TPG reader question: Should I book direct with Virgin Atlantic or with Virgin Holidays?

Aug 29, 2021

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Booking directly with an airline brings with it a number of benefits. If you need to make any changes to your booking, it’s much easier to do so when you have booked with them directly, rather than with a third party or travel agent. These third parties may also impose their own change and cancellation fees on top of what the airline might charge.

You may also earn additional points and miles by booking directly with an airline.

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Package Holidays can also offer additional points and miles, or even a discount for bundling multiple travel products together.

So, which is the best option to maximise your travel? This brings us to this week’s reader question of the week.

I was wondering if you guys could do a comparison on which one of the following is better value:
1) Booking a flight and holiday package with Virgin Atlantic and then paying on Amex Gold card – get double points with booking direct with the airline; or
2) Booking the same flight and holiday packing with Virgin Holidays and paying on Amex Gold card – no double points as it’s not an airline.
However you can get a 7% loyalty discount if you enter your Virgin Flying Club number which brings the price down, but does that compensate for not getting double points on the total booking price?

Olly, TPG Reader

This is an excellent question from Olly and shows how well he is already thinking about his points and miles by tossing up these two options. Let’s crunch the numbers.

Let’s say Olly is spending £1,000 on his Virgin Atlantic flight and holiday. He will earn Virgin Points for taking the flight when he does, regardless of the payment method or party he booked through. He will also earn 1 point per £1 for booking through Virgin Holidays, and if he pays for the Virgin Holidays package with his Preferred Rewards Gold Card from American Express, he will earn 1 Membership Reward point per £1 spent, which he can then convert to Virgin Points at a rate of 1 to 1.

Related: 6 reasons the Preferred Rewards Gold Card was my first UK credit card

He will also save 7% off the cost of his Virgin Holidays package deal by bundling the flight and hotel together, so his £1,000 holiday would be reduced by £70 (7%) to £930, and then he would earn 930 Virgin Points plus 930 Membership Rewards points for booking through Virgin Holidays. TPG currently values Virgin Points at 1.2p each, so the 930 plus 930 points would be worth £20.46, bringing his total cost down to £909.54.

If he instead chose to book his flight and hotel through Virgin Atlantic, rather than Virgin Holidays, he would benefit from earning double points by paying on his card as it’s spent directly with an airline. His £1,000 purchase would not benefit from the 7% Virgin Holidays discount but would earn 2,000 Membership Rewards points, which we currently value at £28. This would reduce his cost only to £972.

This means that, in Olly’s situation, it’s a better deal to book through Virgin Holidays and enjoy that generous 7% package holiday discount.

Enjoy your holiday, OIly!

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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