Virgin Atlantic: 50% rebate on award bookings…but with oodles of fees

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Virgin Atlantic is offering a 50% rebate on award tickets on Virgin Atlantic metal booked from today through November 7th for travel through March 25th, 2023. The rebate requires linking your Virgin Atlantic account to Virgin Red and is only valid for flights between the US and UK for members in the US (UK members get UK-Caribbean routes as well).

We’ve seen this deal trumpeted around the interwebs as being absolutely sensational…and it’s a huge reduction on the points cost of an award. But, keep in mind that taxes and fuel charges on VA flights are quite high on the covered routes, usually between $1500-2000 in business class. Thus, whether or not this is a great deal likely comes down to how badly you’d like to fly Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Altantic A-350 Business Class

The Deal

  • Virgin Atlantic is offering 50% points back on all new bookings made for reward flights and points upgrades on US and Caribbean routes to/from the UK​ for UK members and UK routes to and from the US for US members
  • Must first link your Virgin Atlantic account with Virgin Red
  • Valid for bookings made between October 28th and November 7th, 2022
  • Valid for travel through March 25th, 2023

Direct link to this promotion

Key Terms and Conditions

  • To be eligible for this offer, members must book a new flight through virginatlantic.com or Virgin Atlantic contact centre.​
  • You must be a resident of the United Kingdom or the United States and a member of Virgin Red and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and have linked your accounts before booking. Virgin Points will be credited to your Virgin Red account.​
  • Valid for new ticketed flight reward seats and upgrades for travel booked using Virgin Points between: 00:01 28-Oct-22 and 23:59 07-Nov-22 AND travelled prior to: 23:59 on 25th-Mar-23 .​
  • Valid on Virgin Atlantic marketed and operated flights only (flight number starts with VS). Partner airline and codeshare flights are not eligible.  ​
  • Points plus Money redemptions are excluded.
  • Not valid on Gold Reward Seats (reward seats booked with double points).​
  • Upgrade Rewards and Companion Rewards, including those earned on Virgin Atlantic Credit Cards, are eligible for this offer.​
  • 50% of the Virgin Points redeemed will be returned to the original lead booking member for all reward seats on that booking.
  • Points will be credited to the member’s Virgin Red account within 28 days after the original final flight within the booking has completed. ​
  • The 50% back offer only applies to points, not any cash element (taxes, fees and carrier-imposed surcharges) of the flight price. ​

Quick Thoughts

Award rates for travel on Virgin Altantic are already reasonable in terms of the number of points required, so with 50% back, the points rates look very appealing indeed. Between the US and UK points rates are as follows, depending on season:

  • Economy – 10,000-25,000 points each way
  • Premium Economy – 17,500-37,500 points each way
  • Busines Class (Upper Class) – 47,500-67,500 points each way

24,000ish points for a transatlantic business class award sounds incredible, and it is. That said, fuel surcharges and taxes will still be in the $600-900’s on most routes in business…each way. Check out the following offseason pricing between London and NYC on January 18th:

With the rebate you’re looking at 47,500 points and over $1500 round-trip. That’s not necessarily a bad deal compared to cash rates, particularly for one-way journeys between the US and London, but it’s not a screaming deal either.  That is especially true given that Virgin Atlantic has such a great award chart for partner flights with a fraction of the taxes and fees.

See our post on Best Uses for Virgin Atlantic Points  

But, if Virgin Atlantic fits your needs, it obviously makes more sense to book while rates are reduced. Virgin Atlantic partners with most major transferable currencies, so it is very easy to get together enough points for an award. Also keep in mind that you can still use this trick to see Virgin’s monthly award calendar in order to find space.

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9 Comments
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Stephen Dedalus

Could anyone remind me what Virgin Atlantic cancellation policy is for points bookings?

Ali

Any suggestion if I’ve already booked?

Simon

Booked LHR-LAX, 3 pax Upper Class (202,500 less 50% – USD$2,168.20).

Economy round-trip (ex. LHR) was ~ US$2k for 3 pax for the dates we’re traveling, so it’s a bit of a $ splurge and it’ll be fun for my wife and son plus we get to spend the day in the LHR Virgin Clubhouse!!

Jules

Just wanted to clarify the math/calculation: 202,500 points redeemed with a future reimbursement of 101,250 points plus $2,168.20 in taxes/fees?

Simon

That is correct Jules.

Franz

Couldn’t you have bought the Economy tickets then used points to upgrade? You would still get the 50% rebate and earn the miles from the trip. Just a thought

Simon

Yes, however we did not have a firm return (outbound) date to LHR – so the path of least resistance at the time was to lock-in the award seats.

From SeatSpy, I now see there are still 8 award seats (Upper Class) available on the same flight (unbelievable!); so in hindsight, I could have bought Prem Economy tickets (US$3,846 for 3 pax) and upgraded to Upper Class for 33,700 points + GBP150 per pax – and saved a few hundred dollars all said and done. But we still don’t have firm outbound dates (to LHR), so that added a wrinkle.

Looking some more at SeatSpy, there is a ton of Upper Class award availability LHR-LAX in 2023 => unreal!!

Last edited 3 months ago by Simon
Jules

High taxes/surcharges are certainly annoying but what really concerns me is the fact that the points will only reimbursed AFTER the flight is completed. This effectively forces you to keep a balance of Virgin Atlantic points for a future award booking at an unknown price since there will certainly be a devaluation of the program at some point. So unless you’re certain that you’ll be making future award bookings with Virgin, I would pass on this promotion.

Last edited 3 months ago by Jules
Aloha808

Even better with the transfer bonuses from Cap1 and Chase right now.