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Delta and Virgin Atlantic Announce Details of Their New Partnership; Reciprocal Frequent Flyer and Lounge Benefits

by on June 24, 2013 · 19 comments

in Delta, Virgin Atlantic

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In December 2012, Delta announced that they would be buying Singapore Airlines’ 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic. The 49% purchase was announced today after receiving regulatory approval by UK and US authorities within the last week. However, Delta and Virgin Atlantic still need to get full anti-trust approval to codeshare on all flights, which they expect to have towards the end of 2013.

In the meantime, they are announcing codeshares on 91 Delta flights and 17 Virgin Atlantic routes and  starting on June 29, 2013 for travel on or after July 3, 2013. If you have previously booked travel, you can add your Delta/Virgin Atlantic number to your reservation, though always keep your boarding pass in case the mileage doesn’t deposit properly.

The full code-share will make the biggest impact when Delta starts counting Medallion Qualifying Dollar spend in 2014. In order for a flight to qualify, it needs to be issued on Delta ticket stock, meaning booked as the codeshare. You can still get mileage credit on all Virgin Atlantic flights, but in 2014, you’ll need to book the Delta flight number for the Medallion Qualifying Dollars to count. Read more about MQDs here.

Delta announced a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic on Monday.

Delta announced a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic on Monday.

 

Redeeming Miles
Starting in the near future (I was told June 29th by a Delta Medallion phone rep, however a Virgin rep advised me to call back on July 3) you will be able to use Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for Delta flights and SkyMiles for Virgin Atlantic flights. This is great news because Virgin Atlantic is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, so there are now more options to book Delta flights without having SkyMiles (though partners like Virgin Atlantic only get access to low-tier awards, meaning availability can be slim on certain routes). American Express runs Virgin Atlantic transfer bonuses from time to time, like the recent 35% bonus, so in lieu of any Delta transfer bonuses, this might make sense for booking Delta flights.

Delta has not yet added Virgin Atlantic to their other-airline partner page, but I would guess that the redemption rates on Virgin Atlantic will be the same as their current Delta/SkyTeam award chart- so 60,000 miles for roundtrip US to Europe flights and 100,000 in Upper Class.

There were few details announced today, so we will have to wait to hear about using SkyMiles to upgrade to Premium Economy or Upper Class (business class) and how will the fees shake out. Virgin Atlantic currently levies huge fees on almost all international flights, so a simple NYC to London roundtrip can cost as much as $600 in fees! However, their mileage thresholds are lower – just 45,000 miles for economy and 90,000 for business class vs. 60,000/100,000 that Delta charges. So I will be upset to see Delta keep their higher levels and levy the same steep taxes/fees.

Virgin Atlantic Award Chart

The reward chart for using Flying Club miles for Delta flights.

Here is the award chart for using Flying Club miles for Delta flights. Note: One-way awards are not permitted, unfortunately.

Reciprocal Earning
Delta SkyMiles members will earn 100% mileage credit on eligible Virgin Atlantic flights. They haven’t clarified which fare classes qualify for which bonus (that page is not working on Delta.com yet), but Virgin Atlantic is a tier 1 airline partner, which means you get 100% MQMs on all eligilbe fares, Medallion tier bonus as well as a 50% bonus for first/business class fares.
Virgin Atlantic Delta Chart

Virgin Atlantic FlyingClub members will earn the following on Delta flights:
Business Class – 200% of miles flown
Discounted Business Class – 150% of miles flown
Domestic First Class – 150% of miles flown
Economy Class – 100% of miles flown

Tier Bonus
Flying Club Silver – 50% bonus of the base flown miles
Flying Club Gold- 100% bonus of the base flown miles

Lounge Access and Elite Benefits

  • Reciprocal Delta Sky Club and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse access at applicable airports for Upper Class and BusinessElite passengers, Flying Club Gold members and SkyMiles Platinum and Diamond members
  • Priority check-in, boarding, baggage handling and additional baggage allowance on all Virgin Atlantic and Delta operated flights worldwide – not just those within the codeshare agreement – for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class and Flying Club Gold members as well as Delta BusinessElite and SkyMiles Gold, Platinum and Diamond members

I still have a lot of questions about this partnership and how redeeming miles will play out, so stay tuned. I’ve reached out to my Delta contacts for clarification. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts or questions and I’ll try to get them answered.

 

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Mark N

    They should just remove the redemption rates for Hawaii as Delta offers no low mileage options from the east coast to Hawaii based on my search for the next 10 months. Two programs with terrible redemption options. I want to redeem all my Virgin points and get out of this alliance mess.

  • Steve

    So no benefits on Delta if I have VS Silver status?

  • Mitch

    You’ve slightly mis-stated the MQD aspect. It’s just that the flight has to be issued on DL 006 stock. It’s completely possible to issue flights with non DL flight numbers on 006 stock. Oftentimes this has to be done via telephone, but it’s possible to not book the codeshare and still get MQDs.

  • Michael

    Actually looks like the confirmed date for booking VS awards is June 29th for awards on or after July 3rd. It’s already up on

    http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/skymiles/use-miles/award-travel/airlines-and-mileage-charts.html

  • VeritasIII

    Does this mean that Gold Medallions will NOT get lounge access on international VA flights, as we currently do on all other Skyteam partner international flights?

  • Jerry

    is Virgin Atlantic joining Skyteam ?

  • Jerry

    my friend google helped me finding the answer ;)

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayinthesky/2013/06/24/virgin-atlantic-ceo-nixes-skyteam-talk–for-now/2452153/

    it’s funny, with 49% of the shares, i thought that Delta would be able to decide on its own

  • Brian L.

    Richard Branson still has 51% of the company. Delta will have influence, but 51% is still more than 49%. Ultimately, Branson will have the final say.

  • J C

    Does this mean I will earn one VA flying club tier point even when flying delta shuttle? If so, keeping flying club gold just got a lot easier.

  • BEM

    I miss the Virgin Atlantic redemptions on Continental! Those were the Best!! I doubt that Delta will have as good redemptions for Virgin as Continental did!!!

  • tassojunior

    What about Singapore redemptions from VS? They’re *A.

  • John Beeler

    Will Virgin extend AMEX Platinum lounge access to their lounges?

  • Allan Klein

    Virgin Atlantic isn’t part of SkyTeam, so the fact that you’re ST E+ may not translate to lounge access. The Delta site specifically mentions to bring your PM/DM card.

  • Margita

    I access delta lounges with my Amex Platinum card. Would I be able to use delta lounge with Amex Platinum card if flying coach on virgin atlantic tickets (you have to show boarding passes to access delta lounges)… I do not have any medallion status on either airline…

  • Stephanie

    Can you redeem VA miles for flights on Delta’s partners like Air France?

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  • shonuffharlem

    And you can do VA one way one way on a Delta flight, can’t do that on Delta! I think?

  • volcanohts

    What I cannot find information for is whether I can get mileage credit on delta skymiles for flights on Virgin-Atlantic (BOS-LHR-BOM), not operated by Delta and booked on virgin-atlantic.com. Could anybody clarify?

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