Australia’s second-largest carrier has always lagged behind Qantas in lounge access options (and still does) but they are slowly and surely closing the gap.

In this guide, I run through the lounges in each city, what to expect when you use a lounge, and a quick look at the Virgin Australia paid lounge program and the (few) credit cards that offer Virgin Australia lounge access as a perk.

What to expect when you use a domestic Business Class lounge

All of Virgin Australia’s Business Class lounges offer buffet food, soft drinks, wine and beer but no spirits. All but the smallest lounges have cafe operations with barista coffee available.

Sydney Virgin Australia Lounge Coffee1 | Point Hacks

Outside of food and drink, you’ll get access to power to charge your devices, seating (unless it is really busy) and, hopefully, a quieter and more restful space to hang out in before you flight and do some work, make some calls, or whatever you prefer.

You’ll get access to free wifi, newspapers and magazines as well.

What do I like most about lounge access? It reduces the stress of travel. Having somewhere defined to go before your flight takes away decisions about where you could grab a snack, minimises exposure to airport retail, and all up makes travel more sane for me.

Domestic lounges

Virgin Australia has been investing heavily in new lounge experiences over the last few years. This is both in terms of upgrades and additions to their existing domestic lounge network.

There are new domestic lounges in all capital cities (except Hobart) along with some at regional airports. In my visits, they have all offered very consistently good experiences.

Virgin Australia Lounge | Point Hacks

Here are the current locations:

  • Alice Springs
  • Adelaide
  • Brisbane
  • Cairns
  • Canberra
  • Darwin
  • Gold Coast
  • Mackay
  • Melbourne
  • Perth (one each in T1 and T2)
  • Sydney

For comparison purposes, Qantas operates 24 Qantas Clubs, with Domestic and International Business and First lounges on top of that.

Most lounges are visually engaging and a nice space to spend some time before your flight. They match the Virgin Australia brand and style, and with common architectural signature elements where Virgin have managed to slot them in.

Sydney

This lounge occupies two levels in the Virgin Australia domestic terminal, with the upper level offering some good views across the tarmac of Sydney’s domestic and international arrivals.

Virgin Australia Sydney Lounge | Point Hacks
Virgin Australia Sydney Lounge | Point Hacks

Premium Entry can be used by passengers with no checked baggage travelling in Business Class, as well as Velocity Gold and Platinum members. Note that the Sydney lounge is the only one that offers Premium Entry access on both weekdays and weekends.

This quirky video from the airline shows a comparison between the experience of being a ‘regular’ passenger and one using Premium Entry:

Melbourne

Opened in 2011 and refurbished in 2014, the lounge is unique in being before security and having a ‘Premium Exit’ with dedicated security processing for passengers with lounge access.

Virgin Australia Melbourne Lounge | Point Hacks
Virgin Australia Melbourne Lounge | Point Hacks
Virgin Australia Melbourne Lounge | Point Hacks

Brisbane

Virgin Australia opened the new Brisbane lounge in late 2015, with Richard Branson himself present. It features a large atrium entry, cafe and, like in Sydney, Premium Entry for eligible travellers.

Virgin Lounge Brisbane Cafe-w | Point Hacks
Virgin Lounge Brisbane Lounge Entry-w | Point Hacks
Virgin Lounge Brisbane Premium Entry-w | Point Hacks

Perth

The Perth Domestic T1 lounge reopened in late 2015 as part of a $1 billion redevelopment of the airport.

It serves most Virgin Australia flights leaving Perth, although some smaller regional flights depart from the purpose-built T2 Regional Terminal, where Virgin Australia also have a small lounge.

Virgin Australia Perth | Point Hacks
Virgin Australia Perth | Point Hacks

For comparison purposes, it is slightly smaller than the Brisbane lounge.

Virgin Australia has focussed heavily on the use of glass, making this lounge attractive for plane-spotters.

VA Perth Lounge Exterior | Point Hacks

Premium Valet Parking is available at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

Canberra

Reopened in 2013, this lounge has a great view over the airport’s operations.

Virgin Australia Lounge Canberra TZG -1 | Point Hacks
Virgin Australia Lounge Canberra TZG -3 | Point Hacks

Cairns

The Cairns lounge is one of the smaller lounges in the network but again has a great view to take in while you wait for your flight.

Virgin Lounge Cairns 1-w | Point Hacks
Virgin Lounge Cairns 3-w | Point Hacks

Other lounges

Virgin Australia also operates some smaller refurbished lounges at Adelaide (to be re-done by 2021), Darwin, Gold Coast and regional lounges such as at Mackay and Alice Springs.

International lounges

Virgin Australia has upped its game when it comes to passengers travelling on international services with them or a partner airline.

Virgin Australia Business Class guests, Velocity Gold and Platinum members and Virgin Australia Lounge Members (plus one guest and two children) have access to these lounges.

Note that single-use lounge passes that come with credit cards do not provide access to these international lounges.

In Australia

When departing Sydney or Melbourne, Virgin passengers have access to the excellent lounges run by independent operator No1 Lounges (formerly the Etihad lounges).

They are called ‘The House’ and include à la carte dining. The Sydney lounge will be remodelled and its size increased by 50%.

Etihad Sydney First Class Lounge | Point Hacks

In October 2018, the airline said that it would be adding its own ‘My Lounge’ in Brisbane. This is expected to open on 3 September 2019.

Virgin Australia My House Lounge Brisbane | Point Hacks
What the Brisbane lounge may look like—loft-style elements in a relaxing environment

In New Zealand

Passengers in Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown access third-party lounges of the Strata or Manaia brands. These are the same lounges that Priority Pass members currently gain entry to, so there may be some space constraints.

Manaia Lounge Queenstown Official | Point Hacks
The Manaia Lounge in Queenstown

The airline opened its own lounge in Wellington in mid-April 2019, its first on foreign soil.

Virgin Australia Lounge Wellington

Passengers in Dunedin do not enjoy lounge access; instead, they get a NZ$35 food and drink voucher to use at the Fuel to Fly by Airspresso Café. This is only for Business Class passengers—Velocity elite status holders are not eligible for this benefit.

In Hong Kong

The Club Autus from Hong Kong Airlines is the lounge that is used by Virgin passengers departing for Sydney and Melbourne. It was renovated in late 2017 and gets generally positive reviews.

In Los Angeles

Passengers departing for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane gain access to the Emirates lounge in LAX’s international terminal.

The Emirates Melbourne Lounge | Point Hacks

We don’t have a review of this specific lounge, but the one for Melbourne will give an indication of what to expect as Emirates’ lounge offerings are very consistent across its network.

Further information regarding locations of Virgin Australia’s international lounges can be found here.

Access options

Through a credit card

Unlike Qantas in recent years, Virgin have kept lounge access from credit cards pretty tight, with only two cards from American Express and two other cards offering any kind of lounge benefit.

The American Express Platinum Charge has unlimited access for you and a guest included as part of its expansive benefits for a high annual fee.

Unfortunately, we have confirmed with Virgin Australia’s Lounge Coordinator that the American Express Platinum Card lounge benefits cannot be combined with any other form of unlimited lounge entry.

This means that if you held that Amex card and also Velocity Gold status, you would not be able to combine the lounge guest benefits to bring in two guests—only one guest allowed overall.

The only exception to this rule is single access lounge passes, which can be used to bring in extra guests above your entitlement.

In addition, the following three credit cards include two single-entry lounge passes per year:

By flying Business Class

If you are travelling on a paid or award Business Class ticket, you’ll get access when departing or arriving on a Virgin Australia flight. Unfortunately, you can’t bring any guests in, unlike Qantas Business Class passengers can.

With Velocity Frequent Flyer status

Velocity Gold members (plus one guest) and Platinum members (plus three guests) gain access both on departure and arrival when flying Virgin Australia—for comparison purposes, Qantas only grants on-arrival access to Platinum and above members.

Here are some of the cheapest ways to get Velocity Gold status.

Silver members get two single-entry passes a year, which cannot be transferred to other passengers but can be used for a guest when you are travelling with them.

With airline partner frequent flyer status

You and at least one guest will gain access to the lounge when departing on a Virgin Australia flight and holding Gold status or above with partners like Delta, Etihad, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

With a Virgin Australia Lounge membership

Virgin sells access to their lounges, either on an annual membership basis or for single-use access.

Virgin Australia Lounge memberships are available for Velocity members. Those at the Red (lowest) level are charged a $330 joining fee + $420 annual membership fee; whilst Silver members have the joining fee waived and are charged a reduced $300 annual membership fee.

Membership allows you to also bring in a guest and two children aged 2-12 years old.

Many employers and professional associations will offer hefty discounts on the joining and annual fees.

There’s also lifetime access available for a chunky $9,750 (or $6,750 if you’re over 60 years old)—and while normally Premium Entry is not included for those with an annual membership, lifetime access has it thrown in.

Using Velocity Points or cash

You can purchase a single-access pass in advance for 10,000 Velocity Points or $65 at the door but both can be used at most two hours before your flight—given that, I think using points and cash for a single-access pass is a bad deal.

Access on arrival

The following passengers can step off a Virgin Australia flight and access the lounge in their arrival city, subject to space constraints:

  • Business Class passengers (no time limit)
  • Velocity Gold and Platinum status holders (up to 60 minutes)
  • Virgin Lounge members (up to 60 minutes)

Velocity Silver status holders and those using single-use passes, e.g. from a credit card, are not eligible for access on arrival.

Child Access

The ability to bring children in excess of your normal guest allowance is possible in some circumstances. Virgin Australia defines children as ‘twelve or under’ for the purpose of lounge access.

  • Velocity Gold and Platinum passengers can bring in up to two children to any domestic Virgin Australia lounge, in addition to their normal guest allowance.
  • Business class passengers cannot bring in any children as guests unless the children are also flying business class. Only infants under 2 years of age are exempt.
  • Velocity Gold and Platinum passengers can bring in two children in addition to their guest allowance at the following international lounges:
    • The House lounges in Sydney and Melbourne
    • My Lounge (home of Virgin Australia) in Brisbane
    • The Strata and Manaia lounges in New Zealand airports
  • In all other international airports with lounge access, children are counted as part of your guest allowance, thus you can only bring one.

Summing up

Virgin has completed their refurbishment of the main lounges in its network, and having a credit card that offers you access when you fly can give you more time to relax before your next flight on Virgin Australia.

You may also be interested in reading our definitive guide to Qantas lounges.

Supplementary images courtesy respective airlines and lounges and Tonkin Zulaikha Greer for Canberra.

Which credit cards get you into Virgin Australia lounges? was last modified: September 6th, 2019 by Matt Moffitt