Points are everywhere…

Perhaps the greatest “turn off” for people considering entering the points game and reaping great benefits, is in the name. Frequent flyer miles imply frequent travel, which instantly feels expensive and prevents people from capitalizing on their daily expenditures and lifestyle to upgrade their travel experience, however infrequent. Virgin has announced plans to expand the Flying Club loyalty program, bringing rewards to almost everything Virgin – not just flying…

What’s Happening

Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club loyalty program will see new an expanded use, as the official currency of Virgin Loyalty Group, the new program owned by the Virgin Group and Delta Airlines. Flying Club will still be the loyalty program of Virgin Atlantic going forward, and for now, nothing will really change. But starting in 2019, members of the Virgin Loyalty Program will have many new ways to earn and spend Flying Club miles, especially across the UK. Hear it from Oli Byers SVP of Customer Loyalty and Sales for Virgin Atlantic…

“Today Flying Club offers Virgin Atlantic’s customers compelling and valuable rewards for flying on Virgin Atlantic, Delta and a range of Flying Club partners. This will continue to be the case, but at the same time we’re excited to work collaboratively with Virgin Group to build a stronger loyalty programme and unleash the power of our shared brand to reward customers for their loyalty to Virgin. We’ll be giving customers more reasons to join Flying Club and fly with Virgin Atlantic and our airline partners.”

Think Everyday

Even though there are already quite a few ways to earn miles without flying, like staying in hotels, buying wine or using the Virgin Atlantic Mastercard, the new Virgin Loyalty Program will offer increased earning and spending opportunity across all Virgin Group brands, such as Virgin Red, Virgin Media and beyond. Basically: they want to give you a reason to use Virgin products every day, with rewards you control.

Positives, Negatives

When people think of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles, they think Virgin Atlantic. They fail to account for the fact that you can use Flying Club miles on ANA, Air New Zealand, Singapore, Delta and more, or that you can earn on those airlines too. Adding new earning and spending opportunities for Flying Club is always a positive thought, but the question is “at what value”. To be clear: the Virgin Flying Club will still be owned by Virgin Atlantic,  but the wider Virgin Loyalty Program won’t be owned by the airline (owned by Delta and Virgin Group), and thus won’t have absolute control over spending rates, earning rates or other trust building factors. And on that front, Delta has proven that they cannot be trusted with customer loyalty, and their ownership stake in the new venture is cause for pause. Net net, this is an exciting opportunity which could bring the Virgin brand into a 360° loyalty lifestyle platform, we just hope it’s not at a cost.

What’s your take?