Learn about SkyTeam alliance partner Virgin Atlantic's frequent flyer program, including partners, elite status, how to earn and redeem points, and which redemption methods offer the most value.
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British airline Virgin Atlantic has its hubs at London-Heathrow and Manchester, England. However, despite being a European air carrier, Virgin Atlantic operates a ton of routes to major cities in the United States, making it one of the best airlines for crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
The airline’s frequent-flyer program, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, is often overlooked by U.S.-based travel enthusiasts. But because of its position as a member of SkyTeam alliance and the fact that this program still uses region- and distance-based award charts to price its partner award flights, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is definitely a program worth paying attention to regardless of where in the world you live.
Earning Virgin points is fairly easy as Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a partner of every major transferable credit card rewards currency, including American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards. So, if you can earn a sign-up bonus from any of the aforementioned credit card companies, you can transfer those points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and redeem them for great value.
Flying Club also offers a unique feature known as Points Booster that allows you to pay extra cash above the cost of your airfare to earn a higher rate of points on your flight. You can even use the Points Booster feature on flights that you’ve already taken (up to six months ago). And, unlike most cash-for-points offers, this one is actually worth considering.
So, let’s run through everything you need to know about the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program, including partners, elite status, how to earn points, how to redeem points and which redemption methods offer the most value.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Overview
Virgin Atlantic was formed in 1984 and originally existed under Richard Branson’s parent brand Virgin Group, which was known for its music label and record stores.
Over the next decade or so, Branson, the airline’s current president, promoted Virgin Atlantic with his wacky and flamboyant antics, including hot air ballooning, rappelling down Manhattan skyscrapers and kissing members of the Spice Girls. Thus, Virgin Atlantic gained a reputation as a fun and adventurous airline.
Virgin Atlantic had its maiden flight in 1984 from London-Gatwick to Newark, New Jersey. Since then, Virgin Atlantic’s route network has grown to include flights between the U.K. and most of the U.S.’s major cities, including Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, Boston, New York, Washington, Las Vegas and more. Virgin Atlantic also operates routes to the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
In 2023, Virgin Atlantic joined SkyTeam, making it the alliance’s first and only U.K.-based airline. While this move did lead to some devaluations (most notably, redemptions for ANA First Class), it also greatly expanded Virgin Atlantic’s list of airline partners.
Here’s a full list of every SkyTeam partner:
|Aerolíneas Argentinas||Kenya Airways|
|Air Europa||Korean Air|
|Air France||Middle East Airlines|
|China Eastern Airlines||TAROM|
|Czech Airlines||Vietnam Airlines|
|Delta Air Lines||Virgin Atlantic|
You can earn and redeem Virgin points with every one of the SkyTeam members listed above. Additionally, you can earn and redeem Virgin points with the following non-SkyTeam partners:
|Air New Zealand|
|All Nippon Airways (ANA)|
|South African Airways|
Virgin Atlantic also allows you to earn Virgin points but not redeem them with the following non-SkyTeam airlines:
|Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)|
As you can see, Virgin Atalntic has a lot of codeshare partners with which you can book flights using Virgin points, making this a flexible airline rewards currency. If you live in the United States, you’ll definitely want to consider booking award flights on Delta Air Lines and Hawaiian Airlines through Flying Club.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Elite Status
The Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program has three membership tiers: Red, Silver and Gold. Red status is earned simply by signing up for Flying Club. You become a Silver member when you reach 400 Tier Points, and you earn Gold status when you reach 1,000 Tier Points.
The simplest way to earn Tier Points is by flying with Virgin Atlantic. You’ll earn a fixed number of Tier Points per flight based only on your cabin class (regardless of the distance of your flight or the fare you paid). The following table explains how many Tier Points you’ll earn in each cabin class.
|Cabin||Ticket type||Tier Points earned|
|Economy Classic||A*, E, Q, X, N, O||25|
|Economy Classic||L, U, M, Y, B, R||50|
|Premium||H, K, P*||50|
|Upper Class||G*, Z||100|
|Upper Class||J, C, D, I||200|
*A, P and G Ter Points earning is only applicable to full points award flights and companion bookings. If you upgraded from a revenue fare to a higher cabin with points, your account will be credited with the Tier Points and Virgin points based on your original fare class.
It’s also worth noting that you can also earn Tier Points on award flights booked on Virgin Atlantic (which is not the case with many other frequent-flyer programs).
You can also earn Tier Points by flying with Virgin Atlantic’s partner airlines. However, each of these partners has its own Tier Points earnings chart. So, to find out how many Tier Points you could earn on a partner flight, you can go to the “Airline partners” page of the Virgin Atlantic website and then click on the specific partner you’re interested in flying.
Some of these partner earnings charts are based on fare class (just like Virgin Atlantic’s Tier Points earnings chart) while others are based on a combination of cabin class and distance flown.
For instance, here’s the Tier Points earnings chart for flights on Aeroméxico.
Now, let’s take a look at why you might want to earn Flying Club elite status in the first place. The following table outlines the benefits of each status tier.
|Status tier||Tier Points required||Benefits|
|Red||0 (earned automatically upon enrolling in the Flying Club program)||• Earn Virgin points when you fly|
• Spend Virgin points on award flights
|Silver||400||• All benefits included with Red status|
• 30% bonus points on every flight
• Free seat selection ahead of your flight in Economy Light (anytime for member only)
• Extra hold baggage
• Premium check-in when flying in any cabin
• Tier renewal bonus
• Maternity and paternity membership pause
• Member benefits with Virgin Hotels
|Gold||1,000||• All benefits included with Silver status|
• 60% bonus points on every flight
• Gold Reward Seat up to eight sectors per membership year
• Guaranteed Economy Classic Y seat
• Free seat selection ahead of your flight in Economy Light (anytime for you and your party)
• Free preferred seat selection ahead of your flight in Premium (anytime for member only)
• Upper Class check-in when flying in any cabin
• Clubhouse access when flying in any cabin for you and one guest
• Access to London-Heathrow Revivals Lounge
• 2,000 bonus birthday points
• Complimentary companion ticket upon yearly renewal of Gold tier
• Clubhouse passes for you to keep or share when you earn 1,500 Tier Points within a membership year
• Cabin Upgrade Reward when you earn 2,000 Tier Points within a membership year
• Ability to gift Silver elite status to a friend
• Guaranteed Economy seat on any flight
Airline partner airport extras
Among the perks that you earn at Silver status, the most notable are the 30% bonus points on all flights and extra hold baggage. When you earn Gold status, your most notable perks will be the 60% bonus points earned on every flight, access to airport lounges, 2,000 bonus points on your birthday and a complimentary companion ticket every time you renew your Gold membership.
To retain Silver or Gold elite, you’ll need to earn the minimum number of Tier Points required for that tier within an Upgrade Cycle (which is 12 months from when you originally earned that status).
So, you’ll have to earn 400 Tier Points in an Upgrade Cycle to retain Silver status and 1,000 Tier Points to retain Gold status. Tier Points don’t roll over, meaning that your balance will be reset to zero at the start of each membership year or Upgrade Cycle.
How to Earn Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Points
There are many ways to earn Virgin points, but the most obvious way is to take flights on Virgin Atlantic metal or with one of their partner airlines. Aside from that, you also can earn Virgin points by booking hotels, renting cars, buying train tickets, taking surveys and more.
Let’s go through all of the different ways that you can boost your Virgin points balance.
Flying with Virgin Atlantic
As a Flying Club member, whenever you fly with Virgin Atlantic, you’ll earn points based on the ticket class and the number of miles flown. However, Virgin Atalntic doesn’t publish an earnings chart, and it’s difficult to understand how exactly they determine how many points you’ll earn on each flight.
Luckily, if you want to know how many points you’ll earn on a specific Virgin Atlantic flight, you can use the earning calculator tool on their website.
First, input your origin and destination and whether you’ll be flying a round-trip or a one-way flight. Then, enter your Flying Club membership tier (Red, Silver or Gold). Select whether you’d like the lowest fare or a flexible ticket (booking a flexible ticket costs more money but will earn you more points). And, finally, the earnings calculator tool will show you how many points you can earn in each ticket class.
Flying Club elite status members get a bonus on top of base points earnings. Silver members will earn 30% more points, and Gold members will earn 60% more points.
Another feature worth being aware of is the Points Booster option. You can use this feature by going to the “My Booking” section of your Flying Club account and choosing the booking you want to use the Points Booster on. Then, you have the option of either choosing “single” the amount of miles flown or “double” the amount of miles flown. Either way, you’ll essentially be paying 1 British pound ($1.20) per 100 points.
For instance, let’s say that the flight you want to use the Points Booster option on is 2,000 miles. You can either choose the “single” Points Booster option and earn 2,000 points for 20 British pounds ($24.30) or you can choose the “double” Points Booster option and earn 4,000 points for 40 British pounds ($48.60).
While paying for points is usually a bad idea, using the Points Booster option may be worth considering if you’re only a few hundred points or a few thousand points away from a specific redemption.
Flying with Partner Airlines
You can also earn Virgin points by flying on any one of Virgin Atlantic’s airline partners. To do so, you’ll need to select Virgin Atlantic Flying Club when you book your flight. The Virgin points should be automatically credited to your account once you’ve completed the flight.
The specific number of points you’ll earn on partner flights depends on the airline you’re flying with, the ticket class and the distance you’re flying. Each partner has its own Virgin points earnings chart, which you can find on the “Airline partners” page of the Virgin Atlantic website by clicking on the partner you’ll be flying.
For instance, here’s the Virgin points earnings chart from Garuda Indonesia.
So, if you were to take a 1,000-mile flight in first class (fare code A) on Garuda Indonesia, you’d earn 1,500 Virgin points (1,000 miles x 150% = 1,500 Virgin points).
Note that you won’t earn any Virgin points on award bookings (although you can earn Tier Points).
Credit Card Spending and Transfer Partners
Until recently, two co-branded Virgin Atlantic credit cards (both issued by Bank of America) were available to U.S. consumers. Unfortunately, neither of these cards is accepting new applicants at this time. If you managed to get one of these cards before they were discontinued, you can still use your Virgin Atlantic Black Card or Virgin Atlantic White Card to earn Virgin points on everyday spending.
For the rest of us, luckily, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is partnered with every major transferable credit card points program, including American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards. All of these rewards currencies transfer to Virgin points at a 1:1 ratio.
You can also transfer hotel points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. However, doing so is usually not a good idea as these hotel rewards programs offer unfavorable transfer ratios. Here are the hotels that can be transferred to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and their transfer ratios:
- Hilton Honors (10:1.5)
- IHG One Rewards (5:1)
- Marriott Bonvoy (3:1)
- World of Hyatt (5:3)
As you can see, all of these hotel rewards currencies are probably better off spent in their native programs.
You can earn Virgin points on hotel bookings through a wide variety of booking portals.
First of all, Virgin Group owns its own portfolio of hotels and rental properties known as Virgin Hotels. When booking a stay at a Virgin Hotels location, enter your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club membership number at checkout and receive 2,000 Virgin points per stay. Additionally, Silver elite members will receive complimentary upgrades, and Gold elite members will receive complimentary upgrades as well as free breakfast every day.
Virgin Group also owns Virgin Limited Edition, marketed as “Sir Richard Branson’s collection of unique retreats and luxury hotels.” This portfolio includes luxury resorts in exotic locations from the Swiss Alps to the foothills of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains and much more.
You’ll earn between 1,500 and 7,000 Virgin points per stay for booking most of these locations. However, if you book a stay at Necker Island, a private island in the Caribbean, you’ll earn 55,000 points per stay.
On top of earning points for staying at Virgin’s hotels, you can earn Virgin points for booking stays with a number of other hotel chains and booking engines. Below are all of the other companies that will award you Virgin points for booking stays.
|Hotel partner||Virgin points earnings|
|Best Western Hotels & Resorts||• 500 points per qualifying stay worldwide|
|IHG Hotels & Resorts||• 500 points per qualified stay at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants|
• 400 points per qualified stay at Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo
• 300 points per qualified stay at all other IHG Hotels & Resorts properties
|Kaligo||• Up to 10,000 points per night|
|Marriott Bonvoy||• 2X points or 1X point per dollar spent (depending on the hotel brand)|
|Rocketmiles||• 500 to 10,000 points per night on every stay (depending on the location you book)|
|World of Hyatt||• 750 points per qualifying stay worldwide|
|WorldHotels Collection||• 500 points per qualified stay|
|YOTEL||• 500 points for a complete stay of three nights or more at YOTEL New York|
• 100 points for a single stay of any duration at YOTEL Gatwick, Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris Charles de Gaulle airports
Unfortunately, you can’t stack Virgin points and hotel points, which means that if you elect to earn Virgin points on a hotel stay, then you’ll be forfeiting your ability to earn that hotel’s rewards currency on that stay.
You can earn Virgin points by booking car rentals with one of Virgin Atlantic’s car rental partners. The following chart includes all car rental partners and how many Virgin points you can earn with them.
|Car rental partner||Virgin points earnings|
|Alamo Rent A Car||• 1,000 points per rental in the U.S. and Canada|
|Avis||• 500 points for rentals between one and six days|
• 1,000 points for rentals of seven days or more
|Enterprise Rent-A-Car||• 100 points per day (up to a maximum of 1,200 per rental)|
|Hertz||• 1,000 points on leisure rentals|
• 500 points on corporate rentals
• Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members earn an additional 100 points per rentals.
|National Car Rental||• 1,000 points per rental in the U.S. and Canada|
• 600 points per rental in Europe between one and six days
• 1,200 points per rental in Europe of 7 days or more
|SIXT||• 500 points for every car rental|
• 3X points per €1 spent on SIXT premium limousine services
To earn Virgin points on car rentals, make sure to enter your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account number when making your booking. Additionally, be prepared to show your Flying Club membership card when collecting your car.
Other Travel Partners
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club offers members the opportunity to earn Virgin points with several other travel partners. First off, you can rack up 3X points per 1 British pound (which is about 3.7X points per dollar at the current conversion rate) while taking trains through Virgin Trains Ticketing.
This subsidiary of Virgin Group is currently only in Great Britain. If you happen to be traveling across Great Britain, you can use Virgin Trains Ticketing to earn discounts on train fare and earn Virgin points while you’re at it.
On top of that, there are several other non-Virgin companies that allow you to earn Virgin points. The following chart includes Virgin Atlantic Flying Club’s other travel partners.
|Travel partner||Virgin points earnings|
|Business Traveller||• 400 points for a one-year subscription|
• 1,200 points for a two-year subscription
• 2,300 points for a three-year subscription
|e-Rewards||• Earn Virgin points for completing surveys (the number of points depends on the length of the survey).|
|Heathrow Rewards||• 1X point per 1 British pound spent at hundreds of stores and outlets at Heathrow, on Heathrow Parking and on Heathrow Express pre-booked train tickets|
|Holiday Extras||• 500 points for Meet & Greet bookings|
• 350 points for On-Airport Park & Ride bookings
• 250 points for Off-Airport Park & Ride bookings
|No1 Lounges||• 400 points for paid entry to Clubrooms|
• 350 points for paid entry to No1 Lounges
• 200 points for paid entry to My Lounge
|Purple Parking||• 500 points for Meet & Greet bookings|
• 350 points for On-Airport Park & Ride bookings
• 250 points for Off-Airport Park & Ride bookings
In all likelihood, none of these other travel partners are going to earn you a ton of Virgin points. However, if you use one of these services anyway, you may as well present them with your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account number and rack up some points to get you a little bit closer to an award flight.
Virgin Atlantic Holidays
Virgin Group also has its own vacation booking portal known as Virgin Atlantic Holidays. Through this portal, you can vacation packages that include airfare, hotels and experiences. Plus, you can earn Virgin points for any bookings made through Virgin Atlantic Holidays.
The number of points that you earn for your booking will depend on your status in the Flying Club program. Here’s how many points you’ll earn on Virgin Atlantic Holidays bookings at each status tier:
- Red – 2X points per 1 British pound ($1.20)
- Silver – 3X points per 1 British pound
- Gold – 4X points per 1 British pound
You’ll also earn 20 Tier Points for every 500 British pounds ($608) that you spend on Virgin Atlantic Holidays bookings up to a maximum of 400 Tier Points per trip.
Shopping Online or In-Store
Like most loyalty programs, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club allows you to earn Virgin points for buying merchandise. The easiest way to do so is by joining the Virgin Red program. This program allows you to earn Virgin points at a wide variety of retailers, including Apple, Old Navy, Nike, Sephora, Bloomingdale’s, Kohl’s, Walgreens, Crate & Barrel, New Balance and more.
The easiest way to take advantage of the Virgin Red program is by downloading the Virgin Red app and then connecting your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account. Then, you can earn points for shopping online or in-person.
When you shop through Virgin Red, the specific number of points you’ll earn depends on the merchant that you shop with. If you shop with Retail Therapy, Virgin’s duty free retail program, you’ll earn 2X Virgin points per 1 British pound.
You also can earn up to 12 points per British pound when you shop through Shops Away, another collection of more than 1,000 retailers that allow you to earn Virgin points for shopping both online and in-person. However, the Virgin Red program encompasses these two shopping portals as well as partnerships with many more brands.
Like most other frequent-flyer programs, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club sells points. However, it’s usually not a good decision to buy them.
The standard rate for buying Virgin points is 15 British pounds ($18.25) for 1,000 points (with a minimum purchase quantity of 1,000 points). So, you could buy 10,000 points for 150 British pounds ($182.30) or 50,000 points for 750 British pounds ($912.50).
All “Buy Points” transactions are subject to a transaction fee of either 15 or 25 British pounds ($18.25 to $30.40) on top of the purchase price of the points. Each member can purchase up to 100,000 points per calendar year.
At the current conversion rate, you’d be paying about 1.8 cents per point (excluding the transaction fee), which is rather expensive. So, for most people, buying Virgin points isn’t a good idea. Virgin Atlantic will occasionally offer bonuses if you purchase a certain number of points. But, even in those cases, purchasing points probably still isn’t a good idea.
How to Redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Points
Now that we’ve covered the many ways to earn Virgin points, let’s talk about why you might want to earn these points in the first place.
Virgin points can be redeemed for award flights on Virgin Atlantic metal as well as flights with most of Virgin Atlantic’s airline partners. If you’re looking to maximize the value of your points, then redeeming for award flights is usually the best way to do so.
However, if you aren’t interested in award flights, you can redeem your Virgin points for hotel stays, merchandise, experiences and more. In fact, Virgin Atlantic probably offers the most interesting points redemption out there because for 2 million Virgin points, you can be entered into a prize draw to win a trip with Virgin Galactic to space.
We’re going to go through all of the different ways that you can redeem Virgin points, which ones offer the most value and which ones you should probably avoid.
Award Flights with Virgin Atlantic
The most obvious way to redeem Virgin points is by booking award flights with Virgin Atlantic. And the easiest way to find the price of a specific award flight is by using the earning calculator tool on the Virgin Atlantic website.
With this tool, you can simply enter your desired origin and destination and your desired dates of travel. Then, you’ll be able to see how much a Virgin Atlantic award flight on that route would cost in each cabin class.
Virgin Atlantic uses two different award charts to price its own award flights: one for peak season and one for off-peak times, and the rates are typically simple. During peak season, you can fly in economy class between anywhere in the U.S. and anywhere in the U.K. for 20,000 points. During off-peak times, these flights require just 10,000 points.
For instance, here’s an economy flight between London (LHR) and New York (JFK) for just 10,000 Virgin Atlantic points.
Unfortunately, Virgin Atlantic is known for charging unreasonably high fuel surcharges on certain award flights. The flight example mentioned above charges 219 British pounds (about $266 at the current conversion rate) in fuel surcharges and other fees. So, before you book, always pay attention to the fuel surcharges and other fees as these can significantly diminish the amount of value that you get out of your Virgin points.
However, even with the high fuel surcharges, the flight between London and New York still offers great value. If you were to book the same flight on the same date with cash, it would cost you 1,760 British pounds ($2,139).
After factoring in the out-of-pocket costs of fuel surcharges and other fees, this redemption would yield a value of over 19 cents per point, which is incredible.
Now, it should be noted that the cash price of this flight is exceptionally high, which is part of the reason for the extremely high value per point. However, this goes to show that, despite the high fuel surcharges sometimes imposed by Virgin Atlantic, you can find solid value on Virgin Atlantic award flights.
You also have the option to book Virgin Atlantic award flights with a combination of cash and points. The way that this works is that you can apply Virgin points in multiples of 3,000 to reduce the cash price of your flight. However, you typically get pretty terrible value per point when redeeming this way. So, it’s best to either book your flight entirely with cash or entirely with points.
Award Flights with Airline Partners
As previously mentioned, you can redeem your Virgin points for award flights with nearly all of Virgin Atlantic’s airline partners (with the exceptions of SAS, IndiGo and LATAM).
To search for partner award flights, you simply need to search for award flights by selecting “Points” as your currency of choice on the Virgin Atlantic website and then entering your desired origin, destination, flight type, travel dates and number of passengers. Then, any partner award flights that match your search query will appear in the results.
Likewise, you can also find out how many Virgin points a partner award flight will cost you by going to the “Airline partners” page of the Virgin Atlantic website and clicking on the specific airline partner that you want to fly.
Then, click on the “Spend Virgin Points” option to view the award chart for that specific partner. For instance, here’s the award chart for Delta flights.
However, there are also separate award charts for Delta-operated flights between the U.K. and the U.S., award charts for connecting flights operated by Delta and award charts for infant tickets on Delta-operated flights.
So, if you want to find award prices for a specific route operated by an airline partner, you’re going to need to visit their partner page on the Virgin Atlantic website and refer to these award charts.
Keep in mind that not all partner award redemptions provide the same value. So, to help you get the most value out of your points, here are some sweet spots within the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program to look out for.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Flights Between the U.S. and Japan
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has some of the best available redemption rates for ANA-operated flights between the U.S. and Japan. In fact, these are some of the best award travel sweet spots in the entire industry and probably the single best use of Virgin points.
Here is Virgin Atlantic’s award chart for flights on ANA.
The redemption prices listed above are for round-trip tickets. And, as you can see, a round-trip ticket from Western USA to Japan is just 60,000 points in economy class, which is one of the most affordable ways to get to the Land of the Rising Sun from North America.
We found a flight in economy class on ANA from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo (NRT) for $2,451.85 in cash.
If you were to book this same flight with Virgin points, it would cost you just 60,000 points, which means that this redemption would yield a value of about 4 cents per point. That’s incredibly impressive, especially for a flight in economy class. If you decide to book ANA awards in higher-tier cabins, you could get even more value per point.
Air France-KLM Flights Between the U.S. and Europe or the Middle East
Virgin Atlantic has published a ton of award charts for flights on both Air France and KLM and they’re often fairly difficult to decipher. However, that doesn’t mean they should because award flights on KLM and Air France often provide more value than most of Virgin Atlantic’s other partners.
These award charts divide the Earth into 10 zones and award prices are based on origin, destination, cabin class and whether you’re flying in off-peak or peak season.
To save you the hassle of trying to decipher these award charts, here are some of the best redemptions for either KLM or Air France flights:
- One-way economy flights from the U.S. West Coast to Europe for 15,000 points during off-peak season.
- One-way economy flights from the U.S. East Coast to the Middle East for 25,000 points during off-peak season.
- One-way business class flights from the U.S. East Coast to Europe for 48,500 points during off-peak season.
- One-way business class flights from the U.S. East Coast to Northern Africa for 66,500 points during off-peak season.
So, if you’re willing to fly in economy class, you could redeem 50,000 Virgin points for a round-trip flight from New York to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Or, if you want to travel in style, you could book a round-trip business class flight from New York to Cairo for 133,000 Virgin points.
Overall, both KLM and Air France are definitely partners worth paying attention to if you have some Virgin points saved up.
Virgin Australia Flights Within Australia
Virgin Atlantic uses an award chart that’s mostly distance-based to price award flights from its Australian counterpart Virgin Australia. So, if you’re planning to take a tour Down Under, you can find good redemption value on short-haul flights with high cash prices.
Here’s the award chart that Virgin Atlantic uses to price award flights on Virgin Australia:
The prices listed above are for round-trip flights. So, for instance, you could redeem 30,000 Virgin points for a return trip from Adelaide, Australia, to Brisbane, Australia, in economy class. We found a return flight in economy class on Virgin Australia from Adelaide to Brisbane for $477.99.
Thus, if you were to redeem 30,000 Virgin points for this flight, you’d be getting a value of 1.6 cents per point, which is decent.
While partners like ANA, Air France and KLM typically offer far more value per point, you may want to consider using Virgin points with Virgin Australia if you plan on flying around Australia anyway.
Redeem for Hotel Stays
In addition to earning Virgin points for hotel stays with cash, you can use Virgin points to make hotel bookings. First of all, there are several hotel rewards programs that you have the option of transferring your points to. However, doing so is typically a bad idea as these hotel rewards currencies are typically far less valuable than Virgin points.
Nevertheless, here are the hotel programs to which you can transfer Virgin points and their respective transfer ratios:
- Hilton Honors (2:3)
- IHG One Rewards (1:1)
With both of these programs, the minimum number of Virgin points that you can exchange is 10,000. But, once again, we don’t recommend redeeming your Virgin points this way because you can get much more value out of them by purchasing award flights.
You can also book hotel stays directly with Virgin points through Kaligo, a booking engine with access to more than 550,000 hotels worldwide.
To do so, go to this Kaligo page and sign in using your Flying Club account credentials. Then, choose your desired dates, destination and number of guests.
Kaligo charges 20,000 Virgin points per night for a “Standard” category room, 30,000 points per night for a “Premium” category room and 40,000 points per night for a “Luxury” category room. While redeeming your points this way offers decent value, you can still get far more value out of your Virgin points by purchasing award flights.
Finally, Virgin Atlantic also gives you the option to redeem your points for stays at Virgin Limited Edition properties, including Necker Island (a private island in the Caribbean) and other incredible accommodations. The following table lays out each of the properties in the Virgin Limited Edition collection that can be booked with Virgin points and their respective rates.
|Virgin Limited Edition property||Nightly rate in Virgin points|
|Kasbah Tamadot||• 220,000 points for a three-night stay for two people in low season|
• 250,000 points for a three-night stay for two people in mid season
• Redeeming points for stays at Kasbah Tamadot during the high season is not permitted.
|Mahali Mzuri||• 540,000 points for a three-night stay for two people sharing a luxury tent|
• 860,000 points for a five-night stay for two people sharing a luxury tent (A five-night stay includes a complimentary 30-minute massage)
|Mont Rochelle||• 110,000 points for a three-night stay in a Shiraz Room for two people in low season|
• 180,000 points for a three-night stay in a Shiraz Room for two people in high season
|Necker Island||• 540,000 points plus $5,400 in cash for a minimum four-night stay for two people |
• 180,000 points plus $1,800 in cash for any additional nights
|Son Bunyola||• 220,000 points for a three-night stay in a Superior Room for two people in mid season|
• 250,000 points for a three-night stay in a Superior Room for two people in high season
|The Lodge, Verbier||• 340,000 points for a three-night stay for two people sharing one bedroom|
|Ulusaba||• 540,000 points for a three-night stay for two people in an Elephant or Rock Cliff room|
• 860,000 points for a five-night stay for two people in an Elephant or Rock Cliff room
Redeeming your Virgin points for stays at Virgin Limited Edition properties can actually yield a decent value per point. For instance, a three-night stay at Kasbah Tamadot would cost you 30,000 Moroccan Dirham ($2,925).
Thus, since this redemption would cost 220,000 Virgin points, you’d be getting a redemption value of a little over 1.3 cents per point, which isn’t bad at all. Yes, you could still get significantly more value per point by redeeming for award flights. However, redeeming your Virgin points for a stay at an ultra-luxury resort in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains is definitely unique and exciting.
Book Train Tickets
First of all, Virgin Atlantic allows you to use Virgin points to discount the price of train tickets purchased through Virgin Trains Ticketing.
Starting at just 200 points, you can offset the cash price of your train ticket. Unfortunately, redemption values are pretty bad when redeeming this way. Every 200 points you spend will get you a discount of 1 euro (about $1.10 at the current conversion rate) So, this redemption would yield a value of about 0.5 cent per point, which is extremely poor.
You can also redeem Virgin points for e-vouchers from Eurostar, an international high-speed rail service connecting the United Kingdom with France, Belgium and the Netherlands. You can either redeem 12,500 points for a 50-euro ($53) e-voucher or 25,000 points for a 100-euro ($106) e-voucher. Either way, you’ll be getting around 0.4 cent per point in value, which is poor.
All in all, you should avoid redeeming your Virgin points for train ticket discounts and save them for award flight redemptions.
Buy Merchandise and Experiences Through Virgin Red
Just as you can earn Virgin points for buying merchandise through the Virgin Red app, you can also spend those points to cover the cost of merchandise from tons of retailers. The Virgin app is a one-stop shop for all available redemptions offered by Virgin’s many different subsidiary brands, including Virgin Experience Days, Virgin Gift Card, Virgin Wines and more. So, there are a ton of different redemptions you can make through Virgin Red from concert tickets to sunglasses to exotic rums and wines. Redemptions start from just 200 points.
When it comes to redeeming through Virgin Red, the amount of value you’ll get depends on the specific redemption that you make. In general, redeeming for merchandise or experiences through Virgin Red isn’t the best way to maximize the value of your points.
You also have the option to redeem your Virgin points on vouchers for Retail Therapy, Virgin’s Duty Free brand. You can redeem either 6,250 points for a 25-euro ($26.50) voucher or 12,500 points for a 50-euro ($53) e-voucher. Either way, this redemption only provides about 0.4 cent per point in value, which is exceptionally poor.
As with most loyalty programs, using Virgin points to purchase merchandise usually isn’t the best option.
Virgin Atlantic Holidays
You can apply your Virgin points to vacation bookings through Virgin Atlantic Holidays. To do so, you can simply log in to your Flying Club account through Virgin Atlantic Holidays and apply your Virgin points to the cash price of your holiday booking at checkout. The minimum number of points that you can apply is 3,000. For every 3,000 Virgin points you apply to your booking, the cash price will be discounted by 16.50 euros ($17.50).
No matter how many points you apply to your booking, you’ll always get 16.50 euros per 3,000 points. So, at the current conversion rate, redeeming your points this way would yield a value of about 0.6 cent per point, which is poor. So, redeeming your points through Virgin Atlantic Holidays is probably not the best idea.
Virgin Group’s head honcho, Richard Branson, is well-known as a prolific philanthropist. So, it’s no surprise that Virgin Atlantic Flying Club allows you to donate your points to help a number of charities starting at just 1,000 points.
Here is a full list of Virgin Atlantic’s partner charities that you can donate Virgin points to:
|Air Ambulances UK||Mind|
|Birmingham Women and Children’s Hospital||National Autistic Society|
|Cancer Research UK||Open Palm|
|CentrePoint||Phyllis Tuckwell Hospital|
|Edinburgh Food Project||Tommys|
|Guide Dogs||United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)|
|LGBT Foundation||Virgin United|
Virgin Atlantic doesn’t specify how much money goes to charity when you donate to one of their partner charities. However, on the Virgin Group website, it says, “For example, 1,000 points donated to Guide Dogs could provide a training toy for a future life-changing guide dog; or 5,000 points could fund one puppy class, helping to transform young dogs into future life-changing guide dogs.”
So, while it’s not exactly clear how much value you’ll get out of your points by redeeming them for charitable donations. However, if you want to use your points to help those less fortunate, donating your points to one of Virgin Atlantic’s charity partners is the best way to do so.
It’s worth noting that the IRS doesn’t consider donations of Virgin points (or other airline miles) as tax deductible.
Go to Space
If you’re able to rack up 2 million Virgin points, they might be able to take you into space with Virgin Galactic. For 2 million Virgin points you can enter a drawing to win a trip with Virgin Galactic that spans three days. This includes preparation for the flight and a two-hour space flight with at least five minutes of weightlessness.
To enter the prize draw, you’ll need to call Virgin Galactic at 0344-874-7747 and give them your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account details. If your name isn’t drawn, the 2 million points won’t be deducted from your account.
The Bottom Line
Even though Virgin Atlantic is a British airline, the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program should still be on the radar of all U.S.-based travel enthusiasts.
Virgin Atlantic is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, meaning that Virgin points can be earned and spent on flights with all SkyTeam alliance partners, including Aeroméxico, Air France, Delta, KLM and other large air carriers. Virgin Atlantic also has partnerships with several other airlines including ANA, Hawaiian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia and others.
Earning elite status Virgin Atlantic is achievable considering you can earn Tier Points (the metric used to earn elite status) by flying Virgin Atlantic as well as all of their partner airlines.
As a Silver member, which you can earn by racking up 400 Tier Points in a year, you’ll enjoy earning 30% Virgin bonus points on flights and extra baggage allowances. As a Gold member, which requires 1,000 Tier Points in a year, you’ll receive 60% bonus points on flights, airport lounge access, a complimentary companion ticket upon renewal of your Gold membership and much more.
For most U.S.-based travelers, the easiest way to earn Virgin points is probably going to be transferring credit card rewards points into Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Luckily, all of the major transferable points programs transfer to Flying Club at a 1:1 ratio, including American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards.
When it comes time to redeem those Virgin points, your best bet for getting maximum value is redeeming for award flights. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is perhaps the best program for booking ANA-operated flights from the U.S. to Japan. It’s also definitely worth looking into booking Virgin Atlantic-operated award flights between the U.S. and the U.K. as well as Air France- and KLM-operated flights between the U.S. and Europe.
Although booking award flights is definitely the best way to maximize the value of your Virgin points, Flying Club also offers some of the most interesting redemption options in the airline miles industry. Virgin points could get you a multi-night stay on a private island in the Caribbean, take you to a safari game reserve in South Africa or even buy you a trip to space with Virgin Galactic.
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Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.