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New Virgin routes – Manchester to New York, Heathrow to Seattle – plus Delta starts Portland

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Virgin Atlantic announced two new routes on Tuesday and the move to Delta of two others.

This is part of what is becoming an annual rejig of its US network alongside its 49% shareholder Delta.  As far as I can tell, none of the non-US routes (eg Dubai, Shanghai) are impacted.  We may have the end of the culling of the eastbound routes for now.

This is what is happening:

Virgin Atlantic to launch Manchester to New York JFK

This replaces the current Delta service.  This is a hugely sensible thing to do as the Virgin brand has more impact in Manchester than Delta.

Virgin Atlantic 787

Virgin Atlantic to launch London Heathrow to Seattle

This replaces the existing Delta service.

Delta to launch a 3rd daily London Heathrow to Atlanta

This replaces the existing Virgin Atlantic service.

Delta to launch a 2nd daily flight from London Heathrow to Detroit (3 days per week)

This replaces the existing Virgin Atlantic service, which only recently launched.  There were plenty of doubters at the time about the ex-UK demand for Detroit.

Delta to launch a brand new service from London Heathrow to Portland Oregan (4 days per week)

This is a new route starting in late May.  It will be part of the Virgin codeshare agreement so you will be able to earn Virgin Flying Club miles and tier points from it.

The Seattle and Detroit changes are permanent.  The Manchester – JFK and Heathrow – Atlanta changes are only scheduled to operated for the Summer season.

Logically, services where most of the traffic will start in the UK should be flown by Virgin Atlantic.  Services where most of the traffic will start in the USA should be flown by Delta.  These changes make sense from that angle.  The fact that Virgin offers a Premium Economy cabin – which is a hugely profitable part of the aircraft – presumably also has an impact on who flies where.

In total, Virgin and Delta will offer 42 daily flights from the UK to the USA in Summer 2017.

New York launches on 25th May and can be booked from 23rd June.  Seattle launches on 26th March and can be booked from today.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (October 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  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.)

Comments (50)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • John says:

    To add another view of Virgin – just returned from my first Virgin UC trip. It was one of the cheap £999 LHR-Chicago flights advertised here last summer – thanks Rob! Positives were the LHR clubhouse, staff (including one of the best crews I’ve experienced on the return leg) and direct aisle access. The day flight was great. Unfortunately, I found the seat/bed terribly uncomfortable for the night flight, with an awkward shape and very narrow. I understand the 787 experience is a lot nicer. I wouldn’t rush back at anything like the “normal” UC fares.

  • Gavin says:

    Direct flights to Voodoo donuts!

  • Boris says:

    On topic (ish).

    Amex have just informed me that they cannot link my MR account to my Vifgin FC account due to the names not being exactly the same.

    Which is the easiest way to deal with this ie where is it easier to change my name? Do I now need to do this with everything (boo!)?


    • Rob says:

      Presumably Amex will reissue your card if you change the name on that, so unless you want that then Virgin may be easier – but even they are likely to want marriage certificates etc.

      • Boris says:


        Presumably Passport copy or Driving License then.

      • Boris says:

        Amex put it through again with a manual edit to the name field which fixed it.

  • RIccati says:

    This is all sensible but shows that Delta utilises Virgin to compete on US routes, rather than letting it develop as a major airline.

  • Fenny says:

    Excellent news for both MAN-NYC and LHR- Seattle. And when the Boston flight comes on line from Mancyland, I’ll definitely be using that a bit. It should also benefit my fellow Sheffielders resident in Boston.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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