Some high-end credit cards offer Virgin Australia lounge passes every year as one of their many perks: but when, where and how can you use these passes to enjoy an airport lounge visit?
Here’s what you need to know about these lounge passes, such as given to Velocity Silver frequent flyers and included with the AMEX Velocity Platinum Card, the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures Card and the Virgin Money Velocity High Flyer Card, among others.
Step 1: Earning your lounge passes
Importantly, the way you earn and use these passes varies between banks, and in some cases, you’ll first need to qualify and then remember to request them well in advance of travel.
That’s how it works with the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures Card, where new customers need to spend $500 on purchases in the first three months using their card, and then telephone ANZ on 1300 367 763 between 8am and 8pm (Sydney time), Monday to Friday, to request their two complimentary passes.
ANZ mails them within four weeks of that request and those passes are valid for 12 months. In following years, you’ll need to call back to request more, which can be done yearly after your credit card annual fee hits your account.
The process is a little easier with the AMEX Velocity Platinum Card and the Virgin Money Velocity High Flyer Card, as two lounge passes are electronically loaded onto your Velocity Frequent Flyer profile shortly after opening your credit card account and then annually around the time of your annual fee.
Velocity Silver frequent flyers also receive two lounge passes every year, which are again attached electronically to their Velocity account and are valid for 12 months.
You can check that your digital lounge passes have arrived by logging into the Velocity website, browsing to the 'My Benefits' page and expanding the 'Virgin Australia Lounge passes remaining' tab, which also shows their expiry dates:
Step 2: Enjoying your lounge access
All these passes can be used for access to Virgin Australia domestic lounges when you have an onward Virgin Australia domestic flight the same day – or, if you already hold Velocity Gold or Platinum membership which provides lounge access, to bring additional guests into the lounge with you, over and above your normal allowance.
Simply present your boarding pass and your physical lounge pass (provided by ANZ) or your Velocity Frequent Flyer card (for digital lounge passes) to get inside.
Virgin Australia operates lounges in most capital cities, covering Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth (Terminals 1 and 2), Adelaide, Canberra and Darwin, plus Alice Springs, Cairns, the Gold Coast and Mackay, and passes can be used in any of these lounges.
For example, if you’re taking a return trip from Sydney to Melbourne with Virgin Australia, you could use one lounge pass in Sydney prior to your outbound flight, and a second pass in Melbourne prior to your flight home.
Virgin Australia has also confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that these lounge passes can be used prior to Virgin Australia codeshare flights operated by Alliance Airlines as well, where lounge facilities are available.
That means you could use a pass to access the Virgin Australia Brisbane Airport lounge prior to Alliance Airlines regional flights to Bundaberg, Cloncurry, Emerald, Gladstone, Mount Isa, Rockhampton and Port Macquarie, when travelling on a VA flight number.
Virgin Australia lounge passes: the fine print
To avoid being turned away at reception, there are a few rules you should be aware of – chiefly, that you’ll require one lounge pass per adult guest: you can’t use one pass to bring in two people.
As above, Gold or Platinum members may use their passes to bring in additional travellers over and above their normal guest entitlements, but again, it’s one pass per person.
That means a Gold member could bring in one complimentary guest as part of their normal Gold privileges, and use one lounge pass to bring in a second guest.
Lounge access isn’t permitted when flying with Virgin-owned Tigerair, or immediately prior to international flights with Virgin Australia or any other airline, even if a Virgin Australia lounge is physically accessible such as in Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide and the Gold Coast.
For example, you won’t be able to access Virgin Australia’s Gold Coast lounge using a single entry pass when flying to Auckland with Virgin Australia, even though Gold and Platinum frequent flyers enjoy this privilege at the same airport.
Finally, lounge passes can’t be used for access to Virgin Australia Premium Entry in Sydney and Brisbane, or for partner airline lounges, such as those operated by Air New Zealand, Etihad and Singapore Airlines.