United Airlines and Virgin Australia made a surprise announcement today that the two airlines would partner from April 2022 and offer reciprocal elite benefits and the ability to earn and redeem miles on each other’s flights.
The Australian airline currently has a partnership with Delta Air Lines. It is one of Delta’s few Core Global Airline Partners, but this will dissolve once the partnership with United is formalized and approved by respective authorities.
Frequent Flier Benefits:
In addition to the ability to redeem and earn points/miles, eligible premier MileagePlus and Velocity members will also receive the following benefits when flying on United and Virgin Australia worldwide:
- Priority check-in
- Priority boarding
- Priority baggage delivery and additional baggage check allowance
- Priority security clearance
- Lounge access
Announcement From United & Virgin Australia:
Virgin Australia Group will partner with United Airlines from April 2022, tripling the number of U.S. cities Virgin Australia customers can reach, while providing United customers seamless connectivity to Australia’s most popular destinations.
- United Airlines will offer Virgin Australia customers more non-stop flights from Australia, and 92 seamless one-stop connections to points across the USA.
- Members of Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer loyalty program will have the ability to earn Points, Status Credits and receive tier benefits when travelling on United’s extensive services.
- Virgin Australia and United Airlines to offer reciprocal lounge access.
Tuesday 14 December 2021: Virgin Australia Group has today announced a new partnership with United Airlines that will triple the airline’s reach into the Americas, with customers to access more destinations and more benefits when travelling to cities across the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America.
Commencing in April 2022, the partnership will establish codeshare co-operation, as well as reciprocal loyalty benefits for Velocity Frequent Flyer members to earn, redeem and receive tier benefits when travelling on United’s vast domestic and international network, connecting from the carrier’s multiple Australian gateways.
The partnership will also extend United’s large Australian presence, as the airline offering more flights to Australia than any other U.S. carrier, including daily direct flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Sydney, with flights from Houston and direct services to Melbourne expected to resume later in 2022. Under this new partnership United’s customers will now have seamless access to top Australian cities right across the country through Virgin Australia’s extensive domestic network.
Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said the partnership was an exciting opportunity for Virgin Australia customers while tripling the airline’s reach into the United States.
“The United States is a key market for Virgin Australia, and we know Australians are excited to be able to travel overseas again, so we’ve created hundreds of new ways they can do that through United’s extensive services to and from Australia.
“Virgin Australia customers will have significantly more options for travel from Australia to the States, with more than three-times as many services available to them, which is great news for Australian travellers.
“We are grateful to have such a strong partner in United. They have proudly been one of Australia’s most loyal and long serving aviation partners and their market strength both to Australia and in the United States brings great value to our guests. We look forward to innovating together on behalf of our guests to ensure they have the very best travel experiences to over 90 destinations in the US.
“Our family has just expanded and we look forward to welcoming United and their guests on board in April,” she said.
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said:
“The United States and Australia share a special bond and I’m especially proud that United was the only airline to maintain a vital link between these two countries throughout the pandemic,” said Mr Kirby.
“Looking ahead, Virgin Australia is the perfect partner for United. Our partnership provides considerable commercial value for both airlines and a shared commitment to offer the best travel experience for our customers,” he said.
The new partnership will also see Virgin Australia and United work together to improve customer experience and share best practices in areas such as innovation and sustainability.
United Airlines have been a long-term leader in sustainable aviation, and just last week operated the world’s first commercial passenger flight using 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) which was a turning point in the industry’s effort to combat climate change.
The partnership is another significant customer enhancement for the relaunched Virgin Australia, that will also see the airline resume the sale of codeshare flights at virginaustralia.com, starting with United services in early 2022, followed by the airline’s other international partners. Virgin Australia first paused the sale of codeshare flights on its website at the height of the pandemic, and today’s announcement will open a new gateway for travel between Australia and the United States and beyond.
Virgin Australia’s Message To Delta:
Virgin Australia Group and United Airlines have today announced a new partnership that will offer customers more destinations and more benefits when travelling to cities across the United States, Australia, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America.
The partnership with United will replace the airline’s current codeshare and frequent flyer relationship with Delta Air Lines, in 2022.
Delta and Virgin Australia have been partners for over a decade, flying millions of customers between Australia and the Americas in that time.
Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka has acknowledged the significant partnership with Delta Air Lines.
“We’d like to thank Delta Air Lines for their long-standing commitment and relationship with Virgin Australia. As a strategic partner with Virgin Australia for many years, Delta Air Lines has shared a wonderful journey with us, and we appreciate and value the many achievements we made together.
“We will work closely with Delta over the coming months to transition our Velocity partnership, and of course, all bookings will continue to be honoured when Delta customers fly on Virgin Australia.”
Delta Air Lines customers
Virgin Australia will honour all Delta customer bookings, and all Delta customers booked on Virgin Australia services will continue to enjoy all current benefits of the partnership. Velocity and SkyMiles Points/miles and Status Credit earn and redemption will also continue. Further details regarding the wind down of the Delta partnership will be announced in early 2022.
This is excellent news for MileagePlus Gold and higher elite members. They will get domestic lounge access when flying on Virgin Australia flights if the country ever opens for international visitors. Velocity elites will reciprocal access to United Clubs.
I had been avoiding flying on Virgin Australia ever since I lost my Etihad status that granted priority airport services, including lounge access, and have chosen Qantas instead.