Virgin round-up: new offers and last 48 hours to redeem at current rates

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!

No 1 Traveller

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.)

I wrote about the ISA deal in detail in this article last year.

Virgin Money

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.

lovetheatre

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.

Virgin Atlantic 350

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

Virgin 787

Change 3:  A new reward chart

This is the new reward chart that is valid from Monday (click to enlarge):

virgin-redemption-chart

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):

Virgin Flying Club redemption chart

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.

Virgin Foam

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.)

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Comments

  1. IIRC if you cancel the ISA and wait 6 months you can then sign up again for next tax year. I think a few commenters here have done that. How do you go about cancelling?

    • the real harry1 says:

      just stop the direct debit & withdraw your cash

      • Jonathan says:

        You don’t even need to withdraw the cash – just leave it there and (re)open a new one the next tax year and you still get the points. Done this four years in a row for me and the mrs.

    • I just did it with a phone call last year.

  2. Miles redemption will drop on Monday for us to book Vegas in October from 85,000 to 60,000 economy. We then have free upgrades to premium economy through virgin black card. I normally wait for Feb redemption sale but because of new rates maybe there won’t be one. Any thoughts on whether there will still be a sale??

  3. O/T… I have a flight next month with Swiss in J from T2 (to GVA). I know that I can use the Lufthansa lounge (in 2a) but can I also use the United lounge (in 2b)?

    Thanks
    John

    • Yes. Allow 15 mins to get there and another 15 back but far superior experience.

      • Thanks Rob, good man.

        So, in theory I could also choose the Air Canada lounge? Colleague also recommended that to me.

        Thanks

        • Air Canada lounge is meant to be the worst of the lot. I assume your colleague has not been in the United one which is stunning?

        • Really? He said he’d been in all the Star Alliance T2 lounges and Air Canada was his favourite.

          I just googled ‘Air Canada lounge Heathrow’ and there are a few reviews and it looks pretty good.

          I’ll heed your advice though and go to United.

        • Go to both and let me know!

        • I’ve been to the AC and UA ones – would definitely pick the UA one in preference (although I did get into the First bit of it with my SQ Suites Ticket, which was nice – this was prior to SQ opening their own lounge). The AC one was fine, obviously some decent maple syrup 😀 – but much more cramped and not as nice decor/food options as the UA one I thought.

        • David2910 says:

          Absolutely UA lounge. Cocktails are premium and very strong if that’s your thing.

  4. How do I claim missing miles? I’ve a handful missing from a Hilton stay and a few thousand from a Virgin Wines purchase. The hotel stay was first week of December and the wine purchase was the back end of October.

  5. Graham Walsh says:

    Just trying to figure out Cash + Miles, am I better off waiting until tomorrow to book the peak redemption. All the info is based on full mile redemptions from what I see.

  6. Slightly OT:
    Has anyone received their VA auto convert 1000 miles bonus using clubcard bonus to cover this Q yet?

    • No. I selected autocovert when the offer came out and and then changed my VS no in Tesco when it changed but nothing. Turned it off yesterday. Anyone else?

      • Cheers, forgot about changing the account no in Clubcard for VA. I’m sure redemptions stoll hot accounts using your old account no as I’ve used the old one on other redemptions and always worked fine.

  7. Scottydogg says:

    I paid 50,000 miles for Hong Kong – London one way a couple of months ago . just checked it now and its 57,500 so im glad I booked when I did . This will be my only redemption with Virgin as they are refusing to refund me for a flight where I missed my connection (due to Virgins mistakes) and had to pay £240 to get myself home .
    I will just collect Avios in future

    • I’ve redeemed on this route in Upper Class a lot, it’s brilliant value since the cash charges are very small out of HKG.

      It’s a shame you missed your connection, do you think BA would have paid £240 in this scenario (assuming your connecting flight is non-BA)? Don’t let single incidents ruin future redemptions.

      BTW it’s been 60,000 miles HKG to LHR for a while, off-peak it has now dropped to 57,500.

  8. I just tried to transfer 10000 flying miles to my wife’s account so we can get £50 off a holiday we booked with Virgin Holidays. To transfer 10000 flying miles they want £75 plus £15 handling fee. Am I missing some here? It actually costs more to transfer the miles then what they are actually worth!

  9. LOL ok….well that’s stupid

  10. Noticed the Virgin ISA bonus has been reduced to 6,000 miles. The investment amounts have increased since I last applied, you need six consecutive monthly investments of £100 per month or a lump sum of £2500