Best Ways to Book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class With Points [Step-by-Step]

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

If airlines have gained a reputation for taking the fun out of travel, Virgin Atlantic has worked hard to be different. The London-based airline brings a fun atmosphere to flying, and it’s obvious when flying their Upper Class product.

From great lounges — particularly at London Heathrow and New York City (JFK) — to inflight bars to fun crew members, the Upper Class experience is nice and easy from start to finish.

A Look Inside Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Cabin
Every seat in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class has direct aisle access. Image courtesy of AusBT.

If you’re looking for a way to cross the Atlantic, flying Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic is a very nice way to go. Now, let’s be clear from the outset: this isn’t going to be the same over the top experience as flying Lufthansa first class or Singapore Airlines Suites Class to Europe, but it’s still a great way to fly.

Every Upper Class seat can flip into a lie-flat bed so you can catch some shuteye, whether you’re on a 7 hour flight from the East Coast or a 10 hour flight from San Francisco. Additionally, each seat has direct aisle access, so you won’t have to worry about others climbing over you or tripping on someone just to walk around during the flight.

Again, don’t expect the same kind of space at your seat that you’d find when flying Singapore Airlines business class. The seat width isn’t terrible, but the walls on each side of it can feel a bit cramped. If you want to turn your seat into a bed, you’ll need to get some help from a crew member as the seat won’t recline until flat. Instead, it must be flipped into the bed position.

Finally, most Upper Class seats are positioned so that you are facing someone across the aisle. This leaves very little privacy for those who would prefer to feel like they’re alone when sitting in their business class seat.

As part of Virgin Atlantic’s effort to make flying fun, you will also have access to their inflight bar. If you have an overnight flight from New York City (JFK) or Washington Dulles to London, you might not find many people congregating, but there are usually at least a few. If you have a long flight, you can expect more action around the bar (especially if it’s a daytime flight).

Whether you’re hanging around the bar or watching a movie from your seat, you’ll always be able to enjoy a glass of champagne or a cocktail.

As an Upper Class passenger, you’ll also enjoy a multi-course meal that includes an appetizer, main course, dessert, and a cheese course. Throw in some friendly service from the crew, and you have quite the enjoyable flight.

virgin clubhouse
Waiting for a flight can be fun when you’re relaxing at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.

Beyond the flights, you will also have access to Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses at a number of airports, including the famous Clubhouse at London Heathrow. Additionally, when London Heathrow is your destination, you can grab a shower and a bite to eat at the Revivals Lounge before heading into the city.

Now that you have an idea of what to expect (and why you probably want to book Upper Class soon), let’s talk about the booking process itself.

How to Fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Using Miles

Unlike many airlines, Virgin Atlantic is not part of a major airline alliance, but they have partnered with several other airlines. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can use miles and points try Virgin Atlantic Upper Class.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Award Chart
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has competitive redemption rates, but carrier-imposed surcharges are steep.

As you would expect, you can use Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club program to book Upper Class award tickets. The process is quite simple; just follow the steps below:

  1. Visit Virgin Atlantic’s website
  2. Select “Book” from menu options
  3. Select “Book A Flight” from the drop-down menu
  4. Enter your origin and destination
  5. Select “One-Way” or “Return”
  6. Select your travel date(s)
    • If you don’t need to travel on specific dates, you can choose to search for dates within 1 week or within 5 weeks
  7. Select “Pay with Miles”
  8. Show “Advanced Options”
  9. Select “Upper Class” as the cabin type
  10. Click “Find My Flights”
  11. Select your flight and click “Next Step”
  12. Review the Flight Summary and click “Next Step”
  13. If you aren’t logged in to your Flying Club account, you will be prompted to do so now
  14. Complete your booking

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when booking with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. First, the carrier-imposed surcharges are steep, especially when flying from the United States to the United Kingdom. Second, the Flying Club award chart has peak season and regular season. Make sure you book awards during the regular season to save a ton of miles.

While the redemption rates aren’t always great and the carrier-imposed surcharges can be very high, the advantage to using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is that you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards (almost instantly), American Express Membership Rewards (roughly 2 days), Citi ThankYou Points (roughly 2 days), and SPG Starpoints (around 1 day) to your account when you need more miles.

Delta SkyMiles

If you want to keep carrier-imposed surcharges to a minimum, Delta SkyMiles is probably your best bet. To book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to Delta’s website
  2. Log in to your SkyMiles account
  3. Select “Book A Trip”
  4. Enter your origin and destination
  5. Enter your travel dates; choose “Exact Dates” or “Flexible Dates”
    • You can also use “Advanced Search” to search by month
  6. Select to show the price in “Miles”
  7. Select your flights
    • Make sure the flight is operated by Virgin Atlantic – this will be clearly stated
  8. Review your itinerary
  9. Enter passenger information, then select your seat and pay the taxes/fees

As Virgin Atlantic operates out of a limited number of airports in the United States, a connection on Delta might be required. Sometimes, the online search results won’t show Virgin Atlantic flights as an option if a connection is required.

However, if you can find award space on Virgin Atlantic and a separate saver level award for a connecting flight, there is a way to make this work. You can speak with Delta via online chat or over the phone and they can add the connecting flight so you don’t have to book separate awards.

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards and SPG Starpoints to your Delta SkyMiles account at a 1:1 ratio if you need more SkyMiles to complete your booking. Transfers from Membership Rewards generally process almost instantly while those from SPG Starpoints can take a couple days.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club

ANA Partner Award Chart
ANA has some great redemption rates for partners. In fact, it’s the cheapest points cost for an Upper Class booking, but you will be hit with carrier-imposed surcharges.

Unlike the options above, if you want to book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class with All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club, you will have to call to complete the booking. Just follow these steps for an easy booking process:

  1. Go to Delta’s website
  2. Select “Book A Trip”
  3. Enter your origin and destination
  4. Enter your travel dates; choose “Exact Dates” or “Flexible Dates”
    • You can also use “Advanced Search” to search by month
  5. Select to show the price in “Miles”
  6. Select your flights
    • Make sure the flight is operated by Virgin Atlantic – this will be clearly stated
  7. Note the flight numbers and times
  8. Call ANA’s contact center at 1-800-235-9262
  9. Specify that you want to book an award ticket on their partner Virgin Atlantic
  10. Provide the flight dates and flight info
  11. Complete the booking

Like Virgin Atlantic, you’ll want to be careful when booking with ANA Mileage Club as they will pass on the steep carrier-imposed surcharges. While the mileage cost is much cheaper, ANA requires you to book a round-trip award ticket — which means very expensive taxes and fees.

Like with Delta, you can transfer Amex Membership Rewards and SPG Starpoints to your ANA Mileage Club account to get the necessary miles to book Upper Class.

The difficult part is that Membership Rewards often take 2-3 days to transfer, and SPG Starpoints can take 7 days for a transfer to process. This is made more difficult by the fact that ANA will not put award tickets on hold.

Other Ways to Book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

Virgin Atlantic also partners with Singapore Airlines, which allows you to use KrisFlyer miles to book Upper Class. Unfortunately, other airline partners such as Air New Zealand and South African Airways don’t have award charts that are competitive.

Great Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Redemptions

How to Redeem Virgin Atlantic Miles
There are some interesting ways to redeem miles to fly Upper Class all the way to South Africa.

Many of the award booking options for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class flights are going to involve some steep taxes and fees thanks to carrier-imposed surcharges. With that being said, there are some interesting ways to book Upper Class so you can get the most bang for your miles.

If you are okay with roughly $1,200 in taxes and fees, you can book Upper Class with ANA Mileage Club for 88,000 miles round-trip between San Francisco and London. You could also depart from New York City, Washington, D.C., or another city further east, but if you’re going to spend $1,200 on taxes and fees, it might as well be for a 10 hour flight so you can have time to enjoy the inflight bar.

If you only need a one-way award ticket, Delta SkyMiles can book Upper Class for 85,000 miles plus only $5.60. Clearly, this is the cheapest out of pocket option. Since Delta uses a region-based award chart, the cost will be 85,000 miles whether you book Upper Class from San Francisco or New York City.

Virgin Atlantic’s own Flying Club program splits the United States into East and West with different redemption rates for each. The East includes Atlanta, Boston, Miami, New York, Orlando, and Washington, D.C.; a one-way Upper Class booking will cost 47,500 miles plus around $500 in taxes and fees.

From the West Coast (San Francisco and Seattle), it will cost 67,500 miles plus the ~$500 in taxes and fees. Regardless of the departure airport, make sure you book during the regular season since peak season rates require significantly more miles.

You could also connect in London on your way to Johannesburg, South Africa. Again, you’ll see that Delta provides an option without carrier-imposed surcharges: 150,000 SkyMiles plus around $50 for a one-way Upper Class award.

ANA Mileage Club allows you to book Upper Class round-trip for 104,000 miles plus rougly $1,100. Notice that this is actually cheaper than just flying to London. ANA also lets you book a stopover, so you could visit London for a week before continuing to South Africa if you wanted.

Virgin Atlantic requires 105,000 miles for a one-way award in Upper Class plus just over $500 for taxes and fees.

Each loyalty program has its positive aspects when booking Upper Class. Delta keeps your cash costs to a minimum, ANA requires the fewest miles, and Virgin Atlantic miles can be earned so easily because of 4 transfer partners.

How to Earn Enough Miles for Upper Class

If you want to collect points that can be transferred to any of the programs discussed above, you’ll want to earn American Express Membership Rewards or SPG Starpoints.

There are tons of credit card options for earning Membership Rewards, and many come with bonus categories to making earning points even easier.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
The Platinum Card® from American Express

Need Inspiration?
> 57 Best Ways To Use Amex Points
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • Up to $200 Uber Savings Annually.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Our Review
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 points.
  • 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines.
  • 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $195
  • Our Review
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Our Review

SPG Starpoints can only be earned with 2 credit cards, and there aren’t any bonus categories. However, for every chunk of 20,000 Starpoints you transfer, you will receive a bonus of 5,000 airline miles.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Need Inspiration?
> 45 Best Ways To Use SPG Points
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Our Review
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 35,000 bonus Starpoints®. Offer ends 11/1/17.
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Our Review

If you want to book with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles, you can also earn Ultimate Rewards through a number of cards that each have useful bonus categories.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
#1 - Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Need Inspiration?
> 49 Best Ways To Use Ultimate Rewards Points
  • 50,000 bonus points.
  • That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through
    Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
  • Our Review
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card
  • 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Our Review
Chase Freedom®
  • Earn 5% cash back in bonus categories
  • No annual fee
  • Our Review
Chase Freedom Unlimited℠

Finally, you can earn ThankYou Points and transfer them to Virgin Atlantic to reach the required miles for your next Upper Class adventure.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Citi Prestige® Card
  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Our Review
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
  • 2 ThankYou® Points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants and entertainment
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Our Review
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
  • 3 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on Travel, including Gas
  • Annual Fee: $95 (Fee waived for the first 12 months)
  • Our Review

What Makes Virgin Atlantic Upper Class a Great Redemption?

Flying Virgin Atlantic Upper Class is a great way to travel for a number of reasons, but here are few that really stand out.

The Clubhouse and Revivals Lounge

When you fly Upper Class, make sure you leave time to visit one of their Clubhouse lounges, especially if you are departing or connecting at London Heathrow or New York City (JFK). From great cocktails and champagne to delicious meals, you’ll actually enjoy waiting for your flight here!

Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge
Recharge at the Virgin Atlantic Revivals Lounge at London Heathrow. Image courtesy of AusBT.

If London is your destination, take advantage of the Revivals Lounge at Heathrow. You can get a hot shower, breakfast, and coffee or tea to give you a jolt and start the day right. If you so desire, spa treatments are also available, which can be especially nice after a long flight from the U.S West Coast.

Inflight Bar

Virgin Atlantic Inflight Bar
Whether chatting with a colleague or just enjoying a drink, the Virgin Atlantic inflight bar is a lot of fun.

There are several airlines that provide inflight bars, but you usually only find them on the Airbus A380. Virgin Atlantic has taken a different approach and installed inflight bars on all of their aircraft so every Upper Class passenger can mingle, enjoy a drink, and grab a snack.

A Fun Flying Environment

Whether it’s the atmosphere of The Clubhouse lounge or at the inflight bar, Virgin Atlantic strives to make flying fun. The crew members are very often friendly and willing to chat all while making sure every passenger has what they need.

Final Thoughts

While some business class products are great because of their spacious seats or cabin layout, Virgin Atlantic sets itself apart with its approach to flying. While the cabin layout could probably use some improvements and the seats are due for a bit of an upgrade, they are a fine way to travel and not the only reason to try Virgin Atlantic Upper Class.

With several ways to book one of these flights and plenty of ways to earn the necessary points to do so, you will be on your way to an Upper Class experience before you know it!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

FAQ

What is the best way to book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class?
The booking option that is best for you will be determined by whether you have tons of points to burn or are willing to part with some cash for taxes and fees.

If you want to avoid taxes and fees and have lots of Membership Rewards or SPG Starpoints, Delta SkyMiles will allow you to book Upper Class without carrier-imposed surcharges when departing from the United States.

If you don’t mind higher taxes and fees, are okay with booking round-trip awards, and have Membership Rewards and SPG Starpoints, ANA Mileage Club can help you book Upper Class for the fewest number of miles.

If you have Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points and can handle the higher taxes and fees, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is the way to go.

What credit cards can help me fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class?
You can transfer Membership Rewards and SPG Starpoints to ANA, Delta Air Lines, and Virgin Atlantic.

Ultimate Rewards and ThankYou Points cards can help you earn points to transfer to Virgin Atlantic.

If you want a co-branded card that earns airline miles directly, Bank of America provides a co-branded card that earns Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles while American Express provides several personal and small business credit cards that earn Delta SkyMiles.

What do I get when flying Virgin Atlantic Upper Class?
From start to finish, you can expect a fun experience when flying Virgin Atlantic Upper Class. Start things off with an amazing lounge experience at the famous Clubhouse. Then, enjoy a cocktail or glass of champagne at the inflight bar while you chat with your fellow Upper Class passengers. Once you land (at London Heathrow), jump start your day at the Revivals Lounge.

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