Virgin Atlantic has always been boutique, and many of the airlines friendly service elements have maintained that feeling, even though the airline has expanded its reach with major partnerships. Among them, the move to form a epic-mega-sumo alliance across the Atlantic, known as a “joint venture” with Air France, KLM and Delta was the biggest of all.
In the last week, the “earn and burn” part of the new partnership took shape, and initial reads point to fantastic opportunities for Virgin elites, or those hoping to become one…
I’ll start by saying this – I love Virgin Atlantic Gold, and it’s become the status I push to renew every year. That’s typically meant at least 10 segments in Upper Class on discount business class tickets, a helluva lot more in premium or 5 segments on a flexible business class ticket. In economy, it’s a bit of a stretch, but more power to you if you make it.
I love the status because of the extra miles, the family account access and mostly – the Clubhouse access. I rate Virgin Atlantic to have the best business class lounges and being able to use them whenever I fly is great.
That all just completely blossomed now that I can effectively receive Sky Priority treatment including business class check in, security fast track and lounge access whenever I use my Virgin Atlantic Gold status when flying on Air France and KLM, even within Europe – and yes Delta too.
As of now – and I’d probably expect this to change – all Air France/KLM flights over 600 miles in business class offer 100 Virgin Atlantic Tier Points, and that’s per segment. In case you don’t know, you need 600 tier points to reach Virgin Atlantic Silver and 1000 to reach Virgin Atlantic Gold. Shorter segments, like London to Paris or Amsterdam still receive 40 tier points.
That means an itinerary like London – Paris – Warsaw would earn 140 tier points each way in discount business class and even more in flexible business class. Think a minimum of 280 tier points a pop, whereas a discount business class ticket from London to New York would only earn 200 round trip.
In theory, it’s possible to hit Virgin Silver or Gold on these sort of trips alone.
Again, I don’t expect this to be a “forever” thing, but while the going is good – this is such an amazing way to secure perks on three of SkyTeam’s best airlines, while also making your future Virgin Atlantic experiences dreamy. Yes, the Clubhouses in Heathrow and New York are legit dreamy. I’d consider it a “welcome to the family” sale for now.
I concurrently hold Gold status with British Airways and Virgin, and that’s something I plan on continuing to do. However, I’ve hated being stuck to Oneworld for my intra-European flights. It’s not that I don’t like the experience, I just hate being suckered on price if better options exist.
Having opportunities for lower fares with KLM and Air France gives me a wider network where I can enjoy a comfortable experience in Europe via my status benefits on at least four of the major players (BA, Iberia, Air France, KLM). With airlines in other hubs – aka Paris and Amsterdam – that creates opportunities for further connectivity and new destinations.
With the generous points bonuses for crediting Air France and KLM fares to Virgin Atlantic as a Gold member, I can also bank considerably more miles this year. If that all sounds attractive, it’s worth a look, while it lasts…