Flight upgrade options for Velocity Gold Member?

We have finally made it to Gold member status. Looking at best ways to utilise our status. We would like to plan a decent trip for next year. Thinking the best way would be to use points to upgrade on a long haul flight (which you can only do once you are Gold or Platinum). Problem I can see is that you can only do this on a VA flight number, operated by Virgin. It says on their website that you can fly to LAX or Abu Dhabi, but when I look up flights to Abu Dhabi they are code shared (so why even say that you can do this flight, when obviously you can’t, as per their conditions).

Other options would be to do short haul international but they aren’t terribly clear on locations for these (Pacific and south east Asia, no clarification on actual cities, are there exclusions, what is their definition of south east Asia?). Can’t really see the sense in upgrading on domestic flights, unless it’s a particularly long one.

We are situated in Western Australia. Any ideas/suggestions or clarifications on how best to use our Gold status would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Hey vanessaheinrich,

First of all congratulations on the status and I really hope you all get the upgrade!

The reason why you won’t be able to find the Virgin flights you’re looking for is that VA actually never began operation on the route they’d long-proposed. In February this year Virgin axed the proposed Perth to Abu Dhabi route which was due to run 3 times a week starting June this year, in favour of the east coast capitals and operating their own aircraft on the Melbourne to Los Angeles route. Unfortunately a lot of the material you’ll find on Virgin’s own site as well as a lot of common travel publications are out of date and still list Abu Dhabi as a destination VA fly to, but they now codeshare on Etihad flights and operate none of their own aircraft to Abu Dhabi.


As it stands being based in Western Australia is not great for velocity members who plan to upgrade, as Virgin don’t fly anywhere internationally from Perth so you would need to fly to either Melbourne, Brisbane or Sydney to then get an upgrade on an international flight. Still plenty of options to redeem points for business outright, as you can get award seats on any of the Singapore, Etihad or Air NZ flights leaving Perth.

As it stands, from the east coast capitals Virgin use their own planes to fly to Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, New Zealand, Bali, Los Angeles, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

In regards to how best to utilise your status it depends on where you’d like to go. If you’re looking at travelling to North or South America then my best advise is to go via Brisbane as the loads are historically quite low to Los Angeles, meaning less likelihood of other high-tier fliers competing with you for the upgrade on the long haul. With Gold status you will get preferential access to award seats with Virgin and partners, so if you’re going somewhere other than LA you’ll likely find award seats with Delta or Virgin America to wherever you want to go.

Going to Europe is significantly worse as obviously no upgrades to be had. If you have plenty of points then the preferential access is still fantastic as you should be able to snag Etihad or Singapore business award seats relatively easily, and you will still get recognised for your status when you fly even if you’re in economy with preferential boarding, lounge access or extra baggage allowances as permitted.

Hope that helps!