TPG reader question: Can I earn elite status with Virgin Atlantic by flying other airlines?

Sep 19, 2021

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Editor’s note: This article is part of a weekly column to answer your credit card, points and miles and general travel questions. If you would like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguyuk, message us on Facebook or email us at tips@thepointsguy.co.uk.


Elite status with your favourite airline comes with all sorts of perks that can make your journey far more convenient and comfortable.

You can look forward to skipping long queues at check-in, security and at the boarding gate, as well as relaxing in an airline lounge prior to your flight.

If you are a regular traveller with Virgin Atlantic (or plan to become one), holding elite status in the Flying Club loyalty programme can be enormously valuable. This is because once you reach Flying Club gold status, you will have access to Virgin’s famous Clubhouse lounges when flying Virgin Atlantic of Delta in any class of service.

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If you’ve ever visited the Virgin Clubhouse at London Heathrow Airport (LHR), you’ll know it’s one of the best lounges in the country.

Related: Pelotons and planespotting: Inside the reopening of Virgin Atlantic’s Heathrow Terminal 3 and refreshed Clubhouse

You will need to fly to earn elite status in the Flying Club programme, which brings us to this week’s TPG reader question.

I regularly travel to Abu Dhabi as my husband is there currently and will be for the foreseeable. I am already a bronze Executive Club member with BA but since they stopped the Abu Dhabi route, the best I could find is with KLM via Amsterdam.
My question is, if I credit the flights to Virgin Atlantic will I still earn elite status in the same as I did with BA?

Callum, TPG reader

The good news for Callum is he can earn elite status in the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club programme solely by flying with KLM if he wishes. While British Airways require members to fly four British Airways flights each year to move to a higher status level in their Executive Club programme, Virgin does not have this requirement.

On the Amsterdam (AMS) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) route, if he flew KLM on a Virgin-marketed flight — basically, a VS flight number but operated by KLM — he would earn 25 tier points in discount economy per flight, each way, and up to 200 points in flexible business class.

Flying Club requires 400 tier points in a year to earn silver status, or 1,000 tier points to earn that valuable gold status that comes with lounge access both for Virgin lounges (when flying Virgin or Delta) as well as KLM lounges when flying KLM.

Best of luck with your journey to Flying Club status, Callum!

Featured image by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy

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