The Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program has just unveiled some very nice improvements to award availability.
Virgin Atlantic guarantees 12 award seats per flight
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club guarantees a minimum of 12 award seats per flight once the flight schedule opens 331 days prior to departure. This applies to all Virgin Atlantic operated flights and there will be no blackout dates so this also applies during peak travel times.
This guarantee of 12 award seats will be distributed as follows:
- There will be at least two award seats in Business Class (Upper Class).
- There are at least two award seats in Premium Economy
- There will be at least eight award seats in Economy Class
Of course, more award seats could be made available (either when the flight schedule begins or closer to departure), but this is a minimum guarantee. This new guarantee is effective June 29, 2022 and applies to flights departing July 29, 2022 (however, for flights within the next 331 days, it is possible that the award seat minimum has already been used).
That’s a great development if you ask me. It’s always nice to know that your points can get you a seat on any plane, even at peak times. With an advantage like this, you really need to set your alarm clock and try to be the first person to book 331 days before departure.
To be honest, Virgin Atlantic is only catching up here. The British Airways Executive Club has long offered an Award Seat Guarantee. One area where Flying Club has been seriously innovative is award flight credit towards status, something you don’t see in many other programs.
Virgin Atlantic Gold Members receive availability of last place awards
Here’s another perk Elite members appreciate. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold members have access to last seat award availability, meaning any seat on the aircraft can be booked with Virgin points. However, there are a few things to consider:
- You will have to pay double the number of Virgin points normally required
- You must book more than 60 days in advance
- These can only be booked by telephone, so they cannot be booked directly online
- The traveler must also be a Gold member, but can bring companions
- You can use this advantage for up to eight branches per year
- This new policy is effective June 29, 2022
It’s also a nice new perk, especially at a time when many airlines are charging hundreds of thousands of points for premium cabin awards. Admittedly, this comes with some major caveats, the main one being that you must book at least 60 days in advance.
The value here would be greatest for awards booked closest to departure, but that won’t work here. Virgin Atlantic can manage inventory so that this benefit does not become too expensive given the booking schedule. It would be significantly more expensive for the airline if someone booked the last seat in Business Class with points two weeks before departure.
Virgin Atlantic has made some nice improvements when it comes to redeeming Virgin points.
Virgin Atlantic is adding an Award Seat Guarantee, which means there will be a minimum of 12 award seats per flight, including two premium award seats. In addition, Virgin Atlantic Gold members now receive the availability of last seat awards for double points, albeit with some major limitations.
These are both solid improvements that should add significant value to Flying Club members.
What do you think of these changes at Virgin Atlantic Flying Club?
(hat tip to TPG)