With Delta set to take a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic -- buying that stake from Singapore Airlines for US$360 million -- there are already questions being raised about its impact on Virgin Australia.
The quick answer: frequent flyers shouldn't fret. The Delta-Virgin tie-up is unlikely to deliver significant changes on the local scene.
Both Atlanta-based Delta and London Heathrow-based Virgin Atlantic are already partners for Virgin Australia's Velocity frequent flyers, so the consolidation won't mean a shakeup for your points balance.
Velocity members already get full earning and burning of frequent flyer points, though at slightly different rates for the two airlines depending on the fare you buy.
Virgin Atlantic and Delta flights earn the same amount of Velocity status credits.
Something to watch for is when the two airlines start codesharing -- that's when Delta puts its DL flight code on Virgin Atlantic's flights and vice versa.
The fine print on the Velocity website highlights that you can earn points only on flights that each airline actually operates, so codeshares don't count.
So unless that's ripe for changing, savvy frequent flyers will be keeping an eye on that little "flight operated by" section when they check flights, and reminding their travel bookers to pick non-codeshare services.
We'll keep an eye on developments and let you know if there's any further impact for Velocity frequent flyers.
Also read: Virgin Atlantic to join SkyTeam?
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