Now Live: New Air France-KLM & Virgin Atlantic Partnership

Filed Under: Air France/KLM, Virgin Atlantic

In early February 2020, Delta, Air France-KLM, and Virgin Atlantic, finally launched their new transatlantic mega joint venture. Previously Delta had two separate transatlantic joint ventures — one with Virgin Atlantic, and one with Air France-KLM.

With this new joint venture, all four airlines will be coordinating on transatlantic flights, including aligning schedules and fares, and also offering reciprocal benefits to frequent flyers.

That increased frequent flyer reciprocity has gone live today.

Air France-KLM Flying Blue & Virgin Atlantic Flying Club partnership

As of today new frequent flyer reciprocity has been introduced between Air France-KLM Flying Blue and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. There aren’t any major implications here for Delta SkyMiles, since Delta has long had individual partnerships with both airline groups.

What’s new here?

  • You can now earn and redeem Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles on Virgin Atlantic
  • You can now earn and redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles on Air France-KLM
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue elite members can now receive elite benefits on Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club elite members can now receive elite benefits on Air France-KLM

Let’s take a look at what you need to know about this new partnership.

Earning Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles on Air France-KLM

It’s now possible to earn Virgin Atlantic miles for travel on Air France-KLM. Here’s the earning chart for Air France:

Here’s the earning chart for KLM:

Rather confusingly, both of the charts reference that these are the mileage earning rates for Virgin Atlantic codeshares on these airlines, but the terms state that all Air France and KLM flights are eligible for Flying Club mileage accrual.

Flying Club elite members also earn their tier bonuses for Air France and KLM flights, including 30% for Silver members and 60% for Gold members.

It’s now possible to earn Flying Club miles on KLM

Earning Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles on Virgin Atlantic

It’s now possible to earn Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles for travel on Virgin Atlantic. Let’s take a look at those mileage earning rates.

Business Cabin (Upper Class):

  • J, C: 200%
  • D: 175%
  • I: 150%
  • Z: 100%

Premium Economy:

  • W, S: 125%
  • H: 100%
  • K: 75%

Economy:

  • V: 100%
  • Y, B: 100%
  • R, L: 75%
  • U, M, E: 50%
  • Q, X, N, O: 25%
  • T: 20%

Flying Blue elite members also earn their tier bonuses for Virgin Atlantic flights.


It’s now possible to earn Flying Blue miles on Virgin Atlantic

Redeeming Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles on Air France-KLM

It’s now possible to redeem Virgin Atlantic miles for travel on Air France-KLM. There’s a published redemption chart, and boy is it kind of confusing.

There’s one award chart for travel on short haul Air France and KLM flights, which has no peak and off-peak pricing:

Then there’s a separate zone based chart with both peak and off-peak pricing for economy and business class. For example, here’s the business class off-peak chart:

Here’s the business class peak chart:

The above pricing is one-way, and there are surcharges on all awards. To give a couple of examples of business class one-way pricing:

  • A UK to East Coast USA award costs 48,500-58,500 miles (that’s reasonable)
  • A Greece to West Coast USA award costs 110,000-120,000 miles (that’s… not so reasonable)


It’s now possible to spend Flying Club miles on Air France

Redeeming Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles on Virgin Atlantic

Flying Blue doesn’t seem to publish an award chart for travel on Virgin Atlantic, though these awards can be booked directly online.

Redemption rates are roughly in line with what you’d expect, though there is one bright spot, which is that Flying Blue seems to largely have lower surcharges on Virgin Atlantic awards.

For example, Boston to London is bookable in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for 56,500 Flying Blue miles plus 189EUR in taxes, fees, and carrier surcharges.

Those surcharges are way lower than what Virgin Atlantic Flying Club would charge directly, as they’d charge 47,500 miles plus $675 in taxes, fees, and carrier surcharges.

I’d gladly redeem an extra 9,000 miles to save over $400!


It’s now possible to spend Flying Blue miles on Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club elite benefits on Air France-KLM

With this new partnership, Flying Club Silver members receive the following perks on Air France and KLM:

  • Priority check-in
  • Priority bag drop
  • Priority boarding

Flying Club Gold members receive the following perks on Air France and KLM, in addition to the above:

  • Priority security
  • Priority baggage handling
  • One extra piece of checked baggage
  • Air France and KLM lounge access for you and a guest

Flying Club Gold members now receive Air France-KLM lounge access

Air France-KLM Flying Blue elite benefits on Virgin Atlantic

With this new partnership, Flying Blue Silver members receive the following perks on Virgin Atlantic:

  • Priority check-in
  • Priority bag drop
  • Priority boarding

Flying Blue Gold and Platinum members receive the following perks on Virgin Atlantic:

  • Priority security
  • Priority baggage handling
  • One extra piece of checked baggage
  • Lounge access, except they won’t get access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow Terminal 3, but rather will be directed to the Qantas Lounge; on top of that, lounge access isn’t available in Barbados, Johannesburg, Las Vegas, Manchester, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad & Tobago


Flying Blue Gold & Platinums now receive access to some Virgin Atlantic lounges

Bottom line

It’s nice to finally see the partnership between Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic rolled out, allowing members of both loyalty programs to earn and redeem points, and to receive reciprocal benefits.

There’s nothing here that’s really revolutionary, though I’d say the mileage earning and reciprocal benefits are good for those who are loyal to one of the programs.

Meanwhile there are some arbitrage opportunities when it comes to mileage redemptions, especially with regards to the difference in surcharges between Flying Blue and Flying Club.

What do you make of the new Air France-KLM Flying Blue and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club partnership?

(Tip of the hat to The Flying Dutchboy)

Comments
  1. As a FB Platinum I am sad to see the Clubhouse is not part of the deal. Seems like AF/KL time and time again take hits when it comes down to the treatment of their elites in their partnerships/JV’s . The same happened with Delta

  2. Agree with Erikjan. Reciprocity looks different … I wonder why AFKL always seems to loose in negotiating JVs.

  3. I’m FB Platinum and was flying Delta in comfort+ from JFK to AMS (with a KL flight number) on Monday, and went to the Clubhouse to try my luck. They didn’t let me in, but the agent told me that after today it would have been possible to enter. I’m a bit confused now about the benefits now. Can somebody explain?

  4. Question:

    Does this mean, if you credit to DL an AF/KL-marketed flight that is operated by VS, do you now get RDM/MQM/MQD? As I understand, under the old rules, you wouldn’t get credits since VS is not part of SkyTeam. Am I right? And if so does this new partnership change anything?

  5. Almost never fly out of Heathrow anymore because of UK’s ridiculous Airport taxes. Frequently fly IN to Heathrow so if the above is accurate (which I am sure it is) then access to JFK Virgin Lounge will be excellent, more important being able to access Delta’s best fares which frequently include sectors with VS and collect Flying Blue miles and XP will be fantastic. One thing that would be interesting to know is if the bar to VS Lounge at Heathrow applies to both departure AND arrivals lounges… Would be good to access Revivals Lounge at T3…

    As an aside the Air France site still has lounge access on Virgin flights only available if you are flying Business class which doesn’t make any sense as the ticket itself would give you lounge access in that case…

  6. KLM Flying Blue site also makes no mention of lounge access for FB members on the basis of status. Can anyone point me to an airline source that confirms the situation?

  7. It is sad that Virgin Atlantic is removing what was the worlds best and widest premium economy product, for a much inferior product.
    Few mention this when going on about (correctly) the huge improvements to the new Upper Class business Product.

  8. Jan:

    I am also curious about this. I had the reverse situation last year, with a VS coded KLM flight, and got 0 credit for it (my own fault for not reading the fine print on the Delta Partners earning site). I would hope that with the new joint venture, Delta would update their charts to include earning on VS coded AFKL flights and vice versa.

  9. same question as Jan asked…I have an AF marketed but VS operated flight. Hope to credit to Delta Skymiles. Would this partnership change anything?

  10. Have tried to add my flying club number to my current klm flight for later this year and it keeps saying it can’t add it. Presume that might change in the next couple of days??

  11. The information regarding connection flights is still extremely sketchy from Virgin’s end.

    Anyhow, regarding the codes shown in the above chart for earning rates, I’m looking at an AF flight from Nice connecting in CDG to Tel Aviv, Looking at Amex Travel it’s offering me G class for a flex ticket. there is no G however in the chart above?

  12. @TheFlyingDutchboy, excellent, just read your original article, one MASSIVE piece of good news for me is that “These benefits are valid GLOBALLY on VS-operated flight, so are not limited to the trans-Atlantic joint venture.”

    I live in Sao Paulo and VS recently started flying the GRU-LHR route which I thought would be out of the game, good to hear its not.

    Also as @ChampagneSocialist said above the Qantas Lounge at LHR is hardly slumming it…

    Most important I’ll get my XP for this direct flight should I choose to fly it.

    thanks for the info!

  13. Right, so when redeeming with AF/KL Flying Blue, combining an AF/KL flight with a DL flight or a VS flight or a DL flight with a VS flight probably is not a problem.

    I’m going to guess then that with VS, you are still limited to one partner: one can’t glue on a DL segment to an AF/KL reward. That or it is additive pricing.

  14. The Virgin site says KLM and Air France flights MUST be either Virgin or Delta-marketed. And the “how to book” says to book online via the VS website. So it looks like you can’t just buy an AF/KLM ticket and get the miles (or tier points, which I am more interested in) credited to your Flying Club account. Can anyone validate that?

  15. I understand that all benefits apply but I was wondering if someone can assist me on the below.

    I’ve got Virgin Miles which I want to redeem an Air France cdg to dxb ticket.
    I have a MEA Cedar miles ( sky team ) silver card, anyone knows If i’ll get all the benefits? I would believe I do but Air France is unable to confirm.

  16. Jad, I hope I am wrong but I do not think your MEA card will qualify you for benefits, that would basically mean Virgin was part of Skyteam. Would be useful to hear if you have a different experience to my expectations…

  17. @ jad ghandour — Yes, after ticketing you should be able to change your frequent flyer number on the reservation, and can then take advantage of SkyTeam perks.

  18. Thanks for putting me straight Ben, I was forgetting that the Virgin miles would be putting him on AF metal, if he was flying VS to DXB then the MEA would not help… Sorry @Jad Ghandour for the misinformation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *