Virgin Australia vaccine incentives: Prizes for vaccinated passengers unveiled

Virgin Australia has followed Qantas in launching its own incentives program for Australians to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Virgin's "VA-X & Win" campaign will allow any fully vaccinated Australians to enter a competition to win one of 251 prizes from the airline, with the grand prize being 1 million Velocity frequent flyer points.

Other prizes include 100,000 Velocity points, free business class and economy flights, Virgin lounge memberships and pyjamas. The prize pool is valued at more than $150,000 according to the airline.

The competition is open to all Australians who are over 18 and are fully vaccinated by the end of the year. Entry is via the Virgin Australia website.

"Vaccination is our way back to the things we love and the people we miss, and most importantly, it's the only way we can protect the lives and livelihoods of all Australians," said Virgin chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka.

"We are all in this together and the sooner we are vaccinated to the thresholds required by government, the sooner we can return to a quality way of life that includes travelling freely within our own country and abroad," she said.

Ms Hrdlicka came under fire in May for suggesting that borders needed to reopen even if it meant some people would die. Since then, a plan based on modelling from the Doherty Institute, which also predicts deaths when borders reopen and lockdowns cease, has been accepted by the National Cabinet.

Virgin announced on Monday that it would make vaccinations compulsory for all staff, with a target of having all customer-facing staff vaccinated by November 15. The airline has also launched a competition for staff who are fully vaccinated, offering prizes including a holiday to Hamilton Island, additional annual leave, business class flights and lounge memberships.

A staff survey found more than 75 per cent of the airline's frontline workers had already received their first dose of the vaccine.

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Unlike Qantas, Virgin is not offering a reward to every person who gets vaccinated. Qantas announced last week it would provide a choice of three rewards to any frequent flyer member who is fully vaccinated - either 1000 frequent flyer points, 15 status credits or a $20 flight discount voucher.

Qantas has also announced it will make vaccination compulsory for staff.

Several major travel companies have also announced that staff and guests would need to be vaccinated in order to participate in their tours. These include Intrepid and the companies owned by The Travel Corporation, including Contiki, Trafalgar and Insight Vacations, among others.

Neither Qantas nor Virgin has yet announced plans to make vaccines compulsory for passengers, but Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has previously indicated this would be likely for international flights.

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