Virgin, Qatar hint at fresh business travel play
The ink is barely dry on the unexpected partnership between Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways, but the two are mapping out the next step beyond reciprocal points ‘earn and burn’ and lounge access.
The airlines say they’ll soon launch “a market leading proposition for business travellers, providing more choice and value for business flyers travelling between Australia, the Middle East and Europe.”
It’s not yet known if this “corporate and SME travel offering” will be a component of Virgin Australia’s Business Flyer scheme and Qatar Airways’ Beyond Business rewards program, or take wing as its own entity with links to both Business Flyer and Beyond Business.
Either way, a new loyalty proposition for business travellers across both airlines would only add to the allure of the ‘strategic alliance’ between Virgin and Qatar – especially if it means a double serve of Velocity Points and Avios can be earned by businesses and passengers.
And it’s a partnership which raised eyebrows when first announced, given that Qatar Airways is a member of the Oneworld alliance alongside Qantas – indeed, CEO Akbar Al Baker is currently Oneworld chairman – while Virgin Australia is of course Qantas’ rival, and also counts Qatar’s Gulf rival Etihad Airways among its international partners.