It was pointed out last week that our coverage of Virgin Atlantic has been a little thin of late. I think the chaos around the launch of the new website – which is still not working properly – has been keeping people away as I’ve not had much sent in by readers.
Today I want to run through a few decent offers to boost your Flying Club balance. There is also a reminder to book BEFORE SUNDAY NIGHT if you want to redeem your miles for Virgin flights at the old prices.
Earn 350 miles visiting No 1 Lounges
Virgin has launched a partnership with No 1 Lounges to encourage you to book into their lounges at Heathrow Terminal 3, Gatwick North, Gatwick South, Birmingham and Edinburgh.
These are all impressive facilities and well worth a visit before your next trip. You can enter with a Priority Pass or Lounge Club card (free with Amex Gold) but if you don’t have those then this offer is a decent deal.
Via this page of the No 1 Lounges site, you can book any of their lounges for £22.50 (£25 in London). You will also receive 350 Flying Club miles with your booking.
If you mainly collect Avios, there is a better offer via this link. It offers £22.50 / £25 entry and 750 Avios per booking.
Note that these offers are per booking so a couple should book separately!
7,000 Flying Club miles with a Virgin Money ISA
This is a popular offer with a sign-up bonus which varies from 3,000 miles upwards. It has been as high as 12,000 miles so the current offer is a middling one.
Until 31st January, you will receive 7,000 Flying Club miles when you open a Virgin Money ISA via this link. (EDIT: This deal has been pulled early and is now back to 6,000 miles.)
Earn miles with LOVEtheatre
Avios became a LOVEtheatre partner last year, allowing you to earn 2 points per £1 spent on theatre and West End tickets via their portal.
Virgin Atlantic is also now a LOVEtheatre partner. Book via this dedicated portal and you will receive 2 Flying Club miles for every £1 you spend.
Last chance to redeem your Flying Club miles at the current rates
Last but definitely not least, TOMORROW (Sunday) is the last day to book a Virgin Atlantic redemption using the old redemption table. Virgin gave two months notice of these changes but it still may have slipped your mind.
Here are the changes to flight redemptions:
Change 1: NO CHANGE to partner redemptions
Let’s get the easy one out of the way first. The miles required for redemptions on partner airlines or for non-airline partners are not changing.
Change 2: Peak and off-peak pricing introduced from 16th January
Virgin Atlantic is following British Airways in introducing peak and off-peak redemption pricing. At present, this only appears to apply to redemptions on Virgin and not on partners.
Here are the peak dates for 2017:
31st March – 18th April
22nd June – 6th September
13th December – 3rd January 2018
Change 3: A new reward chart
This is the new reward chart that is valid from Monday (click to enlarge):
Not sure why the figures are in $ ……
Here is the old chart which is valid today and tomorrow (click to enlarge – apologies for blurring – or click here to read it online):
The changes are relatively clear:
At off-peak times, the cost of Economy redemptions is cut sharply. New York drops from 35,000 miles to 20,000 miles for example. I would caveat that with two points:
Virgin previously ran regular mileage sales which brought down Economy redemptions to roughly these levels, so it isn’t new to be able to fly to New York for circa 20,000 miles
You still need to pay full taxes and charges
The requirement to pay full taxes means that some Economy redemptions will remain a bad deal. However, others will work well. I’m pretty sure that, say, Barbados in the February prime tourist season will work out nicely even after you’ve added taxes and charges.
Some Premium Economy redemptions are cut sharply and these are the new ‘sweet spot’ in the Virgin redemption chart
New York in Premium Economy was 55,000 miles at all times. It remains 55,000 miles on peak dates but is down to just 35,000 miles off-peak. Similarly, Hong Kong looks like a steal. It was 80,000 miles return but that has come down to 65,000 miles peak and 45,000 miles off-peak.
The snag here is availability. Premium Economy is a small cabin so you will never find huge amounts of seats offered up for miles.
Upper Class takes the biggest hit but the changes are not uniform. For example:
New York – was 80,000 miles return, now 115,000 / 95,000
San Francisco – was 100,000 miles return, now 155,000 / 135,000
Orlando – was 100,000 miles return, now 115,000 / 95,000 (so cheaper off-peak)
Hong Kong – was 120,000 miles return, now 135,000 / 115,000 (so cheaper off-peak)
Dubai – was 80,000 miles return, now 95,000 / 75,000 (so cheaper off-peak)
Delhi – was 100,000 miles return, now 95,000 / 75,000 (cheaper at all times)
Johannesburg – was 100,000 miles return, now 135,000 / 115,000
In general, the US routes have got more expensive whilst other routes have fared better but there exceptions to both of those statements.
Change 4: New upgrade costs
Finally, we have changes to the way that upgrades are charged. From Monday:
You can upgrade any economy ticket (except sale fares in V, N and O) to Upper Class for 75% of the cost of an Upper Class redemption or to Premium Economy for 50% of the cost of a Premium Economy redemption.
You can upgrade Premium Economy tickets (not K class) to Upper Class for 50% of the cost of an Upper Class redemption.
Take overall, these changes are generally bad news but it could have been worse and there are some positive changes. If you want to lock in the old prices, you only have 48 hours left.
(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles? Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)