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Fantastic Cape Town Upper Class reward availability for winter with Virgin Atlantic

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Unlike British Airways, Virgin Atlantic does not guarantee to make a minimum number of seats available for redemption on each flight.

This means that reward seat availability can be patchy or even non existent. Virgin Atlantic has come under a lot of pressure recently for its failure to release Upper Class reward seats. Shai Weiss, the CEO, told me last month that changes were coming, but we’ve not seen anything yet.

However, good availability to Cape Town has appeared if you fancy a trip to South Africa this winter.

Here are some screenshots from SeatSpy, which is our preferred route for searching reward availability.

Importantly, I was searching for FOUR Upper Class seats. If you want to go as a couple or with just one child, you’ll find even more options.

Note that we published this article at 10am on Friday so if you are reading this via email on Saturday morning, a lot of the availability may have gone.

London to Cape Town for FOUR people in Upper Class:

The left table is for outbound, the right is for return.

Flights are on the Boeing 787, so you are getting the older Upper Class seat we last reviewed in 2016.

Cape Town VS reward 4 seats

There is slightly more availability when you search for TWO people:

Cape Town VS reward 2 seats

This still isn’t cheap, of course. You are looking (unless you have a Virgin Atlantic credit card 2-4-1 or upgrade voucher) at 115,000 Virgin Points per person plus a silly ~ £867 of taxes and charges.

British Airways does not have any dates where you can get 4 x Club World seats out and back during the Christmas school holidays, unsurprisingly.

To give you an example of how tight South African availability usually is, Virgin Atlantic does not have a single Upper Class reward seat to Johannesburg – not a single one – between 8th June 2022 and the end of the current booking period in May 2023.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (June 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 a huge range of valuable 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.

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 (40)

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

  • Fiona says:

    Cannot thank you enough Rob. Booked husband and I online yesterday for 5 nights in Feb at 230k miles between us plus taxes and charges. Then remembered I had a Virgin CC voucher expiring later this year. Rang up today to change dates and use voucher for 2-1.5. Discovered I had 2 vouchers and use both to upgrade from PE. Was 100k for both of us. With mileage booster we will still have enough for another Upper Class trip somewhere (provided there is availability of course!). Thanks again.

  • Birdy says:

    BA has LOTS of availability in CW to Jo’burg with a new 241 voucher over December and January, including Christmas and NY, which wasn’t there a few days ago.

    I got impatient waiting for MR points to transfer to Virgin to book Cape Town and checked BA again. Nothing for Cape Town, which is where Mr Birdy’s family are, but I was able to book to Jo’burg for the exact dates we wanted.

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

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