Virgin Australia will be increasing the “carrier charges” it levies on reward seat bookings as of 8 January 2020.

The carrier charge is part of the taxes and fees payable on reward seat bookings in addition to the points component. These taxes and fees can be paid with Velocity Points or a combination of Velocity Points and cash during the booking process.

In an email to Velocity Frequent Flyer members and an update posted on the Velocity website, the airline says this is necessary “to cover increased operating costs”. In reality, under new CEO Paul Scurrah’s turnaround plan for the struggling airline, all options for increasing revenue are being looked at and this is one area where Virgin has had a competitive advantage to Qantas.

Qantas actually reduced many of its high carrier charges recently.

The new carrier charges will be effective for bookings made on Virgin Australia operated flights as follows:

  • Domestic and Trans-Tasman
    • Economy Class changes from $3.50 to $10.00
    • Business Class changes from $5.50 to $10.00
  • International Short Haul
    • Economy Class changes from $25.00 to $35.00
    • Business Class changes from $50.00 to $70.00
  • Hong Kong
    • Economy Class changes from $35.00 to $45.00
    • Business Class changes from $50.00 to $98.00
  • Los Angeles – no changes

This is disappointing news from Virgin, but not surprising given the airline’s financial woes.

Fortunately, the charges on partner reward seats are not changing.

Customers have until 7 January 2020 to lock in the current rates on Virgin Australia operated flights.

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