Qantas and Cathay Pacific have both stepped up with offers to help Virgin Atlantic's Australian customers match their Flying Club status with each airline's respective frequent flyer program.
The two airlines will offer the only direct flights between Sydney and Hong Kong as of May 6 this year, after last week's announcement that Virgin Atlantic would axe the loss-making route – and they're keen to soak up their share of Virgin's high flyers.
Australian Business Traveller asked Qantas and Cathay Pacific about their plans to help Virgin Atlantic's top-tier frequent flyers make a smooth transition while retaining Flying Club status perks such as lounge access, additional checked baggage and bonus frequent flyer miles.
Cathay Pacific has invited Australian travellers holding gold or silver status in Virgin Atlantic's Flying Club to apply for a status match into Cathay's Marco Polo Club scheme.
Nothing is guaranteed, however, with a spokeswoman for Cathay Pacific telling Australian Business Traveller the airline will "evaluate status match application on a case by case basis."
While not putting an outright status match on the table, Qantas is offering what it calls "a tier accelerator" program to help Flying Club gold and silver members "achieve status with QFF faster."
Based on Virgin Atlantic's list of Flying Club perks we'd suggest that Flying Club Silver is roughly equivalent to Silver in Qantas Frequent Flyer and Cathay Pacific's Marco Polo Club, while Flying Club Gold lines up nicely againt Qantas and Cathay Pacific Gold.
Of course, you won't be able to take your mountain of Flying Club miles across with you – but we've scoped out the best ways to use them on Virgin Atlantic's partner airlines.
Strategy for status
It's obvious that now is the time to try and parlay your Flying Club status into an equivalent rank in the Qantas Frequent Flyer or Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club programs.
And while it makes sense that your status match application should target the airline you'll be flying most often between Sydney and Hong Kong, there's no reason you can't approach both Qantas and Cathay Pacific.
Be ready to provide copies of recent Flying Club activity statements, going back over the past few years if possible, to show your travel patterns and let each airline know how much business you'd be bringing their way.
Note that because Qantas and Cathay Pacific are both members of the Oneworld alliance you'll be able to use the lounges of either airline, including their respective flagship lounges in Sydney and Hong Kong.
However, an added perk of Marco Polo Silver is that you get access to Cathay's business class lounges when travelling on a CX flight – something not available to QFF Silver card-holders, who receive only one single-visit Qantas Club lounge pass.
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