Delta SkyMiles and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members can both start earning elite/tier qualifying and redeemable miles on July 3, 2013, when flying on each others flights.
Delta flights will be available to book on Virgin’s website and on phone reservations and vice versa on June 29 for travel starting on July 3, 2013. You can read more about this partnership on Delta’s website here and on Virgin Atlantic’s website here.
Here’s what have happened so far
Singapore Airlines bought 49% share of Virgin Atlantic back in 1998 and paid $968 million USD for it. Last December, Delta announced that it was buying Singapore Airlines share of Virgin Atlantic pending government approval for $360 million. Very bad investment for Singapore Airlines.
Both European Commission and U.S. Department of Justice announced on June 20, 2013, that they are not opposing the Delta’s 49% purchase Virgin Atlantic. U.S. Department of Transportation authorized Delta and Virgin to codeshare their flights, but is still investigating the proposed join venture and ruling is expected later this year.
Benefits for Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members On Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic is part of the airlines that are more closely integrated with SkyMiles program. You earn at least 100% mileage credit on all fares (could be some that are excluded but didn’t find them), MQM’s (Medallion Qualifying Miles) and and medallion members also receive their mileage bonus.
There is no mention of MQD’s (Medallion Qualifying Dollars) on Virgin Atlantic flights, so the usual requirement of either having them on DL code or issued on Delta’s ticket stock (006) should apply.
There is no separate award chart exclusively for Virgin Atlantic, but rather the usual SkyMiles award chart applies.
There are likely fuel surcharges on award tickets originating from at least non-North American Virgin Atlantic gateways and those are likely ugly. Virgin Atlantic’s fuel surcharges are really high.
Delta Medallion benefits on Virgin Atlantic:
– Priority Check In: Diamond and Platinum Medallions may check in at the Upper Class counters. Gold members can check in at the Premium Economy.
– Priority Baggage: Diamond and Platinum members get Upper Class priority baggage and Gold members Premium Economy one.
– Priority Security: Diamond and Platinum members can use the Upper Class security in London Heathrow and Gold members fast track one.
– Priority Boarding: Diamond, Platinum & Gold members may board with the Upper Class & Premium Economy.
– Extra Bag: Diamond, Platinum & Gold members may check in one additional piece of checked in baggage weighting maximum of 50 LBS.
– Clubhouse lounge access: Clubhouse access is available for Upper Class or BusinessElite passengers and Diamond or Platinum medallions that are traveling on transatlantic flights to/from UK.
Benefits for Virgin Flying Club Elite Member On Delta
Virgin Flying Club members earn at least 100% award miles on all Delta fares and up to 200% for long-haul business class.
Virgin has a separate award chart for Delta awards that differs from Delta’s i.e. North America to South America in business is 90K miles on Virgin versus 100K on Delta.
Flying Club Gold/Silver benefits on Delta
– SkyClub Access: Gold members can access any Delta SkyClub provided that they have transatlantic sector to/from UK within the itinerary.
– Priority Baggage, Check in, Boarding, Security & Preferred seating are available for Gold members.
– Extra Bag: Gold members are eligible for one extra baggage on economy only.
– Mileage Bonus: Gold members receive 100% bonus and Silver members 50% bonus on award miles, when flying on Delta.
The main question likely is, whether Virgin Atlantic will end up in SkyTeam due to Delta’s 49% ownership of the airline. Singapore Airlines didn’t force the airline to Star Alliance,when holding the share for 15 years. More than half of Virgin’s partner airlines are Star Alliance ones and none SkyTeam alliance one besides Delta.
This new partnership will help (desperate) SkyMiles members that are looking ways to burn their stash. Virgin’s Upper Class product is quite nice, although a lot can be said about the food, and the Clubhouse in London’s Heathrow airport is simply fantastic.