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Virgin Atlantic is a major competitor in the airline industry and a widely respected name in the travel fraternity. Virgin Atlantic’s spunky legacy comes directly from its founder, Sir Richard Branson. Branson’s philosophy of “screw it, let’s do it” has served the airline well throughout its growth phase.
The airline is distinguished by its fantastic (and often fun) product, but most of all by its enriching loyalty program, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Virgin Points, the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club’s currency, is valuable for several reasons. Plus, they’re effortless to accumulate with a co-branded credit card, travel partners, transfer options from numerous banks, shopping portal bonuses, and frequent promotional offers to purchase Virgin Points.
Most recently, Virgin Atlantic announced its intention to join the SkyTeam alliance in 2023, becoming SkyTeam‘s only UK-based affiliate and the first new member of the alliance in nearly a decade.
How to Earn Virgin Points
To get started with Virgin Points, you need to sign up for a free Flying Club account. Once enrolled, Virgin Red, the Flying Club’s lowest tier, will be automatically assigned, and you will be eligible to start earning and redeeming Virgin Points. Notably, Flying Club is Virgin Atlantic’s frequent flyer program, while Virgin Red is Virgin’s broader rewards program, which includes other Virgin companies like Virgin Hotels, Virgin Voyages, and more.
After enrollment, it is time to start earning Virgin Points, and there are many ways to earn them.
Earning Virgin Atlantic Points by Flying Virgin
Taking actual flights with Virgin Atlantic is the most obvious way to earn Virgin Points, but it is not always the most cost-effective method. Let’s break it down.
Virgin Atlantic flights are divided into three cabin classes—Economy, Premium, and Upper, and each class is further subdivided into unique fare codes, of which there are many. To add another layer of complexity, Virgin Atlantic has further split its Economy class into Economy Light, Economy Classic, and Economy Delight, each with its unique fare codes (again).
Members will earn more or fewer Virgin Points based on the fare code booked. Economy flights earn between 25% to 150% of miles flown, Premium earn between 100% to 200%, and Upper-Class travelers earn 200% to 400%.
|Light (T) – 25%||Class H & K – 100%||Class I & Z – 200%|
Class O, N, X, Q, & E – 50%
Class L, U, & M – 100%
Class Y, B, & R – 150%
|Class W & S – 200%||Class J, C, & D – 400%|
|Delight (V) – 150%||–||–|
Additionally, the elite status of the Flying Club program (Red, Silver, and Gold) offers a bonus of 30% to 60% beyond the Virgin Points earned by flying. Silver members earn 30% more Virgin Points than the standard Red tier, while Gold members earn 60% Virgin Points over and above the Red tier.
To better understand how Virgin Atlantic’s Virgin Points’ earning mechanism works in reality, Virgin Atlantic has published an easy-to-use earnings calculator. Using the earnings calculator, you can determine how many points you will earn based on your itinerary, your status in the Flying Club program, and the type of airfare you have purchased.
Virgin Atlantic Tier Points
The status in the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program is determined based on Tier Points, a different component than Virgin Points. Tier Points are not awarded based on revenue or even miles traveled but by a standard rate determined by the purchased fare class.
Elite status tiers and qualification requirements include:
- Red — (automatically) enrolled at sign up
- Silver — 400 Tier Points
- Gold — 1000 Tier Points
Until March 31, 2023, 300 Tier Points are required to upgrade to Silver and 800 Tier Points to Gold.
To maintain elite status, Tier Points requirements must be met yearly as Tier Points expire after 12 months. However, if you are a Red member, membership will not lapse as long as you earn or redeem Virgin Points within three years.
Benefits of elite status in the Flying Club program:
- Red — Ability to accumulate and redeem Virgin Points.
- Silver — Premium check-in in any cabin, free seat selection in the Economy Light fare category, family account linking facility for up to nine flyers, and the ability to pause Flying Club membership on maternity or paternity grounds, among other benefits.
- Gold — All the benefits of the Silver tier plus Upper Class check-in in any cabin, complimentary access to the Clubhouse lounge for the member and an extra guest, a cabin upgrade reward on attaining 2,000 Tier Points within the membership year, and the option to offer supplementary Silver membership to a friend, among other benefits.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club also provides its members with a status match opportunity upon proving that they are registered in the top tier of any of the associated airline loyalty schemes. However, you must have a future revenue flight booked with Virgin Atlantic to enable a status match – for Silver, it may be in any cabin class, but for Gold, it must be Premium Economy or Virgin Upper Class – and not have had Flying Club Silver or Gold status previously using status match.
|Airline Program||Second Tier||Top Tier|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||Platinum Pro||Executive Platinum|
|BA Executive Club||Silver||Gold|
|Cathay Pacific Marco Polo||Gold||Diamond|
|EL Al Matmid||Gold||Platinum|
|Hong Kong Airlines Fortune Wings||Silver||Platinum or Gold|
|Iberia Iberia Plus||Oro||Platino|
|Lufthansa Miles and More||Senator||Hon Circle|
|Pakistan International Airline||Sapphire||Diamond|
|Scandinavian Airlines SAS EuroBonus||Gold||Diamond|
|South African Voyager||Silver||Gold, Platinum|
|United Mileage Plus||Premier Platinum||Premier 1K|
Flights with Virgin Atlantic Airline Partners on Points
Virgin Atlantic is not part of any airline alliance (not yet). Still, it has three joint venture partners, which Virgin Atlantic describes as codesharing partners, but with a higher level of commitment and cooperation. These include:
- Delta Airlines
- Air France
In addition, Virgin Atlantic has codeshare agreements with several airlines. These include Aeroméxico, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, IndiGo Airlines, and LATAM Airlines, among other airlines. These commercial partnerships enable Virgin Atlantic members to earn/redeem Virgin Points for flights operated by each airline.
Unlike most airlines, Virgin Atlantic has a separate award chart for each partner airline, which means that the number of points you will need to book a flight varies from carrier to carrier. Individual charts add a level of complexity but also help to create unparalleled sweet spots.
Virgin Atlantic Credit Cards – Great way to earn Flying Club Award Points
Earning Virgin Points via credit cards is an easy way to earn a lot of Virgin Points quickly. Since the Flying Club program is a transfer partner of virtually all major credit card rewards programs, there are loads of travel credit cards that you can use to earn Virgin Points.
Virgin Atlantic currently offers one credit card in the United States that earns rewards under the Flying Club program, the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®.
The Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard, issued by Bank of America, offers many opportunities to earn points. New cardholders can get 30,000 bonus Virgin Points after spending $1,000 or more within the first 90 days of account opening. The cardholder also accumulates 3X points per dollar on Virgin Atlantic purchases and 1.5X points on all other purchases.
In terms of ongoing benefits, cardholders can earn up to 5,000 bonus Virgin Points when they add additional members to their account and 25 Tier Points for every $2,500 spent (maximum of 50 Tier Points per month). Another key feature of the card is that it does not charge foreign transaction fees, which is convenient when traveling through Virgin Atlantic’s extensive network of destinations.
Please note that this card has a $90 annual fee, and the offers listed with this card are subject to change.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Award – US Credit Card Transfer Partners
Virgin Points can be transferred from most major transferable currencies at a 1:1 rate, with an exception being Capital One. These transfer partners comprise:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards
- American Express Membership Rewards
- Citi ThankYou Points
Hilton also serves as a transfer partner for Virgin Atlantic. But the rate is dismal at 1,500 Virgin Points for 10,000 Hilton points, and points must be transferred in increments of 10,000 and no less than 10,000.
Another hotel transfer alternative is IHG. IHG points can be transferred to Virgin Atlantic at 10,000 IHG points for 2,000 Virgin points, slightly better than Hilton’s. Points must be transferred in tranches of 5,000 IHG points with a minimum of 10000.
To use the Virgin Atlantic shopping portal, Retail Therapy, you must be a member of the Flying Club. After registration is confirmed, ensure you are logged in. Next, you can use the website link to shop in your selected store. You’ll earn 2 Virgin Points for each £1 spent when you shop with Retail Therapy online.
Virgin Atlantic will track your purchase within five business days. Virgin Points earned through Retail Therapy are in addition to the Virgin Points earned by swiping your Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard credit card.
There are other ways to earn Virgin Points:
- Rental cars: Book reservations with Hertz and Avis to earn points.
- Rocketmiles: Book hotel stays and earn up to 10,000 Virgin Points per night.
- Kaligo: Earn up to 10,000 Virgin Points per night at numerous hotels.
- PointsHound: Receive up to 5,000 Virgin Points per night at numerous hotels.
- Virgin Hotels: Earn 1,000 Virgin Points per stay and receive complimentary upgrades for Silver and Gold tier status.
Buying Virgin Points
Buying Virgin Points of Virgin Atlantic (or any other airline) isn’t typically going to produce the best value, even when they are on sale as part of one of Virgin Atlantic’s numerous promotions. Buying Virgin Points may only make sense if you are trying to top off your Flying Club account for redemption.
Before purchasing Virgin Points, you must have some activity on your Flying Club account. To circumvent this problem, you can transfer Virgin Points from a transferable currency such as Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards. You can also do it in a longer, more conventional way and earn Virgin Points by flying with the airline. The last option is to use Virgin Atlantic’s Retail Therapy, but Virgin Points can take 6-8 weeks to post to your Flying Club account.
If you intend to buy Virgin Points, you will want to wait until the points are on sale, which is, fortunately, quite frequent. These sales usually function as a multi-tiered bonus incentive wherein the more Virgin Points you buy, the more bonus you earn.
How to Redeem Virgin Points
Virgin Atlantic Flights
As Virgin Atlantic is based in London, many of their flights will be hit with high surcharges. That said, you can find great deals on Virgin Atlantic flights, particularly in Economy class. For example, one-way flights from Washington Dulles (IAD) to London Heathrow (LHR) in Economy class run as low as 10,000 Virgin Points plus taxes, fees, and carrier-imposed charges, which can be roughly $150.
Being a customer-focused airline, in June 2022, Virgin Atlantic unveiled its commitment to offer 12 reward seats — including eight seats in Economy, two in Premium Economy, and two in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class — on each flight.
Flights With Partners
The Flying Club’s true value lies in its list of partners. As mentioned earlier, Virgin Atlantic has a different chart for every partner airline, and some redemptions are better in value than others.
One of Virgin Atlantic’s partner awards incredible steal is with flights on Japanese carrier ANA, especially in their premium cabins. Flying ANA First Class to Japan is a true pleasure,e and doing it for just 55,000 Virgin Points one-way makes it even sweeter.
The lowest fares are applicable for West Coast flights like Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO). The rate rises slightly to 60,000 Virgin Points for departures from the Central and Eastern US, such as Chicago (ORD) or New York (JFK). Just want to fly in business class? Those seats can be reserved for 45,000 one-way Virgin Points.
Unfortunately, you cannot book ANA flights on Virgin’s website. Instead, you will need to visit United Airlines’ website to confirm award flight availability and call Virgin on 1-800-365-9500 to make a reservation. These additional steps are worth the effort to experience such a high-end product of the aviation industry.
The fees on award flights booked with Virgin Atlantic points can be incredibly high because they pass on the carrier-imposed fees. But there are a couple of options where you can avoid those annoying “surcharges.”
For example, Delta flights from the United States are free of exorbitant fees, as are ANA, Hawaiian Airlines, and Domestic Virgin Australia.
In the case of Virgin Atlantic, for children to be considered eligible as infants, they must be less than two years of age at the time of travel. Thankfully, Virgin Atlantic makes their infant fees super easy to understand.
The following list shows how many Virgin Points you will need to fork over for a one-way flight for your infant. Relative to other airlines, the rate is fairly reasonable, especially for Premium and Virgin Upper Class flights.
- 1,000 points in Economy
- 2,000 points in Premium
- 5,000 points in Virgin Upper Class
If you prefer to pay cash, Virgin Atlantic charges 10% of the adult fare (plus taxes, fees, or charges).
This Virgin Atlantic guide shares information about Flying Club, several ways to earn/redeem Virgin Points, how to obtain elite status in the Flying Club, and the benefits you will receive with that status.
The Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is an excellent loyalty program for travelers who enjoy traveling with Virgin Atlantic or its partners.
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