Alas, the coupling isn’t nearly as sexy as it could have been.
Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic are slowly moving forward in their relationship, with the British half announcing today that customers flying on the American carrier’s flights will be able to credit their travel to the Flying Club frequent flyer program rather than Elevate if desired. This is a nice improvement, especially given the breadth of other partners that Flying Club has for good earning potential. Still, it is limited in several ways to the point of being less than great news.
For starters, flying on the less expensive fares will only earn half credit; only the most expensive fare classes like refundable Main Cabin fares or Main Cabin Select will earn full credit. That’s unfortunate but somewhat understandable, especially considering the similar limitations that Virgin Atlantic applies to their own flights and to other partners.
Additionally, the partnership is only for earning: no redemption on Virgin America yet. Plus, it is only in one direction: no earning in Elevate for Virgin Atlantic flights. Turns out that you can earn in Elevate for flying on Virgin Atlantic, too. The rates are miserable – as low as 10% on some fares and maxing out at only 60% – but at least the option is there.
Still, for someone who doesn’t mind the fuel surcharges that Flying Club charges on redemptions and who has lots of Hertz rentals and Hilton stays, the ability to rack up points in Flying Club isn’t all that horrible. And being able to add the occasional Virgin America flight to that pool rather than abandoning it in Elevate is a nice option.
Growing partnerships are always nice to see, even if they are not perfect. This development certainly falls in to that category.
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