One vaccinated Australian could fly business class to London seven times for free as part of Virgin Australia’s bold move to encourage more people to get the jab.
The airline will launch a Covid-19 Vaccination Competition later this year – when all Australian adults are expected to be eligible for the vaccine – with the major prize being one million Velocity Frequent Flyer Points.
Dubbed the VA-X & Win, the program will offer a range of other prizes, including dozens of free Business Class flights.
The move follows Qantas announcing plans to launch its own incentives program in July.
A recent online survey of 2006 Australians – who have not had the Covid-19 vaccine – by the Growth Intelligence Centre found travel-based incentives were an attractive offer for those resisting the jab.
For those in the survey who described themselves as “hesitant” to get the jab, unrestricted travel (24 per cent), exempt from quarantine (23 per cent) free return flight (22 per cent), paid time off work (22 per cent) and discounted flights (21 per cent) would work as incentives.
After a Virgin Australia survey found 65 per cent of its frontline team members were vaccinated, the airline announced it will also open an internal competition to reward team members who have received the jab.
A Virgin Australia Group spokesman said the airline had a responsibility to use its voice in the community to boost Covid-19 vaccination rates of Australians.
“What the latest lockdown in Melbourne has taught us, is the sooner we can all get vaccinated, the sooner we can get on with our lives, without the constant fear and uncertainty that come with lockdowns, restrictions and closed borders,” he said.
“For simply rolling-up your sleeve and getting a Covid-19 vaccination, you could walk away with a share in tens of thousands of dollars of Virgin Australia and Velocity Frequent Flyer prizes or be the lucky one to become a Velocity Points millionaire.
“We’re also proud so many members of our team are already vaccinated. As an industry that’s been severely affected by Covid-19, we want to do all we can to help vaccinate the population, and it makes sense to reward and encourage our colleagues who have been on the frontline of this pandemic, in this journey.”
For graphic designer Julia Carroll, the chance to resume unrestricted travel with their one-year-old daughter, Aurora, was enough to encourage her and husband Ben Carroll to get vaccinated.
“Ben’s brother just had a baby boy, so California would be the first international destination on our hit list,” Ms Carroll said.
“Ben and I like a long road trip but with a baby, we’re now leaning toward more flights. We really wanted to go to Broome and Kimberley, but it was always that bit too far to drive.
Australia’s travel ban on citizens leaving the country is now harsher than Saudi Arabia’s with even billionaire Sir Richard Branson weighing in on our slow border reopening.
“I’m not yet eligible for the vaccine but I’ve had friends get it because of their careers and they’ve been super positive about getting vaccinated.
“These (Virgin) incentives are a positive step and really help. We’ll definitely be getting it. As soon as we’re eligible, we’ll get on board.”
For info and to register your interest, visit virginaustralia.com/vaxandwin