British Airways vs. Virgin Atlantic: Which Is Better?

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British Airways traces its historical past again over a century. Comparatively, Virgin Atlantic is a relative teenager, having simply been based in 1984. Whereas the 2 airways could have completely different branding and historical past, they really have loads of similarities on paper. Each are based mostly in Higher London, associate with a spread of different airways — together with U.S.-based airways — and supply comparable methods to earn factors and obtain elite standing.

However which airline comes out on prime? This is a have a look at British Airways versus Virgin Atlantic in 5 metrics many vacationers take into account when selecting which airline to fly.

The place they’re based mostly and the place they fly

Winner: British Airways

When evaluating Virgin Atlantic versus British Airways, British Airways handily wins the prize for many locations served. British Airways flies to over six occasions as many locations as Virgin Atlantic and greater than double the U.S. locations.

British Airways

As of April 2022, London-based British Airways flies to over 200 locations in 79 international locations — together with dozens of U.S. locations. Which means you possibly can fly from Boston to Bangalore, India, or from Nashville to Nairobi, Kenya. However, to get to nearly any vacation spot, you will want to attach in London.

Main U.S. locations for British Airways

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic’s essential hubs are in London Heathrow and Manchester, with a number of flights out of Edinburgh and Belfast. In complete, Virgin Atlantic flies to 34 locations throughout 18 international locations as of April 2022.

The excellent news for these based mostly in North America is that Virgin Atlantic’s route map is heavy on U.S. and Caribbean locations.

Main U.S. vacation spot for Virgin Atlantic

Journey bank card availability

Winner: British Airways

Each British Airways and Virgin Atlantic supply a bank card for U.S. vacationers. Of the 2 choices, British Airways gives higher card perks, together with:

  • A ten% low cost on paid flights.

  • As much as $600 in assertion credit for award redemptions.

  • The flexibility to earn a companion fare.

British Airways

Like many co-branded bank cards, the British Airways Visa Signature® Card comes with a pleasant welcome bonus. Earn 100,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases throughout the first 3 months from account opening.

Cardholders additionally save 10% on British Airways flights by reserving by means of a particular web site supplied to cardholders. Plus, you possibly can spend your technique to a Journey Collectively Ticket, which helps you to add a companion to your flight for the price of taxes and charges.

Maybe better of all for factors and miles collectors: Cardholders rise up to $600 in assertion credit to offset the excessive taxes and charges British Airways can cost on long-haul flights. These assertion credit can simply justify the British Airways Visa Signature® Card‘s $95 annual price.

U.S. vacationers even have loads of different choices to prime off their British Airways Government Membership account. British Airways is a 1:1 switch associate of the next packages:

By means of British Airways’ financial institution switch partnerships, you possibly can successfully earn 4 Avios per greenback spent at eating places worldwide (plus takeout and supply within the U.S.) and U.S. grocery shops by spending on the American Specific® Gold Card. Or, successfully earn 2 Avios per greenback spent on on a regular basis purchases through the use of the Capital One Enterprise X Rewards Credit score Card.

Virgin Atlantic

Just like the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® gives U.S. cardholders a profitable welcome bonus as properly. For a restricted time: 60,000 bonus Virgin Factors after spending $2,000 or extra on purchases throughout the first 90 days of account opening. As well as, you will earn three Virgin factors per greenback spent on Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5 factors per greenback spent on all different purchases.

Vacationers aspiring for Virgin elite standing can earn 25 Tier Factors per $2,500 in purchases — as much as a most of fifty Tier Factors per 30 days.

Plus, when you attain $25,000 in purchases in a 12 months, you will earn both a companion reward in the identical cabin class or an improve to the subsequent cabin on a Virgin Atlantic ticket. The Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard® card prices an annual price of $90.

You’ll be able to prime off your Virgin Atlantic Flying Membership account with 1:1 transfers from the next packages:

Airline loyalty packages

Winner: Virgin Atlantic

Each London-based packages supply elite members lounge entry, bonus factors and wide-ranging redemption choices. Nevertheless, Virgin Atlantic factors prime British Airways Avios on the subject of the worth you may get from redemptions — each in financial system and enterprise class.

British Airways

British Airways Government Membership members earn Avios at a fee between 25% and 300% of flight miles — relying on the class of service and fare class you ebook. Government Membership elite members earn as much as a 100% bonus on prime of their base earnings.

In BaghdadTime’s evaluation, Avios have a base worth of simply 0.8 cent per Avios for financial system redemptions. That worth jumps to 1.9 cents per Avios for enterprise class redemptions. Nevertheless, you may get rather more worth than this by profiting from the British Airways candy spots.

As British Airways is a member of the Oneworld alliance, Government Membership elite standing will get you perks when flying different Oneworld airways — like American Airways and Alaska Airways.

Virgin Atlantic

Just like British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Flying Membership members earn factors based mostly on the gap of the flight — between 25% and 400% relying on the fare class. Elite standing bonuses aren’t fairly as wealthy as British Airways Government Membership although — simply 30% for Silver elites and 60% for Gold elites.

Additional charges

Winner: Virgin Atlantic

Each Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are notorious for charging excessive charges on award flights. Additionally, each use London as a house base — that means excessive taxes on premium cabin flights. However a minimum of Virgin Atlantic lets most vacationers select their seat with out additional charges.

British Airways

Flying British Airways is not low cost. And we aren’t simply speaking in regards to the fare you pay. British Airways usually prices excessive carrier-imposed surcharges (colloquially known as “gasoline surcharges”) on award tickets.

For instance, a one-way award from Austin, Texas to London can value as few as 16,250 Avios on off-peak dates. However, you will must pay round $230 one-way in taxes and charges.

British Airways fees

However that is not all. Until you’ve got Government Membership or Oneworld elite standing, you will must pay to order your seat greater than 24 hours earlier than departure.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic additionally prices elevated charges on award tickets, however these is usually a bit extra reasonably priced than British Airways. For a similar Austin to London financial system award instance, you will pay 15,000 Virgin factors and round $150 in charges. Nevertheless, premium financial system and enterprise class award charges could be outrageously costly.

Virgin Atlantic fees

In contrast to British Airways, Virgin Atlantic would not cost to pick an ordinary seat — until you ebook considered one of its “Gentle” primary financial system fares.

In-flight expertise

Winner: Virgin Atlantic

On this BaghdadTime evaluation, Virgin Atlantic barely edged out British Airways to win this class. Each airways exceeded in the identical areas — together with offering Wi-Fi for buy and free motion pictures. And each airways fail to supply free texting, dwell TV or additional perks — like free Wi-Fi — for having elite standing. The distinction? Virgin Atlantic permits cardholders to spend towards a cabin improve.

British Airways

British Airways not too long ago accomplished a cabin refresh of its financial system (World Traveller) and premium financial system (World Traveller Plus) cabins to put in bigger, brighter screens and USB energy at each seat. In the meantime, enterprise class is getting much more of an improve with the set up of latest enterprise class suites with a closing door, lie-flat mattress and a bigger display.

Excessive-speed “.air” Wi-Fi is obtainable for buy. Nevertheless, first-class passengers need not pull out their bank card, as Wi-Fi is obtainable without cost to passengers in top notch.

Virgin Atlantic

You’ll be able to anticipate a lot the identical on Virgin Atlantic. In financial system, you will take pleasure in an in-seat leisure display with over 300 hours of leisure, in-seat energy and complimentary meals and drinks. In premium financial system, passengers get a bigger seat, restaurant-style meals and glowing wine. Virgin’s “Higher Class” enterprise class options lie-flat seats, wonderful lounge entry — each within the airport and onboard — and a four-course a la carte meal inflight.

Virgin Atlantic gives Wi-Fi packages beginning at round $3.75. Every seat has a minimum of a USB energy outlet, and premium financial system and enterprise class have common energy shops.

British Airways vs. Virgin Atlantic winner

Within the competitors of British Airways versus Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Atlantic edges out a win. The 2 airways implement comparable insurance policies and in-flight choices. Nevertheless, Virgin Atlantic prices fewer charges, gives a barely higher in-flight expertise and has a more-valuable factors forex.

With that mentioned, Virgin Atlantic solely flies to a fraction of the locations as British Airways. So, whereas it might win general, Virgin Atlantic won’t serve the route you wish to fly.

Photograph courtesy of Virgin Atlantic.

How you can maximize your rewards

You need a journey bank card that prioritizes what’s necessary to you. Listed below are our picks for the greatest journey bank cards of 2022, together with these greatest for:

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