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I got an email from Virgin Flying Club the other day about Virgin Atlantic Seasonal Rewards. We’ve written about these before, of course, as part of our coverage of the broader Virgin Flying Club changes, but it’s worth taking a moment to have a more detailed look.
What are Virgin Atlantic Seasonal Rewards?
Basically, Flying Club just means that they now charge different amounts of Miles depending on what time of year you want travel.
There are Standard dates and Peak dates – very similar to the way British Airways charges Peak and Off-Peak amounts of Avios for award flights these days.
With Virgin the Peak dates are actually quite limited:
- 16/01/2017 – 30/03/2017
- 19/04/2017 – 21/06/2017
- 07/09/2017 – 12/12/2017
- 31/03/2017 – 18/04/2017 (Easter – just over 2 weeks)
- 22/06/2017 – 06/09/2017 (Summer – 11 weeks)
- 13/12/2017 – 31/12/2017 (Christmas – under 3 weeks)
As you can see, Peak dates cover fewer than 16 weeks per year, which really isn’t bad.
How many Miles do I need?
The chart below shows the amounts required for return flights – one-ways cost half:
10,000 Miles for one-way off-peak flights to Delhi, New York, Caribbean etc, and 12,500 Miles to Hong Kong and Johannesburg are obviously fantastic prices, so what’s the catch?
SURCHARGES – totalling ~£190 for most one-way Economy redemptions from the UK.
That’s a pretty hefty amount (regardless of the low number of Miles required) when you consider how cheap Norwegian flights can be these days.
If you book as a Return, it tends to end up at a slightly more reasonable ~£260 in taxes/surcharges. If we value Flying Club Miles at 1p each, that makes return flights to New York about £460 in total, which isn’t terrible but isn’t amazing either.
Booking a one-way back to the UK is more interesting than a one-way from the UK (perhaps use Avios or a cheap Norwegian flight for the outbound) – clocking in at ~£120 + 10,000 Miles:
Also note that the taxes/surcharges for Premium Economy are the same as Economy when coming back to the UK, so it’s just the difference in Miles (in this case another 7,500) you’d have to pay on top. Certainly for an overnight flight back to the UK, I would be very tempted to pay the extra Miles for a bit more space etc.
Airlines are banned from charging ‘surcharges’ on redemptions from Hong Kong, so you can book a one-way from Hong Kong to London for just ~£35 + 12,500, 22,500, 57,500 Miles, respectively for Economy, Premium Economy or Upper Class. These are obviously all fantastic value redemptions!
Virgin Atlantic Seasonal Rewards pricing has led to some pretty solid Economy and Premium Economy offers outside Peak times. In particular, one-ways back to the UK can be good value when you factor both Miles and taxes/surcharges.
If you want to check out some more examples, take a look at Craig’s excellent post here crunching the numbers on various ‘typical’ awards.
Now we’ve had a bit of time to get used to the new Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, what do you make of it so far?