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

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

Full Disclosure: We may be financially compensated when you click on links to credit card products from our advertising partners, such as American Express, Chase, Citi & Capital One. Opinions and product recommendations on this site are ours alone, and have not been influenced, reviewed or approved by the issuer. See our Advertiser Disclosure for more details. Thanks!

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 (LHR) 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 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.

Hot Tip: 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 — 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.

On 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.

Virgin Atlantic’s New Upper Class

Virgin Atlantic New Upper Class Bed
Virgin Atlantic New Upper Class Bed. Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic revamped their Upper Class product. The old product consisted of herringbone seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, whereas this new arrangement consists of modified reverse herringbone seats.

Offered on the A350-1000, this new version of Upper Class represents a huge upgrade compared to their older Upper Class seats, which have been criticized for their lack of privacy.

Virgin Atlantic New Upper Class Seat
Virgin Atlantic New Upper Class Seat. Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic

The new Upper Class seats are 20 inches wide, 44 inches in pitch, and 82 inches in bed mode, equal to 6’10”. While these seats are quite narrow and on par with United Polaris, there’s a privacy divider that adds additional privacy.

The high-tech, touchscreen, in-flight entertainment screens measure 18.5 inches, so it represents a huge upgrade over the last version, which measured 13 inches. Also, the in flight entertainment system will be Bluetooth compatible, which will allow passengers to also control the screen at the touch of a phone.

All of the seats are facing the windows, so you won’t need to turn your neck to look outside. In addition, Virgin Atlantic is revamping their onboard bar. Instead of having an onboard bar, they will offer an in-flight lounge called The Loft.

Virgin Atlantic New Upper Class Seat
Virgin Atlantic New Upper Class Seat. Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic

Inside The Loft, you’ll find lounge seating for up to 8 passengers and tables for snacks and drinks. Also, you can enjoy programming from the 32 inch television connected to personal Bluetooth headphones.

Currently, the new Virgin Atlantic Upper Class seat is offered on:

  • New York City (JFK) – London-Heathrow (LHR)
    • Daily from September 10, 2019
    • 2x Daily from September 24, 2019
    • 3x Daily from November 5, 2019
    • 4x Daily from December 9, 2019
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – London-Heathrow (LHR) {starting from March 29, 2020}

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 a number of rewards currencies to book if 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 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.

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 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. 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. 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.

Hot Tip: Since Delta uses a region-based award chart, the one-way 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 from here 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 roughly $1,100. Notice that this is actually cheaper than just flying to London!

Hot Tip: 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.

Overall, each loyalty program has its positive aspects when booking Upper Class:

  • Delta keeps your cash costs to a minimum
  • ANA requires the fewest miles
  • Virgin Atlantic miles can be earned so easily because of 4 transfer partners

How to Earn Enough Miles for Upper Class

Flying Club miles can be transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Citi Thank You Rewards (all at a rate of 1:1), or from Marriott Bonvoy at a transfer rate of 3:1.

Delta and ANA are Amex and Marriott transfer partners.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card - This is our favorite beginners travel rewards card which has a 60,000 point bonus (highest ever) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

This sign up bonus is worth $750 in travel purchases (flights, hotels, car rentals etc) when you redeem your points through Chase's travel portal, which works like Expedia. The bonus alone could get you multiple round-trip flights or hotel stays.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® - Consider this premium card if you want to get into a lot of airport lounges. The current sign up bonus is 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You'll also get a $300 travel credit per year which wipes away a big chunk of the $450 annual fee.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® - A simple, no annual fee card that earns you a $150 bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months. Easy earning at 1.5% on all purchases. Just know that you won't get any travel benefits or the ability to earn bonus points with this card.

Business Owner? See our article on Chase business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months. This is our favorite card for getting into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass) and we get about $2,700+ in value from the card every year.

Plus, get up to $200 in Uber credits annually ($15 per month and a $20 bonus in December) — and up to $200 in annual credit for airline incidental charges (e.g. baggage fees). For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide and 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x). There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly.

With a welcome bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months and a $100 airfare credit per year, for many this is an easy addition to your wallet. For rates and fees of the Gold Card, click here.

Business Owner? See our article on Amex business cards that earn Membership Rewards.

Recommended Marriott Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card - for a limited time, earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. A solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Business Card, click here.

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 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.

Keep in mind that the inflight bar will not be offered on the new Upper Class routes. Instead, you’ll be able to enjoy The Loft aboard the new Upper Class.

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 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!


Like this Post? Pin it on Pinterest!

Best Ways to Book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Using Points


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, 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, 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 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.

Spencer Howard

About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience. Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class! Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal).

Advertisement

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Bonus Valuation*: $1,150+

Why We Like It: This card is our #1 recommended rewards card (especially for those getting into points and miles) because it’s easy to earn points, they’re extremely valuable and the bonus is worth $1,150 in our valuations!

*Our bonus valuation is calculated internally by experts at Upgraded Points, not the card issuer. See our latest valuations here.

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Email needed if you'd like comment updates. It will NOT be published.

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written by experts who know these products inside out, and what we recommend is what we would (or already) use ourselves. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. For more information on our advertisers, see here.