a bed in a plane

Got points?

From a delicious afternoon tea complete with rosé champagne to a flat bed in the sky and an on board bar, Virgin Atlantic offer plenty of reasons to upgrade. In fact, it’s long been one of the best ways to cash in Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points and is one of the most rewarding airlines for intl’ upgrades.

Virgin Atlantic recently launched “three new ways to fly” in economy, and though many of the changes are exciting, it’s now a bit harder to upgrade some tickets to the next cabin. Here’s the scoop for upgrading on Virgin Atlantic from here on out, wherever you’re currently booked…

a row of chairs in a planeUpgrades From Economy To Premium Or Upper Class

Virgin Atlantic simplified the way you book economy tickets in 2018. You can book light, classic or delight, where both classic and delight offer free seat assignments and checked bags, while light economy does not. Every option still gets food and drinks on board.

But with the new economy “light” fares, you’re no longer eligible to upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy or Upper Class when you book one of these tickets. If you’d like to – you’ll need to call in and check the price difference to move up to a “classic” economy ticket or above.

Once you’re in “classic” or “delight” class, you can use points to upgrade. Upgrades from economy to Upper Class requires 35,600 points one way from London to East Coast US or vice versa. An upgrade from economy to premium requires just 8,700 points, but some extra cash too. All other Virgin Atlantic destinations are available, in similar ball park figures.

inside a plane with rows of seatsUpgrades From Premium Economy To Upper Class

Not long ago, you could upgrade to Upper Class from any Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy fare. That’s sadly no longer the case in the new scheme. The most affordable Premium Economy fares book into “K” class, which is something you can see when you get to the final step of the booking process, thankfully before you enter your credit card info.

To see if you’re booking an ineligible fare for upgrade, simply click “fare breakdown” to see the booking class code. If it begins with “K”, you’re out of luck. Sites like Expedia show the fare code at a similar stage by pressing “show fare and baggage details”. No “K” – no problem.

But if you’ve got “K” as your premium economy fare code, you’ll need to pay up to a more expensive premium economy ticket to be eligible to upgrade using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles. Upgrades cost 23,700 points between London and East Coast US, less for India and slightly more for West Coast USA and China.

a room with a pool table and red couchHow To Find Available Virgin Atlantic Upgrades

The best way to upgrade is always by searching for flights with upgrades already available before you nook. If you don’t find one, you can always keep searching and upgrade at a later time – but it does feel great to lock an upgrade in immediately.

To look for upgrades on Virgin Atlantic, head to their website as if you were going to book a flight using points only. Enter the flight info for the flight you’d like to book using cash and then upgrade using points, but this time, press “pay with miles” only. Next, select “advanced options” and enter the cabin you’re NOT booking with cash, which you’d like to upgrade to.

If a reward seat is available in that cabin, an upgrade definitely is too.

Once you see that a seat is available in the cabin you’d like to upgrade to (not the cabin you’re going to pay for), make your flight booking online and then call Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to process your points upgrade instantly!

Have you ever upgraded? How was it?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. One of my first ever business class flights was actually an airport upgrade using Virgin miles to go from Premium to UC on a LHR-HKG flight.

    Can’t remember the exact figure but it was a great use of miles and an unexpected Clubhouse visit was a very good way to start our trip.

    Re the above – also worth noting that Virgin allow you to use miles to upgrade at the airport. Something that, unless it’s changed recently, BA still won’t let you do.

  2. For the ex-UK segment, do you have to pay the difference in departure tax if you upgrade from economy?

  3. Any idea on if you can still upgrade from Premium Economy (G) to Upper Class if you booked with Delta? If so, any idea on how many miles it costs from JFK – LHR? Thanks

    1. We just did this three weeks ago on a Delta ticket for a Virgin plane. Was 35,600 Virgin Flying Club miles + about $550 in taxes. The original ticket was for Economy “Delight” class and this was U.S. to U.K.

  4. We just upgraded our premium seats to upper class on a London to Dubai flight.
    We booked the original seats on points. So an upgrade to upper was always on the cards.

    We asked at the bag drop if it was possible.
    We spoke to the sales desk. And we upgraded for 25,000 each and £50 taxes (each)
    However I have yet to see Virgin take the points.
    Thank you Virgin for such an unforgettable trip!

  5. What does H and K mean on a flight I want to book from Manchester to Atlanta then on to Orlando in august that’s premium economy thank you

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