Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has informed members that the programs status freeze for existing tier members will come to an end this month and that reduced qualification requirements will be put in place through March 31, 2023.
For the new membership year starting April 1st, Flying Club has sort of copied British Airways Executive Club’s method of offering reduced qualification hurdles for at least the coming year.
Virgin Atlantic’s customer base isn’t as much affected by border closures in anymore as their focus of the relatively small network lies mostly in North America, the Caribbean, and South Africa. Most of these countries are now readily accessible once again.
Based on this Virgin has decided to end automatic status extensions for elite members and instead offer reduced qualification requirements which makes a lot of sense.
Members were informed about the Go Higher For Less campaign via email this weekend:
You can access Virgin Atlantic Flying Club here to read up on the new rules.
800 Tier Points for Gold status is very reasonable although I’m still not a fan of Virgin Flying Club because they don’t belong to any alliance. Their redemption options are great, especially with ANA for premium class awards but you don’t need to actively collect miles by flying to utilize this. Credit card and hotel points transfers are just as fine.
For those who want to become Virgin Gold there is also the status match which is still ongoing:
I find it hard to make a program work unless the airline is part of an alliance and the frequent flier benefits are spread across a worldwide network. Virgin Flying Club is akin to Alaska Mileage Plan prior to them joining oneWorld. Good for earning through secondary partners and excellent for sweet spot redemptions. But aside from the carrier itself, benefits are almost non-existent.
For the same reasons, I also don’t participate in Emirates Skywards and Etihad Guest. If one can make it work and fly these carriers exclusively then it might be an option but most will find that it’s very hard to do so, especially when the preference is on direct flights.
As mentioned I think Virgin’s approach here is reasonable. Their members aren’t really affected by border closures anymore so there is no reason to keep extending the status endlessly. At the same time a limited requirement is helping those who are currently on reduced travel volume.
Their direct competitor British Airways has followed the same approach but has recently extended some member’s tiers for yet another year.