

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  • sgb

    sgb

    11 Aug, 2016 02:26 pm

    There might be a few requests for row three, I wouldn't pay for any other row behind that.

    No member give thanks

  • Kogglogs

    Kogglogs

    11 Aug, 2016 02:40 pm

    Really, this hasn't soothed anyone's anguish/dismay/disdain/disbelief.

    No member give thanks

  • willvill

    willvill

    11 Aug, 2016 02:15 pm

    Isn't it amazing. All these Loyalty schemes and its the operator of them that are disloyal the most. The reason we ( Platinum) moved our business to VA in the first place was the continuing devaluation of the QF scheme and arrogance associated with it. Now it looks like its VA's turn and the wheels are spinning. Pity and there is no real reason to do it.that I can see.

    No member give thanks

  • Ian Fletcher

    irfletcher

    12 Aug, 2016 06:27 am

    I've been Platinum on both VA and QF for years - looks like my preference has been made for me.

    No member give thanks

  • Peter Lyons

    Fenguy

    12 Aug, 2016 10:41 am

    Qantas is now selling single-entry lounge passes (by invitation) for $49 or 7000 points.  I don't recall their doing this before...

    Coincidence or is Qantas going for the Virgin's jugular?

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    12 Aug, 2016 10:47 am

    Nothing to do with the Virgin announcement – buying Qantas lounge passes has been a thing since June: Qantas is now selling airport lounge passes

    No member give thanks

  • Paul MacRae

    pmac

    23 Aug, 2016 03:22 pm

    Thanks for the updates here. I believe that the Fly Ahead benefit was the only thing worthwhile in the program and being able to get home to the family early. The accountants have obviously got ahead of the marketers but are not doing their sums correctly. If, like me, you only get a few family status credits but you qualify for double platinum - you fly a lot. A far fairer mechanism to measure the value of the traveller would have been nett annual value (number of flights times total spend) and/or number of segments flown by the individual member and not their family. That way Virgin actually acknowledges who the true FFs are - no matter what fare they travel on.

    No member give thanks

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18 Nov, 2017 07:58 am

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