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You can now earn Virgin miles on KLM and Air France codeshares as it waits for JV approval

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A few weeks ago the European Union gave its blessing to the transatlantic joint venture being planned by Virgin Atlantic, Air France, KLM and Delta.  This involves the four airlines acting as one, jointly co-ordinating pricing and scheduling and pooling all revenue.  As part of the process, Air France KLM will take a 31% shareholding in Virgin Atlantic.

US regulatory approval is taking longer to secure.  I have seen some commentary that low cost carrier JetBlue is trying to use the process as a way of getting access to Heathrow to launch its own transatlantic services.

With EU approval done, however, the four airlines have decided that it is safe to move to the first stage of integration:

Virgin Atlantic is now codesharing with Air France and KLM on transatlantic routes

You can earn Virgin Flying Club miles and tier points when flying Air France and KLM transatlantic, as long as the flights carry a Virgin Atlantic flight number

You can now book Air France and KLM transatlantic flights through the Virgin Atlantic website 

This means that you can now book Virgin Atlantic-coded flights from 18 UK airports – Aberdeen, Belfast, Belfast City, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Durham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Humberside, Inverness, Leeds-Bradford, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Manchester, Newcastle and Norwich.

Here is an example – you can now fly to Montreal on a VS-coded flight, albeit one operated by KLM with an aircraft change in Amsterdam.  The screenshot is from virginatlantic.com (click to enlarge):

Virgin Atlantic KLM codeshare launched

What routes are included in the Virgin codeshare?

Here are the routes included (click to enlarge):

Air France routes which now have a Virgin codeshare:

Virgin Air France codeshares

KLM routes which now have a Virgin codeshare:

Virgin KLM codeshares

Delta routes from France and NL which now have a Virgin codeshare:

Virgin Delta codeshares from France and Netherlands

How many Virgin miles and tier points will I earn on KLM and Air France?

Virgin Atlantic has launched two new pages on its website:

this page shows what you will earn flying KLM 

this page shows what you will earn flying Air France 

As a reminder, until US regulatory approval comes through, you can ONLY earn on VS-coded flights operated by Air France and KLM.  There is also no mileage redemption possible at this time.  It will be coming, however …….

PS.  This also works in reverse.  You can now book Virgin Atlantic flights with Air France or KLM flight numbers and credit them to Flying Blue.

How to earn Virgin Atlantic miles from UK credit cards

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

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Flying Club miles.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  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.)

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Comments

  1. For those of us allergic to paying APD on redemptions, can we expect to be able to book an ex-EU feeder (AF or KL metal) to a VS l/h redemption once all this goes through, and so save the APD?

  2. Jake Mc says:

    Said “sharp-eyed HFP reader” is also “sharp-eyed HFP reader who is not in work today”…

    I therefore gave virgin a call to attempt to redeem miles with SAS. The operator knew nothing about it and said there had been no communication of any change.

    Not to say it won’t be announced but also just potentially a mistake.

  3. Drolma-la says:

    I wonder whether flight rewards (i.e. PE upgrades) from the Virgin Money credit cards can be used with codeshare flights.

  4. BlueHorizonuk says:

    This earning chart seems to not allow any points earning if flying in First as Virgin don’t sell first class.

    • The same holds true for Singapore Airlines. Whenever I have flown Suites or First on SQ and credited to my Virgin Flying Club account, I received more miles than I did for Business Class on the same route, but the tier points were the same as Business Class: 350 for a long haul round trip.

  5. 1nfrequent says:

    Would be interested in the views of those who comment here. I have never flown Virgin but have flown AF short-haul for work and have a handful of points in the AF scheme. I am looking to diversify my miles out of Oneworld and have been waiting for this unification to progress as given my travel over the next couple of years, it looks like I will be using Virgin.

    I know there’s no hard and fast rule and everyone has different needs but does anyone have a view on which of AF, KLM, Delta and Virgin it’s best to credit to in terms of:
    – earning and redemptions (I’m guessing Virgin is the best through the Tesco and credit card route as an extra but don’t know much about flying credits); and
    – gaining status quickly through long haul flights (which is the bulk of my leisure travel)?

    Opinions gratefully received.

    1F

    • marcw says:

      With Flying Blue, once you have a tier, it’s kinda easy to renew. Also, unused XP points roll over to the next year. The problem is to go from entry level to platinum in one go. That’s more challenging. With 100XP you are silver, then you need another 180 XP to qualify for gold and another 300 XP for platinum. But to renew Silver/God/Platinum you only need 100/180/300 XP in a year.

      Even though earning are revenue based, the key is to book codeshares. Flying Blue can be topped up with MR points and there is also the equivalent for Avios&Money, reducing up to 25% de value in miles (usually you pay 1 eurocent for each mile in economy, 1.5 in premium economy and 2 eurocents per mile in business). You can take advantage of FlyingBlue Promos, particularly interesting when your travel dates and destinations are flexible.

      If you have status, you can buy unlimited miles. Every now and again there are some buy miles promotions. With silver, you can take free luggage on HBO fares on AirFrance/KLM.
      The good thing is FlyingBlue changed last year, so it won’t change for the next couple of years (At least).

      I think there’s value in Flying Blue, but it’s not a straight line. It’s a good idea to go a check out how redemptions work (there’s no chart) – so you get an idea “how many miles do I need to fly between A and B”.

      • 1nfrequent says:

        Thanks, marcw. I hadn’t picked up that you needed the extra XPs to progress. Will also check out the chart.

        1F

        • marcw says:

          Yeahhh… that’s the problem when going from entry level to high status. But once you have, say Gold, you only need 180 XP points a year to renew. And any extra XP points roll over to the following year.

        • Clive says:

          Yes but the problem with FB is keeping the miles alive. If you don’t fly they die.

    • Jake Mc says:

      Best to credit to the scheme on which aircraft you would like to fly- generally. (ie if you want to fly virgin metal then credit your flights to flying club, likewise to flying blue for Air France).

      Additionally for UK residents earning flying club miles (virgin) is easiest due to credit card availability.

      Also, if your long haul travel is leisure based I would also focus on the quality of product and destinations. No point earning miles in a scheme if the airline doesn’t suit your needs – especially as your holiday time will likely feel too short as it is

      • 1nfrequent says:

        Understood. The problem with getting into the points/status game though is that you get a bit obsessed with trying to maximise value through the system. I think I need to sit down one weekend and really take an in depth look at the different offerings and schemes and then knock up some itineraries to get an idea of what is best.

        Thank you.

        1F

        • LewisB says:

          Just to add in on the Flying Blue Promos, these change on the 1st of each month and usually there is a couple of juicy long-haul receptions. This month has 50% off from anywhere in Europe to Montreal and back. Flying times are always restricted but there’s generally a two month window. When I searched for availability from CWL it was wide open and came to 56k points and just under 600EUR in taxes. If you live outside of London and near a regional airport that has regular KLM flights I would definitively keep an eye on these promos. In the past few months I’ve seen 50% off (in business) Taipei, Montreal, Boston and Vancouver. Taxes are still high but I’m personally keeping a little stash of miles in my Flying Blue account to wait for the right promo.

        • marcw says:

          Totally agree @LewisB – there’s always something interesting in the list. I keep a good chunk of FB miles for Promo Awards, and in Asia, for when I have to go to places that require connections (penalised in Avios scheme). In Asia you can redeem on JAL, China Airlines, China Eastern, Vietnam, Malaysia Airlines, Korean, Xiamen, Bangkok Airways and Garuda. There’s always some availability.

          On some of them taxes are outrageous, but on others it’s only taxes (no surcharges).

        • Exactly. Go where you want to go. Redemption seats to civil war-ridden dumps tend to be excellent value, because cash flights are rarely sold cheaply in sales as the traffic is 100% corporate, but that doesn’t mean you should be redeeming your Avios to go there. Darfur is likely to offer solid value on a pence per Avios basis but is a little low on shopping and galleries these days.

          Similarly the best value for hotel points is often one-star dumps which sell for a low number of points but can be pricey when events are on. That doesn’t mean I recommend staying there instead of somewhere pleasant.

        • Mikeact says:

          I’m looking forward to using my FB Platinum for life card with my wife in the Virgin flagship lounge at Heathrow…….hopefully !

          As a follow up, the regular KL/AF monthly Promo discounts can be well worth going for if you see a particular destination. The miles required have changed dramatically over the last few years, as have the destinations, as well as the inclusion of Business Class awards. You could normally always guarantee a 50% discount with many more destinations than currently offered. We’ve struck lucky with the Caribbean…Curaçao with KL ,up front, and not out of season either, and Vancouver , also turning left, which was a bit chilly, but when you have friends there……This destination was on offer via both partners, but with different timings out of Paris or Amsterdam. AMS showed no reward availability out of London on the dates we wanted, but was available direct from AMS, so to grab the seats, booked there and then…..and then a BA RFS for the short hop over the North Sea.
          I have to say that our last two visits to Australia have been very easy to book using rewards, both Business there and back.
          But you have to be prepared for the routing offered which can be totally different every day……all part of the holiday !

      • Alex W says:

        @Jake Mc not necessarily true. If you want to fly BA then you could be better off crediting to Alaskan Airlines, for example. Partner redemptions are often the sweet spots of a lot of frequent flyer schemes, it seems.

  6. OT.
    Do you have any info about the flybmi administration process?

  7. Mark Henwood says:

    I am very confused! I may now fly on Sunday on a VS operated flight to IAD direct from LHR.Can I earn KLM miles for this?? Thx!

    • No, not yet. Needs US Government approval for the full joint venture.

      • Mark Henwood says:

        Damn. I may have to switch my flight to IAD this weekend to VS and I have no interest in their Flying Club miles.

  8. That might explain why Flybe flights are now available on Air France as codeshare. As far as I can see the Air France prices are nearly 50% cheaper if you need luggage (I’m looking at BHX-AVN).

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