Aviation

Virgin tweaks frequent flyer experience following billboard mockery of Qantas

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Coming two weeks off the back of some elbow-nudging billboard action against its competitor, Virgin Australia has joined Qantas in enhancing its frequent flyer experience.

After Qantas announced a ‘huge’ frequent-flyer program overhaul, its main Australian competitor, Virgin Australia, responded in kind by placarding a purple billboard with the slogan: “Huge news. Nothing’s changed.” referencing its award-winning seat availability.

Virgin Australia "Huge News" billboard

A Qantas spokesperson responded, telling Travel Weekly the billboard had a “fair point”.

“Some things haven’t changed. Qantas still has the number one frequent flyer program,” the spokesperson said.

“We still have the biggest and best ways to earn. And we are still the only Australian airline that flies to Europe, Africa, South America and half of Asia (or most of the globe). But the changes we have made have certainly been huge news for our members.”

But as it turns out, things have, in fact, changed with Velocity. Virgin Australia has revealed tech updates to improve the online experience of its award-winning frequent flyer program.

This comes after the recent release of the airline’s frequent flyer app, which Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Karl Schuster said aims to help members achieve their travel goals.

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“We want to give our members the best opportunities to earn and redeem Points through their everyday behaviours and habits, so that they can reach their travel goals sooner. To do this, we are investing in technology to help us better understand our members’ needs and provide a personalised member experience,” Schuster said in a statement to Travel Weekly. 

“We’ve recently launched our new Velocity Frequent Flyer App which allows members to tailor their digital experience to help them achieve their travel goals through Velocity Points offers and partner deals.”

An example of this, Schuster explained, is that the app allows members to identify the flight they’d most like to take, then provides them with specific points-earning opportunities to reach the number of Velocity Points required for that trip.

Just this week, Virgin Australia launched ‘Points Booster’ on the Velocity Frequent Flyer App, which allows members who are within reach of a reward to purchase remaining points so that they can book their trip.

And showing the cheek between Qantas and Virgin Australia has not fully run its course, a Virgin spokesperson told Travel Weekly the airline’s Velocity program is still the best value airline loyalty program in Australia.

Here are a few reasons why, according to the spokesperson:

  • No joining fee.
  • The best reward seat availability.
  • The most points earned per dollar spent.
  • The lowest number of points required for flight redemption and seat upgrades.
  • The ability to earn and maintain status faster.
  • Lower related fees and charges.

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