The joint venture between Virgin Atlantic and Delta Airlines was announced this morning with Delta confirming the 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic after the U.S. Department of Justice and the EU Commission approved the deal. The combined airlines will serve 108 destinations via a codeshare and will include all flights between the UK and the US. Virgin Atlantic will also place their call sign on a number of Delta’s domestic flights, expanding Virgin’s foot print in the United States. The more exciting news of the day though is that Delta FINALLY laid out the groundwork for mutual frequent flyer benefits for Delta Skymiles member flying on Virgin Atlantic.
Per the media release:
The agreement includes the following customer benefits:
- Virgin Atlantic customers will now enjoy a vast network of connecting North American destinations while Delta customers will gain an additional six daily frequencies between London to New York
- SkyMiles and Flying Club loyalty programs that will offer up to 125% tier bonus miles* to frequent fliers on all Delta and Virgin Atlantic flights – not just those within the codeshare agreement
- Reciprocal Delta Sky Club and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse access at applicable airports for Upper Class and BusinessElite passengers and 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
Delta has also put together a Frequent Asked Questions page answering many questions re: What benefits will I receive. Benefits for Elite flyers will begin on July 3, 2013 and tickets will be able to be booked using skymiles on June 29, 2013. In addition, per the media release Virgin Atlantic tickets will be bookable via delta.com including skymiles award tickets! However, remember that Virgin Atlantic is notorious for EXTREMELY high fuel surcharges, so do not expect the redemption to be a cheap one!
In short, here are a few benefits announced today.
Diamond, Platinum, & Gold Elite will receive the following benefits when flying Virgin Atlantic:
- Priority Check-In
- Priority Baggage Handling
- Priority Security
- Priority Boarding
- Baggage fee waiver for one additional piece up to 23kg (~50lbs)
- Virgin Atlantic Club House Access when flying Delta or Virgin on a Transatlantic flight (Only available to Platinum & Diamond Elite and those booked in Business Class)
Overall, the benefits being offered to Delta Elite customers are the same as SkyTeam Elite Plus benefits, the only difference is Gold Elite will not have Club House access unless they are traveling in the Upperclass/BusinessElite cabin. Mileage earning rates have still not be announced, therefore it is unknown what classes of travel will be eligible for MQM earning. In addition, remember that due to Delta’s revenue based MQD requirements, ONLY tickets booked through delta with ticket stock 006 will count towards elite status.