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Author Topic: Vegas Trip Information for anyone looking to go this year.  (Read 581758 times)
tonytats
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« Reply #4035 on: September 27, 2016, 07:05:33 PM »

isn't it 2 miles per £ on black Amex spend?

and as above there is nor problem getting the white and black cards

using various methods I have managed about 270k miles in 18 months

Probably is either way it's a good deal I think ,instead of just paying from my bank to hmrc I pay via these cards n get cheaper flights ,we like it Smiley
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Longines
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« Reply #4036 on: September 27, 2016, 07:25:46 PM »

Earning rates

White Amex £1 = 1 mile
White Visa  £2 = 1 mile

White upgrade voucher after spending £10k and £20k on the Amex

Black Amex £1 = 2miles
Black Visa £1 = 1 mile

Black upgrade voucher after spending £5k and £10k on the Amex

Black costs £140pa, White is free
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Rotty
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« Reply #4037 on: September 27, 2016, 11:46:32 PM »

isn't it 2 miles per £ on black Amex spend?

and as above there is nor problem getting the white and black cards

using various methods I have managed about 270k miles in 18 months

Probably is either way it's a good deal I think ,instead of just paying from my bank to hmrc I pay via these cards n get cheaper flights ,we like it Smiley

yep, doesn't take much work for what you can get from it
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Longines
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« Reply #4038 on: September 28, 2016, 09:37:29 AM »

Every little helps. 100 clubcard points transfers to 250 Virgin miles.

http://www.shopperpoints.co.uk/2016/09/22/100-free-clubcard-points-when-giving-tesco-your-insurance-renewal-date/
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the sicilian
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« Reply #4039 on: September 30, 2016, 05:22:21 PM »

yup got me the black cards.. use them a lot for business where i can.. racking up very nicely.. looks like last year wont be the last time i fly upper to Vegas
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Simon Galloway
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« Reply #4040 on: October 01, 2016, 12:04:56 PM »

yup got me the black cards.. use them a lot for business where i can.. racking up very nicely.. looks like last year wont be the last time i fly upper to Vegas

You are welcome.
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the sicilian
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« Reply #4041 on: October 01, 2016, 07:17:15 PM »

yup got me the black cards.. use them a lot for business where i can.. racking up very nicely.. looks like last year wont be the last time i fly upper to Vegas

You are welcome.

I was shown the light Smiley
« Last Edit: October 01, 2016, 07:19:38 PM by the sicilian » Logged

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Longines
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« Reply #4042 on: October 07, 2016, 10:09:56 AM »

Virgin have scrapped CombiFare which allowed you to buy a return ticket with half miles and half cash.
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Claw75
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« Reply #4043 on: October 24, 2016, 07:40:01 PM »

A friend of mine (known to blonde - London area) has $6k to sell asap.  If anyone is interested drop me a PM and I'll give you more details/put you in touch.

Cheers
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« Reply #4044 on: November 01, 2016, 11:11:35 AM »

Virgin have introduced big changes to earning and using miles as well as status qualification. I've posted the entire blog below but it's worthwhile reading the blog directly as it contains links etc.

http://www.headforpoints.com/2016/11/01/virgin-flying-club-changes-earning

Virgin Atlantic announced major changes to Virgin Flying Club yesterday.  You can find the details at this dedicated microsite.

I am looking at the changes in detail across two articles today and tomorrow.  To put it simply:

- miles earned from flights will be linked more closely to what you pay

- status will be tougher to earn

- peak and off-peak pricing for redemptions will be introduced

Economy and Premium Economy redemptions are generally getting cheaper whilst Upper Class is generally getting more expensive

Miles & Money can be used at 0.6p per mile and can cover the entire cost of a ticket, including taxes

there are NO changes to partner earning or redemption rates – everything unrelated to earning or spending miles on Virgin Atlantic remains untouched (this has been confirmed to me by Virgin although it is not mentioned on the website)

Earning changes

Today I want to focus on the changes to earning  – both Flying Club miles and tier points.

Change 1: Miles earned will be more closely related to the fare you paid


Virgin Atlantic has not moved to a revenue-based earning scheme BUT there will be a closer correlation between fare paid and miles earned.

This is how you currently earn miles on Virgin Atlantic flights (there are no changes to partner earning) – the actual chart is here:

    Upper Class (J, D, C) – 300% of miles flown
    Upper Class (I, Z) – 150%
    Premium Economy (W, S) – 150%
    Premium Economy (K, H) – 125%
    Economy – 100%

and this is the new rate from 13th November:

    Upper Class (J, D, C) – 400% of miles flown
    Upper Class (I, Z) – 200%
    Premium Economy (W, S) – 200%
    Premium Economy (K, H) – 100%
    Economy (Y, B, R) – 150%
    Economy (L, U, M) – 100%
    Economy (E, Q, V, N, O) – 50%

This PDF document shows the exact number of miles earned on every route, in every class.

If you have already booked a ticket for travel after 13th November, you will be rewarded under the most generous chart.  This is a welcome move.

Change 2:  Status bonuses will change, both in quantum and in the way they are calculated

Currently, a Gold member gets a bonus of 100% of base miles and a Silver member gets a bonus of 50% of base miles.

From 13th November, a Gold member gets a 60% bonus and a Silver member gets a 30% bonus on the total miles earned.

What does this mean?  Well, a Gold member gets a higher bonus if he flies a cabin and fare class earning 200% or more.  Otherwise the Gold member is worse off.  (60% of 200% is 120% which is higher than the old bonus of a flat 100%).

The same is true for a Silver member.  In a 200% cabin, your bonus is worth (30% of 200%) 60% of base miles.  That is higher than the current 50%.

Let’s see how a Gold member on a fully flexible ticket can really milk this!

Virgin Atlantic now guarantees that your miles are worth at least 0.6p because you can get that as a cash discount off any ticket (more on this tomorrow).

A Gold member flying to San Francisco on a flexible Upper Class ticket would now earn 68,633 miles.  At 0.6p per mile, that is £411 off your next Virgin flight.  Assuming you are a 40% taxpayer, that is the equivalent of a £700 bonus ……

Change 3:  New family earning options

Children under the age of 12 will now be able to have a Flying Club account in their own name.

However, slightly oddly, only Gold members will be allowed to pool miles via a family account.  You will therefore have children with relatively small balances (most kids are flying on discounted economy tickets) who can never redeem them.  After all, a child cannot have a Virgin credit card, an Amex charge card, a Heathrow Rewards account etc etc.

If BA did this it would be OK because the child would be able to redeem for short haul Avios redemptions.  That is not an option with Virgin Atlantic so these small balances are highly likely to expire.  I’m not sure that this simply won’t frustrate members more than benefit them.


Change 4:  Status becomes harder to earn

It will be harder to earn Virgin Atlantic status from 13th November.  I am not entirely sure of the merits of this approach because it isn’t as if Virgin status has a lot of benefits outside of flying Virgin Atlantic.  This may be a way of reducing pressure on the Heathrow Clubhouse now that all of the Delta flights have moved to Terminal 3.

For no good reason at all, Virgin is grossing up the tier point scale by 25.  Your existing balance will be grossed up 25x on 13th November.

Here are the current tier point earning rates, multiplied by 25 for easy comparison (see the website here for the original):

    Upper Class (J, D, C) – 150
    Upper Class (I, Z) – 125
    Premium Economy (W, S) – 100
    Premium Economy (K, H) – 75
    Economy (Y, B, R, L, U, M) – 75
    Economy (E, Q, V, N, O) – 50

based on a target of 1,000 for Gold and 375 for Silver.

This is the new chart:

    Upper Class (J, I, D, C) – 200
    Upper Class (Z) – 100
    Premium Economy (W, S) – 100
    Premium Economy (K, H) – 50
    Economy (Y, B, R, L, U, M) – 50
    Economy (E, Q, V, N, O) – 25

based on a target of 1,000 for Gold and 400 for Silver.

Unless you are on flexible Upper Class tickets, status will become harder to earn. 

You are now looking at having to make 20 return economy flights per year before you qualify for Clubhouse lounge access.  A Silver can only access No 1 Traveller lounges in the UK.

Conclusion

That, in a nutshell, is a summary of the earning changes.

If you have status and fly on fully flexible Upper Class tickets you will do exceptionally well.  For everyone else, the picture is less rosy.

As with the Avios changes, the airline is playing down the role of flying in actually earning miles.  Until the offer closed yesterday, for example, the Virgin Black credit card was offering 25,000 miles as a sign-up bonus.  You would need to do EIGHT return trips to New York in discounted economy to earn 25,000 miles now ……

Tomorrow I will look at the changes to spending rates.

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Simon Galloway
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« Reply #4045 on: November 01, 2016, 06:17:13 PM »


Economy and Premium Economy redemptions are generally getting cheaper whilst Upper Class is generally getting more expensive


Glad I already booked my upper reward for next summer!  I'm not really surprised at the quoted adjustment, under the current scheme, flying Upper reward was just stand out best value for your miles.  I'll take a look at the full terms at the weekend most likely and see what's up.  For the last few years, I haven't been earning tier points so status changes is N/A for me, but will see if cultivating miles continues to make sense under the new scheme.  And perhaps it will be time for me to take a look at Norwegian or something for the future.
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Rotty
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« Reply #4046 on: November 01, 2016, 11:25:46 PM »

The changes looked to have worked well for me as my intention was to use miles to book Econ and the use the free PE upgrades with the VA cards each time but just had a nosey round at PE reward seats to LAS, LAX and SFO and availability is awful
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Simon Galloway
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« Reply #4047 on: November 02, 2016, 08:37:59 AM »

The changes looked to have worked well for me as my intention was to use miles to book Econ and the use the free PE upgrades with the VA cards each time but just had a nosey round at PE reward seats to LAS, LAX and SFO and availability is awful

I posted a little while about this.  Ofc with the new changes, it is possible everything has changed.  But even in the old days "having a look around" would require immense luck to get what you wanted in anything other than economy.  To get good dates, you have to check back multiple times per day each day as soon as those dates get loaded up into the system (i.e. 11 months out.)  Every time I have done this, there has been liberal availability in all cabins.  Once those seats have gone, it will stay barren until much nearer to the date, once Virgin get a feel that they are going to be unable to sell the seats as cash fares, they quite often put some more availability back up in the reward system.
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Longines
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« Reply #4048 on: November 02, 2016, 09:06:07 AM »

http://www.headforpoints.com/2016/11/02/virgin-flying-club-changes-spending-miles

Again, it's worth reading Raffle's blog directly.

Spending changes

Change 1: NO CHANGE to partner redemptions, either airline or non-airline

Let’s get the easy one out of the way first.  The miles required for redemptions on partner airlines or for non-airline partners are not changing.

This means that popular options such as transferring miles to IHG Rewards Club in order to earn IHG status will remain open.

The option to use 1.2 million miles for a week on Necker Island will also remain.  Whilst you might think this is out of reach, a Gold member flying to San Francisco each month on a flexible Upper Class ticket would now be able to do this after just 18 months.  It is also surprisingly good value given the cash cost of Necker Island holidays.

Change 2:  Peak and off-peak pricing introduced

Virgin Atlantic is following British Airways in introducing peak and off-peak redemption pricing.

At present, this only appears to apply to redemptions on Virgin and not on partners.

Here are the peak dates for 2017:

31st March – 18th April

22nd June – 6th September

13th December – 3rd January 2018

I find this approach a bit odd to be honest, for three reasons:

Peak dates are linked to UK school holidays, when business travel is low and Virgin has plenty of premium seats going spare – or at least not being sold for the usual high prices.  Why charge more for redemptions at such periods?

For members outside the UK, with different school holiday patterns, the choice of dates seems even odder.  At least – unlike Avios – half-term holidays have not been blocked.  British Airways Executive Club members outside the UK can’t understand why random weeks in February and October are charged at a higher rate!

It doesn’t take into account the seasonality of the destination.  Dubai in August, with its 50 degree heat, is not exactly a popular tourist option but you will pay the peak price.  Barbados in February, peak season, is charged at an off-peak price.

Change 3:  A new reward chart

This is key table that most people are looking for:

 Click to see full-size image.


Not sure why the figures are in $ ……

Here is the current chart (click to enlarge – apologies for blurring – or click here to read it online):

 Click to see full-size image.


The changes are relatively clear:

At off-peak times, the cost of Economy redemptions is cut sharply.  New York drops from 35,000 miles to 20,000 miles for example.  I would caveat that with two points:

Virgin previously ran regular mileage sales which brought down Economy redemptions to roughly these levels, so it isn’t new to be able to fly to New York for circa 20,000 miles

You still need to pay full taxes and charges

The requirement to pay full taxes means that some Economy redemptions will remain a bad deal.  However, others will work well.  I’m pretty sure that, say, Barbados in the February prime tourist season will work out nicely even after you’ve added taxes and charges.

Some Premium Economy redemptions are cut sharply and these are the new ‘sweet spot’ in the Virgin redemption chart

New York in Premium Economy was 55,000 miles at all times.  It remains 55,000 miles on peak dates but is down to just 35,000 miles off-peak.  Similarly, Hong Kong looks like a steal.  It was 80,000 miles return but that has come down to 65,000 miles peak and 45,000 miles off-peak.

The snag here is availability.  Premium Economy is a small cabin so you will never find huge amounts of seats offered up for miles.

Upper Class takes the biggest hit but the changes are not uniform.  For example:

New York – was 80,000 miles return, now 115,000 / 95,000

San Francisco – was 100,000 miles return, now 155,000 / 135,000

Orlando – was 100,000 miles return, now 115,000 / 95,000 (so cheaper off-peak)

Hong Kong – was 120,000 miles return, now 135,000 / 115,000 (so cheaper off-peak)

Dubai – was 80,000 miles return, now 95,000 / 75,000 (so cheaper off-peak)

Delhi – was 100,000 miles return, now 95,000 / 75,000 (cheaper at all times)

Johannesburg – was 100,000 miles return, now 155,000 / 135,000

In general, the US routes have got more expensive whilst other routes have fared better but there exceptions to both of those statements.

These changes do not take effect until 16th January 2017.  You can book at the old rates until then.

Change 4:  New ‘Miles Plus Money’ options – and they now earn miles

‘Miles Plus Money’ is being simplified and rolled out more widely.

You can’t argue with this one – for a lot of people it will be valuable even though the value per mile is ‘low but not terrible’.

You can redeem as many miles as you want (minimum 3,000) for 0.6p per mile off a Virgin Atlantic cash ticket.  You can even pay the taxes this way so your flight is genuinely free.

This creates some interesting maths around partner conversions.  1 Tesco Clubcard point is therefore worth 1.5p off a Virgin Atlantic flight, for example.  This is pretty poor at the standard rate, but a decent conversion bonus would make a difference.

For the first time, ‘Miles Plus Money’ tickets will now be treated as ‘normal’ cash tickets and will earn miles and tier points back.

Change 5:  New upgrade costs

Finally, we have changes to the way that upgrades are charged.

The biggest hit is the cost of moving from Premium Economy ‘S’ Class to Upper Class which is currently relatively nominal.  Some people currently pay the extra for ‘S’ over ‘K’ in order to be able to upgrade due to the low number of miles needed – I doubt this will continue.

You can upgrade FLEXIBLE economy tickets to Upper Class for 75% of the cost of an Upper Class redemption or to Premium Economy for 50% of the cost of a Premium Economy redemption.  Given that flexible economy tickets are expensive in the first place, this does not appear to offer great value.

You can upgrade FLEXIBLE Premium Economy tickets (not K class) to Upper Class for 50% of the cost of an Upper Class redemption.  This is no longer as good as a deal as it is at present.

Remember that upgrades require reward availability to be there for the class you want to move into.

Again, these rates come into force from 16th January.

Conclusion


Whilst this article only looks at the changes to spending your miles, you can only look at it in isolation if all of your miles come via Tesco or credit card spend.  People who earn most of their miles in the air need to look at the changes to their earning and burning before they decide if they are better or worse off.  It even varies by which routes you tend to redeem on.

There is no doubt that redemptions to the US West Coast in Upper Class have been hit hard – and it is on a 12 hour flight like that where you would be most likely to want an Upper Class flat bed.

Other routes do better.  I think most people would be happy with Premium Economy for a day flight to New York, for example, and you can’t quibble with 35,000 miles.  I doubt you will ever find more than a couple of PE seats opened up for miles, though, so this is unlikely to benefit a family.

It was only a matter of time before Virgin moved Flying Club more in line with the new Avios reward charts.  If I had to sum up the changes in one phrase, I would say ‘could have been worse’.
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Rotty
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« Reply #4049 on: November 03, 2016, 12:06:00 AM »

The changes looked to have worked well for me as my intention was to use miles to book Econ and the use the free PE upgrades with the VA cards each time but just had a nosey round at PE reward seats to LAS, LAX and SFO and availability is awful

I posted a little while about this.  Ofc with the new changes, it is possible everything has changed.  But even in the old days "having a look around" would require immense luck to get what you wanted in anything other than economy.  To get good dates, you have to check back multiple times per day each day as soon as those dates get loaded up into the system (i.e. 11 months out.)  Every time I have done this, there has been liberal availability in all cabins.  Once those seats have gone, it will stay barren until much nearer to the date, once Virgin get a feel that they are going to be unable to sell the seats as cash fares, they quite often put some more availability back up in the reward system.


Cheers, we have some flexibility so hopefully will get sorted
Earlier in year I booked 2 ret UC reward flights to Hong Kong and got exactly what we wanted with no issues
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