Last September, Virgin Atlantic announced its plan to join the SkyTeam Alliance and as of today, it is now official that the UK airline has now become the newest member of the alliance.
Virgin Atlantic Joing SkyTeam Alliance
As of today, March 2, 2023, the London-based carrier has officially joined SkyTeam. This means Virgin Atlantic is SkyTeam’s first and only UK member airline, enhancing the alliance’s transatlantic networks to and from Heathrow and Manchester.
The move has been rumored for some time as the airline has a 49% stake in Delta and is also in a transatlantic joint venture between Delta as well as Air France-KLM. So a strong presence of SkyTeam existed even before the airline joined the alliance.
Chairman of SkyTeam and Korean Air, Walter Cho said before joining:
“Virgin Atlantic is synonymous with innovation and excellent service, an iconic British airline with a global outlook that puts customers at the heart of its operations – like SkyTeam and its members – and we are delighted to welcome them into our alliance.”
With the joining of SkyTeam, Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, commented:
“SkyTeam shares a customer first ethos that mirrors our own and our entry into the alliance today marks an important milestone in achieving our vision to become the most-loved travel company.
“We want to reward those who choose to fly with Virgin Atlantic and our Flying Club members deserve the very best loyalty proposition. Our SkyTeam membership offers this through a global network of maximised reward opportunities, alongside enhanced services on the ground and in the skies.”
And Patrick Roux, SkyTeam CEO and Managing Director said:
“We are delighted to welcome Virgin Atlantic into SkyTeam, taking an already close relationship to new heights and elevating our customer offering with more routes to exciting destinations and access to aspirational airport lounges – not to mention the airline’s world-famous flair.
“The U.K. is a key market for SkyTeam and with Virgin Atlantic on board, customers can look forward to more opportunities to earn and redeem miles as they fly, enjoying the iconic travel experience that makes our newest member a globally loved airline.”
Benefits Of Virgin Atlantic On Joining SkyTeam
So what will passengers benefit from the airline joining SkyTeam Alliance? Let’s look at them one by one:
- Flying Club members have now more ways to earn Points and Tier Points across all member airlines.
- Flying Club members also have wide opportunities to redeem points on 18 partners.
- Virgin Atlantic Silver card holders are recognized as SkyTeam Elite.
- Gold card members have become Elite Plus.
- SkyTeam Elite Plus members traveling on Virgin Atlantic, Delta, or Aeromexico will have access to Virgin Atlantic’s renowned Clubhouse at London Heathrow.
- Other SkyTeam Elite Plus members can take advantage of the designated lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3.
In terms of lounge access, the Clubhouse at London Heathrow is restricted on the other hand, the Clubhouse at New York(JFK) can be accessible by all SkyTeam Elite Plus members.
Since the airline is a new joiner, there is time needed until partner benefits are settled so we will have to wait and look about that soon.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club’s Partner Award Chart
Virgin Atlantic also revealed the award chart for SkyTeam partners today. The new chart will be based on distance and except from China Eastern and ITA Airways which will be available to earn and redeem later in 2023, will be bookable.
The only concern about the partner redemption is will Virgin Atlantic keep the current award rates for some of its partners which are non-SkyTeams such as ANA and Air New Zealand. The Flying Club has the best award redemption rates on ANA first class so hopefully, it will not be terminated or devaluated.
As of today, March 2, 2023, Virgin Atlantic has become a member of SkyTeam. This will be the alliance’s newest member since 2014. With the joining, SkyTeam frequent flyers will have more options to travel between the Atlantic as well as earn and redeem points/miles.