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Virgin Flying Club ‘earn and burn’ on Air France and KLM flights is coming as US approves deal

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At long last …. and this saga has been going on for over two years …. the final box has been ticked.

Late last week, the US Department of Transportation approved the creation of a joint venture for transatlantic flights between Virgin Atlantic, Delta Air Lines, Air France and KLM.  This is despite strong lobbying by JetBlue which was hoping to acquire Heathrow landing slots as part of a trade off to improve competition (it failed).

This was the last hurdle delaying the acquisition of a 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic by Air France – KLM.

Virgin Flying Club redemptions on Air France KLM

With European Union approval already granted, the final agreements can now be implemented.  Going forward, the shareholding of Virgin Atlantic will be:

  • Delta Air Lines 49%
  • Air France – KLM 31%
  • Virgin Group 20%

The transatlantic JV replaces an existing joint venture between Delta, Air France, KLM and Alitalia.  Alitalia has been dumped, which is another blow to its already weak financial position.

The deal allows the four airlines to co-operate on transatlantic routes.  This means that they can legally work together to fix flight schedules, fares and frequent flyer benefits.

All revenue from transatlantic flights by any of the four airlines goes into a pot and is shared out.  If you fly Virgin Atlantic to New York, a chunk of your money will be given to Delta and Air France – KLM, and vice versa.

What does this mean for Virgin Flying Club?

This agreement was the last hurdle before Virgin Flying Club could begin offering Air France and KLM flight redemptions.

These are now expected soon – how soon I don’t know.

At the same time, I would expect all Air France and KLM flights to earn miles and tier points in Virgin Flying Club.  Alternatively, you should be able to credit Virgin Atlantic flights to Flying Blue if you wish.

I know that a lot of UK-based Head for Points readers have Flying Blue accounts, especially those based outside the South East.  You now have an interesting decision to make – should you drop Flying Blue and start crediting your flights to Virgin Flying Club?

Until we know the exact ‘earn and burn’ rates there is no easy answer.  It will also depend on how much flying you do on other SkyTeam partner airlines.  Whilst you will be able to credit Air France and KLM to Virgin Flying Club, you won’t be able to credit Korean, Alitalia etc.

We’ll give you our advice as soon as we know what is happening, and when.  It will be an interesting 2020, and if Virgin Flying Club gets this right it will substantially increase its attractiveness versus British Airways Executive Club.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (January 2023)

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, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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 (44)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • AR says:

    I have a virgin credit card and I’m on course to get the companion voucher.
    My question is whether the companion voucher can now be used with Air France/KLM?

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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