Virgin Australia strengthens its international lounge network

The definitive guide to Virgin Australia lounges

GUIDE: Program Guide
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 5 minutes
POSTED: October 30, 2018
UPDATED: October 30, 2018
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Velocity Frequent Flyer

Australia’s second-largest carrier has always lagged behind Qantas in lounge access options (and still does) but a recent announcement helps to close the gap.

While not ‘officially’ advertised as a benefit, it is known that New Zealand Platinum Charge cardholders can get access to Virgin Australia lounges when travelling domestically in Australia simply by flashing their card at the entry.

In this post, I run through the lounges in each city, what to expect when you use a lounge, and a quick look at the Virgin paid lounge program.

International lounges

Virgin Australia is upping its game when it comes to passengers travelling on international services with them or a partner airline.

Velocity Gold and Platinum members and Virgin Australia Lounge Members (plus one guest and two children) will have access to the following lounges, as well as Virgin Australia Business Class guests.

In New Zealand

With Virgin Australia’s partnership with Air New Zealand ending later this month, passengers in Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown will now access third-party lounges of the Strata or Manaia brands. These are the same lounges that Priority Pass members currently gain entry to, so there may be some space constraints moving forward.

The airline will construct its own lounge in Wellington, which will be its first on foreign soil. It will again open in ‘the next few months’ and will service flights to Sydney and Brisbane.

It seems passengers in Dunedin will not enjoy lounge access—perhaps they will be given a food and beverage voucher instead.

In Australia

The biggest news is that the airline will be adding a new lounge called My Lounge in Brisbane to be opened in ‘the next few months’. It will be operated by a third party called No1 Lounges and will seat ~100 guests for Virgin Australia flights to the Pacific, Asia and Los Angeles.

What the new lounge may look like—loft-style elements in a relaxing environment

Currently, some Virgin Australia passengers access the Etihad lounges in Sydney and Melbourne. These are being taken over by the same third-party operator this month, with their name changed to The House. Virgin Australia passengers flying to an increased number of destinations will be directed here instead of other lounges like the Air New Zealand lounges. The Sydney lounge will also be remodelled and its size increased by 50%.

More information

Here is a full rundown of the changes:

Further information regarding locations of Virgin Australia’s international lounges can be found here.

Virgin Australia’s Business Class lounge network

Virgin Australia has been investing heavily in new lounge experiences over the last few years. This is both in terms of upgrades and additions to their existing domestic lounge network.

There are new domestic lounges in all capital cities (except Hobart) along with some at regional airports. In my visits, they have all offered very consistently good experiences.

Virgin Australia Lounge

Virgin operates 11 lounges across Australia at:

  • Alice Springs
  • Adelaide
  • Brisbane
  • Cairns
  • Canberra
  • Darwin
  • Gold Coast
  • Mackay
  • Melbourne
  • Perth (one each in T1 and T2)
  • Sydney

For comparison purposes, Qantas operates 24 Qantas Clubs, with Domestic and International Business and First lounges on top of that.

More information on the locations is available on Virgin’s website.

Most lounges are visually engaging and a nice space to spend some time before your flight. They match the Virgin Australia brand and style, and with common architectural signature elements where Virgin have managed to slot them in.


This lounge occupies two levels in the Virgin domestic terminal, with the upper level offering some good views across the tarmac of Sydney’s domestic and international arrivals.

Virgin Australia Lounge Sydney

Virgin Australia Lounge Sydney

Premium Entry can be used by passengers with no checked baggage travelling in Business Class, as well as Velocity Gold and Platinum members. Note that the Sydney lounge is the only one that offers Premium Entry access on both weekdays and weekends.

Virgin Lounge Sydney Premium Entry-w


Opened in 2011 and refurbished in 2014, the lounge is unique in being before security and having a ‘premium exit’ with dedicated security processing for passengers with lounge access.

Virgin Australia Lounge Melbourne

Virgin Australia Lounge Melbourne

Virgin Australia Lounge Melbourne


Virgin opened the new Brisbane lounge in late 2015, with Richard Branson himself present. It features a large atrium entry, cafe and, like in Sydney and Melbourne, premium entry for eligible travellers.

Virgin Lounge Brisbane Cafe-w

Virgin Lounge Brisbane Lounge Entry-w

Virgin Lounge Brisbane Premium Entry-w


The Perth Domestic T1 lounge reopened in late 2015 as part of a $1 billion redevelopment of the airport.

It serves most Virgin Australia flights leaving Perth, although some smaller regional flights depart from the purpose-built T2 Regional Terminal, where Virgin Australia also have a small lounge.

Virgin Australia Perth lounge

Virgin Australia Lounge Perth

For comparison purposes, it is slightly smaller than the Brisbane lounge.

Virgin has focussed heavily on the use of glass, making this lounge attractive for plane-spotters.

VA Perth Lounge Exterior

Premium Valet Parking is available at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.


Reopened in 2013, this lounge has has a great view over the airport’s operations.

Virgin Australia Lounge Canberra TZG -1

Virgin Australia Lounge Canberra TZG -3


The Cairns lounge is one of the smaller lounges in the network, but again has a great view to take in while you wait for your flight.

Virgin Lounge Cairns 1-w

Virgin Lounge Cairns 3-w

Other lounges

Adelaide was the latest main lounge to be upgraded, in August 2016.

Virgin also operate some smaller refurbished lounges at Darwin, Gold Coast and regional lounges such as at Mackay and Alice Springs.

What to expect when you use a Business Class lounge

All of Virgin’s Business Class lounges offer buffet food, soft drinks, wine and beer, but no spirits. All but the smallest lounges have cafe operations with barista coffee available.

Outside of food and drink, you’ll get access to power to charge your devices, seating (unless it is really busy) and, hopefully, a quieter and more restful space to hang out in before you flight and do some work, make some calls, or whatever you prefer.

You’ll get access to free wifi, newspapers and magazines as well.

What do I like most about lounge access? It reduces the stress of travel. Having somewhere defined to go before you flight takes away decisions about where you could grab a snack, minimises exposure to airport retail, and all up makes travel more sane for me.

Access options

Through a credit card

The American Express Platinum Charge has unlimited access for you and a guest included as part of its expansive benefits for a high annual fee:

By flying Business Class

If you are travelling on a paid or award Business Class ticket, you’ll get access when departing or arriving on a Virgin Australia flight. Unfortunately, you can’t bring any guests in, unlike Qantas Business Class passengers can.

With Velocity Frequent Flyer status

Velocity Gold members (plus one guest) gain access departing on a Virgin Australia flight whilst Platinum (plus three guests) get arrival access too.

Silver members get two single-entry passes a year, which cannot be transferred to other passengers but can be used for a guest when you are travelling with them.

With airline partner frequent flyer status

You and at least one guest will gain access to the lounge when departing on a Virgin Australia flight and holding Gold status or above with partners like Delta, Etihad, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

With a Virgin Australia Lounge membership

Virgin sells access to their lounges, either on an annual membership basis or for single-use access.

Virgin Australia Lounge memberships are available for Velocity members. Those at the Red (lowest) level are charged a $330 AUD joining fee + $420 AUD annual membership fee; whilst Silver members have the joining fee waived and are charged a reduced $300 AUD annual membership fee.

Membership allows you to also bring in a guest and two children aged 2-12 years old.

There’s also lifetime access available for a chunky $9,750 AUD (or $6,750 AUD if you’re over 60 years old)—and while normally Premium Entry is not included for those with an annual membership, lifetime access has it thrown in.

Using Velocity points or cash

You can purchase a single-access pass in advance for 10,000 Velocity points or $65 AUD at the door but both can be used at most two hours before your flight—given that, I think using points and cash for a single-access pass is a bad deal.

Access on arrival

The following passengers can step off a Virgin Australia flight and access the lounge in their arrival city, subject to space constraints:

  • Business Class passengers (no time limit)
  • Velocity Platinum (up to 60 minutes)
  • Velocity Gold (up to 60 minutes)
  • Virgin Lounge members (up to 60 minutes)

Velocity Silver status holders and those using single-use passes, e.g. from a credit card, are not eligible for access on arrival.

Summing up

Virgin has completed their refurbishment of the main lounges in its network, and having a credit card that offers you access when you fly can give you more time to relax before your next flight on Virgin Australia.

You may also be interested in reading our definitive guide to Qantas lounges.

Supplementary images courtesy of Virgin Australia and Tonkin Zulaikha Greer for Canberra.

Virgin Australia strengthens its international lounge network was last modified: October 30th, 2018 by Keith