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Virgin Atlantic Flying Club - is it worth joining?

Level Contributor
10 posts
25 reviews
9 helpful votes
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club - is it worth joining?

My opinion.

A typical rip off frequent flyer program. 80,000 miles to my account, wanted to BUY a full price business class ticket and a companion ticket for 60th birthday trip. As happens EVERY time with this air line, no companion tickets, no upgrades to business class for the entire month and then some. I doubt whether ANYONE can travel business class, anywhere with VA Flying Club. Total rip off especially as they encourage you to buy more of their useless air miles every time you contact them. I would almost go as far to say their sale is a fraud as you can buy them and never spend them.

London, United...
Level Contributor
826 posts
31 reviews
12 helpful votes
21. Re: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club - is it worth joining?

I used to be a member of the flying club but found that VS route network and schedules didn't suit me as well as BA.

I think you sometimes need to be persistent when upgrading a previously booked flight, look everyday for availability...sometimes it appears with no rhyme or reason.

I also am in the camp of signing up for any reward program ...heck I even have 733 United miles 😆.

It costs nothing and may or may not be useful. No reason to get bent out of shape if it doesn't work to your advantage.

Nottingham
Level Contributor
5 posts
12 reviews
6 helpful votes
22. Re: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club - is it worth joining?

For your information I flew Upper Class from London to Miami on 7th February 2015 (ie a year ago) and returned on 17th February 2015 again in Upper Class using 100,000 miles.

Level Contributor
10 posts
25 reviews
9 helpful votes
23. Re: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club - is it worth joining?

Thanks for the comments..

Mercedes74, well done and good luck to you. My experience is a lot more negative., no business(upper) class flights for months on end or only a one way BC ticket readily available with the return leg not being available etc. Anyway I repeat myself, I still have 110,000 miles with little prospect of using them the way I want..

I recently experienced a very cramped seat, poor cuisine on a paid for economy flight back to/from the USA and cursed VA most of the way. Sorry but it's BA for me unless by some miracle I can use the VA air miles for BC.

Level Contributor
2 posts
13 reviews
6 helpful votes
24. Re: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club - is it worth joining?

Just used our entire airmile collection of 350,000 to fly upper next week to San Fran. 2 adults 1 child and a baby... can't wait! It took one week solid looking every day to find 3 seats Durrington holiday... can get out no problem but returning upper was a problem. "Taxes" were £1500... so saved £5k... even to fly economy will have cost £3500. anyway... I agree with everything said... I won't bother collecting any more... must have spend more than £100k on credit card to get this many... much cheaper to just buy discount money only seats.

Morecambe, United...
Level Contributor
15,463 posts
132 reviews
101 helpful votes
25. Re: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club - is it worth joining?

Quote "I won't bother collecting any more... must have spend more than £100k on credit card to get this many... much cheaper to just buy discount money only seats."

What, you think you "bought" £1000k of airmiles??

You used the card (flights) & were added to your account free of charge.

Did you spend that amount of money "just" to get them??

It's like any companies loyalty points system, you spend, they give;-);-)

Now if you'd actually paid cash for them, then found you couldn't use them it would be a different thing entirely.

I collect many different "points" from loyalty schemes, some I can use, others not so, but it's not actually cost me anything extra to get them so it's not a problem:-):-)

Berkshire, United...
Level Contributor
20,028 posts
61 reviews
77 helpful votes
26. Re: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club - is it worth joining?

I don't understand when people say they aren't going to collect air miles any more as it's not worth it? When I book a flight I'm given the air miles for free. I'm not spending extra money to get them as I was going to book the flight anyway? The same applies if I get miles when using a cc to buy goods. The miles are free?! Whether or not I ever use the miles, it doesn't matter as they cost me nothing.

Level Contributor
2 posts
13 reviews
6 helpful votes
27. Re: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club - is it worth joining?

Google the psychology of rewards

Nothing is free... everything has a cost to one person and a benefit to another.

Either in money, time, effort or privacy (data).

The best marketing or method of control is when the subject doesn't realise or believe they've lost an element of free will.

When at the cashier and I whip out the black virgin Amex to get double miles the focus is on the reward... rather than the expense of what I just spent.

I'd bet there is a lot of research on this... and I'm sure people spend more when they get additional emotional rewards.

Anyone who thinks airmiles are "free" is misguided.

Given the difficulty of redeeming flights I'm saying that it might not be worth the extra expense of time, effort, money, privacy and ultimately freedom.

Many people who collect airlines can exhibit compulsive behaviours...  maybe there is no measurable harm whatsoever however isn't it worth some thought... genuine self reflection.

Edited: 16 March 2016, 05:17
Level Contributor
10 posts
25 reviews
9 helpful votes
28. Re: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club - is it worth joining?

As the person who started this debate I am obviously going to side with Alex P's views. Nothing is free as he states. What the scheme does is "entice" you with the offer of upgrades (which is my primary concern here as they are never available) and as a result you book with VA rather than AirlineX on the belief that one day you will get rewarded for your loyalty. If you book with VA you will almost inevitably pay a premium as compared to other airlines (go to a fare comparison website if you don't believe me) but you do it anyway because of the carrot which never really materializes. As an aside, you may argue that the premium price is for enhanced service etc. but if my recent experience of VA's economy flights to the USA is typical then you'd do as well flying with Air Ethiopia (poor food, lousy leg room, entertainment system not fully working - but that's another story). It is only the thought of escaping economy which makes me book with VA and yet - you can never quite do it. Upgrades not available for months on end or the out and in availability are months apart (I used to travel to Australia with VA when they still did the route and I can guarantee that you could not find an upgrade even 12 months in advance - is that a fix or not?), "offers" such as the VA credit card again promising much (yes, I have the air miles to prove it) and delivering nothing and finally and MOST annoying the VA scheme where you can BUY air miles and still they are as good as useless.

The reason why I am particularly miffed with VA is that not only is their upgrade system so bad but even if you are flexible as to where you want to go their choice of destinations (compared to a TRUE world wide airline such as BA) is limited in comparison. OK it's my own fault for getting suckered in to their scheme and accumulating so many useless miles but there is nothing "free" about using VA and their air miles scheme when you consider the premium you pay on the price (probably hundreds of pounds for long haul) and how little you get in return. There is psychology at work here (brand loyalty) and clever use of the terms and conditions. So yep, my fault for falling for it but yes I feel a fool to invest so much money in to loyally flying with VA.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
9,839 posts
49 reviews
112 helpful votes
29. Re: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club - is it worth joining?

I don't understand when people say they aren't going to collect air miles any more as it's not worth it? When I book a flight I'm given the air miles for free. I'm not spending extra money to get them as I was going to book the flight anyway? The same applies if I get miles when using a cc to buy goods. The miles are free?! Whether or not I ever use the miles, it doesn't matter as they cost me nothing.

______________

Exactly, the only way it could end up costing you out of pocket is if you spend additional cash on a product you otherwise wouldn't choose to earn miles. Even then you could argue the miles are a form of rebate and have worth themselves so as long as you are getting more in value from the miles than the additional cash outlay for the product then you're still ahead.

I'm not spending more on my credit card just to earn miles, I'm not paying interest on a credit card to earn miles. The only cost are the credit cards that have annual fees, which I can typically get waived due to the amount of spend I put through them.

The sour grapes are from those who have unrealistic expectations from these things and don't bother to read up or know the optimal way to use the rewards.

Redlands, California
Level Contributor
6,367 posts
58 reviews
43 helpful votes
30. Re: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club - is it worth joining?

I joined the Flying Club the first time I flew Virgin (LAX-LHR-LAX) and flew the same route once a year for several years. The first trip accrued enough miles to save me a few hundred dollars the next year by using "Miles Plus Money" and I've been able to do that a few more times. Not an upgrade, but I've saved several hundred dollars over the years. So what's not to like?