Virgin Atlantic follows British Airways in increasing surcharges – and how to beat them
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Yesterday we ran an article on the additional £100 added to British Airways surcharges on Avios redemptions in Business Class.
Virgin Atlantic has also increased its surcharges. Oddly, Virgin Atlantic is charging the ‘unadjusted’ surcharges quoted by the British Airways website, which are incorrect and which drop sharply once you actually try to pay.
Here’s what I mean.
Virgin Atlantic is now charging a ludicrous £988 return on an Upper Class redemption from Heathrow to New York JFK. £700 of this is Virgin’s ‘carrier surcharge’.
British Airways pretends to be charging the same amount:
…. but when you click through to pay it adjusts to the actual figure of ‘only’ £842:
For those not keen to pay such amounts, let me point you towards using Avios for Madrid to New York in Iberia’s Business Class.
You will pay just 68,000 Avios return on off-peak dates plus just £205 of taxes and charges:
If you’ve never been to Helsinki, it may be a good time to check out Finnair’s fantastic new terminal and lounges, as well as taking a look at the city.
You’ll pay just £318 to use your Avios for a Business Class trip to New York on Finnair:
In theory you can also use Avios for low cost New York flights in business class on Aer Lingus, from Manchester, Dublin or Shannon. Availability in business class appears to be zero, however.
Moving away from Avios, you could use Emirates Skywards miles (potentially from American Express Membership Rewards) to fly direct from London to New York on JetBlue in their funky ‘Mint’ business class seat:
There is some good news from Virgin Atlantic
On the positive side, I had a quiet word with Virgin’s CEO Shai Weiss about Upper Class reward availability – or more exactly, the lack of it on routes except New York – on Tuesday when we were both at the same event.
Shai implied that he is aware of the issue and that changes were coming. Reading between the lines, Virgin Atlantic may be planning to follow British Airways and guarantee a fixed number of reward seats per flight. Let’s see what happens.
In other positive Virgin Atlantic news, the new $4.1 billion Airbus A330-900neo fleet is on track for delivery, starting later this year. We even have tentative dates for the launch party in the Summer. Watch this space …..
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (March 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):
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.
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) 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.)