Virgin Atlantic and BA have a long history of rivalry, so it is unsurprising that they have launched a direct attack on BA by trying to poach their customers. Given the recent events at BA and the gradual erosion of the BA product, it is highly likely that customers may be swayed to move their flights elsewhere. Virgin currently have 2 offers which may be of interest if you are a BA customer.
I flew on Virgin Atlantic last year in Upper Class and was hugely impressed. I got an excellent deal for around £1400 ex Dublin to San Francisco and back from LA. There was virtually nothing I could fault apart from one useless server in the Clubhouse lounge and the seat being a bit harder than BA. I had expected the food and wine to be worse than BA, but in fact I found the food far superior. The wine was at least as good with a much better choice of wines and cocktails.
Virgin Flying Club Status Match
If you hold membership of another airline’s frequent flyer programme that’s equivalent to Flying Club Gold or Silver, Virgin will status match it. If you only travel Virgin occasionally in Upper Class, it may not be worth it but I will go into some potential benefits below. Although the official word is that you need to be able to prove that you would fly enough with Virgin to maintain that status, anecdotally it has been suggested that as long as you had a booking on a Virgin route in a Business class cabin for Gold or Premium economy for Silver on your current airline, it would be sufficient.
How to status match for Flying Club Gold
To qualify for fast track Gold Status, you need to:
• Hold an equivalent top tier membership of another airline’s frequent flyer programme
• Be able to send us a valid, recent statement showing that you fly enough times on the Virgin Atlantic network to maintain Gold status
• Already have a future flight booked with us in either Premium Economy or Upper Class
How to status match for Flying Club Silver
To qualify for a fast track Silver status, you need to:
• Hold an equivalent second tier membership of another airline’s frequent flyer programme
• Be able to send us a valid, recent statement showing that you fly enough times on the Virgin Atlantic network to maintain Silver status
• Already have a future flight booked with us in any cabin
How to register
If you’re already a Flying Club member just email Flyingclub.Admin@fly.virgin.com with the following details: • Your other airline’s frequent flyer programme statement, showing routes you’ve travelled and tier points • Your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club membership number (if you have one already) • Details of your future Virgin Atlantic booking
Which airlines will they match status with?
|Airline||Programme||Top tier||Second tier|
|British Airways||Executive Club||Gold||Silver|
|American Airlines||AAdvantage||Executive Platinum||Platinum Pro|
|United Airlines||Mileage Plus||Premier 1K||Premier Platinum|
|Cathay Pacific||Marco Polo||Diamond||Gold|
|South African Airways||Voyager||Platinum||Gold|
Is it worth it?
If you are likely to fly Virgin in economy, then it is probably worth doing. If like me, you will only fly Virgin occasionally in Upper Class then there may also be good reason if you fly with any of their partner airlines. You can earn and redeem miles and get tier points flying with Delta, Singapore airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Air China, Virgin Australia, All Nippon, Air New Zealand, SAS, Malaysian and Jet Airways.
Here is a brief summary of benefits:
- 60% extra miles
- Two pieces of hand luggage, plus an extra piece of hold luggage up to 23kg, whichever cabin you fly
- Upper Class Check In
- Clubhouses access in any cabin plus 1 guest
- A spa treatment of your choice on your first Clubhouse visit plus 10% off future treatments
- Access to Heathrow Revivals lounge in any class
- 2,000 miles birthday bonus.
- Get 10% off and 2 miles for every £1 spent with Virgin Holidays.
- Nominate a Flying Club member of your choice to enjoy Silver membership status.
- 30% extra miles
- Free seat choice, up to 14 days before you fly when you travel in Economy
- Premium Economy Check In
- Virgin Holidays up to 7% discount plus you’ll earn 2 miles for every £1 you spend.
You can find the relevant page to register here.
Want to change to Virgin Atlantic from BA – Virgin will pay you!
If you have just made a recent British Airways booking, Virgin are giving you the chance to swap your booking to Virgin Atlantic instead, and get a £50 discount on your new flight. Frankly this is nothing short of a publicity stunt to try and benefit from BA’s recent IT meltdown. They have even launched a hastag #VAnotBA! Although some may say it’s a bit unfair of Virgin, I actually applaud them. I think they are being proactive and showing they actually want your custom. That was certainly one of the differences I spotted between BA and Virgin. With Virgin, almost every employee I interacted with made me feel like they valued my custom, not just that I was just a number. Considering that I am BA Gold but had no status with Virgin, that is quite telling.
How does the offer work?
If you’ve booked a long haul flight directly with British Airways (ie on www.ba.com or via their direct call centre) within the last 24 hours, you’re still in their ‘cooling off period’ which means you can cancel your flight at no extra cost. Virgin will match the route and dates of your original booking, and give you £50 off the Virgin quoted fare. The offer is only available until 23:59 tonight, Thursday 15 June.
You can find the offer page here.