SKYTEAM LAUNCH: What are the new Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse access rules?
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As of today, Virgin Atlantic is officially a member of the SkyTeam alliance, joining partners such as Delta, Air France and KLM.
One of the main concerns we had when Virgin Atlantic announced its plans to join was whether the airline would let SkyTeam business class and elite status members use its Clubhouse lounges.
This is particularly pertinent for the Heathrow Clubhouse, which often runs at or close to capacity. Even if Virgin Atlantic wanted to, it would simply not be possible to cater to all SkyTeam elites, particularly now that Air France and KLM have moved into Terminal 3 from their previous home at Terminal 4.
We now know the exact entry rules for the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses, which apply from today.
The bottom line is that the Heathrow Clubhouse will NOT become the default lounge for all SkyTeam airlines. However, entry is more lenient at international Clubhouses.
Virgin Clubhouse access for SkyTeam flyers at London Heathrow
Due to space constraints, the Heathrow Clubhouse has the most stringent entry rules. It has effectively been limited to long-haul flights.
That means you will not be able to use the Virgin Atlantic Heathrow Clubhouse on a short-haul ticket when flying a shorthaul hop with Air France or KLM, regardless of your status or cabin class. KLM and Air France will continue to use the Club Aspire lounge at Heathrow, reviewed here.
Who can get into the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounge at Heathrow?
Anyone flying in the following cabins will automatically get access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse:
- Upper Class passengers on Virgin Atlantic (including one guest)
- Delta One passengers on Delta
- Passengers connecting to La Première on Air France (including one guest)
- Clase Premier passengers on Aeroméxico
Other SkyTeam business class passengers do NOT get access.
Can you get into the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow with SkyTeam status?
Access to passengers with elite status has been equally restricted. You’ll only be able to use the Heathrow Clubhouse if you are:
- Virgin Flying Club Gold, flying on a Virgin Atlantic, Delta or Aeroméxico flight (including one guest)
- Delta SkyMiles Diamond or Platinum Medallion, flying on a Virgin Atlantic or Delta flight (including one guest)
- Air France / KLM Flying Blue Platinum, flying on a Virgin Atlantic or Delta flight (including one guest)
- Any SkyTeam Elite Plus member, flying on a Virgin Atlantic, Delta or Aeroméxico flight (including one guest)
Which non-SkyTeam elite flyers can access the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow?
The following non-SkyTeam elites also get access:
- Virgin Australia Velocity Club Gold, Platinum and The Club members flying Virgin Atlantic
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold, Solitaire PPS Club and PPS Club members flying Virgin Atlantic
- Air New Zealand Gold or Elite members flying on Virgin Atlantic to San Francisco.
As you can see, the Heathrow Clubhouse has been restricted to those travelling on Virgin Atlantic, Delta or Aeroméxico flights.
Virgin Clubhouse access for SkyTeam flyers at international lounges
In addition to the flagship Clubhouse at Heathrow, Virgin also operates six further Clubhouses internationally:
- London Heathrow Terminal 3 (review here)
- Boston Logan Terminal E
- Newark Liberty Terminal B (although Virgin no longer flies to Newark!)
- New York JFK Terminal 4 (review here)
- Washington Dulles Terminal A
- San Francisco Terminal A
- Johannesburg OR Tambo Terminal A
Access rules for these Clubhouses is far more lenient than at Heathrow, as Virgin will typically only have a couple of flights operating from each destination per day. This leaves more capacity available that can be mopped up by SkyTeam passengers.
At these lounges, any SkyTeam Elite Plus members can use the Clubhouses, as long as they are travelling on an international flight operated by a SkyTeam airline.
What SkyTeam statuses are treated as SkyTeam Elite Plus?
The following SkyTeam status levels are considered SkyTeam Elite Plus:
- Aerolíneas Plus Platino
- Aerolíneas Plus Diamente
- Aeroméxico Club Premier Platinum
- Aeroméxico Club Premier Titanium
- Flying Blue Gold
- Flying Blue Platinum
- China Airlines Dynasty Flyer Emerald
- China Airlines Dynasty Flyer Paragon
- China Eastern Eastern Miles Gold
- Czech Airlines OK Plus Gold
- Czech Airlines OK Plus Platinum
- Delta SkyMiles Gold Medallion
- Delta SkyMiles Platinum Medallion
- Delta SkyMiles Diamond Medallion
- Garuda Miles Platinum
- ITA Volare PREMIUM
- Korean Air SKYPASS Morning Calm Premium Club
- Korean Air SKYPASS Million Miler Club
- MEA Cedar Miles Gold
- MEA Cedar Miles Platinum
- Saudia Alfursan Gold
- Vietnam Airlines Golden Lotus Plus Platinum
- Xiamen Airlines Egret Club Platinum
- Xiamen Airlines Egret Club Diamond
As predicted, Virgin Atlantic has restricted entry to its Heathrow Clubhouse for SkyTeam airlines, maintaining the premium lounge experience and hopefully preventing overcrowding.
The news is more positive for SkyTeam Elite Plus members at international Clubhouses. The rules are less restrictive and you’ll be able to access the Clubhouse so long as you’re flying on an international, SkyTeam-operated flight.
Long term, it is possible that Virgin Atlantic opens a larger, second-tier lounge at Heathrow to cater for other SkyTeam airlines and elites. Right now, these airlines have a patchwork of agreements with the various third party lounges.
Our guide to the Virgin Clubhouses is here, and you can also read our review of the Heathrow Clubhouse here.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (March 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.
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) 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.)