Virgin Flying Club matched my BA Gold status …. when I flew Little Red

(EDIT:  This status match ended on 1st March 2015)

For a few weeks now, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has been running a special promotion in conjunction with Little Red.  Little Red is the Virgin domestic airline which is running services to Heathrow from Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

In theory the promotion is simple.  If you fly Little Red, the cabin crew will offer to match your existing British Airways status to the same level in Virgin Flying Club.  You will also receive 10,000 Virgin miles f0r a Gold match and 5,000 Virgin miles for a Silver match.

Unfortunately the execution of this match has been poor.  I would have written about it earlier but I did not have proof that it works OK until last week.

Little Red

This is what happens.

The cabin crew announce on your Little Red flight that they will match your BA status (if you have your BA card on you) to the identical Flying Club level.  Needing to have your BA card with you is the first snag.

On request they give you a form to fill in.

Here is the second snag.

Both the form AND the cabin crew announcement imply – but do not state explicitly – that you must be a NEW Virgin Flying Club member.  There is no space on the form to write in your existing Virgin number.

This is weird.  After all, if you fly enough with British Airways to get Silver or Gold status, it is likely that you would have a Virgin Atlantic account even if it is rarely used.

I have an existing Virgin account, as did the colleague I was travelling with.  We both filled in the form but did not write our existing Virgin numbers on it (there wasn’t a box for it anyway).  The crew collected the form.

We went home and waited, and waited, and waited.

Two weeks passed.  Neither of us had heard anything from Virgin.  I emailed the Virgin customer services team at customer.services [at] fly.virgin.com to ask what was going on.  In that email, I specifically said that I was trying to match my existing Virgin account and provided the account number.

I attached a copy of the application form.  My colleague was a smart cookie and told me on the plane to take a photo of the form with my iPhone.  Luckily I listened to him!

Nothing happened for a few more days.  I then had an email from Virgin asking for a scanned copy of my British Airways Gold card.  I had one of those on my PC anyway so that went across within a few minutes.  10 minutes later I got an email saying the match was sorted – and it was.

My Gold status lasts until July 2015.  I received the 10,000 bonus miles as well.  I will also receive a further 2,000 miles on my birthday!  I am also able to gift a Silver card to a friend.

In terms of Gold benefits, the key one for most people would be Virgin Clubhouse access when flying Virgin Atlantic in economy or premium economy.  You also receive lounge access when flying Little Red, although there is no Heathrow lounge at present until the move to Terminal 2 is complete in September.

I have no idea when this offer ends.  Every few days someone posts on Flyertalk that it is still active but there hasn’t been a report for a few days now (but neither has anyone said it has finished!). (EDIT – was still alive yesterday, see comments)

If you had time on your hands, this is not a bad deal.  A cash ticket on Little Red to Manchester would be under £100 return on most days.  You could use Avios to fly one way to save a few ££ and, if you had some, use Virgin Flying Club miles to fly the other direction.  The cost of the ticket would be offset by the 10,000 Virgin miles if you are Gold (it is more marginal for 5,000 miles if you are only BA Silver) and any benefits you get from the Gold card would be a bonus.

My tip is to fly FROM London on British Airways and the other way on Little Red.  You can then use the BA lounges at Heathrow.  At Manchester, Virgin uses the Aspire lounge which you can access using a Priority Pass or Lounge Club card and which is surprisingly pleasant.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles? Click here to see recent articles on Virgin Atlantic, Little Red and Flying Club, and click here for the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Up to 40% bonus when you buy Flying Blue miles this week
Final week to get 4,800 Avios for £20 with blinkbox books
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. Serrano says:

    I assume they won’t match your CX status?

    • No, strictly BA only.

    • I was offered a status match challenge for my CX card. Instant silver then book a long haul flight to get gold. Declined it in the end as it involved spending actual money for a flight.

      • Me too. My challenge was 20TPs in 7 months. Took it and am now Gold.

      • How did you apply for the match? – Just email Virgin CS? I could manage some US flights over the next few months, so a challenge would be good.

        • In my case I was approached at the airport. I think the drive is to get regular UK domestic flyers onto Little Red. But always worth a direct approach via Client Services.

  2. Sam wardill says:

    I got the match before flying so was able to get the £10 costa voucher in t1. However I never got the 10000 miles. Will have to chase that

  3. Did customer services allow you to merge / apply the gold to your existing account?

    Is it permitted to have two accounts?

    Thanks

    • It was applied to my existing account, yes.

      No, you can’t have two accounts. My original plan – if they had created a second account – was to get customer services to merge them later.

  4. Andrew says:

    This might be a daft question but why does it say operated by Aer Lingus when i book a Little Red flight from Manchester to LHR?

    • They are Aer Lingus planes and Aer Lingus crew, disguised as Virgin employees. Virgin did not want to commit the cost of the service in case it all went wrong so it is subscontracted to Aer Lingus.

    • The Aer Lingus crew go on a 2 week conversion course to give them the required Virgin Flair.

  5. I like the sound of this – Virgin do seem to be gunning for BA, which will hopefully keep them on their toes.

  6. Gav Bland says:

    You don’t need to have your gold card with you be a new flying club member or use the form All I did after a little red flight was e mail virgin customer services a scan of my BA gold card the virgin flying club number along with flight details and booking reference asking for card upgrade
    Within 3 days I had an e mail confirming card upgrade and a bonus 10000 miles in my account I received the virgin gold card by post a week later don’t try to ring customer services they have no clue about the offer you must e mail

  7. Possibly pedantic, but the crew belong to an agency and are not Aer Lingus staff. The agency may well be sub-contracted to Aer Lingus, but as I understand it from a Virgin staff member, they’re not actually Aer Lingus’s crew.

  8. Dominic says:

    Will this work if the Little Red is booked and paid for using Virgin points, or does it have to be a cash booking?

  9. I can confirm that the offer was still being broadcast on a flight from EDI yesterday.

  10. Erico1875 says:

    QUOTE: If you fly Little Red, the cabin crew will offer to match your existing British Airways status to the same level in Virgin Flying Club. You will also receive 10,000 Virgin miles.

    Ok. I am a lowly Blue. Will Virgin match that and give me the 10K miles ? :-)

  11. Colin S says:

    Now wondering where I put that photshopped BA Gold card……. 😉

  12. Dominic says:

    Well, I’m booked to do it on Sunday – I hope it is still on offer then!

  13. A data point for you: I flew on 9 June and my account changed to Gold status yesterday (25th). I already had a (non-status red) Flying Club account and so made a prominent note of my existing membership number on the form that I completed on-board the Little Red flight.

    I received the 10,000 points for “Virgin Atlantic Little Red Airport Acquisition Bonus”, and an additional 1 point shown as “Virgin Atlantic Little Red Airport Acquisition Registration”.

    The 7 tier points I already had have reset to zero, and it tells me “You need 40 Tier Point(s) by 30-Jun-15 to renew gold membership.”

  14. pazza2000 says:

    2k FC miles on your birthday and gratis nominated Silver (albeit not much use) is two perks I never knew of from this recent status match which I also took advantage of.

    • Agreed, the extra 2k birthday bonus was a nice surprise. Less use for household Silver, I can’t even give it away because of the need for an address match.

  15. Dominic says:

    They were still status matching (albeit with a cabin crew member who didn’t understand the process at all) as of last night. Just flew to EDI and got the form filled in (and photographed)!