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Virgin Atlantic launches a codeshare deal on IndiGo flights in India

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Virgin Atlantic’s flights to the Indian subcontinent originally started as a way to mop up traffic during covid, when its bread-and-butter routes to the United States were blocked from carrying tourists.

Whilst it has operated to Delhi since 2000, flights to Lahore, Islamabad and Mumbai were launched in Autumn 2020. They were so successful that one person I spoke to suggested they ‘saved’ the airline from collapse (cargo was another factor, of course.)

It appears Virgin Atlantic has decided to keep operating the routes and has now forged a relationship with Indian airline IndiGo to offer better connections. IndiGo is India’s largest airline and operates under a low-cost model.

Virgin Atlantic Indigo codeshare flights

The agreement is formed of two phases. Phase one will see Virgin add its flight numbers to IndiGo flights to seven Indian cities:

  • Chennai
  • Bengaluru
  • Hyderabad
  • Kolkata
  • Ahmedabad
  • Amritsar
  • Goa
  • Delhi
  • Mumbai

This will be followed by phase two, later this year, which will increase the number of cities to sixteen and let IndiGo offer connections to the United States on Virgin Atlantic flights via Heathrow. The additional cities include:

  • Kochi
  • Chandigarh
  • Jaipur
  • Pune
  • Coimbatore
  • Nagpur
  • Vadodara
  • Indore
  • Visakhapatnam

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin said: “This summer marks our largest ever flying programme from India with three daily direct services to London and our new partnership takes our commitment to even greater heights.”

Flights between the UK and India are becoming increasingly competitive. British Airways flies to five Indian cities whilst Virgin Atlantic flies to two. Tata-owned airline Vistara has launched flights to London and is hoping to expand its offering once Boeing delivers more 787s.

A number of start-ups are also planning to launch flights to the region. Hans Airways hopes to make a go of it from Birmingham to Amritsar and flypop will also attempt to launch low-cost long haul flights.

…. and Virgin Atlantic expands Pakistan flights

In addition to offering better connections in India, Virgin Atlantic will offer an additional weekly flight to both Lahore and Islamabad in January and February 2023.

This takes Virgin Atlantic to 10 flights weekly to Pakistan.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (December 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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) 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 (38)

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

  • Alex says:

    Correction. ‘ British Airways flies to five Indian cities whilst Virgin Atlantic flies to two, from both London and Manchester.’

    VS planned to fly from MAN to BOM and DEL pre-Covid, but pretty sure it never materialised, so they only fly from LHR.

    • Rhys says:

      I think you may be right. Weirdly, they DO seem to fly to Islamabad from Manchester.

  • Rui N. says:

    Wasn’t it 1 nectar for £4 for the non-Sainsbury spending before?

    • Jonathan says:

      That’s the Amex Nectar card, different card to this one

      • Jonathan says:

        My mistake, I thought you said Sainsbury’s retailers, but still no, the earning rate outside Sainsbury’s and their other retailers hasn’t changed, it’s still not worth going anywhere near this card though as Rob explained above (apart from for subs

        • Mikeact says:

          Re Sainsbury
          ‘Don’t forget you’ll collect another 1 Nectar point for every £1 spent if you scan your Nectar card or app at Sainsbury’s, Argos and other Nectar partners.’
          So, 3 points per £2.

  • KP says:

    Never understood how Virgin couldn’t make the Indian network work pre-pandemic. Its baffling.

    • Dev says:

      They used to have 1 daily to both Delhi and Mumbai at one stage.

      (But were competing with 2x BA, 2x 9W and 2x AI daily,, and the myriad of 1 stop options to just BOM)

      • KP says:

        I think their real competition was BA an 9W. However the advantage Jet was onwards connections to tier 2 and 3 cities in India which BA and VS cant offer.

    • Carlos says:

      For the Pakistan destinations Virgin have huge leverage since direct PIA flights stopped. Can only see that increasing in demand

    • Lady London says:

      Well…how else is the UK going to expand trade now, since Brexit? Asia has to be key. And India first. I am sure Manchester to Islamabad is very profitable for Virgin.

      Plus there was the major Indian airline collapse a couple of years ago, was it Jet? And Air India doing badly, troubled with extra local overheads? , unable to compete

    • Panda Mick says:

      Jet airlines going bust probably made a big dent in their plans.

  • Freddy5 says:

    ‘Apart from the sign-up bonus of 8,000 Nectar points, there is now no reason – at all – to get this card.’

    Surely the call to action would be: get the card immediately/ meet spend requirement before it’s too late?

  • topcat says:

    Talking of spend requirements – wrt Barclaycard £3000 to get the points – Barclaycard has very magnanimously given me a permanent £200 credit limit, so at least they won’t be closing down my a/c before I bank the Avios.

    Rather tricky to demonstrate your income when you are retired and in charge of your own pension payments (ie personal pension with AJB), indeed: I’m minimising income tax by not paying myself much/ living off savings.

    I uploaded loads of stuff to no avail until yesterday. They just were not interested in proof of family wealth.

    Anyway: it’s perfectly possible to use the automatic low initial £200 credit limit to hit £3000 spend requirement before you get ‘expired’ 6 weeks after joining: just spend your £200 eg council tax/ energy bill, then pay it off by debit card (or I guess BACS) on a daily or every 2nd day basis, it resets your credit limit so you can typically spend £600-£800 weekly.

    • Carlos says:

      BACS would be faster but check their clearing times. Spend £1k for 3 months and thats only 5 top-ups

    • AJA says:

      Your pathetically low credit limit is the biggest reason I don’t want to give up my Hilton Barclaycard. Plus the 6 month gap without a B/card to get the SUB means BC might use the gap to give me a similarly rubbish limit. Just don’t want to risk it.

    • sam says:

      i had same problem and went to the financial ombubsman who seems to have ruled in my favour. meanwhile i applied for my wife with similar info and she got 20K limit! she does not have sig income other than mine.

      • Lady London says:

        @sam can you tell us more about the FOS decision and what has beem the result?

        Would there be any chance of you posting about your result in the Barclaycard section o the forum? as people tend to look there every day

  • mark2 says:

    I was a big fan of the Four Tops in my youth and saw them live about 1970.
    I assume that the name is now used by their grandchildren since at least two of them, and probably all, have died! The same will be true of the Temptations.

    • SAS says:

      Yes, i think the temptations have had like 40 members now but do still claim its the original manager!

  • memesweeper says:

    Swedish House Mafia the same price as national treasure Robbie? His star must be slipping…

    • Rob says:

      I thought that – probably some youngster at Marriott who puts him into the heritage bracket!

  • David says:

    Virgin has flown to Delhi since 2000, sometime before 2020! Mumbai has also featured on the network several times, but again was being flown daily pre-pandemic from LHR

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

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