Virgin Atlantic has been thinking about joining the SkyTeam Alliance for a few years, which was quite logical given its strengthened partnerships with Delta Airlines and Air France-KLM.
This will be done in early 2023!
Virgin Atlantic in numbers
Virgin Atlantic’s hub is at London Heathrow (LHR), with two secondary airports at Manchester (MAN) and Edinburgh (EDI).
The main destinations served by Virgin Atlantic in the United States are :
- Boston (BOS)
- New York (JFK)
- Washington (IAD)
- Atlanta (ATL)
- San Francisco (SFO)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- Miami (MIA)
- Orlando (MCO)
- Tampa (TPA)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- Austin (AUS)
Virgin Atlantic’s frequent flyer program is called Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
In the U.S., there is a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club credit card and points transfer partners at a 1:1 rate:
- American Express Membership Rewards
- Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Citi ThankYou Rewards
If you don’t have a U.S. credit card yet, you can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points into Flying Club points: 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points = 25,000 Flying Club points.
See our guide below (which applies to all Marriott Bonvoy partner airline loyalty programs):
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Sweetspots
Prior to joining SkyTeam, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club partnered with a few airlines such as :
- Air New Zealand
- ANA (All Nippon Airways)
- Delta Air Lines
- Air France-KLM
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin Australia
The three airlines with which it is advantageous to use Flying Club points are marked in bold. Here are some examples.
Air New Zealand
You can use Flying Club points to travel on Air New Zealand (subject to availability, of course). For example, a one-way flight from Los Angeles to the South Pacific costs 30,000 points in economy and 45,000 points in business class.
It will be interesting to see the fare for the new route between New York and Auckland.
Here is the Flying Club fare schedule for Air New Zealand (round trip):
All Nippon Airways
Now that Japan has reopened, it might be worthwhile to use Flying Club points for travel on All Nippon Airways (ANA).
For example, a one-way flight from New York to Tokyo costs :
- 32,500 points in economy class
- 47,500 points in business class
- 60,000 points in first class
Here is the Flying Club fare schedule for All Nippon Airways (round-trip fare):
Finally, you should know that a good use of Flying Club points is for travel on Delta Air Lines to Europe.
For example, a one-way flight from New York to London costs from 7,500 points in economy class and 23,750 points in business class (Delta One).
Here is the Flying Club fare schedule for Delta Air Lines to the United Kingdom (round-trip fare):
Here is the Flying Club fare schedule for Delta Air Lines to other destinations in Europe (roundtrip fare):
Virgin Atlantic in SkyTeam
Joining SkyTeam means joining a network with :
- 10,000 daily flights
- more than 1,000 destinations
- 170 countries
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Member Benefits
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Status Recognition
If you currently hold a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club status, it will be recognized by other SkyTeam airlines. This will give you access to priority lines (check-in, security, boarding), more baggage allowance, etc.
For example, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold members will earn SkyTeam Elite Plus status. And Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Silver members will achieve SkyTeam Elite status.
Earning and using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points
By joining the SkyTeam Alliance, Virgin Atlantic will offer members of its Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program the ability to earn and use points for travel with any other SkyTeam member:
- Aerolineas Argentinas
- Air Europa
- Air France
- China Airlines
- China Eastern Airlines
- CSA Czech Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Garuda Indonesia
- ITA Airways
- Kenya Airways
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
- Korean Air
- Middle East Airlines
- Vietnam Airlines
- Xiamen Airlines
Benefits for other SkyTeam members
Are you a member of a SkyTeam airline loyalty program such as Delta SkyMiles or Air France-KLM Flying Blue? You can earn and use miles for travel with Virgin Atlantic.
And if you have a status, it will be recognized by Virgin Atlantic.
This is excellent news for Flying Blue members, for example, who are increasingly numerous in Canada. Especially since American Express Membership Rewards has become a transfer partner with the program.
It is good news to see the SkyTeam network gain a new member with Virgin Atlantic, especially for frequent flyer program members of other SkyTeam airlines.
It remains to be seen whether the program’s current sweetspots with Air New Zealand and All Nippon Airways (both Star Alliance members) will survive this entry into SkyTeam. What we doubt.
Cover photo credit: Aleem Yousaf