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Virgin Atlantic will NOT be joining the SkyTeam alliance

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If you have been following the Virgin Atlantic / Delta tie-up, this statement may have taken you by surprise.

Late last year, Delta Air Lines of the US announced that it was buying the 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic held by Singapore Airlines, a sale which crystalised a large loss for Singapore.

At the time of the deal, it was widely assumed that Virgin would join the SkyTeam alliance.  Delta is already a core member, the alliance has only a modest existing presence at Heathrow, and it would drive extra business to Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic tail fin

Given how much money Virgin lost last year (£135m), I assumed it would be desperate for all the business it could get.  It would also make Virgin Flying Club into a more serious competitor to British Airways Executive Club, since you would have been able to redeem across all 19 SkyTeam members.

But, according to this new statement, it isn’t going to happen.  At least not in the short term.  And Virgin Flying Club will be all the worse because of it.

Of course, Virgin didn’t join Star Alliance despite having Star member Singapore Airlines as a 49% shareholder for years.  But we all know how that turned out ….


HFP Virgin Atlantic Rewards credit card

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (May 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, one has a bonus of 15,000 Points):

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (6)

  • This is a shame, I wanted to use the end of my AF/KLM miles for a Virgin ticket.

  • onlysuites says:

    Virgin is not all that….. Stupidly high YQ’s. Tried a recent redemption on them and the YQ was $1000 for a two leg flight.

    • David Butcher says:

      Excuse my ignorance but what is a YQ????

      • Alan says:

        It’s the fuel surcharge that airlines add to bookings – it appears on receipts with a two-letter tax code of YQ. It’s a great wheeze for them with reward bookings as (apart from the US-based programmes) most still charge this in full on redemptions.

  • Virgin Atlantic’s priority is the trans-Atlantic joint venture with Delta – they want it to be a real success from the word go. There’s a lot to be done to achieve that – LHR-JFK is a real money maker so it’s only right they prioritise and get it right.

    Once the JV is bedded in, Virgin & Delta will have the chance to evaluate any possible benefits of joining an alliance. Maybe they’ll join SkyTeam, maybe they’ll opt for strategic partnerships with a number of different airlines like Emirates have done.

  • J says:

    Well the new T2 at heathrow has just had a very (huge) virgin lounge built in it…. and from what i know the sky team airlines will be all going to this terminal .. so im betting they will be joining sky team when t2 opens…

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