NEWS: Virgin/Air France/KLM loyalty schemes and LATAM leaving oneworld early – what does it mean in reality?

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Virgin/Air France/KLM loyalty schemes finally have reciprocal benefits

Even though plans for their merger have fallen through, the Virgin Atlantic, Delta, Air France and KLM joint venture has been formally announced and will bring some very handy reciprocal frequent flyer benefits to members of the loyalty schemes. The joint venture is between Europe and America. 

The new partnership provides customers with more convenient flight schedules and a shared goal of ensuring a smooth and consistent travel experience, whichever airline people fly. The partnership also provides the flexibility to book flights on any of the four carriers through their respective mobile apps, websites, or via travel agents. 

The new loyalty benefits start from 13 February which will make the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club a much more attractive scheme, particularly with the high earning rates of the Virgin Mastercard. One of the downsides of the Virgin scheme is the limited route network for redemptions in Europe and outside America. The ability to earn and redeem on KLM and Air France will fill a much-needed gap. Virgin has some interesting partner airlines as well such as ANA (see our Virgin ANA First redemption here) Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand. 

From 13 February loyalty programme members will be able to earn and use miles or enjoy elite benefits for flights on any of the four airlines’ worldwide. Eligible elite loyalty programme members can also enjoy priority boarding and use over 100 airport lounges when travelling internationally.

There will be more initiatives being rolled out later this year such as the launch of more codeshare routes, aligning schedules to reduce connection times and smoothing the airport experience from check-in to baggage claim. Customers will also soon be able to check-in and select their seat through any of the partner airline mobile apps or websites.

Air France-KLM Group CEO Benjamin Smith said: “Ten years after starting our joint venture with Delta, this new agreement is a major milestone that will even further reinforce our presence on the Atlantic, by allowing our passengers the choice between four major airlines combining their network for the benefit of our customers.

 

LATAM leaving oneworld early

LATAM Airlines Group will end its membership in the oneworld alliance much earlier than initially expected on 1 May 2020. Personally, I think this should not be allowed since they are meant to give one year’s notice to leave, which you would assume is to ensure customers get what they expected when they booked. 

oneworld benefits for LATAM customers will be offered on oneworld flights up to and including 30 April 2020. LATAM Pass members will not receive oneworld frequent flyer benefits offered by Royal Air Maroc, which joins oneworld effective 1 April. LATAM will not offer oneworld frequent flyer member benefits to Royal Air Maroc Safar Flyer members.

A number of oneworld member airlines plan to maintain frequent flyer agreements with LATAM after 30 April.  BA currently codeshare with LATAM on London to Sao Paolo and 12 domestic routes in Brazil. The codeshare with American Airlines will be ending. This means that if you booked flights on LATAM on a BA ticket you will still get your Avios and Tier points even after 30 April. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I redeem award seats on LATAM as a frequent flyer of other oneworld member airlines?

Until and including 30 April 2020, frequent flyer programme members across oneworld member frequent flyer programmes will be able to redeem miles/points for award seats on LATAM.*

LATAM Pass frequent flyer programme members may also redeem miles/points for award seats on oneworld carriers until and including 30 April 2020.*

All redemption tickets that have been ticketed up to 30 April 2020 remain valid for travel, however, customers will not be eligible for oneworld tier status benefits if travel occurs after 30 April 2020.

A number of oneworld member airlines plan to maintain frequent flyer agreements with LATAM after 30 April. Customers are advised to contact their airlines for more information.

*Excludes Royal Air Maroc

Can I earn frequent flyer rewards and tier status points as a frequent flyer of other oneworld member airlines when I travel on LATAM?

Frequent flyer members in any oneworld frequent flyer programme will be able to earn rewards and tier status points on LATAM marketed and operated flights in accordance with the rules outlined by each member airline until and including 30 April 2020.*

LATAM Pass frequent flyer programme members may also continue to earn rewards and tier status points on other oneworld carriers until and including 30 April 2020.*

A number of oneworld member airlines plan to maintain frequent flyer agreements with LATAM after 30 April. Customers are advised to contact their airlines for more information.

*Excludes Royal Air Maroc

Can I access LATAM lounges as a oneworld frequent flyer?

Emerald and Sapphire tier members of all other oneworld airlines’ frequent flyer programmes may continue to use LATAM lounges until and including 30 April 2020, in line with oneworld’s existing arrangements.*

LATAM Pass Black Signature, Black and Platinum cardholders will be able to use the lounges of other oneworld member airlines until and including 30 April 2020, in line with oneworld’s existing arrangements.*

After 30 April, a number of oneworld member airlines plan to maintain frequent flyer agreements with LATAM, which may include lounge access. Customers are advised to contact their airlines for more information.

*Excludes Royal Air Maroc

Will I receive other oneworld benefits when I travel with LATAM?

Members of all other oneworld airlines’ frequent flyer programmes will continue to receive all other oneworld frequent flyer services and benefits (additional baggage allowances, priority check-in, boarding, waitlisting, etc.) when they fly on LATAM until and including 30 April 2020.*

Likewise, members of LATAM Pass will continue to receive all other oneworld frequent flyer services and benefits when they fly on the other oneworld airlines until and including 30 April 2020.*

A number of oneworld member airlines plan to maintain frequent flyer agreements with LATAM after 30 April. Customers are advised to contact their airlines for more information.

*Excludes Royal Air Maroc

I am a LATAM Pass member, will I receive oneworld benefits offered by Royal Air Maroc?

Royal Air Maroc will not provide oneworld benefits to LATAM Pass members, including but not limited to frequent flyer accrual redemption and top tier airport benefits, such as Lounge Access, Priority Boarding and Check-in, priority waitlist and standby, and access to priority baggage benefits.

I am a Royal Air Maroc Safar Flyer member, will I receive oneworld benefits offered by LATAM?

LATAM will not provide oneworld benefits to Royal Air Maroc Safar Flyer members, including but not limited to frequent flyer accrual redemption and top tier airport benefits, such as Lounge Access, Priority Boarding and Check-in, priority waitlist and standby, and access to priority baggage benefits.

I am a customer of oneworld fare products (oneworld Explorer, Global Explorer, and Circle Pacific). How will I be affected?

All sectors on LATAM and its affiliates booked and ticketed as part of a oneworld fare product remain valid even if travel occurs after 30 April 2020, as long as ticketed on or before 30 April 2020.

Customers flying on LATAM will not be eligible for oneworld tier status benefits if travel occurs after 30 April 2020.

I have a ticket for a flight on LATAM, issued by a oneworld member. Will my travel plans be affected?

Tickets issued for travel on LATAM by other oneworld member airlines will remain valid for travel. Please contact the ticketing airline in case of any changes to your travel.

I have a ticket for a flight operated by another oneworld member, issued by LATAM. Will my travel plans be affected?

Tickets issued for travel on other oneworld members by LATAM remain valid for travel. Please contact LATAM in case of any changes to your travel.

3 Comments on "NEWS: Virgin/Air France/KLM loyalty schemes and LATAM leaving oneworld early – what does it mean in reality?"

  1. It will be interesting to see if they allow Elite Plus” customers to use any lounge, any time, anywhere irrespective of the airline you are flying on within the group. So for example, as a One World Emerald, even flying domestic economy in the USA, I can use any Qantas First Class Lounge, eg LAX as long as I am fling on a One World carrier. It’s fantastic.

  2. ClaytonTheCruton | 4 February 2020 at 5:40 pm | Reply

    Surely of you have booked for travel after 1st May but before the years notice period ended then there is an obligation to either allow benefits OR cancel without fee. The rules clearly state one year notice so robbing the consumer of established privliges and benfits, not to mention earning TPs, could surely be legally challenged as OW have bent their own rules at the disadvantage to the consumer

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