Monday, January 25, 2016

Your guide to Virgin Australia's Accelerate program for businesses
Virgin Australia Accelerate offers many benefits to businesses ranging from discounted flights and travel credits through to cut-price lounge memberships and a fast-track to Velocity Gold for you and your employees.
Better yet, there’s no fee to join Accelerate, and while you can’t earn ‘Accelerate points’ comparable to earning Aquire points through Qantas' business loyalty program, your road warriors continue to earn their own frequent flyer points and status credits: even on discounted flights.
Here’s what you need to know about the Virgin Australia Accelerate scheme and how to make it work for your business.

Virgin Australia Accelerate: who’s it for?

Targeting both small and medium-sized entities, Accelerate membership is open to businesses that spend (or that will spend) $20,000 or more each year on Virgin Australia flights and with its partners Air New Zealand, Delta and Etihad on codeshare (VA) flight numbers.
Naturally, that means you’ll need an ABN, but as a further restriction your business or company will also need to be on-file with ASIC – which you’d have already done if you have a registered business name.
That’s a potential hurdle for high-flying sole traders such as consultants who may have their business registered with ABR under their own name in order to obtain their ABN, which doesn’t require a separate ASIC registration, but who won’t be able to join Accelerate unless alsoregistering with ASIC.
Those without business interests or company employees can’t join Accelerate in their own right, and can instead rely on the benefits of Velocity Frequent Flyer.

Virgin Australia Accelerate: travel credits

Once your Accelerate application is approved you’ll receive a username and password to access Virgin Australia’s corporate travel booking portal, or your corporate travel agent will receive their booking instructions.
Booking through these channels allows Virgin Australia to track your travel expenditure and to award travel credits based on your annual outlay.
For example, spend $20,000 each year on flights and you’ll receive 2% back in the form of a $400 travel credit that can be applied to future trips, while spending $250,000/year nets a higher 5% credit on the lot: in this case, a $12,500 travel voucher.
Domestic and international flights booked on Virgin Australia with a VA flight number count towards that tally, as do Virgin Australia codeshare flights with Air New Zealand, Delta and Etihad.
Flights with Virgin Australia’s other partners such as Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and Virgin America don’t contribute to your Accelerate spend, although your road warriors can still earn frequent flyer points and status credits on all partners airlines.

Virgin Australia Accelerate: discounted flights

On top of receiving travel credits at the end of each year you can also enjoy immediate discounts on the cost of many business class, premium economy and flexible economy fares with Virgin Australia, Delta and Etihad – although not with Air New Zealand or indeed VA’s other partners.
At the pointy end you can save 10% off the lower-priced D-type business class fares on Virgin Australia domestic flights and 10% off D- and I-type business class tickets internationally with Virgin, Delta and Etihad, except across the Tasman where discounts don’t apply.

You’ll also pay 10% less for O-type ‘Premium Saver’ premium economy fares on Virgin Australia’s flights to Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi, and 5% on domestic and international flexible economy fares – again with the exception of trans-Tasman flights to and from New Zealand.
Other fare types such as fully-flexible J-type business class aren’t discounted, nor are the least-expensive Saver economy tickets, except during promotional offers.

Virgin Australia Accelerate: Pilot Gold memberships

Spend at least $2,000 on eligible flights in the first three months (including on discounted tickets) and you’ll receive two Velocity Pilot Gold memberships – escalating two of your employees, or you plus one other person, to Gold frequent flyer status.
That brings about the usual perks including priority check-in and boarding, airport lounge access and 75% more points on Virgin Australia flights, without taking the usual path from Red to Silver to Gold.
Velocity Pilot Gold lasts for three months and if the traveller earns at least 80 status credits during that time and takes at least one VA-coded flight, that’s pushed out to an entire year with Virgin’s other benefits including elite hotel and car hire statuses also unlocked.

Virgin Australia Accelerate: lounge memberships

For your wider network of business travellers or if their travel patterns make retaining Gold an unlikely task, Accelerate members can purchase Virgin Australia lounge memberships at discounted rates.
You’re looking at $570 per person in the first year (including a $220 joining fee) and $350 every year thereafter – lower than the ‘public’ rate of $750 in year one (including a higher $330 joining fee) and $420 each year to renew.
If any of your employees already hold Velocity Silver status, however, you’d be wise to reimburse their lounge costs via the traditional channels – Silver members pay just $300 each year for lounge membership and are exempt from the usual joining fees.
To keep your costs in-check you’ll also receive monthly travel expense reports straight to your email inbox with a dedicated Accelerate account management team at your disposal to help with any issues or questions you may have.
For more information or to join Accelerate, head to the Virgin Australia website or download this brochure [PDF, 1MB].

Your guide to Virgin Australia's Accelerate program for businesses

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