Virgin Atlantic Officially Joins SkyTeam Airline Alliance

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What happened

Virgin Atlantic has joined the SkyTeam airline alliance. This makes it the first (and only) UK-based airline to join SkyTeam. Virgin Atlantic was previously part of a smaller joint venture with Delta and Air France-KLM. This change expands their partnership to include all SkyTeam alliance members.

So what 

Airline alliances open up a lot of opportunities for consumers, because their frequent flyer and rewards programs have a lot of overlap. For example, earning elite status with one airline in an alliance tends to convey status perks on partner airlines. Similarly, points earned with one airline can be redeemed for flights on other airlines in the alliance.

In the press release, Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss said, "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."

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Now what 

If you currently have Virgin Atlantic elite status -- Flying Club Silver and Gold status -- you can now match to SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus, respectively. This can unlock perks, like priority boarding and preferred seats, with all SkyTeam airlines. 

Additionally, travelers who have Virgin Atlantic miles can now use them to book flights on most SkyTeam partner airlines (China Eastern and ITA Airways will become available later in 2023). For travel rewards card lovers, this is a fantastic change. Virgin is a partner airline for three of the most popular travel rewards programs, including both Amex and Chase.

Beyond credit cards, you can now earn Virgin Atlantic miles by flying on most SkyTeam partner airlines. You can also earn Tier points, which are used to attain elite status with Virgin Atlantic.

The new partnership goes both ways, too. Travelers with elite status on other SkyTeam airlines will now receive status perks on Virgin Atlantic flights. This extends to Virgin Clubhouse lounge access on eligible flights.

Perhaps most interesting is the new ability to redeem miles from partner loyalty programs for Virgin Atlantic flights. This opens up a lot of opportunities for travel to and from the UK that were previously missing from the SkyTeam offering.

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