Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Payment cards Virgin Atlantic Virgin Atlantic taxes and charges extremely uncompetitive vs BA

  • OGP 15 posts

    Is there a realistic possibility Virgin will act to reduce surcharges / offer a lower entry level price a la BA for long haul redemptions?

    I would have thought that an airline like VS would rely on the loyalty programme (to some extent) more than BA does to sway travellers, and it’s hard to see how business travellers redeeming their points for leisure would choose to continue to fly VS over BA given the high cost of redeeming points now (£1000+ in some cases vs. £350 as the entry price, irrespective of the full option set of miles and £)?

    Richie 884 posts

    Which routes, which travel classes?

    Travel Strong 231 posts

    They need to, if they wish to appeal to those who are more ‘miles rich’ and can/do rack up healthy 6+ figure points balances year in year out. I *do* have miles AND 241 vouchers in both schemes … and I am actively choosing to focus on Avios earning and flying transatlantic with BA.
    Why?
    £900 taxes/fees for 2 people, rather than £1988!

    As said in other virgin threads – they do not appear to be really driving hard to compete.
    Poorer earning opportunities, only the high £994 fee redemption option, and lagging in the seat roll out compared to BA.

    I can’t see any of that as an effort towards gaining market share of transatlantic business travel. I’m opting for BA because I can rack up miles in a scheme which allows me to redeem for low fees, and have a good chance of club suite on all my favoured USA routes.

    Travel Strong 231 posts

    Which routes, which travel classes?

    All of the USA, Upper Class

    NorthernLass 6,769 posts

    But as Rob pointed out under today’s article, 190k avios plus £350 for CW to NYC is a terrible deal (unless you have a BAPP 241).

    Though Virgin also has disadvantages apart from the high surcharges, such as its peak travel period which covers large blocks of the calendar – at least with BA if you have a little flexibility you can find at least one or two off-peak days per week, even at the busiest times.

    Travel Strong 231 posts

    I almost quoted that example from Rob in this thread too – but as I (and many others) seem to have had more 241 vouchers than we can use in recent times, the observation that virgin is ‘uncompetitive compared to BA when using a 241’ is factual and applicable to many. Fact is I *am* using a 241 when it comes to my longest haul / USA west coast flights when paying out of my own pocket for vacation – and I’m therefore directing the rest of my travel through the year towards to the airline which costs me £1088 less to do so!

    (and the airline which has the non-coffin seat on the route, and the airline which offers more earning opportunities!)

    A real shame as I love flying with virgin – the lounge, the staff, the in flight experience – all fantastic.

    OGP 15 posts

    I almost quoted that example from Rob in this thread too – but as I (and many others) seem to have had more 241 vouchers than we can use in recent times, the observation that virgin is ‘uncompetitive compared to BA when using a 241’ is factual and applicable to many. Fact is I *am* using a 241 when it comes to my longest haul / USA west coast flights when paying out of my own pocket for vacation – and I’m therefore directing the rest of my travel through the year towards to the airline which costs me £1088 less to do so!

    It’s good to hear it’s not just me! Being relatively young and living in London with frequent work travel means I personally am miles rich / relatively cash poor. I fly transatlantic or other long haul 2-3 times per month at the moment sadly, and since I’ve realised there are comparatively few (or much more difficult) good value and low cash ways to redeem Virgin points I’ve switched back to BA for now.

    BA Flyer IHG Stayer 1,896 posts

    VS does what workd=s for them.

    If flying VS dosen’t work for youm then don’t fly them. Thank goodness they don’t slavishly follow BA.

    Even taking into account the relative sizes of the airlines there are far few complaints about VS than there are about BA so they must be doing something their passengers like.

    DJP31 57 posts

    I was going to start a new thread but saw this and it’s very similar to my observations, and the sense check I’m looking for.

    I signed up for the Virgin £160 card in Jan, got the SUB of whatever it was, and now have a voucher and 70k points. My wife and I also have the paid for Amex and BCards and comfortably hit the £40k spend required to trigger vouchers across them all.

    I thought getting the Virgin would give me an option to soak up extra spend and an alternative to Avios. We’ve also recently discovered Barbados and are likely to want to return there once a year.

    Every route I look at on Virgin comes with huge fees and the 50% voucher isn’t as good as the BA 2-4-1.

    Looking at shorter haul doesn’t really work as the link with Air France/KLM adds complication and additional time that is more valuable than the savings – not that there are any as looking at a short haul Euro trip costs about twice the Virgin points than Avios. I also don’t really want to go somewhere just to use the voucher/points over somewhere of choosing.

    I’m seriously considering switching the Virgin to IHG and switching to Avios taking a 5 to 1 hit – which is actually more like a 2.5 to 1 when you factor in the points required v Avios comparison.

    Does the above resonate with you guys and the rationale for what I’m considering make sense?

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,053 posts

    I was going to start a new thread but saw this and it’s very similar to my observations, and the sense check I’m looking for.

    I signed up for the Virgin £160 card in Jan, got the SUB of whatever it was, and now have a voucher and 70k points. My wife and I also have the paid for Amex and BCards and comfortably hit the £40k spend required to trigger vouchers across them all.

    I thought getting the Virgin would give me an option to soak up extra spend and an alternative to Avios. We’ve also recently discovered Barbados and are likely to want to return there once a year.

    Every route I look at on Virgin comes with huge fees and the 50% voucher isn’t as good as the BA 2-4-1.

    Looking at shorter haul doesn’t really work as the link with Air France/KLM adds complication and additional time that is more valuable than the savings – not that there are any as looking at a short haul Euro trip costs about twice the Virgin points than Avios. I also don’t really want to go somewhere just to use the voucher/points over somewhere of choosing.

    I’m seriously considering switching the Virgin to IHG and switching to Avios taking a 5 to 1 hit – which is actually more like a 2.5 to 1 when you factor in the points required v Avios comparison.

    Does the above resonate with you guys and the rationale for what I’m considering make sense?

    Just spend the points when at IHG, and use cash instead for your next flight? Why lose that much value

    Bill_B 73 posts

    If you use the upgrade voucher, it doesn’t seem that uncompetitive, considering the total points + cash cost. It’s just that the majority of the cost is in cash rather than points.

    NorthernLass 6,769 posts

    It doesn’t have to be either/or. Potential routes include MAN-LHR-BGI using the BAPP 241, then inbound BGI-MAN in UC using the Virgin upgrade voucher for 2 (still a decent saving on cash fares). Then a separate trip, MAN-LHR-GCM outbound using the Barclays upgrade voucher for 2, inbound GCM-LHR-MAN using the other half of the BAPP 241. I’d be very happy with this usage or similar out of these vouchers as these are expensive cash routes.

    NorthernLass 6,769 posts

    BUT – why does VS charge 47k points plus £599 in surcharges to ATL and “only” £477 but 67k points to BGI? I thought ex-UK these charges would be pretty much the same.

    Roberto 270 posts

    BGI is my sweet spot for VS one ways.

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,053 posts

    BUT – why does VS charge 47k points plus £599 in surcharges to ATL and “only” £477 but 67k points to BGI? I thought ex-UK these charges would be pretty much the same.

    Cos an algorithm told them so….

    DJP31 57 posts

    Thanks all for the replies. I don’t need the Virgin voucher for Barbados, one of the Amex 2-4-1’s takes care of that.

    I also don’t really want to have to go via Manchester, any more than going somewhere via CDG to open up Europe.

    We generally have two or three other holidays a year, and I thought the Virgin voucher would be a useful addition.

    However everything I’ve looked at as a comparison to Avios is either poor value or requires a connection.

    NorthernLass 6,769 posts

    Not suggesting that anyone needs to travel from MAN, this is just how the vouchers work for me. As we live 45 mins from MAN, having the option to do a long-haul trip direct on points is more than attractive enough to keep me collecting with Virgin.

    DJP31 57 posts

    Not suggesting that anyone needs to travel from MAN, this is just how the vouchers work for me. As we live 45 mins from MAN, having the option to do a long-haul trip direct on points is more than attractive enough to keep me collecting with Virgin.

    I live 30 mins from LGW and 1 hr from LHR so totally understand why MAN is a great shout for NorthernLass!

    I think the mistake I made was inadequate research into my use case for Virgin and the non competitive terms compared to BA for me.

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