Yesterday, Virgin Atlantic announced the Gold reward feature for Flying Club Gold members. This represents a big change to how reward flight availability will work going forward.
There will now be at least 12 guaranteed reward seats on all Virgin Atlantic flights in the following format:
- Two seats in Upper Class
- Two seats in Premium
- Eight seats in Economy
Currently, there are no restrictions on dates either (although the usual peak/off-peak date format will apply). So if you want to grab one of these seats, they will be available around 331 days prior to departure. This new gold member benefit will be limited to 60 days prior to departure, so it’s something that needs to be thought of in advance.
All flights departing from 29th July 2022 onwards will feature this minimum guarantee unless 12 seats have already been redeemed or the flight is sold out.
There are some minor restrictions to this new capability.
- Gold reward seats can only be booked by flying club gold members who retain status at the time of booking and they must travel on the booking too. Non-tier members can be included in the booking as additional passengers.
- Economy tickets can only be booked in Economy Classic – Delight and light sub-classes are not available to book. (The same as normal reward bookings).
- Gold reward tickets are only available between 331 days and 60 days prior to departure. This requires advance planning. Once you are within 60 days of departure, reward seats may or may not be added, depending on flight load & availability. This is essentially the same as how the system operates now anyway.
- Gold rewards are triggered on your account on renewal of Gold and are valid for 12 months. Flights must be booked within this period but you can travel after as long as you are a Gold member at the time of booking.
- Gold rewards cannot be combined with Virgin Atlantic upgrade or companion vouchers.
- You can book a maximum of 8 sectors per membership year.
- Gold redemption rewards cannot be gifted.
- You cannot use Gold rewards for Virgin Holidays or flight plus hotel package holidays.
In addition to this new availability, Gold members can also book any seat using double points.
Already a feature on Virgin’s partner, Delta, this enables members to book a reward seat even when there are no A, P or G fares available. Simply pay double points and book more than 60 days in advance. This essentially works in a similar manner to British Airways “joker” benefit for Gold Guest List members.
Double points redemptions can only be made over the phone or via web chat. Currently, there is no further information on any other restrictions around this benefit.
This is absolutely fantastic news for Virgin Atlantic Gold members. Reward seat availability has long been an issue for Virgin, and these steps are a solid improvement for loyal customers. Double points redemptions won’t be amazing value but will give extra flexibility to travellers if they have enough advance notice.