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Big news in the world of airline loyalty – Virgin Atlantic has announced that it will join the SkyTeam Alliance next year and this means that Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members will soon have access to more routes and more elite benefits when flying with other SkyTeam airlines.
What is SkyTeam?
SkyTeam is a global airline alliance currently comprised of the following 18 airlines:
- Aerolíneas Argentinas
- Air Europa
- Air France
- China Airlines
- China Eastern
- Czech Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Garuda Indonesia
- ITA Airways
- Kenya Airways
- Korean Air
- Middle East Airlines
- Vietnam Airlines
Global airlines alliances (such as SkyTeam) allow flyers to enjoy smoother travel when flying on alliance airlines – connections between alliance flights are usually simple and multi-airline itineraries (within the alliance) are often bookable online – and elite flyers across all alliance loyalty programs enjoy reciprocal benefits when flying on alliance airlines.
What will membership of SkyTeam bring Virgin Atlantic Flyers?
Whichever way you look at it, SkyTeam is the weaker of the three global airline alliances, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a big positive move for Virgin Atlantic flyers.
With Virgin Atlantic joining SkyTeam, Flying Club elites can expect to get reciprocal elite benefits when they fly with other SkyTeam airlines. Benefits will vary by airline and by elite status level but should, at the very least, include priority check-in, advanced seating assignments, select baggage benefits, and priority boarding.
All Flying Club members can expect to have considerably more options when it comes to earning and burning Virgin Points.
Details of Virgin’s membership of SkyTeam are currently thin on the ground but this is what we’ve been told:
- The expectation is that members of the various SkyTeam alliance loyalty programs will be able to earn miles/points on Virgin Atlantic Flights from “early 2023”. Possibly Late January 2023.
- Likewise, members of the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club should be able to earn Virgin Points from flights taken on SkyTeam airlines from “early 2023”. Possibly late January 2023.
- The reciprocal redemption of miles/points is expected to be made available via call centers in “early 2023” with online redemptions being phased in throughout 2023.
- Virgin Atlantic Silver elites will be classified as SkyTeam Elite members
- Virgin Atlantic Gold elites will be classified as SkyTeam Elite Plus members
- SkyTeam has said that the aim is for SkyTeam “Elite Plus” members (e.g. Delta Platinum & Delta Diamond) to be given access to all Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses but discussions about this are ongoing and murmurings from Virgin Atlantic suggest that Clubhouse access may not be a SkyTeam benefit.
- No comment has yet been made about access to the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Wing at London Heathrow T3.
No doubt more details will become available in the coming hours, days, and weeks so we’ll post updates to this site as these details become known.
Virgin Atlantic will join SkyTeam in early 2023 and this will see the airline’s flyers being given a large number of new ways in which to earn points and elite tier credits as well as a host of new ways to spend their points (it will be interesting to see what the award charts will look like). Also, membership of SkyTeam will see Flying Club elites being given reciprocal elite status benefits which they can enjoy when flying on other SkyTeam airlines.