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Up until yesterday, Virgin Atlantic was offering one of the more generous staus matches seen on the European side of the Atlantic (Alaska Airlines has a great match on offer in the US right now) and based on my own experience, it looks like the status matches are being processed as promised.
A Quick Recap
Anyone holding British Airways Bronze, Silver, and Gold elite status holders who made a Virgin Atlantic booking by 28 February 2021 (existing bookings made before the status match was announced qualified) and who applied for a status match through Virgin’s dedicated page, were offered 1 year of Flying Club staus at Silver or Gold status.
Originally, when this status match promotion was first launched, Virgin Atlantic said that a traveler’s new status would be applied “within 30 days of successful application”, but that was later improved to allow status-matchers to choose to either have their new status start within 30 days of successful application or to start on the first day of the month that they next plan to travel with Virgin Atlantic.
My Experience (So Far)
I currently hold British Airways Gold status so I recently applied for a status match to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold. The form that I had to fill in was straightforward, and I used a screenshot of my British Airways Gold card and a .pdf file of my Virgin Atlantic booking as the two pieces of evidence that the status match asks for.
Just 10 minutes after submitting the form I had an email confirming that my status match had been approved:
That’s impressively quick!
When applying for the status match, I chose to have my new status applied at the beginning of the first month in which I plan to travel with Virgin Atlantic so as I have a flight with Virgin towards the end of March, my new elite status was due to appear in my account today.
Sure enough, a few minutes ago I got an email with the subject line “you’re all registered” and although the email itself didn’t give much away (it just said that I had successfully registered for a campaign), my online profile now shows me as having Flying Club Gold elite status for the very first time…
…and my status is confirmed through 31 March 2022:
I don’t think I’ve ever had top-tier status with more than one airline at any one time so this a milestone for me…albeit an incredibly unimportant one!
I’m a big fan of Virgin Atlantic as an airline (even if I’m certainly not a fan of the older Upper Class cabin) so it’s nice to finally have some kind of meaningful status with the airline.
As things stand, I have two roundtrip Business Class flights booked with Virgin which will earn me (in total) 400 Tier Points, so that leaves me well short of the 1,000 Tier Points that I need to retain Gold status for a further year. Realistically, I can’t see myself earning those Tier Points in time to requalify. I’ll almost certainly slip down to Silver status for a year and then back to base-level Red staus the year after that.
The truth is that I’d love to keep giving Virgin Atlantic my business, but while British Airways continues to make it so much easier to earn top-tier status than Virgin (courtesy of its membership of the oneworld alliance), while British Airways status continues to make my life easier when I fly domestically in the US (on American), while British Airways’ currency (Avios) continues to be able to book me great short-haul redemptions all across the globe, and while British Airways continues to offer me a wide variety of non-stop short-haul routes which I frequently need to use, it’s hard to justify focusing my flying with Virgin Atlantic and it’s partners.
I genuinely love the atmosphere that surrounds Virgin Atlantic (I don’t buy into the dislike that a lot of embarrassingly sanctimonious people have for Richard Branson) and I’d love to be able to show it a bit more….erm…love. But ultimately, I’m going to follow the path of least resistance to comfortable flying (top-tier status) and that path currently leads to British Airways.
Virgin Atlantic’s efficiency in processing status match applications appears to be continuing and anyone whose newly acquired status was due to start today should be able to see that new status in their accounts right now.
Did you apply for a Virgin Atlantic status match? If you did, do you think you’ll be holding on to that status once the year is up?