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Virgin Atlantic launching Delhi and Mumbai from Manchester whilst Vistara boosts Heathrow

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Virgin Atlantic is turning its gaze to India after announcing new routes to neighbouring Pakistan in August.

It will launch two new routes from Manchester. Service to Mumbai will start on the 19th December with a thrice weekly service. Delhi follows a few weeks later on the 5th January with two weekly flights.

Launching new routes in the middle of a pandemic may seem counter-intuitive at first, but it fits into Virgin’s strategy of diversifying away from the US whilst travel bans remain in place.

Leisure travel – including visiting friends and relatives – is also one of the first segments predicted to rebound in aviation. With an Indian diaspora of over half a million in the north of England, according to Virgin, this seems like a sensible move. There are currently no direct flights between India and Manchester by any airline.

Flights will go on sale from 20th October.

Remember that Virgin Atlantic continues to offer free Covid-19 insurance cover to passengers – see their website here.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (September 2023)

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):

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 bonus points (SPECIAL OFFER TO 2ND OCTOBER) 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

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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.)

Vistara Delhi to London Boeing 787

Vistara expands London Heathrow to Delhi service

Speaking of Delhi, Indian carrier Vistara will be running a daily service from Heathrow to Delhi from 1st December.

Flights currently operate four days per week, rising to five per week from 21st November. Services are operated using a modern Boeing 787-9.

You can find out more on the Vistara website here.

Tomorrow we will cover SpiceJet’s UK launch.

Comments (56)

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

  • Sandgrounder says:

    ‘Virgin Atlantic launching Delhi and Manchester from Manchester’ is there an error in this subheading, or is it a gag about moving to tier 3? 🙂

    • Ian M says:

      No Marriott offer on m Bonvoy card sadly, nor on my BAPP or Amex Platinum. I’ve got 0 offers on my Bonvoy and BAPP cards and only 2 on my Platinum which have been there a long time (Hello Fresh and Tordoffs Wines and Hampers).

      I’ve not had any of the offers that have been mentioned on here in the last couple of months.

      Have Amex put me on a naughty list or has something broken?

      • Harry T says:

        Ian, it does sound like something is up. I have 38 offers saved on my Platinum card at the moment, with at least a dozen I didn’t bother to save. Bonvoy and Gold cards have less offers but still significantly more than what you are talking about. I don’t think my experience is atypical either.

        • Jessiefan says:

          Currently 68 offers on mine, none of which are particularly useful (except the Waitrose one)

      • Rob says:

        One of those two things.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        You’re on the same naughty list as me, I would suggest.

        I almost want to apply for a job in Brighton just so I can get to the bottom of this….

        • Simon says:

          Same here, soon as some pending payments drop I am calling them to cancel both the Mariott and Plat cards, let’s see if that helps!

    • Peter K says:


    • Rob says:

      Bugger 🙂

  • BuildTheWall says:

    For those not familiar, Vistara is a JV between Singapore airlines and Tatas. Their soft and hard products are far better than BA.

  • Erico1875 says:

    Going forward, post Covid. IIMO it makes sense to leave Delta to the west routes and for Virgin to concentrate East instead if tripping over each other.

  • Yorkieflyer says:

    VS Covid cover not valid if travelling against FCO advice however, which for the foreseeable future is nearly everywhere?

  • Matthew says:

    I’ve got the £50 off £200 and £75 off £200 Marriott offer on the same card. Would both trigger you think with one £200 spend?

  • Dubious says:

    Wow, when did Vistara start long haul ops?! I knew they had been mooting it but did realize they had actually got round to implementation.

    • marcw says:

      Yes, they started Heathrow in August.
      BTW, you should all watch the Vistara safety video: it’s slightly different, and I really enjoyed it when I watched it.

  • TopGuy says:

    Rob. You may need to hop on Vistara and review their business class product. I have heard that its excellent. Should Virgin survive, they both are gonna give BA a run for its money on UK India routes.

    • ChrisW says:

      Can’t imagine travelling to India just to review a new airline would be top of Rob’s list of priorities right now…

    • BuildTheWall says:

      It’s the same as SQ regional hard product.

  • Peter Harding says:

    Does anybody know why Italy has no participating locations on any of the hotel offers? (Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt etc.)

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

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