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Virgin’s invite-only lounge to reopen

written by Hannah Dowling | April 12, 2022

Virgin Boeing 737-8FE, VH-YFW msn 41037. (Victor Pody)

Virgin Australia’s high-rolling members-only lounge is set to reopen its doors for the first time in two years after the airline has reportedly sent out exclusive invitations.

Previously dubbed The Club, the new program, Virgin Australia Beyond, is set to soon relaunch after the program was paused and all lounges were closed when Virgin first entered administration in April 2020.

Reports suggest previous members of The Club have already received their prestigious invitations to Beyond, though some high-profile former members were notably passed over after publicly defecting to Qantas’ rival program, the Chairman’s Lounge.

Virgin’s biggest corporate spenders are expected to be on the exclusive list, with membership often negotiated as part of corporate contracts with the airline.

New members will see a six to nine-month trial in the program, while previous members will get a full 12-month membership.

Along with access to the exclusive lounge, Beyond members can access dedicated phone lines and email contacts to ensure their customer service needs are met quickly and can share all membership benefits with one spouse or partner.

In an invitation sent to upcoming members, seen by The Australian, Virgin CEO Jayne Hrdlicka reflected on the program’s new name, Beyond, amid welcoming the airline’s most “loyal and valued guests” to its ranks.

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“Beyond is more than just a future-facing name. It’s our promise to always give a little extra. To provide service that’s as tailored as it is effortless, and to consistently deliver an experience that goes above and way beyond,” she said.

“A carefully curated mix of exclusive benefits and our remarkable service and personality will ensure you enjoy your journey when you fly with us.”

Hrdlicka again confirmed that Beyond lounges will be reopened at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane Airports, after the airline announced last year that its exclusive lounges in Perth and Canberra would close.

“You don’t need to do anything to accept your invitation to Beyond,” wrote Ms Hrdlicka.

“Our team look forward to sharing more details ahead of the Beyond Lounge reopening, including your benefits, lounge access and digital membership card.”

It comes one week after Virgin unveiled its newest Business Flyer program, which offers a competitive alternative to Qantas, again upping the ante in the post-pandemic domestic aviation battle.

With no minimum spend to sign-on and start earning points, it marks a significant deviation from Virgin’s previous “Business Accelerate” program, and places it more on-par with Qantas’ recently overhauled Business Rewards program.

Offering up to 6 per cent off business class seats for Business Flyer program participants, it matches Qantas’ entry-level Business Rewards service, and comes right off the back of Virgin lowering its cheapest business class fares to just $299 one-way.

While, unlike Qantas, it doesn’t offer steeper discounts to its most frequent of flyers, Virgin does have its rival beat by not requiring any sign-on or ongoing membership fees, and annual lounge memberships for just $379 – as opposed to Qantas’ $89 sign-on fee and $400 annual lounge membership plus $99 lounge sign-up fee.

Qantas currently offers business customers a vast number of ways to earn Business Reward points, through on-ground partners such as credit card providers, while Virgin Business Flyers can only earn points through flying.

However, Virgin CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said that this fact could change in the near future.

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