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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. WBenson says:

    Makes me so angry that airlines are allowed to call them taxes. They aren’t taxes unless they go to the Treasury, which we all know they don’t. It is a surcharge, pocketed by the airline.

    • Bonglim says:

      To be fair, most of the time they call them taxes and surcharges.
      Still ridiculous, but I think they are quite careful with their wording on the website. There might still be a case if Someone takes them on. Budget airlines and other suppliers got slammed for credit card surcharges which are not related to the cost of processing the card. These charges are not related to the cost of anything either.

      • Boobaholic says:

        Good point.
        How much are taxes in reality ?

        • Lady London says:

          Tiny. The UK government is the worst actually. They have APD which is an open honest and frank tax of the UK government on the wallet of anyone who dares to depart on a flight out of the UK. Other than that, there are some airport fees and some other government fees for things like immigration at airports in many places however mostly these are low. Heathrow Airport, now owned by the Spanish i believe, has exceptionally high passenger handling fees which airlines pass on to cost of tickets under the tax heading.

          I am not up on the figures but if British Airways says they want nearly £800 for a business class return ticket to the USA, in addition to miles, then uk government gets less than £200 of that in APD tax, there are a few other genuine taxes and charges on the ticket mostly at the UK end, but prob true tax, government charges and other airport charges would make things that are reasonable to call taxes and airport/government charges well under £300 per ticket. And yet British Airways is demanding nearly £800.

          Noting that doing it this way they have also taken something like £500 out of any commission they had to pay travel agents. As it’s not ticket price, it’s taxes innit. Of which British Airways has trousered nearly £500/

          Take a look at any fare breakdown in ita matrix and you will see the extent of the lying misleading and obfuscating. The above is only a theoretical example.

  2. Still no word on when single ticket redemptions with FlyBE connections will be possible?

    I wager o/w upper class to US could be possible for around £250+47.5k miles from Inverness via Manchester. That would rival BA & LHR.

  3. Boobaholic says:


  4. Boobaholic says:

    Iberia will be next 🙁

    85k Avios + £157 to JNB vs BA’s 150k Avios plus £600 !!!

  5. You’re all comparing apples to pears. Virgin and others can charge what they like, up to you whether you want to buy or not. Even if it were £1000 it’s hardly scandalous because you’re getting a flexible ticket. If you want nonflexible nonrefundable tickets to the States stop moaning and just buy one for £1100 in business since they’re not that hard to find, and collect and use your miles for something that makes more sense.

    • +1

    • Flexible tickets for a very restricted set of dates, I do agree with what you’re getting at but there comes a point when you’re paying a lot of money to potentially travel on an inconvenient date.

      Perhaps if they made more seats available and throttled the cash element based on demand that could make sense.

      • Ricatti says:

        Well the whole country is squeezed into this Virgin and BA availability to the US.

        Virgin regarded as classy one.

        Once “allocated” reward space finished, it does not make sense for the airline to offer it to you for £200 extra (to original miles & surcharge) when they can sell the same seat for £3-4k.

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