Don’t like the idea of paying for baggage you don’t need? Soon, you will have a greater range of fares to choose from with Virgin Australia, including a new wallet-friendly Economy Lite option.

What are Virgin Australia’s new Economy fares?

Virgin Australia is rolling out a revamped set of Economy fare options, providing passengers with ‘greater choice’ and ‘more options’. Economy Lite is the new lead-in bargain fare, starting from $59 on selected routes. But those cheap seats – previously known as Getaway – will no longer come bundled with a baggage allowance or seat selection.

Meanwhile, Economy Choice (similar to Elevate) will remain as the all-rounder option for passengers who want it all. Economy Flex (most comparable to Freedom) will also stay relatively untouched, offering the ability to cancel for a refund with an $80 fee.

Virgin Australia 737 Economy
Virgin’s Economy Class fares are being refreshed.

Virgin Australia tells Point Hacks that the new fares follow an extensive review of pricing and inclusions.

We discovered that nearly one in every three Virgin Australia customers don’t bring a checked bag when they travel, despite a bag allowance built in to their airfare. On flights between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, that number is even higher.

Today we’re putting the power back in the hands of our customers by leaving it up to them to choose what they want. If they don’t want a checked bag or seat selection, they won’t have to pay for it – it’s that simple. If they prefer to keep the extras, there are great value inclusive fare options available. 

– Virgin Australia spokesperson, 19 August 2021

Virgin’s pricing overhaul will include changes to how many Status Credits are earned per sector. You also can’t upgrade to Business Class from Economy Lite fares.

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How do Virgin Australia’s new Economy fares work?

Right now, Virgin’s Economy Lite fare is not available on all routes. Where it is offered, you’ll see it appear as the first option on the booking page. We’ve checked a few routes and have found that Economy Lite is usually priced about $20 cheaper than Economy Choice.

This is price difference is important to note because it costs $40 to add checked baggage to the booking, and at least $7 for standard seat selection. If you’re considering adding either of these, it may make more sense just to pay a bit more for Economy Choice. (Indeed, you are given many chances to ‘upgrade’ before checking out).

All fares will still earn 5 Velocity Points per dollar spent. However, Economy Lite comes with some further restrictions on the Velocity Frequent Flyer side of things:

  • You can’t upgrade Economy Lite – not with Velocity Points, Platinum Complimentary Upgrades or cash bids
  • You won’t earn Velocity Eligible Sectors for the purposes of earning or maintaining elite Velocity status
  • Velocity Platinum members will still enjoy free seat selection on Economy Lite tickets
  • For baggage, Velocity Gold and Platinum memebrs won’t get any free baggage allowances with Economy Lite
  • Velocity Gold members will not be able to Fly Ahead on Choice fares after 19 November 2021. Velocity Platinum members will still be able to Fly Ahead on Choice, Flex and Business fares

Will Virgin Australia’s new Economy fares affect Velocity Status Credits?

Velocity Frequent Flyer is making small tweaks to the Status Credits (SCs) earned on the new domestic fares. Below is the new earning table, with any changes noted alongside.

Miles travelledLiteChoice/GroupsFlexBusiness
1-750 (Zone 1)5 (was 7)152555
751-1,500 (Zone 2)7 (was 10)2035 (was 30)80 (was 70)
1,501+ (Zone 3)10 (was 15)3045105

Overall, Economy Lite sees a drop across the board compared to the previous Getaway fare. But on the flip side, Economy Flex and Business enjoy more Status Credits on Zone 2 flights.

Remember, Economy Lite doesn’t earn Velocity Eligible Sectors. This is important to note if you’re trying to earn or maintain status the usual way. You’ll need to collect 2, 4 or 8 Eligible Sectors as part of the journey to Silver, Gold or Platinum status, respectively. This means booking Economy Choice fares or higher.

Summing up

Virgin Australia’s Economy fare revamp is a sensible next step for the carrier. Like many mid-market carriers in the US and Europe, having a cheaper unbundled Economy ticket gives travellers more choices.

We imagine that most readers will still stick with Economy Choice and higher. It’s usually not too much more expensive, but it accrues Velocity Eligible Sectors for elite status and you can upgrade to Business Class – two major reasons why you’d be reading Point Hacks anyway!

Virgin Australia brings back cheaper ‘Economy Lite’ fares was last modified: August 14th, 2023 by Brandon Loo