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Good Virgin Atlantic fares from Dublin as it drops some free chauffeur transfers

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The Virgin Atlantic Winter sale is now on as you can see here.

The best deals, however, are out of Dublin.  There are some exceptional prices available at the moment if you don’t mind heading out to Ireland to start your trip.  The connection to London will be on Aer Lingus or British Airways – BA is better as you book into Club Europe.

‘How cheap?’ I hear you ask.

How about £1,116 in Upper Class to Seattle?  Or Los Angeles?  Or New York?  Or San Francisco?  Or indeed anywhere else on the Virgin US network?

You need to stay away for at least a week to get these prices which will be a problem for some.  The good news is that these fares are bookable for all of 2018 although they are harder to find over the Summer.

You need to book these fares on Expedia or Opodo.  They are NOT bookable on the Virgin website because it does not accept Dublin as a starting point, although you can call them.

Here is an example for Seattle in February.  The fare is £1,116 return using BA Club Europe from Dublin to London and the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to Seattle.  Click to enlarge:

and here is an example to Los Angeles in March for a paltry £1,160:

These are very good fares indeed and well worth thinking about over Christmas.  Remember that a seven day minimum stay is required and that you may need to play around for a while to find available dates.

Take a look at the UK sale too

The Virgin Atlantic winter sale for flights starting in the UK is also now underway.  You can take a look at the deals on the Virgin Atlantic site here.

Starting today (Saturday) Virgin is making some improvements to the travel dates for the cheapest Upper Class fares, although they are still a bit rubbish.

I wanted to focus on the Upper Class options.  The headline prices are not bad, assuming you don’t want to fly via Dublin:

  • New York from £1389 (£1339 from Manchester)
  • Boston from £1389 (£1289 from Manchester)
  • Miami from £1759
  • Orlando from £1819 (£1699 from Manchester)
  • Los Angeles from £1889
  • San Francisco from £1889
  • Atlanta from £1729 from Manchester
  • Las Vegas from £2289 from Manchester
  • Antigua from £1689
  • Barbados from £1789 (£1828 from Manchester)
  • St Lucia from £1789
  • Dubai from £1599
  • Shanghai from £2699
  • Hong Kong from £2999

This sale comes with the most bizarre travel restrictions.  Originally, except for Orlando, the US prices above are ONLY valid for travel between 26th May and 2nd June!  Yes, just one week, which was laughable.  This is changing today:

Manchester to Boston will be available for travel between 26th April – 2nd July, 21st August to 28th November, 18th December 2018 to 6th January 2019

Manchester to New York will be available for travel between 26th May – 2nd June, 21st November to 28th November, 18th December 2018 to 6th January 2019

London to New York and London to Boston will be available for travel between 26th May – 2nd June, 21st November to 28th November, 18th December 2018 to 6th January 2019

This is still not a major improvement, except for Manchester to Boston, but it is better than it was.

The Dubai Upper Class deals are only valid for travel in June.

For Orlando and the Caribbean the travel dates are a lot wider as you can see here.

Meanwhile, in Premium Economy, there is a totally different but equally restrictive set of dates.  In general, the US routes are only available at the lowest advertised price between 4th January and 8th February.

It is still worth having a look at what is available, but be aware that the lowest advertised prices are thin on the ground.  Economy deals are not bad, with London to Boston now starting at £308.   The sale home page is here.

No more free chauffeur service on non-refundable business class tickets

Virgin Atlantic has decided to remove its chauffeur service on ‘I’ class (ie non-refundable) business class tickets.

This is not hugely surprising.  Etihad recently scrapped its chauffeur service outside Abu Dhabi as we wrote here.  Virgin Atlantic has never offered the service on Flying Club tickets.  Only Emirates is – for now – continuing with a free chauffeur service at both ends of your trip, irrespective of the price paid (cash or miles) for your ticket.

Here is the official announcement:

We need to let you know about some changes we’re making to our Upper Class ground transportation offering.

From 24 January 2018 we’ll be making the following changes:

We will no longer offer complimentary ground transportation, including chauffeur cars, as part of an I class ticket. This includes Heathrow Express, Limo Bike and all other options, including those in our overseas markets.

Customers booked in I class who would like a chauffeur car transfer will instead have the option of booking one at a preferential Virgin Atlantic rate from our partner Addison Lee. 

We are also extending the ability to add on a chauffeur car, at the Virgin Atlantic preferential rate, to Z class bookings globally.

I think Virgin Atlantic had a couple of issues here.

Firstly, unlike Emirates or Etihad, 50% of its trips would have been in the UK with the expensive petrol and labour costs that entails.

Secondly, it had a generous incremental policy that let you stack your free mileage – a couple got double the standard free mileage, a family of four got 4x.  In theory, a family of four could get a free return Mercedes trip from Newcastle to Heathrow and I doubt that was cost effective on cheap discounted tickets.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (August 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 Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

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

Virgin Rewards credit card

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 Amex Gold

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.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel 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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

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 (58)

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

  • wally1976 says:

    Something I’ve found in the past is that you can leave a big gap between the the DUB>UK and UK>USA legs so you can have a few days in Dublin a few weeks or months before you head out to the states. Also, booking it as a 3 leg itinerary without the last flight back to Dublin doesn’t always add much to the cost.

    • Talay says:

      Presumably though your argument works in reverse whereby you could have a break between the USA>UK leg and the UK>DUB leg and if you chose, simply not fly that leg at all ?

    • Nick says:

      You will add in APD if your connection is over 24 hours. On a longhaul premium ticket this can be substantial.

  • AA says:

    If one was to book this via Expedia, or VS by phone, is there a way to credit the BA part (DUB-LHR-DUB sectors) to BAEC?

  • Kevin says:

    Just booked two of these return Upper Class flights to Miami for under £2,300. A return flight to Dublin from London City airport is under £100 so even with this cost factored in it is still half the cost of an Upper Class fare on the Virgin Atlantic Website…. and you can visit Dublin for nothing!

  • Travelling_Techie says:

    Regarding Virgin’s cheap fares to the states, starting from Dublin.

    1) if this is booked via the virgin call centre, can you still get the DUB LHR segments on BA to credit as BA Avios, as there is no alliance between BA and VS? Or do you have to use a third-party travel agent to be able to do this?

    2) even though it’s two different airlines, does baggage get checked straight through from one flight to the next, or do you have to collect and re-check?

    a) On the way out, since I have to get to DUB first to start the itinerary, what I would actually ideally do is pop into T3 first thing, check the bag in for the Transatlantic sector, then pop over to T5 for the Dub out and back (on a same plane back-to-back), assuming that BA would handle the issuing of their boarding cards and VS theirs! It could get confusing if VS have to issue the BA cards, but I would suspect that VS Don’t even have a check-in desk in DUB so this is probably BA’s domain anyway? (Of course I would want to get the BA boarding card for DUB-LHR from LHR before the positioning flight!!)

    b) on the way back it would be more convenient if checking in with VS in the states, the bag could be checked all the way through to DUB. It would save going landside, waiting to colllect it at T3 and then lugging it to T5 to check in again !

    • the real harry1 says:

      it all sounds impossible to me but I’ll let others comment

      Virgin & BA don’t speak to each other plus you wouldn’t be able to do most of the things you hope to do

      good luck, though – I could easily be hopelessly wrong

    • Rob says:

      It is a BA flight number from DUB so no problem crediting. No problem checking bags through in Dublin.

      BA should let you check the bag at LHR if checked in, I know others who have done this on a back to back. Back up plan needed though.

      No problem checking to DUB on return as same ticket.

      • Travelling_Techie says:

        Thanks for your reply Rob

        Actually on the way out I *don’t* want to check bag in at DUB. I want to check bag at LHR, then do a B2B To DUB and back, to continue the flights. Or second best, leave back in Left Luggage, B2B to DUB and then check bag half-way through for transatlantic.

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

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