As a Virgin Australia partner, Virgin Atlantic flights can be booked using Velocity Frequent Flyer points. This could be a handy option if you want to travel to the UK from Asia, North America, South Africa or – from 25 September 2019 – Israel.
UK-based Virgin Atlantic is not to be confused with Australia-based Virgin Australia!
Booking Virgin Atlantic flights is a relatively good use of Velocity points. Virgin Atlantic award flights are priced at the same (lower) level as reward seats on Virgin Australia’s own flights. And there are no fuel or carrier surcharges when redeeming Velocity points for Virgin Atlantic flights. This means the taxes on a reward flight from Hong Kong or Shanghai to London, for example, are less than $42.
Virgin Atlantic offers Economy, Premium Economy and Business (which Virgin Atlantic markets as “upper class”) on its long-haul flights. All of Virgin Atlantic’s flights are on wide-body aircraft equipped with lie-flat Business class seats.
Virgin Atlantic flies the following routes from London and Manchester:
Seasonal flights to Orlando are also offered from Glasgow and Belfast during the summer. At the moment, Virgin Atlantic does not operate short-haul flights within Europe. But this will change soon as Virgin Atlantic acquires Flybe.
How many Velocity points are needed for a Virgin Atlantic award?
Virgin Australia uses a distance-based award chart, so the cost of a reward seat will depend on how far you’re flying.
As Velocity does not pass on fuel surcharges on Virgin Atlantic awards, only genuine government and airport taxes are payable. If you’re departing the UK, this could still be quite expensive as the UK Air Passenger Duty adds almost $300 to the cost of a Premium Economy or Business flight. But on flights to the UK, the taxes are very reasonable.
Here are some examples of award flight pricing on Virgin Atlantic:
|Origin||Destination||Velocity Points (Economy)||Velocity Points (Premium)||Velocity Points (Business)||Taxes (AUD)|
Of course, you can also redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points to book Virgin Atlantic flights. This could be an option, for example, if you have Amex points that are transferrable to Flying Club. In general, you’ll pay fewer Flying Club points than Velocity points for Virgin Atlantic flights – but Flying Club passes on higher fuel surcharges (except when departing Hong Kong). For example, a Business class flight from Shanghai to London would cost 57,500 Flying Club points (14,000 points less than Velocity) but $388 in taxes and charges ($346 more than Velocity).
How to book a Virgin Atlantic award flight with Velocity points
Unfortunately, it is not possible to book Virgin Atlantic reward seats online. You’ll need to call Velocity Frequent Flyer on 13 18 75 (or +61 2 8667 5924 from outside Australia) between 7.30am and 10.30pm (Sydney time).
When you call Velocity to book a Virgin Atlantic award, the agent will need to place a request for each flight individually and wait to see whether Virgin Atlantic has availability on that flight. This process can be time-consuming, so it helps to do your research before calling.
You can search independently for Virgin Atlantic award availability on Virgin Atlantic’s own website. Expert Flyer also shows Virgin Atlantic award availability. In most cases, the availability shown on these websites will correspond to what is available using Velocity Frequent Flyer points.
Would you like help using your frequent flyer points?
Frequent Flyer Solutions offers a personalised service that’s designed to take the hard work out of redeeming your frequent flyer points!
Award Flight Assist can help you to find the perfect flights using your points. Just let the team know how many points you have and where you would like to go, and they’ll prepare an itinerary for you.
Recommended by the Australian Frequent Flyer
Be the Frequent Flyer Expert! Subscribe below to The Frequent Flyer Gazette to receive free updates in your inbox every Monday & Thursday morning.