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Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
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What SkyTeam Membership Means For the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Last updated: March 02,2023
Originally Published: February 27,2023
by Pradeep Chandravanshi

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If you’re a current Virgin Atlantic Flying Club member, you might be thrilled to hear that Virgin Atlantic is joining the SkyTeam alliance on 2 March, which could be fantastic news for you.

With Virgin Atlantic’s entry into the SkyTeam alliance, members will now have the opportunity to utilize their Flying Club points to book flights across all of SkyTeam Airlines. In addition, members will be able to earn points for their flights with other SkyTeam alliance members. (SkyTeam Press Release)

Virgin Atlantic will be the initial British airline to join the Sky Team alliance, which will bring added benefits such as the ability to utilize your Virgin points to reserve flights with any of the 18 Sky Team carriers. This will connect the UK to countless new destinations, including a multitude of short-haul flights across Europe and the USA that were not previously available through Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
This alliance could be of great benefit to flying club members.

The SkyTeam alliance comprises 18 members and operates flights to over 1,060 destinations in 170 countries across six continents, making it a powerful partnership that provides access to a vast global network.

The opportunities are endless, with over 10,000 daily departures to more than 1,000 destinations. This news is especially beneficial for UK-based travelers, as Virgin Atlantic will be the first UK-based SkyTeam member.

The loyalty program is also mutually beneficial, as Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members can earn and redeem points across all SkyTeam airlines while enjoying additional perks such as priority boarding, extra baggage allowance, lounge access, and more.

What Are The Benefits For Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Members After This Alliance?

As a member of the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, you have the opportunity to take advantage of the mutually rewarding loyalty program offered by SkyTeam. As Virgin Atlantic becomes a full alliance member, with other benefits, members will now be able to earn tier points towards their Virgin Atlantic status when traveling with any of the 18 other SkyTeam members.

More Opportunities With Virgin Atlantic Awards

By joining the SkyTeam alliance, Virgin Atlantic members gain more opportunities to earn and redeem miles worldwide across all member airlines. This means that members can earn miles on their flights with other SkyTeam airlines and redeem those miles for rewards such as flights, upgrades, and other travel-related benefits.

Members can enjoy the benefits of a more streamlined and simplified loyalty program, where miles earned with any SkyTeam airline can be combined and used towards a variety of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club awards.

Overall, more opportunities to earn and burn miles worldwide across SkyTeam’s member airlines means greater flexibility, efficiency, and convenience for Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members, making their travel experience more enjoyable and rewarding.

Greater Network For Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Image Courtesy

Becoming part of the SkyTeam alliance enables Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members to travel seamlessly across an extensive network of over 1,000 destinations. This means that members will now have access to more flights and destinations around the world, including those served by other SkyTeam members.

The alliance allows for more efficient connections and smoother travel experiences, making it easier for members to travel from one destination to another without the hassle of arranging separate tickets and itineraries.

Elite Status Benefits

It’s important to note that the SkyTeam elite status operates differently from traditional airline loyalty programs, such as Delta’s Medallion Qualifying Miles or United’s Premier Qualifying Miles. Unlike these programs, SkyTeam does not have its own status miles or qualifying metrics that determine a member’s SkyTeam Elite status.

Instead, to earn SkyTeam status, a member must already have an existing airline elite status from any of the 18 airlines within the SkyTeam alliance. The member’s current airline elite status from their respective loyalty program will correspond to a specific SkyTeam status level.

Elite status levels offered by Skyteam and Virgin Atlantic Flying Cub:

SkyTeamVirgin Atlantic
Red (comes with new membership)
SkyTeam EliteSilver
SkyTeam Elite PlusGold

If a member holds elite status with one of the SkyTeam member airlines, they may be eligible for a corresponding SkyTeam status level. This means members can benefit from SkyTeam status perks, such as priority boarding, lounge access, and additional baggage allowances, even when traveling with other SkyTeam airlines outside their primary loyalty program.

SkyTeam Elite Member’s Benefits

Priority Reservation Waitlist: Priority Reservation Waitlist is a benefit offered to SkyTeam Elite members. It allows members to be placed at the top of the waitlist for a fully booked flight if a current passenger does not make their flight. This means that if a seat becomes available, Elite members will have priority over non-Elite members to be assigned to that seat.

Priority Boarding: SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus members can enjoy priority boarding privileges on flights operated by SkyTeam member airlines.
Preferred seating: You can choose the seat you want during the time of booking.

Priority Check-in Counters: This benefit allows members to have access to dedicated check-in counters when traveling on a flight operated by a SkyTeam member airline. Elite members can use these counters to check in for their flight faster and avoid the long queues that can often be found at regular check-in counters.

Extra Baggage Allowance: Elite members will get an extra 10kg, while Elite Plus members will get an extra 20kg or one additional bag where the piece concept applies, depending on routing.

SkyTeam Elite Plus Member’s Benefits

skyteam airport lounges Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Image Courtesy

Lounge Access: Becoming a SkyTeam member means you can access more than 750 airport lounges worldwide. Even Elite Plus members flying Economy can enjoy the same privilege, while domestic flights do not have lounge access. Additionally, Elite Plus members can bring one guest as long as they are also traveling on a same-day flight operated by a SkyTeam member airline.

Priority Reservation For Full-fare Y-class Long-haul Flights: You will get guaranteed seats on sold-out long-haul flights at least 24 hours before departure.

Priority baggage: SkyTeam does not offer a specific priority baggage benefit as part of its loyalty program. However, many member airlines offer priority baggage handling as a separate service for their customers, including Elite and Elite Plus members.

SkyPriority: Experience exclusive VIP treatment at ticket offices, transfers, immigration, and more.

Will You Be Immediately Able To Earn/Redeem Rewards After This Alliance?

It is expected that starting in early 2023, customers will be able to earn miles when flying with Virgin Atlantic as part of the SkyTeam alliance. However, the redemption of these miles will initially only be available through call centers. Online redemption of miles will be rolled out in phases throughout 2023. This means that customers can accumulate miles for their travel and other activities and later use them for a range of rewards, such as free flights, upgrades, hotel stays, and car rentals.

The ability to earn and redeem miles across all of the SkyTeam airlines will provide greater flexibility and more opportunities for customers to maximize the value of their loyalty program membership.

Which Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Status Should You Join?

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
With Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold status, you will have access to Clubhouses. Image Courtesy Virgin Atlantic

It is important to consider your status within the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club because once you get status with Virgin, then you will receive the equivalent status in Skyteam; If you are already a Flying Club member, you may be eligible to earn SkyTeam Elite status based on your existing Flying Club status.

If you want to maximize this alliance’s benefits, you should consider joining the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club’s Gold status, which may probably provide equivalence to SkyTeam’s Elite Plus membership. This status will give you access to priority check-in counters, priority boarding, extra baggage allowance, and access to more than 750 SkyTeam lounges worldwide.

As an Elite Plus member, you can also bring one guest to the lounge if the guest is traveling on a same-day flight operated by a SkyTeam member airline. Elite Plus members can also access SkyPriority services at select airports, including priority security, immigration, and baggage handling.

Can SkyTeam Customers Avail The Benefits Of The Virgin Upper Class Wing At LHR After The Alliance?

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Virgin Upper Class seat. Image Courtesy Virgin Atlantic

SkyTeam has stated, “We’re working closely with Virgin Atlantic regarding access to the Upper Class Wing.” It’s unclear whether SkyTeam customers will benefit from the Upper Class Wing at London Heathrow (LHR) after the alliance. The Upper Class Wing is currently exclusive to Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class passengers, and it’s possible that access to this facility may or may not be extended to SkyTeam customers.

If not still, SkyTeam customers may be able to access other airport lounges and priority services provided by SkyTeam and its member airlines. It’s recommended to check with Virgin Atlantic and SkyTeam for the latest information on the benefits and services available to customers.

Bottom Line

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members will enjoy several benefits after the alliance with SkyTeam. They will have access to seamless travel across an extensive network of 1,000+ destinations. Moreover, they will have more opportunities to earn and redeem miles worldwide across SkyTeam’s member airlines, giving them greater flexibility and choice in their travel plans.

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  • Andrew Randall

    March 18, 2023

    You mention the ability to choose seat at the time of booking as a benefit. This is not the case – I am FC Gold, just booked with KLM yet had to pay to reserve a seat at booking. I confirmed with them and by checking the SkyTeam website that that was indeed expected.

    • Freddy Lansky

      March 29, 2023

      Hi Andrew, really appreciate the comment. Theoretically if you have skyteam gold with any skyteam airline you should be able to book a seat in advance, but obviously the transition may take some time. Probably if you had reached out to a different rep they could have given you the seat for free but then again how much is your time worth to just pay for it. In many cases frequent flyer are more familiar with the rules then entry level phone reps. Anyways thanks for that data points its good to know.