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Not only is Virgin Atlantic currently offering some truly fantastic fares to destinations across its network, but the airline is also offering an impressive 50% discount on award bookings (across all cabins) as well as a 50% bonus on points purchases made by 30 November.
Award Bookings – Key Terms
- Book by 30 November 2020
- Travel before 20 October 2021
- Valid only on flights operated and marketed by Virgin Atlantic
- In the case of flight cancellations by Virgin Atlantic, the 50% offer will apply to a rebooking for the same cabin and route, for travel by 20 October 2021.
- Reward flights are subject to availability and full taxes, fees, and carrier-imposed surcharges apply and are not discounted.
- Points Plus Money bookings, Upgrade rewards, and Companion rewards are excluded from this offer.
- Vouchers are combinable with this offer.
- Members will earn normal Tier Points for discounted Reward Flights.
Award Bookings – Quick Thoughts
You can’t escape from the fact that Virgin Atlantic loves to add high surcharges to its award bookings so before you jump in to make an award booking, make sure you’ve checked the cost of a cash fare to your chosen destination. With Virgin currently offering roundtrip Upper Class fares from £999, and roundtrip Premium Economy fares from £509, there’s a good chance that a cash fare may not cost much more than the surcharges Virgin will add to the award booking.
Still, the best cash fares will probably disappear very quickly so this is far from a pointless offer (no pun intended). With a 50% discount on offer on award bookings on all routes, you won’t need to have a huge points balance to book some very nice trips (roundtrip Upper Class to Tel Aviv starts at just 28,000 points + surcharges and roundtrip Premium Economy to the Caribbean starts at just 17,500 points + surcharges).
Points Sale – Key Terms
- Get a 50% bonus when you buy a minimum of 5,000 points
- Promotion ends at midnight GMT on 30 November 2020
- Members will have the right to cancel any purchases of points for up to 14 days after the date of purchase provided that none of the purchased points have been redeemed. If any of the purchased points have been redeemed then members will not be entitled to a refund for any of the purchased points including those that have not been redeemed. Once the 14 day cooling off period has expired any points purchased and received by members are non-refundable and non-transferable, except as expressly permitted by the terms and conditions of Flying Club.
- Points should be credited to your account within 24 hours, though this may be longer in some cases.
- All Buy Points transactions are subject to a £15/$25 transaction fee.
- A member can purchase a total of 100,000 points each calendar year, in increments of 1,000 points, for their own account and/or for the accounts of another member/other members. There is no limit to the number of members you can purchase for, so long as the total number of points purchased per person does not exceed 100,000 in each calendar year.
Points Sale – The Math
The price that Virgin Atlantic is charging for its points doesn’t vary with the number of points that you buy (as long as you’re buying at least 5,000 points) but because the airline adds a £15/$25 transaction fee to all points purchases, this skews the cost/point that you’ll ultimately pay.
Buying just 5,000 points will see you net 7,500 points at £0.010/point but the handling fee raises that cost to £0.012/point.
The more points you buy the less effect that the handling fee has on the cost per point so once you’re buying the full allowance of 100,000 points, you’re paying just £0.01 per point.
Note: This is the same cost per point that Virgin Atlantic offered in February, but in February the airline was allowing customers to buy up to 225,000 points (including bonus).
Points Sale – Quick Thoughts
If you’re thinking of buying Virgin Atlantic points to top off an account and give yourself enough points to grab an award that you can see is available to book, this is probably a reasonable deal.
If you’re a long way short of having enough points to book the award you have your eyes on and are planning to buy the rest of the points that you need, you’ll almost certainly be making a poor decision – the surcharges that Virgin Atlantic charges combined with the cost to buy the points will almost certainly mean that booking a cash fare is the more economical option.
It may be tempting to think that the 50% bonus on offer combined with the 50% discount that Virgin Atlantic is currently offering on award bookings will make for an excellent deal but, unless you’re using a companion voucher you’ll almost certainly find that the cash fares that are currently available make more sense.
As an example, the cheapest roundtrip Premium Economy award booking currently available with Virgin Atlantic for travel between London and Los Angeles costs 27,400 points + £471 in surcharges. At £0.01 per point, that booking would set you back £745 while a Premium Economy cash fare on the same route currently starts at £599. Yes, there may be the odd date here and there when an award booking may be cheaper but, on the whole, the cash fares will be the more economical option for most people most of the time.