Virgin Atlantic adds a second daily Johannesburg flight

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Filling the gap left by South African Airways move to drop one of its two daily Jo’burg to Heathrow services from late April, Virgin Atlantic has announced that it is doubling its Johannesburg services from Winter 2018.

Launching on 28th October, the service will use a new Boeing 787-9, assuming Virgin Atlantic still has one that is working properly.

Flying daily, it will leave Heathrow at 16.45 and land in South Africa at 5.40.  This makes it the first Heathrow service of the day to arrive.  Unfortunately for Virgin, the $200m aircraft will then sit on the ground earning nothing for the next 17 hours as the return flight to Heathrow does not leave until 22.20.  It arrives back in Heathrow at 7.30am.

Seats will be bookable from 24th March.  Whilst Virgin does not guarantee to make a certain number of reward seats available per flight, you may have a decent chance of finding something for Christmas or New Year with your Flying Club miles if you jump in early.

To maximise your miles when paying, your best bet is one of the two Virgin Atlantic Reward credit cards.  These earn double miles (3 per £1 on the paid card or 1.5 per £1 on the free card) when you book at or via Virgin Holidays.  Another option is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold which offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.

PS.   If you are wondering what has happened to the 2nd South African Airways landing slot, it has been leased to British Airways for five years.  It is not clear what BA will do with it, but you would imagine that a valuable early morning Heathrow landing slot would end up being used for a North American or Asian service.

Virgin Atlantic to launch second johannesburg service

How to earn Virgin Atlantic miles from UK credit cards

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

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Flying Club miles.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this months after publication.

(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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  1. Tom Cook says:

    Cancelled my SPG card this morning – only had it for 10 weeks, hit the spend within 6 weeks and transferred all the points over. Closed the account down over the chat function which was fine (used Genghis’s line of not using the card anymore)!

    No mention / threat of not getting any other sign up bonuses when cancelling, all very painless. We now have 30k of SPG points. My other half has just got the SPG card and so I presume that we can combine SPG accounts to get her 10k to add to the fund?

    • Yes you can transfer between accounts at the same address.
      I transfer to Marriott as they give breakfast with Gold (from Amex Platinum) whereas SPG don’t.

      • Tom Cook says:

        So could she give my SPG account number to transfer points to?

        TBH we have booked up our hols and accommodation this year so I planned to leave the 30k SPG where they are though it seems that some say that transferring to Marriott at 3:1 results in them getting more value.

        • That is a different question. Probably not; it depends on the checks made. With same surname and address you may get away with it. I forgot to say that you can only transfer in multiples of 1,000 so earn accordingly.
          I find Marriott to be better value, but as ever it depends on your individual requirements, and in 2019 the schemes may have been merged. Another big advantage with Marriott is that you can make a booking before you have earned the points.

  2. OT regarding CW on a 777 – I am flying back from LAS to LGW in May. The seat map shows 48 seats in J instead of 40 – I understand that the usual Gatwick fleet has 40 (due to reduce to 32)

    In short, does a 48 seat J cabin mean my plane might be a bit nicer (in terms of refurb, IFE) than if it were a 40 seat cabin?

    Thanks a lot

    • Catalan says:

      Not necessarily so. The LHR fleet of 3 class B777s have the 48J configuration. So it’s likely you’ll be travelling on one of those during the LGW fleet upgrade.

  3. Is anyone able to see the 3 x 20% vouchers for melia this calendar year as a Gold member?

    I have none in the promotions section of my melia account, I’m gold courtesy of Amex plat. They seem to have been removed as the calendar year turned over and I’m not sure if they are gone for everyone or gone for renewals through amex (or maybe even just for me)

    • Just you I think. I auto-renewed and can still see mine. Not that I ever seem to be able to use them!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Never had them this year.

      Seems hit and miss as to who gets them on amex upgrade to gold

  4. Remember how you were asking why it didn’t fly for a few days last week? It was removed to have wifi fitted.

  5. Any room for 1 more flight to JNB?

  6. David Henderson says:

    Interesting to see that BA is cutting its second A380 service to JNB and reverting to a 747.

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