Virgin Australia inks partnership with Qatar Airways
Velocity members will enjoy having a second Middle Eastern carrier as an option.
What we'll be covering
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the airline industry, it’s to always expect the unexpected. But we’re still pleasantly surprised by the news that Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways will be partners in purple. That’s right – the two carriers have forged a new strategic alliance. And frequent flyers of both airlines are the ultimate winners, with many reciprocal perks on the table.
With the partnership set to commence ‘later this year,’ passengers on either airline will be able to travel to more destinations under a codeshare arrangement. In fact, Velocity members will have access to over 50 new destinations on the Qatar Airways network.
Here’s everything we know about the upcoming link between Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways.
Earn and burn: Velocity Points & Avios
Qatar Airways Privilege Club members will be able to earn and redeem Avios on Virgin Australia flights domestically, and overseas to the likes of Fiji and New Zealand. Likewise, Velocity members will be able to redeem points on Qatar Airways flights, including to new destinations such as Helsinki, Prague, Tbilisi and Luxor.
Velocity Frequent Flyer members are expected to be able to earn Velocity Points and Status Credits when flying on Qatar Airways flights as well. And when Qatar Airways’ reward seats come online, you’ll be able to redeem Velocity Points for Economy, Business (including Qsuites) and First Class travel.
Jayne Hrdlicka, Virgin Australia CEO, says that the airline is focused on ‘creating great travel experiences.’
Our new partnership with Qatar Airways will significantly expand Virgin Australia’s footprint into the Middle East, Europe and Africa, offering hundreds more ways our guests can seamlessly see the world.– Jayne Hrdlicka, Virgin Australia CEO, 10 May 2022
Velocity Frequent Flyer has a better-value reward chart than Qantas Frequent Flyer. With Qatar Airways reward seats soon to be bookable with both Qantas and Velocity Points, we see that Velocity members might enjoy a better deal overall. Velocity’s reward chart maxes out at 139,000 points for a partner Business Class redemption, compared to 159,000 Qantas Points for the same.
New status perks
Though the finer details are yet to be confirmed, Velocity Frequent Flyer and Privilege Club elite members will enjoy reciprocal perks when flying on the other airline. The deal includes extra baggage and lounge access, plus priority check-in, boarding and baggage delivery.
Qatar Airways Privilege Club Gold and Platinum members should have access to Virgin Australia lounges before Virgin Australia-operated flights. Likewise, Velocity Gold and Platinum passengers will be able to access some Qatar Airways lounges.
But Point Hacks understands that the lounge arrangements may not extend to Qatar Airway’s premium Al Mourjan Business Class and Al Safwa First Class lounges in Doha, which remain strictly open only to ticketed passengers in those cabin classes.
Qatar Airways Group CEO, His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker, says that this agreement comes at a time ‘when it is needed the most.’
This partnership will give Australian passengers access to the world that they have so acutely missed these past two years, to be able to reconnect with family and friends, and keep the wheels of trade moving.
For those travelling farther afield, they will benefit from the award-winning facilities of our hub, Hamad International Airport, enabling their onward journey.– His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group CEO, 10 May 2022
While further details are yet to come, this new partnership between Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways is very exciting indeed. Set to launch in 2022, it will give Velocity Frequent Flyer members plenty more opportunities to earn points and Status Credits when flying on Qatar Airways to Europe and other popular destinations.
Plus, Privilege Club members will be able to earn and burn Avios on Virgin Australia flights. Elite members of both programs will also enjoy reciprocal lounge access and more.
Qantas is unlikely to be too fazed by this deal. In their defence, the Qantas-Emirates partnership covers a wider range of destinations and has more lounges in the network, which might matter to some passengers. But it’s all a matter of choice.
With this news, Velocity Frequent Flyer members will have their pick of Singapore Airlines, Etihad and Qatar Airways when booking reward seats from Australia to Europe and the US. That’s a very good choice of partners. Well played, Virgin Australia.