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Virgin Atlantic Points
Fancy a free flight to New York? You may be able to pull it off with Virgin Atlantic's miles scheme.
Virgin Atlantic’s frequent flyers can collect miles in a bunch of different ways, and use them to get free tickets to travel from London or Manchester to one of Virgin Atlantic’s destinations in the US, the Caribbean, Asia or Africa.
Like most miles schemes, Virgin Atlantic’s offers many different ways of earning and spending, so it can be a bit complicated to navigate. Our guide looks at it from all sides and helps you figure out how to make the best out of it.
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How to earn Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles
The most basic way to earn Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles is obviously to fly around with Virgin Atlantic quite a lot. For every ticket you purchase, you’ll earn a percentage of the miles your plane has covered in real life – so the longer the flight, the more you’ll earn.
The percentage will depend on the class you travel in, from 25% for the cheapest economy class (Economy Light) to 400% for a flexible ticket in the upper class.
However, you can also earn miles in other ways:
- With one of Virgin Atlantic’s credit cards. Virgin Atlantic offers two credit card options that let you earn miles for every purchase you make, no matter where. They differ from one another in that one doubles the Virgin Atlantic miles you can earn in return for an annual fee.
- Adding a car hire or a hotel stay to your flight. If you also book your car or your hotel with Virgin Atlantic, you’ll get 2 extra miles for every £1 you spend.
- With one of Virgin Atlantic’s partners. You can convert loyalty points from other schemes into Virgin Atlantic miles, including miles from a range of other airlines.
- Buying them. If you’re close to a reward you really want, but are just missing a few thousands miles to get it, you can buy them. There’s a one-off £15 transaction fee, and then they cost £15 for 1,000 miles. You can buy a total of 100,000 points each calendar year, in increments of 1,000 points, either for yourself or for other members.
How do Virgin Atlantic Flying Club’s Tier Points work?
To complicate things further, miles and points aren’t the same thing with Virgin Atlantic. Every year you start with zero points and a basic Red membership. If you travel enough in one year, you can collect points that will give you the status of Silver member (400 points) or Gold member (1,000 points).
You can only earn Tier Points and upgrade your status by travelling with Virgin Atlantic – your credit card spending or loyalty points from other schemes will be useless for this. The number of points you collect for every flight depends on the class you travel in – a complete table can be found here.
Silver and Gold customers earn more miles when they fly (30% and 60% more respectively), so if you are a loyal customer it’s easier and quicker to earn free flights. Virgin Atlantic’s Tier Points expire every year, so if you don’t fly enough, you’ll lose your membership upgrade. Luckily, from March 2020, Flying Club Gold and Silver members have 24 months to earn the required tier points, and that’s staying in place until further notice.
How to spend Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles
Once you’ve collected a fair amount of miles, you can trade them for:
Once you’ve got all the miles you need, you can log in to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club’s website and use them to book your flights.
How much are Virgin Atlantic air miles worth?
As with most miles schemes, there’s no easy miles-to-pounds conversion, so it’s probably better to look at it the other way around: what would you like to treat yourself with and how many miles will it take to get there?
The answer will depend on whether it’s standard or peak season (Easter, summer, Christmas), on where you want to go (the cheapest flights go to Israel, while the ones that will require the most miles go to the US West Coast) and on the class you want to travel in.
Pros and cons
- Many different ways to earn miles.
- Good earn rate.
- Introductory miles boost with Virgin Atlantic credit cards.
- Dedicated online portal to manage your miles and book flights.
- Tier Points expire every year.
- No flights to Europe.
- You can’t convert your miles into hotel nights or other rewards.
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