I often get asked about my views about the fare rises on Virgin Trains East Coast, the only honest answer I can give is 'I don't know'.
A new ale was added to the Virgin Trains East Coast Foodbar menu towards the end of 2015, it's called "Hop on Board" and has been available since Monday 19th October. It's been a long time since we've had bottled ales on East Coast trains, GNER used to offer a guest ale but they scrapped it around 2003 citing lack of demand (they never did anything to promote it).
When Virgin Trains East Coast mentioned they were switching to Nectar some people asked me about Eurostar redemptions, these seemed poor to me as Nectar has a £10 booking fee for Eurostar journeys so you'd need to spend £12.50 in points to save the first £2.50.
Let's look at each in turn:
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has fixed mileage rates for Eurostar trips, these rates are:
This blog post has been updated - previously there was a 20% off Virgin Trains East and West Coast offer. The September offer gives you 30% off East Coast, there's still a 20% off West Coast showing up for some people too.
The Virgin Red iOS app launched recently and the train related offer for September is 30% off Virgin Trains East Coast and for some users a 20% off Virgin Trains West Coast offer will also be available.
When it was announced Virgin Trains East Coast were getting rid of the excellent East Coast Rewards and replacing with Nectar it seemed pretty obvious that all my London - Newcastle travel was going to switch to British Airways. They fly from London Heathrow which wasn't as convenient as London City Airport (or Kings Cross) but the only other flying option is from Stansted which would mean spending around an hour on the Greater Anglia operated Stansted Express, to me this does not seem like a viable option.
On 3rd September Nectar are running a chat in the Nectar Savvy Lifestyle series. The theme of the chat is travel. We thought this was a good opportunity to both voice our dissatisfaction to Nectar and also hope other Nectar customers looking out for tips will see them too.
As 6 months have passed I thought it'd be time to write about my thoughts on the Virgin Trains East Coast franchise. At this stage it's important to point out that these views are my own (Dave - ^DH on Twitter), and may not reflect the views of other Save East Coast Rewards contributors. We all agree that East Coast Rewards was an excellent scheme and more effort needs to be done to make us passengers feel more valued but individual views on the running of this franchise do differ.
A lot of people signed up for Nectar because it is 'better than nothing' unfortunately the way that it is implemented at Virgin is crazy.
Book on virgintrains.co.uk and receive Nectar points on Virgin Trains (West Coast) services only.
Book on virgintrainseastcoast.com and receive Nectar points on Virgin Trains East Coast services only.
That means if you want points on a Virgin Trains service you need to book on the correct site. If you don't you get nothing.