Velocity Platinum members have been handed an unexpected gift of sorts. For a limited time, the program is making positive changes to the way Platinum elites can be upgraded from Economy to Business Class on domestic, trans-tasman and International Short Haul flights.
Specifically, Velocity are making it easier for members to use their UpgradeMe Platinum perk.
UpgradeMe Platinum Perk
One of the valuable benefits of Velocity Platinum status is 4 complimentary UpgradeMe credits. At the start of each membership year these credits are deposited into the account of all Platinum members. With the credits in tow, members are able to pay for an Economy seat and upgrade to Business.
Each credit is good for upgrading 1 sector, meaning if you are flying from Sydney to Cairns via Brisbane (2 sectors) and wanted to upgrade both flights, you will need to use 2 credits.
The catch is that members can only upgrade from Flex fares, which is the most expensive Economy fare sold by Virgin Australia. While this is no doubt a valuable perk accorded to Platinum members, at times, the difference between Flex and Business fare is so little that you may as well pay for a Business Class seat instead of putting yourself through the upgrade lottery.
Personally speaking, I have been a Velocity Platinum member for several years and in most years I just let these credits expire. That’s how difficult they can be to use.
It is this perk that Velocity are temporarily improving which will hopefully make it easier for members to utilise them.
Upgrade from Choice Fares
For a limited time, Velocity Platinum members will be able to request upgrades to Business Class even when flying on Choice fares. Choice fares are Virgin Australia’s mid-level fares, and on many occasions, they are significantly cheaper than Flex fares.
This temporary enhancement applies to existing bookings as well as new bookings for travel between 27 September 2023 and 31 March 2024.
However, members will need a higher number of credits if they wish to take advantage of this benefit. Specifically :
- Members will need to use 2 UpgradeMe Platinum credits to upgrade flights of up to 1,000 Miles in distance.
- Members will need to use 4 UpgradeMe Platinum credits to upgrade flights longer than 1,000 Miles in distance.
To put this into context :
- A member booked on Choice fare and flying between Melbourne and Brisbane (distance 857 Miles) will need 2 UpgradeMe credit to upgrade to Business.
- A member booked on Choice fare and flying between Sydney and Perth (distance 2,041 Miles) will need 4 UpgradeMe credit to upgade to Business.
Note that members will still be able to upgrade from Flex fares as usual, there is no change to that benefit. And just to be clear, this benefit only applies to cash fares and cannot be used on Economy Reward flights.
Velocity are temporarily making it easier for Platinum members to use their UpgradeMe credits. Until 31 March 2024, in addition to Flex fares, members can also upgrade to Business when flying on Choice fares. While this is undoubtedly an improvement, it remains to be seen whether it makes any meaningful difference to the travelling elites.
As more and more passengers bypass Economy and pay for Business, it is no surprise that airlines all over the world are reporting very high load factors in Business Class.
Its also worth pointing out that unlike Qantas which operates a bigger Business cabin with 12 seats, Virgin Australia Business Class is only fitted with 8 seats. That makes it all the more harder to clear upgrades.
What do you make of these temporary changes to Velocity Platinum benefit? Leave a comment below.