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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.

EDIT: these rules have now changed. Click here for our article on the new rules.

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.

What are the SkyTeam Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse access rules?

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.

What are the SkyTeam Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse access rules?

Virgin Clubhouse access for SkyTeam flyers at international lounges

In addition to the flagship Clubhouse at Heathrow, Virgin also operates six further Clubhouses internationally:

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
What are the SkyTeam Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse access rules?

Conclusion

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

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (May 2024)

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 18,000 Virgin Points and the free card has a bonus of 3,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

18,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

3,000 bonus points, no fee and 1 point for every £1 you spend 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 40,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 40,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable 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 an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 (74)

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

  • M Jones says:

    Okay, so AF Gold will not get access? Interesting that ST Elite at other airlines get in but not AF/KL or DL.
    Will AF Gold flying VS in economy get lounge access elsewhere then?

    • Rhys says:

      Did you read the article? AF/KL elites DO get access, if they’re flying Virgin Atlantic or Delta 🙂

      • M Jones says:

        Hi Rhys, I just read it that AF platinum do not AF gold? Or am I blind?

        • Mikeact says:

          Gold is not Elite ?

        • Rhys says:

          That’s correct. But no other SkyTeam Elites get in either, it’s just SkyTeam Elite Plus (at international Clubhouses).

          • M Jones says:

            Okay so AF/KL is Elite but not Elite Plus?
            So this means no VS lounge access at LHR if flying VS?
            So if I fly out of LHR in VS with my AF/KL Gold can I use the Plaza Premium?
            Thanks

          • Rhys says:

            If you’re Elite Plus and flying VS then you get Clubhouse access at Heathrow, as per the article!

          • M Jones says:

            But AF Platinum is ST Elites Plus so why do they bother categorizing them separately to ST Elite plus? This is why as AF Gold I am confused as to if I’ll get access.

  • VALittleRed says:

    In the schedule China Airlines are showing as T3 later this year, will those customers travelling in Business not get access or is that undecided so far?

    • Mark says:

      Unfortunately China Airlines premium passengers are directed to the Club Aspire Lounge as are KLM/AIR FRANCE. I am not sure what space is available in T3 but I think a SkyTeam Lounge must be under consideration.

      • VALittleRed says:

        China airlines don’t currently fly out of T3 but will do later this year which is why I wondered if this may change given it is a long haul unlike KLM/AF.

  • Sam says:

    This is substandard when Skyteam is the only alloance with no access to airline-operated lounges at LHR, alongside Hong Kong where the Skyteam lounge went bust during covid. There is also no sign of consolidation of all Skyteam flights to Beijing PKX where China Eastern uses as a hub, with a dedicated international lounge and better facilities, particularly given the closure of PEK Skyteam lounge.

    • Rhys says:

      Is it substandard? Fundamentally, nothing changes for SkyTeam members at Heathrow, so it’s broadly neutral. Virgin wouldn’t be able to host everyone even if it wanted to so it’s a bit of a moot point.

      • Save East Coast Rewards says:

        It is substandard. Before AF/KLM decided to move in with DL/VS there was a SkyTeam lounge in T4 because T4 was supposed to be the SkyTeam terminal like T2 is Star Alliance. It’s not the fault of Virgin but those who are flying SkyTeam airlines out of LHR are getting a worse experience than pre-COVID.

        Even if you go back further, the old T2 had an AF lounge and an Alitalia lounge now no SkyTeam airline (except Virgin) has their own lounge. AF/KL should not have moved to T3 unless there was space to operate a decent lounge.

        • Rhys says:

          You’re still getting lounge access – the Club Aspire. Never made it to the Skyteam lounge so don’t know how it compares. The fact that I’ve never heard anyone rave about the Skyteam lounge suggests it was pretty average, so I don’t see that as a big issue.

          • Sam says:

            Feel free to make a visit to either the overcrowded Club Aspire and the ‘No.1’ lounge and see for yourself if you disagree they are substandard. Seeing no change to Skyteam lounge access at these main airports suggests that there is little or no benefits to Skyteam elites’ passenger experience. There is also a big need to recognise the fact that pay-in lounges are always less exclusive than airline lounges and I am talking about the main airports.

  • Olly says:

    Can ST elite bring in a guest (when flying on Virgin)?

  • MC says:

    Who can answer….

    Scenario: Non-Gold Virgin Flying Club member, travelling economy on Virgin with my VFC number linked to my ticket.
    Question: To gain LHR lounge entry, can I show my SkyTeam Elite Plus status (e.g. ITA Volare PREMIUM) on my phone OR must the economy ticket I’m flying on be linked to the Elite Plus status with the other airline?

    I’m trying to work out if I have to choose between:
    (a) crediting an economy flight to my VFC account and not get lounge access
    (b) crediting to another airline at reduced earning levels but with lounge access due to Elite Plus status with that airline
    (c) working out if if it’s possible to get the best of both – credit to VFC for increased earning but use SkyTeam Elite Status with another airline to get lounge entry

    Thanks in advance to anyone who knows definitively 🙂

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

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