Virgin Atlantic Improves its Award Change Policy and Offers Discounted Coach Awards

Head for Points has two big pieces of news about Virgin Atlantic’s frequent flyer program.

  • Virgin is offering 25,000 mile roundtrip coach awards. Though the pricing works whether you start in the U.S. or the U.K., I could only get the page with details of the offer to come up when my location was set to the U.K. Bookings for 25,000 instead of 35,000 miles roundtrip must be made by September 20 (for travel any time through end of schedule) and taxes and fees total £215 – £260.

  • Virgin has improved its award ticket cancellation and mileage redeposit policy. It used to be you’d lose 25% of your miles but there was no cancel/deposit option within 7 days of travel. Now you can cancel and get all of your miles back up to 24 hours prior to travel for a US$50 fee. Compare that to the sweeping new standard in the U.S. of $200, and it looks pretty good (and Delta will not allow changes within 72 hours of travel).

Virgin Atlantic adds fuel surcharges onto awards, as I note, but they did reduce those fees back in June.

Interestingly, Delta now owns 49% of Virgin Atlantic. With the big price increase for transatlantic business class awards it is not always obvious that I’d rather use Delta miles than Virgin Atlantic’s even though Virgin adds fuel surcharges onto awards regardless of the origin of the trip (Delta only imposes ‘international origination surcharges’ on European-originating trips, not awards starting in the U.S.).

Virgin Atlantic miles don’t expire for three years. They load their schedules 336 days out.

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Reading this article reminds me of the many reasons I choose to avoid Delta, because their frequent flyer program is so poor.

  2. Not interested in a “fuel surcharge” redemption. It’s scammy to say they’ve reduced the cost to 25,000 miles. When you consider the fuel surcharge, the equivalent cost compared to a decent program is much higher.

  3. Apparently not all agents are aware of this new policy. I had booked travel 3 weeks ago at the regular rate so I called to cancel my tickets and re-book at the reduced redemption. I was told that I would forfeit 25% of my miles and pay the fees to cancel my ticket. Called again and was told the same thing.

  4. @ShellyK – this new policy was not in place 3 weeks ago, and it’s *possible* that the fare rules in place at the time of booking are the ones you have to live by for cancelling now. This may apply only to new bookings going forward. I am not certain of this, and perhaps calling back and pointing to the new terms and conditions would help or at least get a better explanation from a supervisor.

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