a bed in a plane

Today was a big day for frequent flyers, at least if you’re a SkyTeam traveller. Air France, Delta, KLM and Virgin Atlantic formalised their transatlantic mega “joint venture”, announcement which brings 341 daily transatlantic flights with connections to 352 destinations across the pond, made up of 238 US cities, 16 UK cities and  98 European ports of call.

Aside from the places and options, the big news here is in the loyalty aspect, where Virgin Atlantic travellers will soon find lots more perks on a far wider network.

a room with a chair and a tableIf you need the five second skim of why you care – it’s because come February 13th, 2020, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club elite members will have a new suite of benefits on Air France and KLM, adding to the current Delta perks. The same could be said for KLM and Air Franc FlyingBlue elite travellers, who will soon have Virgin Atlantic perks too.

Previously, the reciprocal bennies were only between Delta and Virgin Atlantic, and between SkyTeam member airlines, which Virgin Atlantic still is not, though this makes them pretty close.

virgin atlantic a350 wing tipWhat Can Virgin Atlantic Travellers Expect From Joint Venture?

Currently, you only earn Virgin Atlantic miles on KLM or Air France flights when they are offered as codeshares with Virgin Atlantic flight numbers. From February 13th onward, it’s expected that you’ll be able to earn miles with any of the airlines, regardless which one you fly on, or which of the three loyalty programs you choose – Air France and KLM share one in Flying Blue .

In addition, perks like lounge access, priority security and other perks for elite flyers will be offered between all four airlines, which means although Virgin Atlantic isn’t in SkyTeam, a top Virgin Atlantic Gold flyer would likely have SkyPriority style access with Air France, Delta and KLM, as opposed to just Delta.

There will likely be benefits for Virgin Atlantic Silver too. All other “red” members will just benefit from more choice and chances to earn miles.

air france businessUsing Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles

When it comes to the “burn” side of miles, as opposed to the “earn”, one of the most brilliant ways to use Flying Club miles has always been on Delta flights, and now there will be increased opportunity to burn elsewhere, with KLM and Air France. That may likely mean great intra European options for your Virgin miles, in addition to more transatlantic and pacific options.

Basically, it’s nice to have two more airlines where the opportunity to search for flights and use miles should be much stronger than it was before. Conversely, all FlyingBlue (Air France and KLM) flyers should soon be able to book Virgin Atlantic flights with their own miles, which is a nice opportunity to experience the Airbus A350, which I’d rate as the best passenger experience between New York and London right now.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Gil,

    Do you think this development will have a negative effect of the use of VS miles towards ANA flights? Either in points cost or outright ending of that redemption possibility?

    1. For the time being, no! I think it’s a sweet spot for sure, but one that definitely adds value to their program and they wouldn’t want to lose all the points transfers people make. Cheers, mojo!

  2. So how could this “mega joint venture” benefit someone without current Skyteam or Virgin Status? Does it open up any Elite short-cuts when it comes to crediting flights? If so, then which one would be easiest to status chase after, Virgin, Delta, or KLM/AF, focusing the lens on thethe new “joint venture” potential? (Ie- Excluding tricks like the co-branded Delta card Mega-Spend)

    1. The most basic answer is that you stand more chance to earn points, or elite status because flights from all four could be pooled into one loyalty program effectively. AKA – you could fly any of the above 4 and earn with Virgin Atlantic, or same for any of the others. As to the second part, entirely depends on how you fly, which cabins, where etc.

  3. Hi Gilbert – Reading through a few Flyertalk forums, I was under the impression that you can’t earn Delta miles for a flight operated by a non-SkyTeam airline but marketed by a SkyTeam airline? I’m referring to a VS-operated flight I took from LHR to JFK, but marketed by Air France. I still decided to take a chance and credit it to my Delta account – was pleasantly surprised when the miles came through and with the fare class bonus!

  4. I have been trying to talk to someone now for around 3 weeks for booking premium economy seats to the Caribbean using some air miles, but no one seems to answer or I am put onto a different place which turns out to be the same. My wife and I have been flying Virgin now for over 25 years. I don’t need to here about illnesses which to be quite honest is getting rather boring. All I want is to talk to someone!!! It’s not that difficult is it?

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