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Virgin Atlantic is dropping flights to St Lucia and moving Havana to Heathrow

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According to travel trade reports, Virgin Atlantic is to cancel its route to St Lucia from 8th June 2020.

Virgin currently has three flights per week from London Gatwick to St Lucia.  One of these slots will be used to increase services to Antigua, which will increase to 4 x weekly.

Selected Antigua services will now carry on to Grenada and Tobago.  These routes are currently tagged onto the St Lucia services.

There is an implication in the local press coverage that Virgin Atlantic had demanded explicit or implicit subsidies worth $2.5m from St Lucia in order to continue flights.  This could have been, for example, via a payment for a marketing campaign in the UK, or via heavy discounts on landing fees.  The Government was unwilling to meet these demands.

There are still nine services per week from the UK to St Lucia.  As well as the daily British Airways service, Tui and Thomas Cook each run a weekly service.

It is not clear what is happening to Virgin Atlantic passengers with bookings beyond 8th June but they will presumably be moved to the BA service.

….. and Virgin Atlantic is moving Havana

From the same date, 8th June, Virgin Atlantic is moving its Havana service from London Gatwick to London Heathrow.

The flight will switch to an Airbus A330-300 from an ex-Air Berlin A330-200, which will see the number of Upper Class seats increase from 19 to 31.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (July 2024)

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 18,000 Virgin Points and the free card has a bonus of 3,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

18,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

3,000 bonus points, no fee and 1 point for every £1 you spend 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 – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 40,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 40,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel 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

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year Read our full review

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 (79)

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  • Taylor says:

    OT- I’m going to San Francisco in September. The hotels seem very expensive for a decent hotel. Can any one recommend anywhere to stay outside of downtown that is cheaper and has good transport links to get into the centre?

    • Shoestring says:

      you can still get motels for $60

      • Shoestring says:

        according to my reading of the Jack Reacher series, I’m up to 2012 so pretty current

        • BJ says:

          Your sources are usually very respectable but this one takes the biscuit 🙂

          • Shoestring says:

            you have to reckon on ‘Lee Child’ wanting to get his Americana facts right – he’s a Brit but writes an American MP (Military Police) thriller bestselling series, where 80% sells in the US, so he needs to get his MP & US stuff right.

          • BJ says:

            In that case I hope none of his readers have gone looking for Mother’s Rest! Try Karin Slaughter; Lena Adans and Angie Polasky would wipe the floor with Reacher.

          • Shoestring says:

            grab one and try the Harry Reacher series, BJ – you won’t regret it – it’s thriller Hemingway

            I’ll look at your authors as well

          • Shoestring says:

            * damn Jack Reacher

          • BJ says:

            I’vd read them all through to Maje Me where you will encounter Mother’s Rest. Agree with both Harrys that they are enjoyable escapism. But if you like Child you have to try Slaughter, Blindsighted and Kisscut both hgave me the creeps.

        • Harry T says:

          I reckon Lee Child can be trusted. The Jack Reacher novels are always a good time.

    • BJ says:

      If your budget will stretch to The Chancellor on Union Square I highly recommend it. It is old and worn but this hotel is special, check out the reviews. Sometimes you will find decent offers on their own website but check out the usual online travel agents and places you can get money b@ck on top to see if you can make the price work for you. Factor in the cost of transport if you were to stay outside downtown. If you really need something around the £50 mark then better to stay out by airport in a decent budget chain offering and use shuttle plus BART. There are other areas but I am hesitant to recommend any as what is comfortable and acceptable to some is not to others.

      • Taylor says:

        It’s just staying for 2-3 nights from the 6th. I’m currently seeing 250-300$ a night for anything reasonable. I’d prefer to stay somewhere better further away than somewhere down market closer in.

        Thanks for the advice

        • BJ says:

          Don’t equate old and worn with down market, The Chancellor is far from that.Many, including me, walk past it’s more famous beighbour to stay there.

        • AB says:

          I had this problem earlier this year visiting San Francisco – even on a business budget it was tough! Ended up staying at the Club Quarters near Embarcadero for a decent price.
          I did consider, however, places further out – namely Hotel Shattuck Plaza in downtown Berkeley (right by the BART station) or some mid-range chain hotels in the Walnut Creek/Pleasant Hill area (near the BART stations of the same name). For example, there is an Embassy Suites immediately adjacent to the Pleasant Hill BART station. Hope that helps!

    • ChrisC says:

      When in September? Dates matter .

      There is a huge (adult) fair the last Sunday of the month and in the middle a massive Oracle conference that both fill out the city.

      You could try down near the airport or Oakland.

      • BJ says:

        Yes, anything big at Moscone sends downtown rates upwards of $350.

        • Bonglim says:

          I once made the mistake of looking for a cheaper hotel on a map, in my earlier days of travelling. Found myself staying just a couple of blocks from the nice part of SF in an area called ‘The Tenderloin’.

          It is called The Tenderloin because it was so dangerous that they had to pay police extra to go to that area, so they can then afford the best cuts of meat. Anyway it was not the best experience. A taxi driver ‘strongly recommended’ we didn’t walk around in that area. And the first morning we woke to found a homeless man taking a dump in the hotel corridor.

          Anyway, don’t stay there.

          • ChrisC says:

            There is a small but perfectly formed Museum of The Tenderloin. I visited it today on holiday.

            It wasn’t actually that dangerous an area. A lot of single women and office workers lived there for example. The police chief who named it that said it was because the bribes the police were laid to look the other way on gambling, prostitution etc meant he could afford ‘tenderloin instead of chuck steak’

            But yes an area not really unintended for tourists.

    • Louise says:

      The Coventry Inn was a cheaper option which we went for when we stayed second time round, and a free car park

    • Graham Walsh says:

      I’m guessing anywhere is expensive in SFO. Its popular for tourists and work.

      Just like SEA, I was at a HI 20 min walk out of town and that was £250 a night in August (for work).

  • DStRose says:

    So you’re just going to drop a popular and lucrative destination like St.Lucia just like that? I see you’ve also ceased flights to Dubai. What’s going on Virgin?

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