In a recent post, I wrote about booking an initially cheap holiday deal to Cuba. This includes flights in Virgin Atlantic Economy. I currently have a Silver Flying Club card but that doesn’t offer much in the way of benefits:

  • 50% extra base flown miles on every flight.
  • Premium Economy Check In – but not fast track through security.
  • Choose your seats for free within 14 days of departure – not a bad benefit but by that time all the good seats, such as front row of economy on the upper deck and those seats that are just a two, rather than a three across, will be gone.

What I really need are the Flying Club Gold benefits:

  • Earn 100% bonus on base flown miles every flight.
  • Access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses for you and one guest regardless of class of travel on the same Virgin Atlantic flight number. For those who haven’t visited a Virgin lounge, expect something special. When I was previously Virgin Gold, we had a full service dinner with wine in the Heathrow lounge. On another occasion, my shoes were taken away and shined while I was having breakfast in the Gatwick lounge.
  • Choose your preferred seats in Economy for free, from the day of booking. This saves up to £40 per seat. Sadly I didn’t want to risk waiting for a Gold Status match and paid for seats.
  • Fast Track through Immigration & Security on departures from London Heathrow and London Gatwick for you and a guest.
  • Priority boarding.
  • Upgrades to First Class when travelling on Delta’s US domestic network.

and hopefully more chance of an upgrade!

I looked at the status match options being offered by Virgin. In the past, they would match BA Gold to Flying Club Gold without much fuss, but it looks like that isn’t on offer now.

What is being actively offered is a status match from BA Gold to Flying Club Gold when you fly in the Little Red domestic service that flies between London – Manchester, London – Edinburgh and London – Aberdeen. Apparently, staff on these flights announce the offer and hand out match forms. I’m not sure if you can match other airline alliance cards, although I’d expect any One World Emerald status would be acceptable. They’ll also match Silver to Silver.

A big bonus of the Little Red status match is that a BA Gold receives 10,000 Virgin Flying Club miles and a BA Silver receives 5,000 Virgin miles (worth around £50). Even if you don’t plan to redeem these on Virgin, you can transfer the points in one of their partners, such as Hilton.

So I’ve booked myself a flight from London Heathrow to Manchester on Little Red. Prices are pretty good value and from I read, the flights are empty. Little Red will stop flying between London and Manchester in March 2015 and from London to Aberdeen and Edinburgh in September 2015.

I’ve written to Virgin Flying Club to ask for a status match from my BA Gold. Hopefully they’ll match me before I fly – I’ll update this page with their response.