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Mistake or madness? Virgin Flying Club adds £200+ to USA Upper Class flight surcharges

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Either something has gone wrong with the Virgin Atlantic pricing computer, or someone at Virgin Atlantic has been smoking something dodgy this week.

Whichever reason it is, pricing for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class redemptions to the US – and only the US, and only if you fly with Virgin Atlantic – has gone crazy.

The taxes and charges figure for ALL Virgin Atlantic Upper Class redemptions to the US from Heathrow is now showing as £764 return.  From Gatwick it is £732.

Take a look, Heathrow to Atlanta (click to enlarge):

Virgin Atlantic increases tax sharply

As you can see …. £764 of taxes and charges.

This could be a mistake of some sort …. hopefully.  Here’s why.

This screenshot shows the same route, Heathrow to Atlanta, but flying with Virgin’s partner and main shareholder Delta:

Virgin Atlantic increases miles taxes

With Delta, you pay just £464 in taxes and charges.  It is exactly £300 cheaper, to the penny, reflecting the additional £300 of charges that Virgin is adding to its own flights for some reason.

This is only happening with Virgin Atlantic routes to the US.

Here is a screenshot to Shanghai:

Virgin Atlantic increases taxes

The taxes and charges are the same as they always were – £557.

Johannesburg is unchanged at £573.  Barbados is unchanged at £533.  The same goes for all other non-US routes that I checked.

So …. what is happening here?  Has a gremlin got into the Virgin Atlantic pricing computer?  Does it really want you to stop redeeming for US routes in Upper Class?  Does it really want you to start flying Delta on routes where the two airlines share the flights (Atlanta, Boston, New York etc)?

It is all very, very odd.

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 article 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.)

Comments (128)

  • Ben Jones says:

    Delta surcharges have always been around $50 less than Virgins (when booking JFK —> LHR on Virgin’s website). Hence I’ve never flown Virgin, but it’s very odd for them to be devaluing their own redemptions so much vs Delta.

    Also great tip on flying to Europe – hadn’t realised that before!

  • Genghis says:


  • SG says:

    Hi all
    Slightly OT(should had posted on Bits:)I have had a flight cancelled and offered a different one about 9 hours back from 11am to 2am.My attempts to change the next flight ww are connecting to(different airline) would have cost about £400.I have decided to book a hotel and having to use taxis to get to it(one way in the middle of the night in a not the safest country) and back to the airport
    Would this class as travel inconvenience and could I claim the extra spend from Amex(tickets bought on Amex Gold),or ask them to cover a flight change?

    • ChrisC says:

      Check what other flights the airline has to offer on your route to see if any suit your schedule better.

      They should have no arguments about changing you to those – you don’t just have to accept what they offer you (though is some cases there is no other option)

      • SG says:

        Thanks Chris
        I had no other option but to accept this other only flight they had on that day
        Don’t really want to spend 9 hours in the airport even if I can access a lounge.
        New Istanbul airport only hotel- Yotel-ridiculous prices!!!

        • Shoestring says:

          Istanbul? So which is/are the airline/s concerned? – and are you covered by EC261?

  • Neil Donoghue says:

    Well this is an interesting read today! After virgin announced a shocking loss yesterday, all of a sudden surcharges have increased. Not only that, I contacted Flying club yesterday to make a redemption from AKL – SYD in J with Virgin Australia and they wanted 40,000 points per seat!! Looks like a perfectly timed devaluation.

  • Charles says:

    Indeed. £441 for a one way booking yesterday in Upper Class from JFK-LHR.

  • Freddy says:

    On exactly the same boat!

  • David Cohen says:

    Surely the relevant question here, is how long will it take before BA follow suit? They have already raised the YQ on ex-US First class fares, so surely this is the excuse they need to do so ex-UK?

  • Ricatti says:

    They are NOT TAXES!!!

    Out of £800 charge only £50-60 will be paid to airports, plus £180 APD the actual tax.