Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club has announced huge changes effective November 13th 2016. Here’s a summary of the changes:
- Earning miles on Virgin Atlantic flights: Earn fewer miles for cheap economy tickets, earn far more miles for expensive premium tickets. Mileage earning on partner airlines has not changed.
- Earning elite status: The details have changed quite a bit. If interested, please see Virgin Atlantic’s website for details.
- Redeeming miles: They introduced standard and peak dates where peak travel dates cost more miles for award flights. Unfortunately, even for standard dates, most Virgin Atlantic awards now cost more than before. They’ve included a handy calculator to see how much your routes of interest will cost under both the old and new system.
- Kids under 12 can now have their own Flying Club accounts.
- Family Pooling into a Household Account is a welcome new option, but it is only for Gold elite members. Gold members can pool miles together with others in their family.
- Miles plus Money awards are new. “For every 3,000 miles you spend, you’ll enjoy a discount off your ticket and will still earn miles and tier points on your flight.” Unfortunately, they don’t yet say how much money you’ll save which every 3,000 miles you spend so there’s no way yet to know if this is a good deal.
- Using miles to upgrade a paid flight now uses a simple standard formula: “An upgrade now costs 50% of the miles of a reward seat for a one cabin upgrade and 75% of the cost of a reward seat for a two cabin upgrade.” My guess is that upgrades now cost more than before, but I haven’t checked.
- You now get one Flying Club membership number for life. Apparently they previously changed up your number each time you changed elite levels.
Under the new program you’ll probably earn fewer miles on flights (unless you fly upper class), and in most cases you’ll need more miles for Virgin Atlantic award flights. The main bright spot I see in the new program is the welcome addition of family pooling.