In Fall 2022, it was announced that Virgin Atlantic would join SkyTeam on March 2, 2023. That date has arrived, and Virgin Atlantic has officially become SkyTeam’s newest member airline.
This marks the first new addition to the alliance since 2014. While Virgin Atlantic has previously partnered with other SkyTeam airlines, such as Delta and Air France/KLM, this announcement brings the UK-based airline fully integrated into the alliance.
Virgin Atlantic Becomes SkyTeam’s Newest Member
As of today, Virgin Atlantic has become SkyTeam’s sole UK-based carrier. This is a boon for the alliance, as it will increase the transatlantic options for passengers based out of Europe and North America.
Virgin Atlantic has flights from hubs in Manchester and London Heathrow to destinations in North America, Africa, the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, and Asia. The majority of its destinations are in the United States, which makes joining SkyTeam a great opportunity for passengers looking to fly between Europe and North America.
Virgin Atlantic also has a decent footprint in the Caribbean.
Joining SkyTeam will benefit travellers from the United Kingdom and the United States, as there will be more options for flights between the two areas.
Furthermore, we’ll see an integration of reciprocal benefits for passengers with elite status in any of the member airlines.
Now that Virgin Atlantic has officially joined SkyTeam, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Silver members are recognized with SkyTeam Elite status, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold members are recognized with SkyTeam Elite Plus status.
SkyTeam Elite status is similar to Star Alliance status, although the benefits aren’t quite as good.
All SkyTeam Elite status holders enjoy priority services when flying with a SkyTeam-member airline, such as check-in, boarding, and seating, as well as an increased baggage allowance. SkyTeam Elite Plus status holders further enjoy priority baggage, guaranteed reservations on sold-out flights, and lounge access when flying in any class of service.
As is usually the case with airline alliances, passengers are able to earn points on any SkyTeam member flight. For example, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members can now earn Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points on flights with Delta, Air France, KLM, Korean Air, etc.
Similarly, passengers are able to accumulate other SkyTeam-member airline loyalty points on Virgin Atlantic flights. For example, you can credit your paid Virgin Atlantic flights to Air France/KLM Flying Blue.
Furthermore, there will be a reciprocal award availability benefit. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members will be able to redeem points with all other SkyTeam members, and members from other SkyTeam loyalty programs will be able to redeem points with Virgin Atlantic.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club SkyTeam Award Chart
Virgin Atlantic has released a SkyTeam partner award chart, with distance- and cabin-based pricing for all airlines. The following chart shows one-way pricing for SkyTeam-member airlines booked with Flying Club points.
Distance in Miles
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles Required
There aren’t necessarily any great new sweet spots with the award chart, although if you are weighing the options between British Airways Avios and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, it may be worthwhile to compare costs between the two programs.
Currently, you can book reward flights with Delta, Air France, KLM, China Airlines, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, and Xiamen Air online, while all partner airline bookings must be made over the phone. The exceptions are China Eastern and ITA Airways, which are to be integrated later on this year.
As of now, there aren’t any changes to some of the amazing sweet spots that can be booked with non-SkyTeam airlines through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. For example, one of the best ways to book ANA First Class is with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, but since ANA is a Star Alliance airline, it’s uncertain if this sweet spot will last for the long term.
If you have some Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points at your disposal and can find award space, it’d be a good idea to make a redemption sooner than later, just in case the sweet spots don’t last well into the future.
How Is Flying with Virgin Atlantic?
The airline has a very strong ground experience at its flagship Clubhouse lounge in London Heathrow. Eligible passengers enjoy sweeping airport views, fine dining, and a unique lounge experience.
One unique feature of Virgin Atlantic Upper Class is the onboard lounge, known as The Loft. Here, passengers can relax with a drink and enjoy some light snacks during the flight.
Whenever an airline joins an alliance, passengers are afforded the opportunity to redeem points on a greater range of products, which is a good situation for all.
Since there are 12 routes from the United States to the United Kingdom, it’ll be great if we see better award availability going forward on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class with other programs that are easier to access on both sides of the border, such as Air France/KLM Flying Blue.
Virgin Atlantic has officially joined SkyTeam as of March 2, 2023, becoming the sole UK-based airline in the alliance.
Passengers can now enjoy reciprocal earning and redemption benefits between Virgin Atlantic and other SkyTeam airlines.
It’s always great to see new airlines joining alliances, as travellers stand to benefit from more choices. Passengers also have easier connections between the United States and the UK, with direct flights to London Heathrow and Manchester with Virgin Atlantic.