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Virgin launches ‘Switch-a-Roo’ pitch to Qantas frequent flyers

written by Casey Martin | September 13, 2022

Virgin Velocity has made its most audacious attempt yet to encourage Qantas frequent flyers to transfer their accounts after launching a new promotion it’s called ‘Switch-a-Roo’.

It follows similar poaching schemes in reverse by the national carrier and also an extraordinary court battle between the two airlines over ‘defecting’ Virgin loyalty chief Nick Rohrlach.

The new scheme allows Qantas gold members to receive a three-month trial membership of Virgin’s equivalent membership tier. The offer can then be extended into a 12-month membership by booking one eligible flight and earning 80 Status Credits.

Platinum or above members of Qantas’ frequent flyer program can also fast track to Velocity Platinum status for 12 months if they earn 200 Status Credits, rather than 1,000, during the three-month trial.


“Virgin Australia is known for being playful, and the Switch-A-Roo campaign is a really great example of us putting our energetic spirit on show for well-travelled Australians who are looking to switch their loyalty to a modern and vibrant airline,” said Rohrlach.

Velocity also announced it has partnered with Myer to provide its customers with more rewards. The deal between the two will allow more than 10 million Velocity members to redeem Velocity points on over 200,000 products on the online Myer store.

Velocity members will be able to use their points to pay part of, or all of, their purchase of Myer products with claims that they aim to provide customers with more bang for their buck amid rising inflation.

“On average, one person in every Australian household now has a Velocity Frequent Flyer membership, which shows the depth, breadth and importance of the program to Australian consumers,” said Rohrlach.

The battle for frequent flyers has become particularly divisive after Virgin’s collapse into administration supposedly led to 25 corporate accounts switching to the Flying Kangaroo from Virgin.

Qantas took advantage by launching multiple switching programs targeting both Virgin and Air New Zealand customers in the aftermath.

The competition for customers reached a zenith when Rohrlach, the former chief executive of Qantas subsidiary Jetstar Japan, became head of Virgin Velocity.

Qantas took legal action against the move in March 2021 after the executive accepted a senior role at Qantas Frequent Flyer, before ultimately taking the top job at Velocity.

The Flying Kangaroo argued in court that “highly sensitive” information had been shared with Rohrlach during his onboarding process at its own loyalty program, which the airline feared he would share with rival Virgin upon taking up his new position.

The proceedings meant his start date shifted back from May to September 2021.

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