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United and Virgin Australia Partner on Codeshares and Elite Benefits

James Larounis's image
James Larounis
James Larounis's image

James Larounis

Senior Content Contributor

546 Published Articles 1 Edited Article

Countries Visited: 30U.S. States Visited: 35

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...

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Virgin Australia has cut ties with longtime partner Delta Air Lines and will now partner with United Airlines, the U.S.-based carrier that offers the most service to and from Australia.

New Codeshare Partnership

United and Virgin Australia will be codesharing on a number of routes, allowing United to bring passengers into Australia onto a Virgin Australia flight to destinations like Adelaide (ADL), Brisbane (BNE), and Perth (PER), and for Virgin Australia to bring passengers into the U.S. and connect onward onto a United flight. A codeshare is where an airline places their “code” onto another flight operated by another airline, allowing there to be 1 seamless itinerary.

This is actually quite an interesting partnership when you look at it. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, United has maintained consistent service into Australia but was the only U.S.-based airline not to have a major partner Down Under. Even without a partner, United has not only maintained service but provided the most nonstop flights between the U.S. mainland and Australia.

With this new partnership, Virgin Australia has ended the relationship with Delta, hopefully now forging a stronger relationship with United. Delta will now have no major partner in Australia, though United still has quite a bit of catching up to do as American and its relationship with home carrier and Oneworld member Qantas still dominate the market.

The Benefits

Virgin Australia Business Class Domestic
Virgin Australia and United have partnered for codeshare flights and frequent flyer benefits. Image Credit: Virgin Australia

In addition to the new codeshare opportunities, eligible premier United MileagePlus and Virgin Australia Velocity members will experience:

  • Priority check-in
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority baggage delivery and additional baggage check allowance
  • Priority security clearance
  • Lounge access

In addition to these tangible benefits, you’ll also be able to earn and redeem miles when flying on either airline — a huge development that will greatly benefit frequent flyers.

With shared benefits, one will be able to board a Virgin Australia flight in Sydney, for example, travel to Los Angeles, and then connect onto United’s large route network from there, all while receiving priority security in all airports, lounge access, faster baggage delivery and more.

Final Thoughts

Virgin Australia dropping Delta and partnering with United is definitely something most industry analysts didn’t see coming, but it is a huge win for both United and Virgin Australia flyers.

The shared benefits will greatly improve the frequent flyer experience, and the ability to earn and redeem miles will be huge, creating a long-lasting partnership that will serve customers in either country for years to come.

James Larounis's image

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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