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Mistake fixed or backtracking? Virgin cuts £100 from Upper Class taxes to the USA

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Last weekend we ran an article showing how pricing for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class redemptions to the US – and only the US, and only if you fly with Virgin Atlantic – had gone crazy.

The taxes and charges figure for ALL Virgin Atlantic Upper Class redemptions to the US from Heathrow had risen to £764 return.

For example, Heathrow to Atlanta (click to enlarge):

Virgin Atlantic increases tax sharply

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

This has now changed.

If you do the same search today, you will get this (click to enlarge):

Virgin USA taxes and charges

The taxes and charges figure has dropped to ‘only’ £664 return.  This is a drop of exactly £100.

Here is a Boston flight, showing the same price of £664:

Virgin Boston taxes and charges

Of course, you can still save a lot of money flying with Virgin’s partner and main shareholder Delta, on routes which the two airlines share:

Virgin Atlantic increases miles taxes

With Delta, you still pay just £464 in taxes and charges.  The gap with Virgin is now ‘just’ £200 rather than £300 as it was last weekend.

Other non-US routes remain unchanged.  Heathrow to Shanghai, for example, remains at £557 return despite a flight time almost twice as long as Boston.

£664 is, perhaps unsurprisingly, identical to what British Airways asks following its recent hike in surcharges.  Here is a Club World return from Heathrow to Boston:

BA reward pricing

…. which comes out at £667 in taxes and charges.

This makes me think that we aren’t going to see any further reductions from Virgin Atlantic.

If you have booked an Upper Class redemption on Virgin Atlantic in the last 10 days or so, you may want to see if you can get a refund.  Cancelling and rebooking is an option but, of course, you will be paying the cancellation fee which reduces your saving – and definitely do not do this unless there are other redemption seats showing for the same dates.  There is no guarantee that the seats you cancel will go back into reward inventory.

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.)

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  1. Harry Hv says:

    Just to focus on the size of this awful swindle by Virgin Atlantic, if you were paying in miles £667 is equivalent to – what, an additional 50,000 miles or so at your valuation?

  2. How do I use Virgin credit card award companion ticket? Does it appear somewhere in my account or is it some kind of a unique promo code that they send you? I have only qualified for this companion voucher ten days ago.

    • Louise says:

      It appears on your virgin flying club transactions

      • Well in my activity it says: VA Reward credit card – Reward qualification. Is this what you are referring to? If so, how do I redeem it? Online? Over the phone?

      • Indeed although you can only see the last six months so ensure to take a note of it so you know when it’ll expire (although I’ve never used my old VS Amex Y to PE upgrades so they’ll all expire soon!)

    • Alex W says:

      You need to call to book.

  3. Nigel the Pensioner says:

    How long ago was it that VS reported BA for price fixing with fuel surcharges… here we go again with identical “charges” – groundhog day. It resulted in hefty fines.

    • Jonathan says:

      It’s perfectly acceptable to charge the same price as a competitor. What is not lawful is to have behind the scenes conversations and agree on a joint price thereby removing the supposed benefits of competition.

    • Doug M says:

      Didn’t Virgin largely escape that by reporting it themselves, and in doing so getting away with it whilst leaving BA to pay fines.

  4. Prins Polo says:

    Definitely not paying either GBP 764 or 664 for their old Upper Class seat, which means you have only two options – fully upright or fully flat, with nothing in between. So annoying on a day flight when you just want to recline slightly, watch a movie and relax. My back hurts when I think of all my past VS UC flights to the US.

    • Alex W says:

      I love the old seat and find it has plenty of recline. The bed is particularly comfortable as you are actually lying on a flat surface rather than one which has been contoured to fit Mr Average’s arse.

    • Doug M says:

      Not a fan of UC seat. Don’t like the stand up and flip it over rubbish, but mostly hate the angle away from the window and I’ll just bang your feet every time I walk by setup.

      • ChrisC says:

        it takes a minute or so to flip it over and make your bed.

        Not really a hardship in the scheme of things. And the crew will do it for you if you ask them.

        And yes the ‘old’ seat has plenty of recline.

    • In Feb I flew LHR-JFK in Delta One (seat comfortable and good, if not excellent, soft product) for same Miles plus exactly £100 less than VS wanted for LHR-JFK in Upper; and returned IAD-LHR in Virgin Upper. If Premium had been available I would have been happy to take it on a day flight.

  5. Mr Entitled says:

    £664 is not identical to £667.

  6. Bonglim says:

    I wonder if the plan was to increase it to match BA’s price.
    Then someone is really bad at maths – or didn’t realise the difference between one way and return tickets and then pushed the price up too high.

    In any case it is a step slightly back in the correct direction.

    • Lady London says:

      Yes, and the slightly back is a clear confirmation that they really, really did mean to up those surcharges and it was not an accident.

  7. stevenhp1987 says:

    Slightly OT…

    Virgin Credit Card voucher. When using as an upgrade from economy to premium (lowly Red…) does the reward space need to be available in Economy, Premium or both?

  8. Rob – have you asked Virgin to comment ?

    many websites now include a line at the end of their articles saying something like:

    “Virgin Airlines have been asked to comment – but had not responded when this article was published”

    so readers know that you did actually give the subject of the article an opportunity to reply !

    • Most senior members of the Flying Club team have my mobile number if they want to chat!

    • ADS that’s just a marketing hook to make themselves look important, caring and necessary to readers. All they do is send the Company’s marketing dept an email asking for an update. You can do that yourself 🙂

  9. NigelC says:

    Asked for a £100 refund on a UC redemption flight I booked to Las Vegas last week (and I had read the article first). The response was if the taxes were to rise they don’t contact customers to ask for the extra money. Sounds like a cop-out.

    Could cancel and rebook, but they claim the flight is full and there is no guarantee I would definitely get the tickets again.

    • Mark S says:

      I phoned Customer Services and didn’t get anywhere on a refund of £100 – they said the charges change frequently(!) and it was just bad luck for me!! They advised sending an email to Customer Relations – which I have just done. I’ll update when I get a response. (I made my UC booking last Thursday)

    • Doug M says:

      Did they call them taxes or did you? Because a person saying that is one thing, Virgin passing them of as “the taxes” is quite different.

      • Lady London says:

        Really, really time soneone took these airlines to court over what they are calling “taxes”.
        (1) British Airways (2) Virgin (3) Lufthansa

        • +1

          I’d love HMRC to do an undercover investigation, ie a few mock telephone bookings to hear how ignorant CS staff claim that Carrier Imposed Surcharge costs are actually Government taxes.

          Imagine them suing VS, BA, etc.

        • I suspect this will be the next on the agenda for EU Commission. There has already been some lobbying.

        • callum says:

          Airlines don’t call them “taxes”. Rob does, they don’t. I’m also not sure HMRC would care that call centre agents occasionally use “taxes” as shorthand for the whole lot (I can’t remember them doing so with me – is it really the norm?). Surely the worst thing they’d do is tell them to stop?

    • I’ve found Virgin very poor when it comes to transparency and increasing surcharges on award tickets. About 18 months ago, they changed the charges using miles on Delta One (on the same routes as Virgin fly) from approx £100 to £350…to bring Delta “in alignment” with Virgin. No communication to customers and no mention on their website.

      Premium Economy charges have also increased lately, again with no warning to customers. Call Centre staff I spoke to said the “taxes” had increased and the extra money was going straight into Mr Trump’s pocket. Complete BS as checking the fares on ITA Matrix showed no change in taxes but an increase in the airline surcharge of $100 over the previous fare.

      Unfortunately, most customers are oblivious and just pay-up but more should be done to challenge when these increases are made as it effectively devalues the miles people have earned.

  10. I’ve got 2 Virgin vouchers, one from the free card and one from the Virgin+. I don’t have status. Could I use them in conjunction, one of them as a 2-4-1 in Economy and the other to upgrade to Premium?

  11. Frenske says:

    Just shows that taxes are set to an arbitrary level and some of the taxes is actually part of the ticket despite paying x miles for it.

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