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Air France extends its direct service to Nice into Winter – book on Virgin Points

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Air France has announced that its new direct service from London Heathrow to Nice will continue into the Winter.

The reason we mention this is that, as a Virgin Flying Club partner, this flight is bookable with Virgin Points.

There will, oddly, be a gap in the service.

The current Summer service is due to end on 28th August. The new Winter service will not start until 30th October, running through to 25th March 2023. Flights will operate daily.

The outbound time is OK but the return isn’t hugely attractive. The flight departs Heathrow at 08.55, arriving in Nice at 11.50.

The return flight leaves at the ungodly hour of 07.00, arriving into Heathrow at 07.55. That said, it would allow you to have an extra night in Nice and then head straight into the office.

Note that Air France is now in Terminal 3 at Heathrow. It will not be returning to its pre-pandemic home at Terminal 4.

Booking with Virgin Points, the cost is:

  • 15,000 points + £56 taxes and charges return in Economy
  • 50,000 points + £84 taxes and charges return in Business

This is clearly a little crazy in Business class, given that Air France short-haul business class is not life-changing – see our last review here. The Economy pricing is not bad value on pricier dates.

In reality, I think it is more likely that you would book Air France outbound because of the better timings and return with another carrier at a better time of day.

You can book for cash on the Air France website here. Cash tickets start at £90 return in Economy. Business Class seems to start at around £400 return.

The picture above is the Hyatt Regency Palais de la Mediterranee on the sea front, where I stayed many years ago and liked.

You can find out more on this special page of the Air France website here.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (October 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 bonus points 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 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 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 (27)

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

  • Nick says:

    Are they adding business class then? Was all-economy when we flew this route last month.

    • Rob says:

      They are selling it …..

      • Bob says:

        All flight reports of this line are in full economy only with no business class as is the norm at AF in any departure outside Paris (for a non Paris destination), and even sometimes in Orly airport.
        You have at best a cookie to eat with a drink, or a small sandwich.

        So Nick is correct.

        It ccould be that the IT of Virgin fails hopefully to get you the business fare as you will not get any business service on this flight.

        I took a Marseille-Tunis flight 20 years ago and it was like this also. I could not get an award from Paris at that time and changing in MRS was the only solution. The province stations do not have business contract catering locally (for business services). An dthose flight are probably operated by the remaining “Bases Provinces” crew (in TLS, MRS and NCE or La navette Orly services).

        The flight report I read was about someone who was travelling for professionnal reasons, could not get a LHR-CDG correct price (or seat maybe) and the system proposed LHR-NCE-ORY for one third of the price of LHR-CDG, so getting to Paris-Orly with a change in Nice airport.
        The flight LHR-NCE was not full, but in full economy only.
        The funny fact was they left LHR not on time, arrived in NCE late. But an AF Nice Ground Staff was waiting at the gate in Nice.
        The guy then discover there were 4 passengers with him changing for the plane operating La Navette to Orly. There were late.
        But the AF lady was in constant talk on the radio with her colleague at the domestic departure gate for Orly, holding the departure of the flight to ORY, bypassing all passengers waiting at the passport control, and quickly boarding the 5 passengers on the Orly flight.

        The flight to ORY just departed in 5 seconds the passengers were onboard!

        “Mesdames, messieurs, notre départ est maintenant possible.
        PNC aux portes, armement des toboggans et contrôle de votre vis-à-vis”

        • Rob says:

          For clarity, BOTH the Air France website (for cash) and the Virgin Atlantic website (for points) are selling Business Class. It is possible that, for Winter, they are expecting this to be a business oriented service, especially with the 7am departure from Nice.

          • Bob says:

            Well let see then in the winter if the business class fare is serviced as a business class service…

  • James Wyatt says:

    Totally pointless return time. Attractive to the French of course who are in business.

  • Mayfair Mike says:

    One of the most saturated routes for flights already and can always get good prices as a result…points scroungers must be really hard up to want to use them on this.
    Plus who on earth wants to go to Nice or Monaco in winter ❄ And take a 7am flight home. Crazy 🤷‍♂️

    • Nick says:

      I do, the cities and coastline are just as attractive, it’s still warmer then the UK, and it tends to attract fewer twats then.

      • RussellH says:

        Indeed, Nice can be very pleasant in late autumn, or winter, or early spring.
        Would not want to go in summer, but nor would I want to leave at 0700.

      • Lady London says:

        Sounds like it’s aimed at morning business traffic from Monaco, that well known financial centre, to London, that other well known financial services centre

        • Bob says:

          Not at all I believe.

          Now that transavia operates most of Orly and transversal domestic routes, I guess AF has too much aircraft and crew people to use, specifically in the bases provinces.
          I am surprised of a 7am departure but then “why not LHR?” someone had in mind.

    • JDB says:

      It’s the best time to go. Can usually have breakfast and lunch outside in the sunshine, flowers and flowering trees like mimosa, Judas trees etc. out in Jan/Feb, far fewer tourists so restaurants welcome you with open arms, no traffic etc. July/August – stay up in the hills as coast horrendous.

    • apbj says:

      From the article: “In reality, I think it is more likely that you would book Air France outbound because of the better timings and return with another carrier at a better time of day.”

      Plus, you clearly haven’t tried to book or fly short haul recently if you’re always getting good prices. NCE schedule has been cut to ribbons!

  • Matarredondaaa says:

    Went for Xmas a few years ago and weather was far better than in London.
    As somebody else said above the idiots don’t appear so relaxing with gooid food and warm sun

  • yorkieflyer says:

    Not quite sure why a single daily service on route from uk to France needs it’s own article?

    • Rob says:

      Bit of padding going on due to staff absences 🙂

      • VSCXfan says:

        Good value for Virgin Points in Economy LHR-NCE unless you;re diverted – as I was 20 years ago – to TLN due to “rare” snow at NCE.

    • apbj says:

      Trying to book or fly short haul is quite challenging at the moment so additional options for points spenders is quite a sensible topic IMHO.

  • lumma says:

    If you book this in business, can you use the clubhouse?

    • Rhys says:

      No because it’s not a Virgin flight with a VS flight number.

      • Lady London says:

        Look in case a DL codeshare number appears on it ? guessing it might work if a US or other starting or return leg was ticketed back to Nice…. alhough it might then force a connection in Paris rather than London to keep DL flight number all the way to Nice?

  • paul says:

    Unfortunately, there is still no real guide on HOW to actually book AF or KLM with Virgin Points (though there are handy “points needed” guides on HfP)

    I’ve been trying to book AF from CDG to Miami (or KLM from Amsterdam) but can’t do it on Virgin – and I don’t have a points account to search points flights on the carrier airlines.

    Im based nr Bristol so looking to fly March 4th to Miami (via KLM or AF to save on Duty etc), with a return March 19th.

    I can find these with points availability in UC on Virgin but at £1k each in tax/duty/carrier its not like a great reward – similar flights from Europe are 500 Euro in tax etc BUT I cant see how to book.

      • paul says:

        All that article says is “phone Virgin” because the website cannot be relied on.

        The VA website doesn’t show many of the actual direct flights for AF from CDG – only those flying into LHR and out again which is pointless if you’re in the UK to begin with.

        • paul says:

          AF website = CDG to MIA direct March 4th, return March 19th = available seats in Premium (as wanting to use Virgin points)

          Do that same search on VA and every result out involves CDG-LHR-MIA = no direct routes showing.

          So no actual result on VA and no way to book with points on AF

          Phone VA isn’t really helpful.

          • Rob says:

            Are the reward seats showing on Air France at the very lowest level of pricing (probably 50k-ish each way)? If not, that’s why.

            Air France makes EVERY flight available for redemption but most are at stupid pricing (it just converts the cash price into miles). Only flights listed at the old school price are offered to partners.

            Go to the Korean Airways site or similar and see if they show the AF flight you want. If so Virgin will be able to see it.

  • Rob H not Rob says:

    €10 bus into Cannes 45 min direct from Nice airport and you are sorted. Go to La Gavroche restaurant in the old town, and Le Pizza on the seafront and your life will be complete.

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