I noticed on TLFL’s Facebook group recently that there was quite a bit of confusion about the upgrade and companion vouchers for Virgin’s credit card. So I thought I would go over that again in this article as well as the changes.
More reward seats available
Virgin Atlantic is following BA’s lead and guaranteeing a minimum number of reward seats when they are released at midnight 330 days in advance. These will be:
- Two seats in Upper Class
- Two seats in Premium
- Eight seats in Economy
They will also be releasing extra top-up seats to the same minimum amount for all flights after 29 July unless the flight is sold out or they had already released that many reward seats for the flight. These changes take effect at midnight on 29 June so if you have been looking for seats it could be worth staying up to see if any are released for your dates!
Extra seats for Gold Flying Club members – with a catch
The second change also follows BA with Gold members being able to book a reward seat in any cabin. The catch is that you have to pay double points which is the same as BA but you have to book more than 60 days in advance which is worse than BA’s 30 days. The taxes and charges are the same – you don’t have to pay double those! While the double points can be quite useful on short-haul for BA when prices are very high, I can’t see many scenarios where using double points on long haul would be cost-effective with Virgin.
You must be gold at the time of booking but don’t need to be at the time of flying. You can book other people on the same booking that are not gold.
This change also takes effect on 29 June 2022.
Using the Virgin Atlantic Mastercard’s upgrade and companion vouchers
Virgin has two Mastercard credit cards which earn companion or upgrade vouchers.
The Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard costs £160 a year and you earn an upgrade or a Companion ticket or Clubhouse access when you spend £10,000 in a year (taxes and fees still apply for both tickets). There is also a free card, the Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard, which gets you an upgrade to Premium or a Companion ticket when you spend £20,000 in a year (taxes and fees still apply for both tickets) or a Clubhouse pass.
The first thing to be aware of is that unlike BA, you won’t be able to see your vouchers on your account which is very annoying. Therefore you won’t know when you have earned one or when it expires without contacting Virgin via phone or chat.
You can only earn one reward every 12 months. The 12 months resets on each anniversary of the date your Virgin Atlantic Reward Credit Card account was opened.
You can spend your reward for up to 24 months from the date it’s issued. That means you have to have booked your flights and taken the outbound flight within those 24 months. You can take the return journey afterwards.
For Upgrade or Companion Reward Tickets, you can use it on a round trip, or upgrade two one-way flights. It’s subject to availability because they come from a limited number of seats in booking classes G, P and A only (reward seats). You’ll still need to pay any taxes, fees and surcharges.
Upgrade Rewards and Companion Rewards are not valid on codeshare flights. Flights must have a “VS” prefix and be operated by Virgin Atlantic.
Using Companion vouchers
- The Companion reward will automatically be added to your Flying Club account within 30 days of earning it. It’ll be ready to spend straightaway.
- Companion vouchers can now be used in conjunction with any ticket in any booking class and can be used in any cabin of travel (excluding Economy Light and Economy Delight) regardless of your tier status. Your companions can’t be booked into a higher cabin than you.
- You can take one extra person with zero or 50% extra points but you will still need to pay the taxes and fees in full for both people.
- If you are Silver or Gold when you make the booking (not when you earn it or when you travel) the companion reward seat will be zero points. If you are Red when you make the booking, the companion seat will be zero point in Economy Classic and Premium, or a 50% reduction in the points needed for Upper.
- You will have to contact Virgin to use the voucher or find out if you have one and its expiry date. You can call or use chat.
- You can check availablity of reward seats (there will need tio be two seats available) on Virgin or by using Seatspy.
Using Upgrade vouchers
- The reward will automatically be added to your Flying Club account within 30 days of earning it. It’ll be ready to spend straightaway.
- Upgrade vouchers can now be used in conjunction with any ticket in any booking class including reward flights (but excluding Economy Light), for a one cabin upgrade for a return flight. This includes cash tickets, even if you bought them through an agent.
- Upgrade Rewards may be redeemed by calling the VAA Customer Centre. Alternatively, you may redeem your Virgin Points for an Upgrade Reward (subject to availability) on the day of departure at the VAA ticket desk at the airport prior to checking in and at least two hours prior to departure.
- Upgrade Rewards cannot be used in conjunction with any promotional fare or discount. Round trip Upgrade Rewards relate to two flown sectors only.