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Mistake fixed or backtracking? Virgin Atlantic cuts £100 from Upper Class flight taxes

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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 Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (November 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):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

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.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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

American Express Business Platinum

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American Express Business Gold

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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 (52)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • 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?

  • Steve says:

    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

      • Steve says:

        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?

      • Alan says:

        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.

  • Nigel the Pensioner says:

    How long ago was it that VS reported BA for price fixing with fuel surcharges…..now 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.

  • 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.

    • David says:

      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.

  • Mr Entitled says:

    £664 is not identical to £667.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • ADS says:

    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 !

    • Rob says:

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

    • Russ says:

      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 🙂

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