When booking our flights from New York to London on Virgin Atlantic I'd had a decision to make: Do I book us to fly out of JFK where Virgin has a highly lauded Clubhouse lounge and fly on an Airbus A330 or do I book us to fly out of Newark (where the lounge isn't really anything special) and fly on Virgin's Dreamliner which is reported to have the best Upper Class cabin?
Joanna and I had been planning to visit New York for some time and we were still in the middle of making our plans when the travel Gods smiled down on us in two wonderful ways. First Virgin Atlantic came out with some fantastic premium cabin fares for travel between London and New York and then Amex came out with an offer of $200 off a $1,000 spend with Delta.....and it doesn't really get better than that.
Last week Virgin Atlantic announced quite a big shake up in how it calculates the miles and tier points flyers will earn when flying on Delta and crediting their trips to the airline's Flying Club program. On top of that Virgin also changed the number of miles needed to book awards on Delta with Economy Class awards generally decreasing in cost but some Business Class award increasing in cost by over 70%. Award costs and earnings on Delta had long been out of step with earnings and award costs for flights taken on Virgin Atlantic so it was only a matter of time before Virgin put through the changes needed to align the two - that's what last week's announcement was all about.
Virgin Atlantic has just announced some big and wide-reaching changes to rules governing how many miles Flying Club members will earn when flying on Delta, how many Flying Club miles members will need to book awards on Delta and how many Tier Points members will earn when flying on Delta. These changes are very significant!
Virgin Atlantic has announced that, just in time for its co-habitation agreement with Delta at LAX Terminal 2, it will be adding a third daily service between London Heathrow and Los Angeles from May 2017. The move will give Virgin Atlantic more non-stop daily flights between Heathrow and Los Angeles than its arch rival British Airways......although BA, as part of its joint business agreement with American Airlines, will still have a share of four daily flights between the two cities.
Yesterday afternoon Virgin Atlantic put though a series of major changes to its Flying Club rewards program that not many of us saw coming. The changes are widespread and affect all aspects of the Flying Club program including; how many miles are earned, how many miles are needed for award flights, what bonuses elite flyers are awarded and how many tier points flyers can earn. I'm in the middle of a manic trip right now so, rather than dissect the changes and critique each one individually, I've put together some summary tables together with some bullet points that will hopefully illustrate what's changing and when.
Virgin Atlantic has launched a UK sale to most (possibly all?) of the destinations that it flys to and the sale is across all of the cabins that it operates - so Premium Economy and Upper Class are included as well as Economy Class. Tickets for the sale fares must be booked by 21 September 2016 although the dates for which the sale fares are valid vary from location to location.
A roundup of some of the more UK-centric news that I've noticed over the past week or so. The news includes Virgin Atlantic making changes to its Boston and Dubai operations, British Airways completing an aircraft refurbishment project and Etihad adding more A380 service to London.
Manchester appears to be the center of a mini fare war between American Airlines and Delta/Virgin Atlantic and this is great news for UK-based travelers. I'm running two back-to-back posts today which separate out the Delta/Virgin and American Airlines fare to make each a little easier to read and digest - this post details the Delta/Virgin Atlantic fare so, if you're looking for the American Airlines fare follow this link.
Delta and Virgin Atlantic may not be part of the same worldwide alliance but they've been very strongly connected ever since Delta took a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic back in 2013. It wasn't long after the tie-up with Delta that Virgin Atlantic started to withdraw from a lot of its non US/Caribbean routes to focus on the leisure sector between the US and the US.