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Virgin Atlantic reward seat drop to Barbados, Maldives and Dubai coming on Saturday

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Virgin Atlantic is doubling down on the leisure market with an expansion of three key routes for next winter.

Barbados, the Maldives and Dubai will all see additional flights from 27th October 2024.

The guaranteed 12 reward seats on these new services will start to drop into the system on Saturday – and could be yours.

Virgin Atlantic adds extra flights to Dubai, Barbados, Maldives

What new flights have been announced?

Virgin Atlantic has announced the following service increases from 27th October 2024, which is the first day of the winter flying season:

  • Heathrow to Barbados moves from 11 flights per week to 14 flights per week
  • Heathrow to Dubai moves from four flights per week to seven flights per week
  • Heathrow to the Maldives moves from three flights per week to seven flights per week

Which flights will be bookable?

Whilst British Airways lets you book 355 days ahead, Virgin Atlantic only allows you to book 331 days ahead.

On Saturday morning, flights will be bookable up to 18th November 2024.

Roughly three weeks of the new services (between 27th October and 18th November) will be bookable. These means (roughly) nine Barbados flights, nine Dubai flights and 12 Maldives flights will be available in both directions.

What days are the extra flights operating?

Assuming that Dubai and the Maldives are moving to daily services, the new flights will operate on:

  • Barbados: Sunday, Wednesday, Friday (same day return)
  • Dubai: Wednesday, Friday, Sunday (returning the next day)
  • Maldives: Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday (returning the next day)

When will these flights be bookable?

The airline says that the seats should be bookable on Saturday.

This usually means at 5am, because Virgin Atlantic uses the Delta Air Lines booking system which seems to run off US East Coast time. I’m not sure if this changed when the clocks went forward. We don’t know for certain that the seats will be loaded with the usual overnight update though.

Virgin Atlantic guarantees to make available on every flight:

  • 2 seats in Upper Class
  • 2 seats in Premium
  • 8 seats in Economy

Further seats are likely to be released over time, but this is what you will find at 331 days out.

Irrespective of whether you want to jump in for these early services, the expansion of these routes should make it easier to book reward flights in the future.

Rhys’s report from his recent Virgin Atlantic press trip to the Maldives is here, and image above.


How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (March 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 15,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Money is offering double points on spending until 14th April (£5,000 cap) to new customers when you apply for the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard. Click here to learn more.

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 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

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) 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 (30)

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

    • ADS says:

      interesting article from 2012 … although i think the “high risk” element of the phrase has attenuated over the past decade!

  • BJ says:

    Anybody here with knowledge of visiting Maldives for real? By that I mean travelling and staying local, avoiding resort islands?

    • Matt says:

      Search for Ben Morris Maldives on YouTube.

      Personally, I think if you’re looking for a more culturally enriching island holiday, you’re better off going somewhere like Sri Lanka, Thailand or Bali. The Maldives is designed around luxury island resorts, which I appreciate is not everyone’s cup of tea.

    • The Streets says:

      Yes I’ve been a few times where I always spend a week on a local island before heading on to a resort. For my last visit I went to Thoddoo. Over the years boat connections have become a lot easier and more frequent. The quality of food on the islands is similar to that on most resorts where I ate grilled octopus most of the days for so much cheaper. Obviously no alcohol but plenty of beaches to swim in and an increasing number where you can bathe normally… defo recommend!

    • BJ says:

      Thanks to Matt and The Streets, I am looking for some place to go with Virgin voucher now that’s GRU is cancelled again. I was thinking Maldives and combine with Sri Lanka. I’d vet so bored with a resort and felt must be more to country than that. We drink little so alcohol not an issue. More interested to see what life is like for the locals.

      • Erico1875 says:

        Fly to BOM or DEL or BLR. then a low cost to Goa or Kerala or even Andaman islands
        Plenty to experience local life there and the food is amazing

        • BJ says:

          On my partners voucher plan is to fly to Delhi, do a two week road trip to Kolkata via Kushinagar, Varanasi and Gaya. Air Asia to Thailand to visit his family 2-3 weeks then 1-2 weeks in Kerala on way back. Hopefully spring 25 if Virgin are still flying to India.

    • The Original Nick. says:

      That’s an excellent thought!

      • BJ says:

        Will be my first trip to India, will neet to get some help from India experts in forum when it comes time to plan. I’ve been interested in Kerela for some years already after watching a travel show on houseboats there.0

        • The Original Nick. says:

          Check out the prices for a Visa. I paid about £50 for a 5 year Visa just last month. Well worth the price If you intend on going a few times.

    • TripRep says:

      Why does that appeal? Male is meh IMHO, Maldives is about luxury unless you’re a hardened SCUBA diver then I can give decent recommendations for small local places

    • cin4 says:

      Agree with others. If you don’t want soulless resort islands don’t go to Maldives full stop. It doesn’t require much imagination to think of amazing islands in the Indian Ocean with incredible local culture.

      • BJ says:

        Thanks @TripRep and @Cin4, it appears on the balance of responses it will probably be better to use both vouchers to explore different parts of India. This has the added advantage of an easy route into Thailand to visit family. Sri Lankan can wait as avios reward availability may see us routing to BKK via CMB at some point anyway.

    • David says:

      For what it’s worth, we arrived at Male and took a speedboat to Maafushi. Did some snorkel tour where we swam with stunning fish, rays and had dolphins swim with us on boat. Truly magical and it was so cheap £30 that I felt I had robbed them. We then took local ferry £1-2 (2hours though) to Fulidhoo.

      Beach was jaw dropping. Perfect beach doesn’t quite explain it. Swam with nurse sharks and turtles. No alcohol but I am happy we stayed away from resorts and will do the same when and if, we return.

      • BJ says:

        Thanks David, will have a look. We’re talking 2025 and 2026 so plenty of time to get it right.

  • TooPoorToBeHere says:

    Would admins like to run a sweep on when VS will cancel these new routes?

    Can I have March 15th please?

    • Catalan says:

      The routes in question aren’t new though. VS are simply “doubling down’” on existing routes.

  • sturgeon says:

    What planes will they use? If Dubai isn’t the coffin seat it’s suddenly interesting.

    • babyg_wc says:

      its a 6/7 hour flight … the coffin seat for me is better than BA yin/yan, QR old 777s and 10x better than economy, plus i still like to use the buddy dinning and the bar! So thats not the deciding factor for me… currently its the taxes/fees that are added stopping me booking Virgin these days..

    • Bernard says:

      Amazing how we all coped with first generation flat business seats without imploding. Don’t know how we managed, but millions did.

  • Rup says:

    If I book using 241, am I able to refund it if my partner doesn’t fancy a holiday?

    • Lady London says:

      No. Change your partner.

      Joking 🙂 sorry I don’t know if you can get your voucher and the extra taxes back for the 2nd seat but I suspect it would be no problem. Why don’t you call Reservations and ask?

      • BJ says:

        @LL, not joking at all but I am a little bit surprised that given the nature of the HfP community and the launch of the forum that a topic has not yet emerged allowing solo travellers to scope out potential travel buddies. Or at least a topic posting who’s where when and would be interested in meeting up.

        • David says:

          There might some issues in the realm of “male looking for lone woman in a distant destination”.

  • cin4 says:

    Absolutely pointless with the charges VS ask for.

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