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