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  • FIRST POST
    • neilio
    • By neilio 28th Aug 17, 9:49 PM
    • 206Posts
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    neilio
    0 WOW
    British Airways Avios or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club?
    • #1
    • 28th Aug 17, 9:49 PM
    0 WOW
    British Airways Avios or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club? 28th Aug 17 at 9:49 PM
    I've been a "frequent" flyer of Virgin Atlantic for nearly ten years, but I'm thinking of switching my loyalty to British Airways. Looking for some advice.

    My long haul airline of choice to date has been Virgin Atlantic. I fly to the USA (either San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York) on average once per year. A few years ago I also flew Virgin to Australia twice, before they cut that route. I have the black MBNA Virgin Atlantic Amex credit card with counterpart Visa and have accumulated thousands of miles. Everything I purchase, I use that card to earn miles. I also, until earlier this year, was a freelance contractor for four years, so I paid all of my taxes to HMRC on the Visa, earning thousands more miles. I have already redeemed my miles for a free Upper Class return flight to California, and I still have nearly 270,000 miles on my account. My husband does the same as me, although not being a contractor himself, has not accumulated as many miles as me and is on 180,000 miles.

    My biggest frustration with Virgin is inability to earn miles on European flights. Another potential frustration is that they have cut certain long haul routes that I know I intend to use in the near future, such as to Japan, Hong Kong and Australia again. I had flown EasyJet in Europe but one of my favourite destinations, Barcelona, means EasyJet uses that abysmal "module" at Barcelona's Terminal 2! Last year when I went to Barcelona, I used British Airways for the first time (so I could avoid that horrible terminal) and started an Executive Club/Avios account.

    This year I've been several long weekends away in Europe, and have flown BA every time, earning miles as I go.

    My husband and I recently decided to spend Christmas and New Year in California. I enquired with Virgin about using our thousands of miles to get free flights. It was a long shot and didn't expect anything to be available, and I was right, but when on the phone to Virgin, they talked me through several options of money+miles or just money, etc, and eventually I just booked some premium economy seats paying just money, with a 24 hour cooling off period if I wanted to get a refund. After paying, I did a quick search on BA and found the equivalent tickets for £400 less per person! I decided to cancel the Virgin tickets and book BA instead.

    It got me thinking that there are always more options with BA and that perhaps I should switch my loyalty and earning of miles. I applied for the black American Express BA credit card and was accepted for it. I've also applied for and been accepted for the Lloyds Avios Amex credit card with counterpart MasterCard, which would be good for 0% foreign transactions when abroad whilst still earning Avios. At present, I have no way of earning Virgin miles on foreign transactions (I have a separate card I use abroad currently that's 0% foreign transactions).

    I have my final corporation tax payment to HMRC due in November, the last one since ending contracting. The bill is for £11,000. I was intending to use the Lloyds Avios MasterCard, but then realised you only earn 1.25 miles for every £5 spent, as opposed to 1 mile for every £1 spent if I used to Virgin Visa. It got me thinking again, am I doing the right thing moving my earning from Virgin to BA at all. I can either earn 11,000 Virgin miles or 2,750 Avios on that tax payment! (Unless someone can tell me if there is any way at all to pay with HMRC with Amex somehow!)

    I will always have those hundreds of thousands of Virgin miles to use (before they expire) but do I continue with Virgin after that or not? My husband has decided it's no longer his priority to earn frequent flyer miles when spending money and is cancelling his Virgin MBNA credit card, so I'm basically free to decide what our airline of choice will be.

    The earning rate of miles is clearly different between the two. What I can't find anywhere online is how many miles it costs to fly on Virgin versus BA, specifically on long haul to the USA. Is it roughly the same? If so, then Virgin is clearly the better choice. When I try and search for this online, all I can find is which credit cards are better, but that's not what I'm trying to find out.

    My summary of pros and cons:

    Virgin Atlantic Flying Club / black MBNA Amex/Visa:
    Pros:
    2 miles earned for every £1 spend on Amex
    1 mile earned for every £1 spend on Visa
    Cons:
    No way of earning miles on foreign transactions (when using a 0% foreign transaction credit card)
    No way of earning miles on European flights
    Fewer long haul destinations

    British Airways Avios / American Express BA / Lloyds Avios Amex/MasterCard
    Pros:
    Earn miles on flights in Europe
    Earn miles on more long haul flights
    Earn miles on 0% foreign transactions
    Cons:
    1.25 miles earned for every £5 spend on MasterCard is very low considering I need to use a non-Amex card to make a large payment to HMRC in the near future

    Thanks for reading all of this. Any help or advice would be appreciated.
Page 4
    • Nick_C
    • By Nick_C 5th Sep 17, 1:52 PM
    • 2,987 Posts
    • 3,982 Thanks
    Nick_C
    I'm becoming more confused by the responses in this thread.

    ...

    So my question remains - why would holding status directly with BA be of value to someone who never travels with them? The benefits of being OneWorld Sapphire applies to BA (should you ever use them), but easier to obtain not using BAEC.
    Originally posted by malkie76
    You seem to be looking at status in isolation. Many people will look at status and the ability to easily earn miles as a package.

    My preferred airline to North America is AA in business class. But I book my AA flights as BA flights on the BA website. This counts towards BA/OW status.

    I pay with my BAPP credit card and get 3 Avios per pound spent instead of the 1.5 I would get booking with AA.

    I could earn AA miles using their credit card, but I can earn far more Avios by additionally converting Tesco Clubcard points, shopping online at Gate 365, and taking advantage of the many Avios earning opportunities that exist in the UK, Spain, and Ireland. The same opportunities to earn miles with Qantas or AA simply do not exist for UK residents.

    I simply couldn't earn so many miles I used AA or Qantas instead of BAEC.
    • malkie76
    • By malkie76 5th Sep 17, 9:06 PM
    • 5,418 Posts
    • 6,188 Thanks
    malkie76
    Who is 'getting excited'?

    All I see are posters highlighting the fact that you do not have to step foot on a BA plane to earn status in their FF scheme.

    You highlighted in your earlier post that BAEC was the best scheme for you due to geographical reasons, the fact you use BA and is one of the best programmes out there.

    I also use BA, but I rarely pay for their flights, I did have status with KL, but it just didn't work for me-even though KL/AF do fly from NCL.

    Many people may question why people use a particular supermarket - they do it because it suits them.....an argument you have already used with respect to your choice of carrier and FFP

    Why question someone's choice of product or service because YOU cannot see logic in it?

    We will just have to agree to disagree.
    Originally posted by dickydonkin
    Again, I'm not challenging anyone's choice of product in the slightest. Just asking the value of status with a product you don't use. To mirror your analogy - would you want a tesco clubcard if you don't ever shop at tescos ? (Or use any of their products).
    Legal team on standby
    • malkie76
    • By malkie76 5th Sep 17, 9:07 PM
    • 5,418 Posts
    • 6,188 Thanks
    malkie76
    You seem to be looking at status in isolation. Many people will look at status and the ability to easily earn miles as a package.

    My preferred airline to North America is AA in business class. But I book my AA flights as BA flights on the BA website. This counts towards BA/OW status.

    I pay with my BAPP credit card and get 3 Avios per pound spent instead of the 1.5 I would get booking with AA.

    I could earn AA miles using their credit card, but I can earn far more Avios by additionally converting Tesco Clubcard points, shopping online at Gate 365, and taking advantage of the many Avios earning opportunities that exist in the UK, Spain, and Ireland. The same opportunities to earn miles with Qantas or AA simply do not exist for UK residents.

    I simply couldn't earn so many miles I used AA or Qantas instead of BAEC.
    Originally posted by Nick_C
    Points and status on BA are separate elements, which is why my point has grounding.
    Legal team on standby
    • Nick_C
    • By Nick_C 5th Sep 17, 10:44 PM
    • 2,987 Posts
    • 3,982 Thanks
    Nick_C
    Points and status on BA are separate elements, which is why my point has grounding.
    Originally posted by malkie76
    So how can I earn Avios and OW status by crediting by flights to Qantas instead of BA?
    • malkie76
    • By malkie76 5th Sep 17, 10:49 PM
    • 5,418 Posts
    • 6,188 Thanks
    malkie76
    Not sure I understand your point there. What is it you want to achieve ?
    Legal team on standby
    • dickydonkin
    • By dickydonkin 6th Sep 17, 1:52 PM
    • 2,878 Posts
    • 2,891 Thanks
    dickydonkin
    To mirror your analogy - would you want a tesco clubcard if you don't ever shop at tescos ? (Or use any of their products).
    Originally posted by malkie76
    I cannot use or earn points from a Tesco Clubcard when shopping at Waitrose or Sainsbury's, whereas I can use and earn benefits of my BAEC card on any OW carrier or BA partners.

    And as I keep stating, I do fly BA and use the associated benefits from my BAEC membership when I do.
    Last edited by dickydonkin; 06-09-2017 at 1:54 PM.
    • malkie76
    • By malkie76 6th Sep 17, 10:54 PM
    • 5,418 Posts
    • 6,188 Thanks
    malkie76
    I know you do, which is why my point isn't directed at you. That is sort of central to the point I'm making.

    [edit]

    Going back through the thread it was PeacefulWaters who said they wanted status with BA but doesn't use them. I asked why, to which they replied it was a low threshold for status (useable on other airlines). I've subsequently pointed out QF is easier/cheaper, but they haven't responded.
    Last edited by malkie76; 06-09-2017 at 10:59 PM.
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    • PeacefulWaters
    • By PeacefulWaters 7th Sep 17, 12:15 AM
    • 7,168 Posts
    • 8,826 Thanks
    PeacefulWaters
    I know you do, which is why my point isn't directed at you. That is sort of central to the point I'm making.

    [edit]

    Going back through the thread it was PeacefulWaters who said they wanted status with BA but doesn't use them. I asked why, to which they replied it was a low threshold for status (useable on other airlines). I've subsequently pointed out QF is easier/cheaper, but they haven't responded.
    Originally posted by malkie76
    Actually I said I obtained status without using them. I rarely travel east therefore Qatar offers little.

    BA to Vegas later today.
    • malkie76
    • By malkie76 7th Sep 17, 7:01 AM
    • 5,418 Posts
    • 6,188 Thanks
    malkie76
    So you've got status with an airline you use? Great. Completely makes my point. Oh, and QF is Qantas, not Qatar - but that's irrelevant as you don't need to fly on QF to gain status with them (and it's quicker, cheaper, easier than BA)
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