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Amazing Virgin fares to the US 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 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.

And … 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.

HFP Virgin Atlantic Rewards credit card

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (January 2021)

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, one has a bonus of 15,000 Points):

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

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

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)

  • Michael Borland says:

    Fares also available from Cork. I did this a couple of times last year to get my Virgin Gold but it’s now not as lucrative since these are Z class fares and only attract 100 tier points each way vs 200 for all other Upper Class bookings.

  • Js says:

    OT I got £200 off £600 spend at Amex travel on my Amex plat.

    Check your cards! First 7000 customers only!

    • Simone says:

      Got it! Thanks for the heads up

      • Adey says:

        Got £400 off £1000 of Amex Travel for Centurion (first 1150 customers only),

    • Paul says:

      £50 for £200 spend for me with Amex gold.

      • Alan says:

        Same for me. Not worth bothering with. Save more than the £50 by booking through

        • Gavin says:

          It’s worth bothering with for flights. They usually cost the same through Amex travel as they do direct. I booked the excellent LHR – TLL business class Finnair fare last year using this for ~£150 after the Amex £50 credit.

        • Alan says:

          Fair enough. Unfortunately, the only flights I think I’m using this year are Virgin reward flights. Haven’t yet booked all the hotels I need though.

    • G says:

      I got the £200 off £600 on Plat and £50 off £200 on Gold.

      Anyone tried booking just flights? Do they get itemised as Amex travel or the airline?

      • Yuff says:

        Good to see Amex prioritising more expensive cards with better offers. Will start to make the more expensive cards better value 😉

        • George says:

          Well, Plat holder here and got the £50 off £200 offer… Maybe it’s because I didn’t send Amex a card this Christmas…

      • Jack says:

        I got the offer email for the Gold version and the small print shows that it is valid on flights, I think last time I booked flights the transaction was billed as AmEx Travel.

        Good timing for me as I need to book a domestic US flight; it’s always satisfying when these offers are timely enough to give a discount on something you’re buying anyway!

        “Only one £50 statement credit per Card, when you spend £200 or more in one single transaction on pre-paid hotels, flights, car hire or experiences through American Express Travel by 28 February 2018, for stays between 1 April and 30 June 2018.”

      • Pawel Siewko says:

        I Got 50 off (min 200pounds spending) on my Costco Card 😉 nice suprise

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Nothing 🙁

      Need to book a 5 night trip to Orlando in March. Typical!!

      • Pid says:

        Nothing on mine either which is disappointing,

        Ever since they changed their website I have not been able to see the Additional Card (AC) for my BA card and so can no longer load offered to it. This is a real shame as it often had different ones that were not on any of my other cards. Has anyone else had the same problem? I have asked them to fix it several times and they keep saying they will look into it but I then never hear back.

        • Lumma says:

          Is the additional card in your name or someone else’s? The one in my name appears on the app (with its own offers), but not on the desktop website. The supplementary card (in my dads name) has a different Amex account that needs logging in for the deals

        • Pid says:

          It is in my name. Only normally use the desktop so will check the app and hopefully it will work.

          Thank you!

    • Mikee says:

      Amex Travel also have these fares available so you could get another £50-£400 off depending on your Amex card 🙂

  • Paul says:

    Having trouble finding this rate on Expedia ex-DUB for any route or date combo. Anyone got any example dates that definitely work currently?

    • roberto says:

      Its got to be seven days or more if that helps. Some chat on vflyer about this fare.

      • Paul says:

        Thanks that’s helpful. Just seen the thread, will try searching Matrix later. Looks from there like this fare has been about for at least a week so I wonder if much of the west coast availability has gone.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Dub > MCO is working out at £4,477 for a week. They know there is a conference on!!!

      • Mike says:

        Anyone know – can you book this and just not turn up for the DUB-LHR sector, since it’s with separate airlines (I guess separate tickets?)? Thanks

        • Paul says:

          Definitely not. If you miss the first sector, you’ll find the rest of the itinerary cancelled. You can get away with missing the final LHR-DUB sector, though not officially, so you might have problems with luggage getting checked all the way through (pro tip — see if you can arrange the final DUB flight from a different airport, or departing the next day, so that this doesn’t probe a problem).

        • Mike says:

          Thanks Paul, good pro tip too. Could I just double-check – that even applies if different airlines and they’re not in an alliance together? Would BA really tell Virgin that I didn’t turn up? Thanks 🙂

        • Anna says:

          What exactly are you planning to do? Are the ex Dublin fares somehow dependent on you booking a DUB-LHR leg with Virgin? If the Virgin flight is direct from Dublin they will have no say over a separately booked sector with BA, but it’s not clear what your travel plans are.

        • Anna says:

          I’ve just read the article properly, thought Virgin were doing direct flights from Dublin! I know people have had issues when it’s all BA flights, but like you say, if it was issued on a completely separate booking, which may be down to the travel agent, the right hand might not know what the left was doing.

          I can’t really get my head around how this can be a cheaper deal when BA and Virgin aren’t even on the same alliance! Surely it would involve some sort of commercial agreement between them?

        • Rob says:

          No, not a chance.

        • Leo says:

          Same PNR.

        • Paul says:

          @Anna Virgin don’t fly from Dublin.

          To be clear the cheap UC rate is available for a booking with sectors DUB-LHR, LHR-SFO, SFO-LHR, LHR-DUB. The flights to and from Dublin will be operated by either BA or Aer Lingus, and you could equally substitute in Cork in place of Dublin, and multiple US cities in place of San Francisco. Because this is much cheaper than LHR-SFO, SFO-LHR on the exact same Virgin flights Mike was asking whether you could book ex-DUB but just ignore the first flight, which unfortunately is definitely not allowed. If you wanted to start from London you’d need to buy a separate ticket to first fly out to Ireland. (Worth pointing out that this initial LHR-DUB flight would be a separate booking, one must factor the costs of this into any potential savings and also note that as a separate booking you wouldn’t be automatically covered if a delay caused you to miss your connection).

          @Mike yep afraid so. It will be ticketed as one booking, one PNR. I’ve done this several times before and you can actually see the BA flights in the VS app so I assume they do indeed have access to the status of your connecting flights. This does, of course, mean that you will be covered should the DUB-LHR flight run late causing you to miss your flight to the US.

        • Mike says:

          Thanks all for the further comments!

      • Lady London says:

        If they’re being that clever then there are at least 2 more longhaul arrival airports within very close driving distance. One way car hire does not cost any more within Florida usually.

  • PhilW says:

    O/T I hold ba silver, my wife none. If we both have a bapp 241 on our accounts is there a way of booking for 4 on the same booking and therefore making all seats eligible for seat selection / extra baggage through my status?

  • Anna says:

    Are the Virgin fares cheaper because of the low taxes ex-Dublin? If this is the case then surely the LHR-DUB leg would have to be treated as a separate booking, otherwise the full ex-UK taxes would be incurred?

    • Rob says:

      That only accounts for part of it. Virgin is dumping spare capacity in Ireland in the same way BA does with Ireland, Amsterdam and Germany.

  • The Original Nick says:

    Rob, What is spare capacity Rob?

    • George says:

      In this context I think its a way to get bums on seats without discounting prices for customers who fly VA LHR > USA anyway – by limiting it to connecting traffic you restrict the deal to those in Dublin (limited yield) and those of us who are willing to position for the flights, and who arguably would never have bought a VA Upper Class fare at full price anyway.

    • Rob says:

      If they know they will never sell all the seats at full price, you quietly dump a few in another market. BA is dumping its spare seats into BA Holidays now where the price is obscured by mixing in a hotel.

  • Alvin says:

    All booked. Thanks.

    Will I be able to earn miles on BAEC for the DUB to LHR portion (and also tier points) and Virgin miles for the LHR to LAX?

    • George says:

      I was wondering that – that would push me over the limit to Silver next year. If the flights are showing on the VA app does that mean they are probably treated like codeshares by BA, thus no TP/Avios?

      • ChrisC says:

        You will earn VS miles on the VS flights and BAEC miles on the BA flights

        You won’t get any BA miles on the VS flight and vice versa.

        These are NOT code share flights.

    • Rob says:

      Yes if BA / VS flight numbers respectively.

  • Talay says:

    I usually see Emirates as about £100/£150 more expensive than Etihad on LHR-BKK routes which balances out now that Etihad have dropped the free chauffeurs.

    However, I am not sure how long Emirates can stick it out there as the near solo (perhaps solo ?) airline offering chauffeurs for all manner of business and first fares.

    I thought Etihad should have kept it for first to be honest and for us it is a near £200 round trip cost.

    • Nick says:

      Emirates can charge a ‘convenience’ premium for flights as they serve more airports and with higher frequencies. They also claim they can for A380s though I’m not sure I agree with this bit!