VIRGIN ATLANTIC Just Completely CHANGED How You UPGRADE, Earn Miles And Redeem FREE Flights...


Airline loyalty programs are much like Cinderella these days. We're just constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. While other airlines have gutted, twisted, devalued, deleted and mangled their loyalty programs, Virgin Atlantic, one of the world's most unique airlines has stayed very true, keeping it's program free of crystal ball drama. Today the other shoe is officially dropping and naturally there's bad news, but also some good news for flyers...

First Things FIRST, When Do The Changes Kick In?

Things are changing for how you earn Flying Club miles and elite status, as well as how you redeem those miles for "free flights" and upgrades. For earning miles and elite flyer status, this is coming in hot! Starting November 13th, 2016 you'll earn miles and elite tier points under a totally new system with brand new calculations and qualifications. For redeeming your Flying Club miles, those "free" flights we all save for, those changes will take effect on January 15th, 2017, not before. The new upgrade system will also be available January 16th. For bookings made before November 13th but flown after will earn at the old rate, while all booking made after November 13th will earn at the new rates...

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More Miles For Top Flyers, Less For Economy Flyers...

Staying on trend for better (and worse), Virgin Atlantic are reducing the amount of miles that economy flyers will collect going forward. Earned Flying Club miles will still be based off the flown distance of a flight for all, but economy tickets will now earn 50% of the miles flown, rather than the full 100%. On the other end of the spectrum, all flyers will get significantly more miles in Upper Class and Premium Economy. This is essentially a move toward the revenue based earning models which other airlines have adapted. The "rich" get richer, etc. 

GRRR! More Miles For Upper Class Seats Using Miles, But Less For Economy. New Peak + Off Peak Seasons...

Take our money, not our miles! Unfortunately, Virgin Atlantic has for the first time in a very long time, decided to increase the number of miles required for an Upper Class flight, to cities all around the world. New York to London will now require 95,000 round trip off peak, and a whopping 115,000 during peak months. The good news is that to even the score for awarding economy flyers less miles and tier points, they are dropping the "off peak" number of miles needed for a "free" flight in Economy or Premium. You can now fly New York to London round trip for just 20,000 miles off peak, compared to 35,000 previously. Peak, will require 40,000, an increase of 5,000 miles from the old rates. Premium economy will now be attractively priced at 35,000 miles round trip between East Coast USA and London, the old Economy rate. Sadly in peak months it will be 55,000. Basically, you're going to want to pay cash during peak months. Check out the CHART HERE.

Booking With Cash And Upgrading Is A Bit Simpler, Maybe Even Better, Especially For Premium Economy...

Virgin Atlantic have "simplified" their upgrade process, whereby you now need half the miles for a totally "free" ticket using Flying Club miles to upgrade a paid ticket, round trip. Plain and simple, if it costs 35,000 miles round trip for Premium Economy using miles, you can upgrade from Economy to Premium on a paid ticket for half that number round trip, or a quarter of that number of miles one way. Upgrades to Upper Class are the same game. To upgrade two cabins, from Economy to Upper Class, you'll need 75% of the miles for the free flight, plus the paid ticket. That will run you 71,200 round trip, a generally terrible value. Stick to one cabin upgrades (and our handy guide to find space and book)...

Credit Cards Are The New King, Best Way To Earn For Economy Flyers...

in speaking with Virgin Atlantic about the changes, it became very apparent that they want more interaction with their brand, not just by flying. Those who have a Virgin Atlantic credit card, or an Amex, Citi or Chase card which can transfer points to Virgin Atlantic will not have their earning rates cut, while finding more opportunities to earn for every day purchases. The airline was quick to point out that upgrades to Premium Economy now cost half what they used to, just 17,400 miles round trip and at just 20,000 miles round trip for an economy redemption, someone who spends on their card could get a "free" flight, without even flying. We highly suggest using the Shops Away, online shopping portal to earn miles, credit card or not...

Easier To Qualify For Elite Status If You Fly Premium And Upper Class, Harder For Economy Passengers... 

Once again, spend more, get more. Flyers can now qualify for status with just a single round trip in Upper Class (on the most expensive tickets), and hit top tier with as little as two and a half round trips. If flying economy however, you'd need 20 round trips in a single year traveling on discount tickets to hit Gold. For Silver, two Premium Economy round trips, excluding the cheapest Premium Economy fares will get the job done, while the cheapest economy fares will need 8 round trips to hit the mark. It's great news for some, especially corporate travelers, while the mountain may now seem out of sight for semi frequent leisure + business folks. Interestingly, Virgin Atlantic has slashed elite tier bonuses to 30% for Silver and 60% for Gold respectively, however the bonuses will apply to cabin bonus as well. This means Silver and Golds flying economy will earn less than previously, but in Upper Class, more than ever.

I Want To Know More, I Want Details...

We had the same thought. Fortunately, Virgin Atlantic created a very handy guide to all the changes. You may need to call a cabin steward to assist in digesting the positive spin language, which is enough to make you faint, but you'll find literally everything you could want to know in regards to things going forward. It's the same information we received. Link HERE.