Make savings with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

So as I’ve already explained in previous v/blogs we haven’t yet flown across the pond with anyone but Virgin Atlantic and although there are more factors than just this one; the Virgin Flying Club is one of the key reasons for doing so.

We probably haven’t what Virgin would class as a massive amount of miles but we certainly have enough miles to be able to make a difference to our fares for a fair few future trips 👍🏻

Last year we made a miles and money reservation with a saving of at least £250.  This year again we decided to use somemore of our miles and saved around £500!  The discount we got this year was also for a flight in school holidays too… we feel like we had in fact got a free flight this year the saving was that great!



The good thing is too that it’s costs us NOTHING to have a Flying Club membership or acrue our miles! Granted they aren’t free as such but we acrue miles to put towards future flights more often than not in our day to day life by using our Virgin Atlantic Credit Card for everyday purchases.

Everytime we make a purchase we put it on the card – however small it all counts! Your miles will soon rack up so if you too are an avid Virgin flyer or just want to try ans reduce the cost of your flights then I cannot recommend the Flying Club enough!

Now you don’t necessarily NEED the credit card to acrue your miles; every time you take a flight either with Virgin or one their partners you can earn them! Shop at Tescos and have a clubcard? You can earn them! Staying with a popular hotel chain? You can earn them! One of the major plus of having one of credit cards too is because your miles can expire if not used or added to… now even by just putting your weeks petrol on the credit this will extend the expiry date and you will be able to keep those miles for longer! Obviously if you shop at Tescos weekly and get Clubcard deals regually that too will keep them valid but having the credit card even as a back up or opening one when you get close to expiry is highly recommended.



Which card?

There are two card options that you can choose from when you have been credit checked & approved for an account;  I won’t go too much into it as you can find the differences between them both here but we have the white and although we could possibly acrue points quicker on the black card I kinda begrudge paying to spend my own money (we pay off the credit card every month in full by the way!) and given that we don’t go away or use our miles up every year the blacks annual charge is £140(!)

There are also three tiers within the Flying Club – both me and Alex are Red members (as are anyone that signs up with or without miles); you make silver if you earn at least 15 tier points per year and gold is when you reach 40 (never going to happen for us!).

Benefits

Now the benefits of the Flying Club can be taken advantage of with or without miles so signing up for the flying club before you’ve even taken your flight is VERY beneficial. Not only will you end up earning miles when your flight does come around but you can also use it to prepare for your next flight.  As a Red member you can prebook your seats for free 72 hours before you fly. All those that are NOT flying club members will have to wait until online check in opens at 24 hours which in my opinion is a great benefit. You can also book discounted airport car parking AND earn miles too!

It really is a good club to be a part of – we have intentionally not spent our miles prior to last year due to knowing that once we were to start taking the children away it would start getting a little more expensive than previous trips… the saving this year was fab!

Hope this helps and if you haven’t signed up yet check them out and bag yourself a credit card here and get accruing those miles.. you won’t regret it!

Kirsty x

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How our Walt Disney World stay cost just £235?! {update now actually £192!!}

I was never lucky enough to visit Walt Disney World when I was younger; I imagine money was one of the problems as it wasn’t and still isn’t a ‘cheap’ holiday but also my parents are not really ‘ride’ people… Cleethorpes and Hull Fair was the closest I ever got to experiencing a theme park 😂 we tended to head to a European beach resort for our holi-bobs.

[updated [figures updated after our trip – December 2016]header-2

My husband on the other hand; his vacations when he was younger were all about action – they went to Center Parcs yearly from a very young age and also Florida a few times too.

So HE is the reason for my love for Florida & we booked our first holiday abroad to Florida at 18 and 19 years old.

Now our little family has expanded holidays are obviously becoming more & more expensive to what they were back when just the two of us went so we are a lot more conscious about looking for the best deals/offers/discounts when booking our Florida trips now.



This year we are staying onsite at Walt Disney World for the whole duration of the holiday. Last year when we got married we spent 4 nights of our ‘Disneymoon‘ at two separate Deluxe hotels in Bay Lake at the Contemporary and Animal Kingdom Lodge which were both equally amazing.  It was a nice taster to experience an onsite stay as although on paper there are loads of benefits of doing so; at the times of our past trips without children they weren’t really benefits to us.

Now we have children and I can say I have experienced it for myself; I can totally see the attraction to staying on property and I cannot wait to spend a whole two weeks (just short infact!) in the Disney ‘bubble’ in just a matter of months.

Here are this years ‘The Money Saving Mum’ tips that we have relied upon to get such a fab deal and allow us to travel again back over the pond so soon after our last trip…

Our vacation (park tickets included!) was priced at £1773 direct with Walt Disney World.  OrlandoAttractions.com shaved £107 off that without even asking… that was their price from the off!  In the footer of their email they specified that if we were to find it cheaper elsewhere then they would do what they can to price match or even beat so having used orlandoattractions.com before and had nothing but good service and trusted them completely; I thought I would send them over a quote I had been given you another company to see what they could do. They ended up knocking another £26 off 👍🏻

Orlandoattractions.com will certainly be a company we will use again for sure!

Hotel saving: £133.00

Our hotel only reservation also includes Walt Disney World Ultimate Tickets too AND free dining! Because we are in an ‘value’ resort we are entitled to a new ‘free dining’ category whereby our free dining is a free breakfast each (not including Harper as she is under 3) per day. At the time of writing it is 1-quick (counter) service meal per person so using that as a guide means if we average a meal costing $20 (very very rarely did it cost less than this to be fair!) per person per day that would mean we saved a total of £600 in food!

 

[December 16] (@ 1.20 rate).  Food is ALOT more expensive than it used to be we felt – so the difference between our predicted prices and actual prices has increased out savings to £600!)

Free dining saving: £600!

This years tickets for the first time ever (I think!) also automatically include the amazing Memory Maker … seeing asthough that would actually be something we would have 100% bought anyway and have done in the past it is certainly classed as a saving for us.

memory-maker-saving

Memory maker saving: £120

Parking is also included staying onsite and because this trip is solely a Disney trip we will be going to a park more often than not and of course taking advantage of the free parking… so at $20/day…

car-parking-saving-2

Parking saving: £184

As I say our park tickets were included in the room only reservation so there maybe a couple of pounds difference in this as we booked in May 2015 but going on today’s prices for this years tickets it would’ve cost us wherever we had stayed a little more than £1000 AND we are this year entitled to a round a day crazy golf. [December update – Now previously I added this up to a round a day… now I knew for a fact we wouldn’t be using a round a day but given that we were entitled to it I felt it should have been certainly something that should be taken into account given its ‘free’ and inclusive HOWEVER i have chosen to reduce this to a more realistic saving and class it as if we were to visit around 6 times in the whole holiday.]

Mini golf saving: £191.50

So adding up all our savings by staying onsite and getting the deal we did…

  • Hotel saving: £133
  • Free dining saving: £600
  • Memory maker saving: £120
  • Parking saving: £184
  • Mini golf saving: £191

Brings our total saving to: £1228

Less the park tickets that we would need if we stayed ANYWHERE would mean our hotel stay onsite at Walt Disney World for 12 nights costs just:

£192.00 – less than we had originally added up prior to our visit !!

How crazy does that sound!!?

So if you think Walt Disney World is expensive think more so about it as value for money and it doesn’t hurt as much 😉

I hear so many people say that they can’t afford it and it’s too expensive – which is fine we all earn what we earn and save what we save, I fully accept it might not be affordable to some… but I really hope this helped with offering some guidance and figures on what exactly you get for your dollar on trip to Walt Disney World.

 

I know there’ll be some sceptics out there and to those thinking ‘yes but what about car hire, spending money, and most importantly the mode of transport that is going get you there in the first place; the FLIGHT!’ well of course on top of this there are a few more things you MUST factor in but there is also things you you don’t necessarily HAVE to factor in if you don’t want to such as car hire; thats not a MUST if you want to and you can hire one then hire one, if you want to save that and put it towards your spends then brilliant – it’s certainly not a necessity if you are staying on site.

I will also add that these are OUR savings… they may not be the same for others but this previous trip was our first every onsite stay for the whole duration of our holiday.  We have always been ones to say ‘we can’t afford to stay onsite’ but by doing these few calculations it showed how excellent value for money for US in comparison to our previous Orlando vacations.

I plan to do another post like this but by comparing and using the other dining plans available staying in moderate and deluxe resorts too so be sure to subscribe if you want to see more.  I also have all intentions of doing similar blog to show the best value for money airlines too which will probably be in the form of a vlog so if you haven’t already be sure to subscribe to my families YouTube channel here.

To be a travel agent is honestly a dream for me.. I has been a dream of mine for aslong as I can remember -I love doing things like this.. now I don’t think being a TA is ever going to happen now unfortunatly but that doesn’t stop me helping people out where I can so again I do hope this is beneficial to anyone like us who is yet to stay on site and is needing these kind of figures to show how worth while and how excellent value for money it actually is.

If you want to see information on where we saved for our 2018 trip and how we again got a ridiculous amount of ‘free stuff’ for our money you can check out that blog post here.

I would love to hear when you are next taking a trip across the pond – keep an eye out in April for the next release of the free dining!

Thanks for reading!

Kirsty x

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Walt Disney World trip must haves…… autograph books !!

Booking your holiday to Walt Disney World means just one thing…. you’re going to meet Mickey Mouse!!!!  In addition to meeting Mickey, chances are you’ll be meeting quite a few characters so one of the most important Walt Disney World must have’s during your trip ought to be an autograph book right??

 

 

We tend to buy our autograph book from the entrance of Magic Kingdom which is always the first park we visit.  You can buy from pretty much any store – they always have them at the counters where you pay and you can also get ones from the Character Warehouse at the outlets too.  Not massively discounted (if at all to be fair!) so don’t go out of your way thinking they will be cheaper because it’s something that they sell in the parks too so won’t be discounted in the outlet.

I’m telling you now DO NOT waste your money on getting that big fat biro that sits perfectly along side your autograph book on the sales counter … it won’t last 5 minutes!

Within a few days mainly due to the grease from the suncream you’ll no doubt be using but also water, food, drink; the whole layer of the pen started peeling off … by the end of the holiday it looked like a regular ‘blue’ biro with no sign of Walt Disney World whatsoever and certainly not a nice souvenir you could keep in your memory box forever…. I just wanted to get rid!

This last trip we got actually got a big pack of Sharpies and there is absolutely no way we will be going back whatsoever to regular biros now – these are amazing !

Not only do they look fab but the characters will love you for them too – although they are ‘fine’ they are thicker than a biro, are a felt tip AND permanent so won’t fade.

The characters want to spend time with you; they won’t be wanting to mess about with a small fiddly biro you can hardly see and will be very grateful too of the size of them – don’t forget those paws and four fingered hands can’t make writing the easiest of things to do.

You can just get single ones from stationary shops for around £1.50ea, I also found a 4 pack MINI from The Range which are sooo cute but characters may have an issue picking them up OR you can push the boat out and do an us and buy a MASSIVE 23 pack with a whole range of cool colours and just fill your boots !!sharpie

Ok so 23 might seem a little excessive to some but it totally depends what you’re wanting them for to be fair – the kids autographs book do look fab as we colour co ordinated the characters with their signatures, we also took a blank plain white vinylmation on the Disney Cruise with us on our last trip that we had to leave at Guest Services so we just left them a load of pens too and it looked fab by the time characters had finished with it.

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Honestly, don’t knock them until you’ve tried it even if you’re not as crazy and as OCD as us just buy a couple of single black ones and you will be so glad you did – the autograph books will be have so much more character to them and again the characters will love you for the them (just don’t forget to pass them the autograph book OPEN rather than closed!)

And be sure to check out the Walt Disney World website for locations of all character meet and greets before you go too!

Hope this helps !!

Speak soon

Kirsty x

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