7 ways to use your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles from Manchester
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Virgin Atlantic has one of the best airline reward membership schemes if you live in the north of England, known as the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Flying to four year-round destinations and three seasonal destinations, Manchester Airport (MAN) is one of the airline’s hubs in the UK.
As well as there being some tempting points and miles redemptions to be had, there are currently some great sale fares from Manchester to destinations like Orlando (MCO) in economy. That’s not all. If New York has been on your bucket list for a while, there are flights in premium economy from just £727 return.
It’s not always easy to find availability on points and miles, and that’s no exception here. The key is to try and be flexible and plan as far in advance as possible.
From MAN, there are seven destinations in total to which you can fly direct: Atlanta (ATL), Barbados (BGI), New York (JFK) and Orlando (MCO) all year around, and then depending on the season, you can fly direct to Boston (BOS), Las Vegas (LAS) and Los Angeles (LAX).
Let’s start with the year-round options:
Virgin operates a Boeing 747 once daily to Atlanta, and the experience in Upper Class in the nose of the Queen of the Skies is an absolute treat. What’s great about redeeming with Virgin is that you can buy back some of the miles you have spent on the ticket. For example, for a fight from Manchester (MAN) to Atlanta (ATL), I was able to buy back 8,160 miles for £81.80.
The flight operates on the following schedule:
- VS109 Manchester (MAN) 11:05 a.m. Departure ⇒ Atlanta (ATL) 2:50 p.m. Arrival
- VS110 Atlanta (ATL) 6 p.m. Departure ⇒ Manchester (MAN) 6:50 a.m. (+1) Arrival
You can redeem flights from 47,500 miles + £421 in Upper Class one-way.
The current summer schedule for flights to Barbados is a 2x weekly frequency on Tuesdays and Fridays:
- VS077 Manchester (MAN) 11:30 a.m. Departure ⇒ Bridgetown (BGI) 3:25 p.m. Arrival
The return flight operates at slightly different times dependent on the day, with the Tuesday flight departing 20 minutes earlier than the Friday departure:
- VS078 Bridgetown (BGI) 5:40 p.m. Departure ⇒ Manchester (MAN) 7:10 a.m. (+1) Arrival (Tuesday)
- VS078 Bridgetown (BGI) 6 p.m. Departure ⇒ Manchester (MAN) 7:30 a.m. (+1) Arrival (Friday)
Redemptions start as low as 10,000 + £145 in economy — a absolute steal for a one-way flight to the Caribbean.
Virgin operates a daily Boeing 747 from Manchester (MAN) to New York (JFK) on the following schedule:
- VS127 Manchester (MAN) 1:50 p.m. Departure ⇒ New York (JFK) 4:40 p.m. Arrival
- VS128 New York (JFK) 6 p.m. Departure ⇒ Manchester (MAN) 6:50 a.m. (+1) Arrival
When there are seats available for a redemption, you can get one-way fares from as few as £47,500 miles and £416 in fees and taxes in Upper Class. Initially, that might seem a lot to pay on top of using your miles, but a return ticket in cash starts from £4,865. So, using the miles option here doesn’t damage the bank balance near as much as paying in cash.
Family favourite Orlando (MCO) — where Disney World is located — is served 2x daily, with both outbound flights departing in the morning:
- VS075 Manchester (MAN) 9:15 a.m. Departure ⇒ Orlando (MCO) 1:55 p.m. Arrival
- VS073 Manchester (MAN) 11 a.m. Departure ⇒ Orlando (MCO) 3:10 p.m. Arrival
The return flights, VS076 and VS074, are both daily and overnight.
- VS076 Orlando (MCO) 5 p.m. Departure ⇒ Manchester (MAN) 6:05 a.m. (+1) Arrival
- VS074 Orlando (MCO) 7 p.m. Departure ⇒ Manchester (MAN) 8:05 a.m. (+1) Arrival
Friday sees a slight change to the VS074 departure, as it leaves around one hour later than the rest of the week.
- VS074 Orlando (MCO) 7:55 p.m. Departure ⇒ Manchester (MAN) 9 a.m. (+1) Arrival
One-way economy redemptions start at 12,500 miles and £177 — slightly more expensive than the routes to New York (NYC) and Barbados (BGI). This could still provide excellent value for a family of four looking to shave some money off the cost of a holiday.
Meanwhile, three of Virgin’s routes from Manchester (MAN) remain seasonal. Boston (BOS), Las Vegas (LAS) and Los Angeles (LAS) are served during the summer season. Schedules haven’t been published for 2020 yet, but for the rest of the summer season 2019, the schedules are as follows:
There is one daily flight departing mid-afternoon and returning overnight like most eastbound transaltantic flights. The flights are operated by the airline’s Airbus A330-200, which TPG has reviewed in both economy and premium economy.
It operates on the following schedule:
- VS121 Manchester (MAN) 3:10 p.m. Departure ⇒ Boston (BOS) 5:40 p.m. Arrival
- VS122 Boston (BOS) 7:55 p.m. Departure ⇒ Manchester (MAN) 7:30 p.m. (+1) Arrival
Like Barbados (BGI) and New York (JFK), the redemptions in economy start at 10,000 miles and £178 in economy and rise to £47,500 and £422 in Upper Class. Once again, these can be a great value despite the high taxes and fees.
The Las Vegas (LAS) schedule is the most complicated. You can fly direct 4x per week with outbound departure times varying from mid-morning to early afternoon.
Due to the distance and duration of the flight, the redemptions are considerably more expensive than to the East Coast. Economy starts at 25,000 miles and £177, rising to 67,500 miles and £421 in Upper Class. This is a very popular route, so make sure if you’re planning a trip that you book as far in advance as possible to avoid disappointment.
Finally, the airline’s newest addition to its route map at Manchester Airport (MAN) is LAX. The inaugural flight departed for the first time on 31 May this year and has since operated 3x weekly service to America’s West Coast. Departing Manchester early afternoon and returning early evening from Los Angeles (LAX) on the following schedule:
- VS181 Manchester (MAN) 1 p.m. Departure ⇒ Los Angeles (LAX) 4 p.m. Arrival
- VS182 Los Angeles (LAX) 6:05 p.m. Departure ⇒ Manchester (MAN) 12:30 p.m. (+1) Arrival
Miles redemptions for this route are currently only bookable over the phone. The number of miles for a one-way flight on this route is as follows:
- Economy: from 15,000 miles
- Premium economy: from 27,500 miles
- Upper Class from: 67,500 miles
Taxes and fees will be available on time of booking.
Featured photo by Dan Ross/The Points Guy.
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