Virgin Australia opens secret invitation-only Beyond Lounges
• Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka officially opens invitation-only Beyond Lounges in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane today, with an event at Sydney Airport.
• New Beyond à la carte breakfast and all-day dining menu revealed.
• Access to Beyond Lounges is granted through discreet doors where only members have access and know the location.
• Beyond members sit in the highest tier of loyalty at Virgin Australia and include decision makers for the airline’s corporate accounts and key leaders in many industries across the country.
• In a survey of Beyond members (formerly The Club) conducted last year, 95 per cent said they would recommend the invitation-only loyalty program and benefits to their friends or colleagues.
• Virgin Australia targets larger slice of business market and reaffirms 33 per cent domestic market share goal.
Wednesday 20 April 2022: Virgin Australia has today lifted the curtain on the airline’s long-awaited invitation-only private Beyond Lounges in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, reserved for corporate partners, some high-status Velocity Frequent Flyer members and key opinion leaders throughout the country.
The re-opening of the highly anticipated lounge network (previously known as The Club), a key benefit of the new Virgin Australia Beyond loyalty program announced last year, signifies a major milestone in the airline’s transformation plan and follows a long list of significant customer improvements since Virgin Australia was relaunched in 2020. Virgin Australia Beyond is now the highest tier of loyalty for Virgin Australia customers and sits alongside the airline’s award-winning Velocity Frequent Flyer loyalty program which continues to offer Red, Silver, Gold and Platinum status.
Beyond member benefits include:
• 12-month annual membership for the primary member with the option to also nominate a spouse/partner for Beyond membership to enjoy the same benefits. Membership is reviewed each year.
• Access to dedicated Beyond Lounges in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane with a relaxed à la carte menu offering.
• Dedicated phone concierge service to make or change bookings.
• 4 x complimentary upgrades to Business Class each year*.
• 1 x complimentary Velocity Gold membership for the primary member’s executive assistant.
Beyond Lounge access via an unmarked door
With capacity for hundreds of Virgin Australia’s most valued frequent flyers across the three capital city private lounges, members will enter via a discreet door with access granted through a sustainable digital membership card only given to Virgin Australia’s most loyal flyers. Locations of the entrance doors will continue to remain unmarked but are located in close proximity to Virgin Australia’s existing domestic lounges in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
In a survey of Beyond members conducted last year, privacy was found to be one of the most important attributes of the invitation-only lounges.
Design and features
Once through the discreet entrance, members will experience a quiet and welcoming space, with design elements including feature leather clad and oak timber walls, plush Chester-style armchairs, bright greenery and secluded privacy pods. The privacy pods are a member favourite in the lounges and contain timber cabinetry with built-in charging stations, making it easy for members to work or relax on the fly. Transparent frosted glass surrounds the pods allowing for natural light to enter while maintaining discretion for those seated inside.
Numerous seating zones are spread throughout the lounges, providing members with different spaces to dine, relax, refresh and recharge in a delightfully Virgin Australia way. End of day facilities such as showers (available from 1 July 2022), towels and premium bathroom amenities by Appelles Apothecary Lab are also available for members. Private offices and board rooms are also available in each Beyond Lounge and can be booked by members ahead of or on the day of travel.
New à la carte dining with beverages to complement
To coincide with the opening of Beyond, Virgin Australia has today launched a new and fresh à la carte menu for Beyond members, featuring light and substantial fresh menu options using the finest Australian produce. All food is freshly prepared on site and can be ordered with the airline’s dedicated Beyond Lounge Hosts who are on hand to deliver a personalised service experience.
The breakfast and all-day dining menus will rotate regularly based on supply and seasonality, and include the following dishes:
• Breakfast options including eggs made to order;
• Superfood salads;
• Sandwiches and healthy wraps;
• Seafood and meat pastas;
• Decadent desserts;
• Cheese boards featuring some of the best Australian cheesemongers; and
• Virgin Australia’s signature truffle fries, a firm favourite members insisted on retaining.
To complement the mouth-watering menu, Virgin Australia Beyond members will have access to a wide range of carefully selected beverages, including spirits, Australian wine (pink, white and red), cocktails, freshly squeezed juices, sparkling and still water, tea and coffee.
Unique Beyond service experience
Beyond is Virgin Australia’s 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. In keeping with this unique service experience and commitment to a quiet atmosphere in the Beyond Lounges, the airline will do away with boarding announcements and instead provide personalised 1:1 boarding invitations from the dedicated Beyond Lounge Hosts, who will come by when it’s time for members to board their flight.
Beyond Lounge Hosts will also recommend meals from the all-day à la carte menu based on the duration of the members’ visit before their flight, heightening the service experience for Virgin Australia’s most exclusive member lounge.
Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said the opening of Beyond Lounges are a significant milestone in the airline’s transformation strategy. “We are continuing to write a new chapter at Virgin Australia and this is the next wonderful edition of our transformation journey,” said Ms Hrdlicka.
“Virgin Australia is dedicated to providing exceptional service experiences and product offerings at great value prices, and Beyond is a great example of Virgin Australia investing in the products and services our guests value most.
“The program forms part of the wider offering Virgin Australia is bringing to the market. From airfare pricing, to rewards through Velocity Frequent Flyer, and great travel experiences in our lounges and on board our flights, we are incredibly focussed on having the right mix of products and services to meet our 33 per cent domestic market share ambitions this year.
“Virgin Australia is bringing more value and optionality to the market than ever before and we know Beyond is going to be very popular with business leaders who are looking for premium travel experiences for their businesses matched with great value airfares.
“And our value is second to none. Virgin Australia Business Class fares are up to 60 per cent better value than what they were prior to the pandemic**, and in an independent airfare study released in July 2021, our Economy fares were found to be up to 67 per cent better value***, so it’s going to make it very hard for any business to look past Virgin Australia at a time when value is more important than ever.
“Many months have gone into market research and listening to feedback from our premium loyalty members, including me personally speaking with some of our largest corporate clients. We are confident we have the right model in Beyond to drive exceptional loyalty from corporate Australia while delivering strong commercial outcomes for Virgin Australia,” she said.
Virgin Australia Group Chief Customer and Digital Officer, Paul Jones commented on the Beyond Lounge offering. “We are laser focussed on creating great travel experiences for our guests and we have spent the last 12 months developing a service and product offering that we know is right for Beyond members,” said Mr Jones.
"Last year our members told us privacy, comfort, functional spaces and relaxed dining experiences are important in a private Lounge. And this is what we have delivered today.
“The dining experience is exceptional. Dishes take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to prepare and range from quick and convenient light dishes to more substantial items depending on the time of day and the duration of the members’ visit. Our various seating zones also mean guests can dine with others or in private.
“We also know how much our members value our unique approach to service which can only be found at Virgin Australia. Our team members right across the airline are empowered to deliver our wonderful “flair” in every step of the guest journey, no matter the status of the guest, or the seat number on their boarding pass,” he said.
Virgin Australia Beyond features a member list of business leaders from companies who hold a travel account with Virgin Australia as well as key individuals from the worlds of travel, politics, sport, music, entertainment and society.
Since relaunching in 2020, Virgin Australia has been transformed to focus on its heartland customers which include value conscious corporate and small to medium sized businesses travellers and premium leisure travellers. In recent months, Virgin Australia has considerably grown its share of the domestic market in Australia and intends to hold its domestic market share at 33 per cent over time, in order to ensure depth and breadth of network and schedule to its core customers.
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How to become a Beyond member
Beyond membership is granted by the CEO and executives of Virgin Australia for the airline’s most loyal guests, which include decision makers for the airline’s corporate accounts and key leaders in many industries across the country. Business leaders interested in being invited to join Beyond are encouraged to speak to their travel manager or Virgin Australia account manager.
Beyond Lounge exclusive à la carte menu Breakfast:
• Seasonal fruit platter;
• Free range eggs any style on toast with your choice of bacon, pork sausage, tomato, avocado, spinach and mushrooms;
• Toasted sourdough or croissant with Pepe Saya butter and a choice of condiments;
• Toasted sourdough, tomato pesto, serrano ham, piquillo peppers and Manchego cheese;
• Organic buckwheat and date toasted muesli and yoghurt (GF) Small plates (all day)
• Fresh sandwiches: o Leg ham o Fresh chicken o Roasted vegetable
• Signature truffle fries • In-house roasted mixed nut combination
• Seasonal Australian artisan cheese selection with traditional accompaniments.
o Berry’s Creek – Moss Vale Blue (VIC)
o Milawa Cheese Factory - Brie (VIC)
o Maffra Cheese Company - Cloth Ash Cheddar (VIC)
o Cremeux - Double Brie Cream (SA)
o Bay of Fires Cheese - Cheddar (TAS) Main Plates (all day)
• Grass-fed steak sandwich with Australian cheddar, pickle and gem lettuce
• Superfood salad with red quinoa, avocado, kale, pomegranate and smoked almonds (vegan)
• Superfood salad with cauliflower kimchi, sushi rice, edamame, avocado, sesame seeds, ponzu sauce
• Salad of brown rice, beetroot kraut, broccolini, chickpeas, grapefruit and pecans
• Grilled calamari spaghetti, garlic, chilli, white wine and Queensland bottarga
• Gnocchi, braised lamb, green peas, forest mushrooms, mint, goat cheese
• Penne pasta, grilled chorizo, shaved zucchini, tomato, marjoram pesto, pecorino
• Halloumi sliders, hummus, grilled eggplant, chilli-tomato relish, rocket
• Pulled beef brisket tacos, cos lettuce, broccomole, chipotle mayonnaise
• Hot smoked salmon tostada, cucumber dill slaw, avocado, jalapeno mayonnaise Dessert (all day)
• Salted caramel tartlet, chocolate ganache, raspberry coulis, vanilla ice cream
• White chocolate panna cotta, fresh berries, hazelnut crumble
• Pistachio pavlova, whipped mascarpone cream, rhubarb-ginger jam
• Chocolate mud cake • Matcha green tea cake
• Carrot-orange cake
Wine and premium spirits have been carefully selected to appeal to members’ palates and feature wines from Australian and New Zealand wine makers, including:
• House of Arras Brut Elite Cuvee TAS
• Grant Burge East Argyle Pinot Gris Adelaide Hills SA
• Mud House Woolshed Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough NZ
• Hardys Heritage Reserve Bin Chardonnay Multi-region
• The Coldstream Guard Pinot NoirYarra Valley VIC
• Petaluma White Label Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra SA
• St Hallett Butchers Cart Shiraz Barossa Valley SA
• Johnnie Walker Black – scotch whiskey
• Tanqueray Gin
• Ketel One Vodka
• Talisker 10-year old single malt whiskey
• Bulleit Bourbon
• Ron Zacapa Centenario 23-year old rum
Beyond Lounge capacity and opening times
Beyond Lounges will open 7 days per week, one-hour before the first flight of the day, closing upon boarding of the last flight. Airport Capacity Board rooms Offices
Feedback from Beyond members (formerly The Club) in 2021
The resounding feedback from Beyond members (formerly The Club) in a survey conducted in 2021 showed key themes that are important to members when they travel with Virgin Australia:
• A private space to work or meet with colleagues;
• Convenience and privacy moving through airports; and
• Complimentary upgrades. Customer improvements since Virgin Australia was relaunched in 2020
• The launch of the Beyond loyalty program and lounges follows a long list of customer improvements since Virgin Australia was relaunched in 2020, including:
• A simplified fare structure, providing customers with some of the best value airfares in the market, including Economy fares up to 67 per cent better value than its key competitor*** and Business Class fares up to 60 per cent better value when compared to Virgin Australia’s pre-COVID pricing**;
• New Velocity Frequent Flyer everyday earn partnerships, including 7-Eleven, making it easier for members to earn Points to get to their next dream reward faster;
• The launch of SME loyalty program, Virgin Australia Business Flyer;
• The resumption of international airline partnerships, including the announcement of a new partnership with United Airlines, connecting customers and Velocity members to hundreds of destinations around the world;
• A schedule of short-haul international services to Fiji, Bali and New Zealand; and
• Enhanced lounge and in-flight menus, including a new partnership with Betty’s Burgers and Boost Juice.
*Upgrades from Choice and Flex fares limited to selected Virgin Australia-operated services. Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply.
**Based on a comparison of all Virgin Australia domestic Business Class fares available on 19 November 2019 and 31 March 2022. By way of example, these fares on the following routes have been reduced by around 60% (both directions): PerthHobart, Brisbane-Melbourne, Brisbane-Mackay, and Sydney-Darwin. Full announcement: Virgin Australia has cut the price of one-way Business Class fares, seats from $299 on selected routes* | Virgin Australia Newsroom
*** Research undertaken by independent corporate travel procurement consultancy, Butler Caroye, released on 30 July 2021. Price based on average Economy fares paid by corporate travellers on key business routes, comparing the same periods for 2019 vs 2021.
The research found that:
• on average, Virgin Australia domestic corporate airfares were up to 67 per cent cheaper than its key competitor; and
• the already substantial corporate pricing gap between the airlines has approximately doubled when compared with corporate fare prices from H1 2019.