Qatar Airways and Virgin Australia recently announced a new partnership between the airlines. Through this partnership, airlines will cooperate for flights to and within Australia — including codesharing, reciprocal elite perks, and earning/burning points and Avios.

Qatar plane with Qatar and Virgin Australia cabin crew

What the CEOs are Saying

This new strategic partnership was presented with great fanfare at the Arabian Travel Market with statements issued by the CEOs of both airlines. According to Jayne Hrdlicka, the Virgin Australia Group CEO:

“Today is more great news for Virgin Australia and Velocity Frequent Flyer members who are hungry to travel internationally. We are incredibly focused on creating great travel experiences and our new partnership with Qatar Airways will significantly expand Virgin Australia’s footprint into the Middle East, Europe and Africa, offering hundreds more ways our guests can seamlessly see the world.

Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways are both known for their award-winning service and joining forces means that together we are able to provide an incredible experience when travelling between Australia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and beyond.”

While the Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, stated:

“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. This partnership will give Australian passengers access to the world that they have so acutely missed these past two years, to be able to reconnect with family and friends, and keep the wheels of trade moving. We hope many of them will stopover in Doha to enjoy the wonderful tourism industry that Qatar has to offer. For those travelling farther afield, they will benefit from the award-winning facilities of our hub, Hamad International Airport, enabling their onward journey.”

Qatar/Virgin Australia Partnership Overview

According to the statements issued by both airlines, the new partnership has three broad goals:

  • Easy: A codeshare agreement makes booking onward travel effortless when connecting from one carrier to another.
  • Elite perks: Reciprocal elite privileges include priority check-in, baggage and boarding, lounge access, and more.
  • Mileage earning: Reciprocal earning and redemption options when flying each other’s flights. So, Qatar Airways Privilege Club members flying on Virgin Australia can still earn Avios. And Virgin Australia Velocity members will earn points when flying on Qatar.

Another New Partnership for Virgin Australia

Since Virgin Australia emerged from administration in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and sold its long-haul fleet, the airline pursued a new strategy. The airline has torn up old partnerships and switched its main US-based partner from Delta to United. Now, by partnering up with one of the major Middle Eastern carriers, Virgin Australia is taking more steps to drive passengers off incoming long-haul flights and onto their aircraft seats for the final leg of their journey.

From Qatar’s perspective, the move makes a lot of sense. Virgin Australia travelers looking to travel overseas will be automatically incentivized to use Qatar, whether as a redemption option or to earn Virgin Australia points.

Our Take

Any development that increases options to earn and burn points and miles is welcome news. The ability to earn Qatar Avios for flights on Virgin Australia is excellent. Earning Avios for flights on Virgin Australia is even better if you are a British Airways Executive Club member. Since Qatar adopted the Avios currency, you can link your BA and Qatar Accounts and transfer the Avios earned to BA.

While the new partnership will not open a vast array of options to non-Australian residents, it is still a massive earning boost for locally based Virgin Australia customers.

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