Friday, 1 August 2014


Flying long haul direct out of Belfast is limited to the single United Airlines destination, of Newwark, New York. It's unlikely that many people have United miles, as the opportunities to collect them within the UK are few and far between.

So the addition of some Belfast (BFS) to Orlando (MCO) Virgin flights next year, albeit only a handful of them, brings some much needed new direct flights.

The first pricing on such flights have been released. Flying out Thurs 25th June, returning Thurs 2nd of July, is pricing @ £761. Although I'm not knowledgable on Orlando routes, that seems very expensive, especially allowing for the fact that the N.I. government has zero-ed UK Air Passenger Duty for long haul direct flights, and thus Virgin should be saving around £85(flight is just over 4000 miles) in UK taxes compared to flying to Orlando from any other UK airport.

The Virgin website is not recognising this flight for online redemption. Given the limited number of flights, it is possible that to redeem you will need to call in (which is currently the case for redeeming on the domestic virgin flights). The route does show on the redemption table, and it'll cost 42,500 Virgin miles, the same number of miles as if flying from Gatwick. Flying from Gatwick, the taxes would be £217.  Assuming Virgin correctly exclude the UK APD from the taxes assessed for the BFS flight, that would mean that the taxes on the BFS route will be a very cheap £132.

Anyone collecting Tesco clubcard points, might well wish to consider taking advantage of the current 20% bonus when converting them to Virgin. £142 of clubcard points, with the 20% bonus, will get you enough virgin miles for an economy return.

And remember to get you on your way, my TopCashBack primer (link at the top of this page), shows you how you can get £50 of clubcard points for £10.

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