What you need to know about the new improvements to Virgin Atlantic credit cards

Aug 21, 2020

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This week, Virgin Atlantic announced a raft of improvements to both its Flying Club programme, and its cobranded Rewards and Rewards+ credit cards. Among the changes, it’s now possible to earn elite-qualifying Tier Points on award flights, as well as simplifying the process for earning and using vouchers.

If you have a Virgin Atlantic cobranded credit card, there’s some very good news to the benefits of it, which is worth explaining in detail.

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(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

Existing Vouchers get an extension

For starters, the vouchers earned by meeting spending requirements on your Virgin Atlantic credit cards have had their expiry date extended by six months. These vouchers are earned for spending either £10,000 each year on the Virgin Atlantic Rewards+ Credit Card, or £20,000 on the Virgin Atlantic Rewards Credit Card, and until now, were dependent on the cardholder’s Flying Club status level as follows:

1. If you held Flying Club Red status (the lowest/entry-level tier) and earned a Voucher, you could choose between:

  • To upgrade a single economy redemption flight to premium economy (Upgrade Voucher); or
  • A second economy redemption seat for a travelling companion for no additional miles on the same flight (Companion Voucher).

2. If you held Flying Club Silver status, you could choose between:

  • Upgrading a single economy redemption flight to premium economy (Upgrade Voucher);
  • A second economy or premium redemption seat for a travelling companion for free on the same flight (Companion Voucher); or
  • A single Virgin Clubhouse pass for London Heathrow (LHR) or London Gatwick (LGW) (Lounge Voucher).

3. If you held Flying Club Gold status, you could choose between:

  • Upgrading a single economy redemption flight to premium economy (Upgrade Voucher);
  • A second redemption seat for a travelling companion in any class for no additional miles on the same flight (Companion Voucher); or
  • Two Virgin Clubhouse pass for London Heathrow (LHR) or London Gatwick (LGW) (Lounge Voucher).

Related:

So, if you chose an Upgrade, Companion or Lounge Voucher before 13 March 2020, the expiry date has been extended a further six months. As they were previously extended by six months, this means a 12-month extension in total.

(Photo by Josh Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Josh Gribben for The Points Guy)

Changes to Vouchers

Each of the Upgrade, Companion or Lounge Vouchers have also been improved, for both existing vouchers and those newly earned ones, making this a permanent improvement.

Companion Vouchers have been simplified so they can be used in any booking class, rather than just being restricted based on your Flying Club status as listed above. Gold and Silver Flying Club members can book a companion into any class of service (economy, Premium, or Upper Class). Red Flying Club members can continue to book a companion into economy or Premium using the Companion Voucher, or into Upper Class for 50% of the miles required for a normal redemption seat. Fees, taxes and surcharges are applicable for both passengers.

Related: The ultimate guide to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Upgrade Vouchers have been simplified so they can now be used for a one-cabin return upgrade in any booking class (excluding Economy Light). This no longer has the Flying Club status level restrictions described above — anyone can upgrade from economy to Premium, or Premium to Upper Class, even if you are just an entry-level Flying Club Red member. Fees, taxes and surcharges are applicable for the upgrade.

What’s even better is that you can apply your Companion or Upgrade Vouchers on a cash fare, rather than just redemption fare. This means if you’ve earned a Companion or Upgrade Voucher but don’t have enough Flying Club miles for the first passenger to make a redemption, the first passenger can just book a cash fare. The first passenger can then apply the Companion Voucher for their companion or the Upgrade Voucher for themselves.

As for the Lounge Vouchers, previously you had to be flying Virgin Atlantic in order to use the voucher. Now, you can use it for any Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse when flying Virgin Atlantic, Delta, Air France or KLM. Note that for the time being, the best Virgin Clubhouse at Heathrow Terminal 3 remains closed until further notice. Virgin Atlantic passengers can use the far-inferior Plaza Premium Lounge in Terminal 2.

Related: Lounge lovin’: Virgin Atlantic Upper Class on the Boeing 787-9 from London to New York

If you have a Lounge Voucher, don’t use it for this lounge, as you’ll be disappointed — save it for when a proper Clubhouse hopefully reopens, if possible.

Virgin Clubhouse. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

These are all very welcome improvements to the Virgin Atlantic credit cards offering. The simplification of the different Voucher options will make them more valuable and easier to use, and will no longer restrict lower status Flying Club members from maximising their travel. For my money, I’d focus on the improved Companion or Upgrade Voucher, as you’re likely to be able to extract far more value than you would from the improved Lounge Voucher.

Keep in mind that Virgin Atlantic continues to operate a reduced route network during COVID-19, and British travellers face restrictions on entering most of the destinations Virgin Atlantic flies to for the time being.

Featured image by Josh Gribben / The Points Guy

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