Virgin Australia has partnered with Qatar Airways to offer frequent flyers with flight redemptions, points perks and lounge access across both airlines.
The new codeshare partnership, expected to be in full swing later this year, will also give customers access to both Virgin Australia’s domestic and short-haul network, as well as Qatar’s global destinations.
The partnership comes as somewhat of a surprise given Virgin’s ongoing partnership with Qatar rival Etihad for global travel via the Middle East, as well as Qatar’s membership of the Oneworld Alliance, of which Virgin rival Qantas is also a member.
However, once in operation, frequent flyers of both Qatar Airways Privilege Club and Velocity Frequent Flyer will enjoy reciprocal loyalty benefits, by accruing points, and, depending on status tier, free lounge access, complimentary extra baggage allowance, priority check-in, and priority boarding when flying either airline.
“Today is more great news for Virgin Australia and Velocity Frequent Flyer members who are hungry to travel internationally,” Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said.
“Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways are both known for their award-winning service and joining forces means that together we can provide an incredible experience when travelling between Australia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and beyond.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Mr. Akbar Al Baker said, “We have a strong, long-standing relationship with Australia and this agreement with Virgin Australia comes at a time when it is needed the most.
“We hope many of them will stopover in Doha to enjoy the wonderful tourism industry that Qatar has to offer.”
It comes as Virgin’s partnership with US major carrier United Airlines is set to launch this month, after Virgin dropped its previous alliance with United rival Delta Air Lines.
The United partnership is due to come into play from 24 May.
The agreement will see United and Virgin codeshare on all flights to and from Australia as well as flights within both Australia and the US.
It will see United’s network expand out from just Sydney and Melbourne to more than 40 Australian cities and regions, while Virgin – not currently servicing its own long-haul international network – will sprawl to the US, Mexico, South America and the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, Virgin’s longstanding agreement with Delta will finally end on 12 June, after more than a decade in partnership. Virgin has promised that existing bookings will be honoured.
This article is courtesy of Australian Aviation.