Virgin Australia inks codeshare deal with Link Airways
Earn Status Credits on eligible flights, and if you qualify, enjoy Virgin's lounges as well.
What we'll be covering
Virgin Australia is taking its partnership with Link Airways to new heights, signing a fresh codeshare deal. The agreement allows Virgin Australia to sell seats on more than 90 additional flights per week across the Link Airways network. These are primarily to regional destinations but also between two capital cities.
By booking these flights through Virgin Australia, passengers will receive all the usual benefits of travelling with Virgin Australia. This includes lounge access for eligible flyers, as well as additional baggage allowance and more.
The arrangements differ from how Virgin Australia’s existing tie-up works with Link Airways on the Sydney-Canberra route. On those services, Link Airways is directly flying on behalf of Virgin Australia – a ‘wet lease’, in airline speak. This latest deal instead places Virgin Australia’s VA code onto Link Airways’ existing network of flights. These are flights that Link Airways was otherwise going to run anyway and which can also be booked directly on a Link Airways FC flight number.
These VA codeshare flights can already be booked through eligible travel agents. They’re expected to become available for booking via the Virgin Australia website in March once further IT integrations are in place.
Virgin Australia’s codeshare network on Link Airways
In essence, Virgin Australia will now be selling flights operated by Link Airways. But with the benefits of travelling on a VA flight number – and with the benefit of booking any connecting flights all on one ticket.
Here’s a rundown of Link Airways’ regional routes on which you’ll be able to book a Virgin Australia codeshare. All city pairs will carry codeshares in both directions.
- From Sydney: Inverell and Narrabri.
- From Melbourne: Dubbo, Orange and Wollongong.
- From Brisbane: Armidale, Biloela, Bundaberg, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Inverell, Narrabri, Tamworth and Wollongong.
- From Canberra: Hobart and Newcastle.
Today’s announcement in partnership with Link Airways underscores our commitment to delivering great value, flexibility and choice to Australians, and boosting connections for customers living in regional Australia.
Together, our networks will be operating up to 365 daily flights across Australia, offering 42 domestic destinations for guests to explore, all while ensuring guests can enjoy seamless connectivity and loyalty benefits under our award-winning Velocity Frequent Flyer program when they travel.– Alistair Hartley, Virgin Australia Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, 18 January 2024
Benefits for Velocity members booking a VA code
It’s worth pointing out that separate from this codeshare deal, Link Airways is already one of Velocity’s many airline partners. When travellers book a Link Airways flight on an FC flight number, Velocity Points can be earned on eligible fares. Travellers earn between two and five Velocity Points per $1 spent on the airfare but no Status Credits.
By booking Link Airways flights through Virgin Australia on a VA flight number, things are a little better. Travellers will always earn at least five Velocity Points per $1 spent. On top of this, Velocity Silver, Gold, and Platinum members can earn their usual bonus points. That’s a 50% boost for Silver, a 75% increase for Gold, and a 100% bonus – or double points – for Platinum.
In addition, taking a Link Airways flight with a VA flight number also allows Status Credits to be earned. Per Link Airways flight sector, this will be 15 Status Credits when travelling on a Choice fare, or 20 Status Credits on a Flex fare. Virgin Australia won’t be selling ‘Lite’ fares on Link Airways flights, and Link doesn’t offer a Business Class cabin.
Interestingly, an equivalent Flex flight on a route operated by Virgin Australia itself would earn a higher 25 Status Credits, so the rate isn’t quite as generous with Link. The earning rate on a Choice fare is the same, though.
Baggage allowances will be the same on these Link Airways codeshares as on Virgin Australia metal. This means a standard baggage allowance of 1x23kg will apply on both Choice and Flex tickets. On these fares, Velocity Silver and Gold members can bring a second 23kg bag at no charge. Velocity Platinum members can travel with a total of 3x23kg suitcases, also at no charge.
Redeeming Velocity Points for travel with Link Airways
While travellers can earn Velocity Points when travelling with Link Airways, it won’t be possible to redeem them for a reward seat on Link. This is because Virgin Australia’s partnership only extends to a basic codeshare. In airline terms, this allows Virgin Australia to sell revenue tickets on Link Airways’ flights. But being able to redeem points would be a separate deal.
The only way to fly with Link Airways using Velocity Points is to book a flight between Sydney and Canberra. That’s because flights on this specific route are directly operated by Link Airways on behalf of Virgin Australia. Whereas this new codeshare network is achieved by VA placing its code onto Link Airways’ existing scheduled flights. These are true ‘Link Airways’ flights, operated by Link on its own behalf – not ‘for Virgin Australia’, so to speak.
But of course, Velocity Points earned by flying with Link can be redeemed in all the usual ways. Including flights operated by Virgin Australia and its web of other airline partners.
There’s one other benefit of booking a VA codeshare on Link Airways, though. Travellers who would normally qualify for lounge entry when flying with Virgin Australia can enjoy that privilege as normal when travelling on a VA codeshare. For instance, a Velocity Gold member flying Link Airways from Brisbane to Bundaberg could visit Brisbane’s Virgin Australia Lounge as though they were travelling with Virgin Australia itself.
But take note – this privilege is only available when travelling with Link Airways on a Virgin Australia VA codeshare flight number. If you book directly with Link Airways on the native FC flight number, Velocity status benefits – including lounge access and extra checked baggage – are not available.
Also read: Earning Velocity Points on Link Airways
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