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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.

Virgin Atlantic launching flights from Manchester to Delhi and Mumbai

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 (August 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 Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

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

Virgin Rewards credit card

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 Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two 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.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of 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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits 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.)

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.

  • Axil23 says:

    Vistara is a good airline. Not an ideal time to start but they had a few 787’s ordered which they have got in the last few months. I guess they couldn’t delay the deliveries. As someone said earlier its SQ and TATA’s who both provide excellent customer service. Tata’s are the group that own the Taj group of hotels.

    • Andrew says:

      Could be the perfect time.

      One way or another, someone is going to win the Covid Vaccine war and India is a huge market.

  • Charlieface says:

    Good to see Virgin diversifying away from LHR as well as away from the USA.

    MAN is massively underrated and should have it’s own hub airline

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      I can’t be sure if that’s sarcasm but if not I’m guessing you don’t use MAN a lot?

  • Froggitt says:

    “fits into Virgin’s strategy of diversifying away from the US”………I’m pretty sure just a couple of years ago, the strategy was to concentrate on US, closing down routes to India and the like.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Someones woken up and realised that leaves you heavily exposed to USA borders being open to travel and they are prone to voting for a clown as president.

    • Lady London says:

      That might have been Delta’s influence.

  • Chan says:

    No 75 off for me, neither was I targeted for the 400/400 Plt offer the other day. Do have the Hyatt abs earlier Marriott offers.

  • Dave says:

    Will Marriott stays that are not on the list still count? Stayed at the Residence Inn tower bridge earlier this week and just noticed it’s not actually on the list.

    Also is it possible to get Amex to transfer Marriott spend on the Amex Gold card to the Bonvoy card?

    • Rob says:

      In theory no. Potentially it might if it is under the same ownership as some other hotel and is using its merchant code.

      • memesweeper says:

        It won’t in practice — this happened to me a few weeks ago on the last Amex spend-at-marriot offer. It comes up as South Suites or something and it doesn’t trigger.

  • Alex says:

    OT – Has anyone seen the shareholder program for SAS that you will get Star Alliance Gold if you have 100,000 shares in SAS Group? 100,000 shares is around £21,100 at the moment.

  • Dominic says:

    Vistara offers one of, if not the best, domestic flying experience I’ve had. Modern planes, IFE, food.

    Not tried their long-haul service, and wouldn’t if they don’t join an alliance (or have an incredible offer).

    • DB2020 says:

      If you are a member of the Singapore Airlines Krisflyer scheme, then you can credit flights there. Some Vistara domestic flights have BA code sharing, so also possible to credit to BA, if booked through BA (think it is Avios only, no tier points).

    • Dev says:

      Modern planes … are you sure about that?

      They launched with 20 year old A320s. And recently picked up second hand 737s from Jet Airways when they went bust.

      Sure, they are clean and provide probably the best service Since Kingfisher Airlines in India but modern planes are not what they are using.

      • Dominic says:

        Rapid mid day comment; modern plane *interiors. Not sure if all flights are like that, but the 4 that I’ve taken over the past couple of years have been excellent.

  • Axil23 says:

    The 787 Business looks good on Vistara.

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

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