Virgin Australia ups the ante with status match offer
Virgin Australia is enticing Aussies back into travel with a new offer that rewards loyal members and gives Qantas' frequent flyers a reason to make the switch.
From today, the airline will status match Qantas Gold members and above, and extend the status of existing Gold and Platinum Velocity Frequent Flyer members for up to a year if they take an eligible flight before March 28.
Velocity Gold and Platinum members will also gain 5000 bonus points if they take two eligible flights before March 28, and will be upgraded to Economy-X and Business Class, respectively, if they take three or more.
The announcement comes after Qantas made a beeline for Virgin Australia's frequent flyers, announcing its status match fast track last month.
Virgin Australia Group chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka described Virgin's new offer as an early Christmas present.
"We are really conscious that the December-January period is an important time to begin rebuilding the domestic Australian travel market and conscious that consumers haven't had a lot of advance planning because nobody had confidence in when borders would open," she said.
"It's an early Christmas gift to our loyal travellers and members of our family … given it's been a really tough year."
She acknowledged it was also an opportunity to one-up the airline's rival.
"Everybody loves good competition and it's the industry's job to stimulate demand and rebuild the market," she said.
"We are going to see Qantas and raise them one, given this is all in the spirit of bringing travellers back into the market.
"We're pleased to welcome Qantas members to Velocity who are interested in taking advantage of cheaper fares, award-winning cabin crew, and great rewards for ongoing loyalty."
Qantas Gold members and above can access Virgin Australia's status match by lodging an expression of interest by December 21.
They will receive a three-month Velocity Discover Gold Status trial membership, which offers complimentary Lounge access, priority boarding, preferential seating, higher checked baggage allowances, and lucrative bonus points.
If they take an eligible flight and earn 80 status credits during that period, they retain their Velocity Gold status for 12 months and receive an additional Velocity Gold membership for their companion.
Ms Hrdlicka predicted 2021 would be a "great year for travel" with airfares also set to become "cheaper than they have ever been" as airlines worked to rebuild the tourism industry.
Flight Centre co-founder Graham 'Skroo' Turner agreed that Australians could expect top value flights next year.
"Particularly for leisure travellers, we think from February until Easter, the airfares will be pretty competitive," he said.
"There are already some good deals out.
"The only danger is if states open and close the borders with new (COVID-19) infections … but I think the conditions will be flexible and (ticketholders) will be able to get refunds if things change."
Originally published as Virgin Australia ups the ante with status match offer