Virgin’s ‘Miles Plus Money’ option – some good deals to be had

The Virgin Flying Club scheme is less well known among Head for Points readers than British Airways Executive Club.  I have written occasional articles to highlight some of the more interesting parts, such as:

CombiFares – when Virgin lets you pay 50% of the cash fare for a one-way ticket if only one half of your trip is available on miles

Their regular redemption seat sales

The fact that you can redeem on partner airlines even though Virgin is not in an alliance

Miles Booster – letting you buy miles very cheaply if you have cash flights booked on Virgin

The fact that economy redemptions require fewer miles and £100 less tax than an Avios redemption

Virgin’s improved cancellation policy – which used to be terrible but is now on a par with Avios

Transfers from Amex Membership Rewards to Virgin are instantaneous, so no risk of losing that seat

Transferring INTO hotel programmes – you can move Virgin miles TO Hilton and IHG Rewards Club

The fact that some hotels chains let you collect Virgin miles but do not let you collect Avios

There is one aspect of Virgin Flying Club that I haven’t looked at before, and that is ‘Miles Plus Money’.

You may be familiar with the new Avios feature called ‘Part-Pay With Avios’.  As I explained here, it isn’t very good.  You can redeem up to 7,500 Avios points for a discount of up to £50 on a cash ticket.  This values your points at a relatively poor 0.67p each.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin ‘Miles Plus Money’

Virgin’s ‘Miles Plus Money’ is run differently.  It appears to be a way of quietly discounting seats without having to unleash a full sale.

This is what is costs:

2,000 miles to discount an economy ticket

7,500 miles to discount a Premium Economy ticket

15,000 miles to discount an Upper Class ticket (not available on Orlando or Las Vegas)

The discounts can be impressive – with the drawback that your flight will not be eligible to earn miles if you use it.  Here are some examples I found, for travel on October 1st to October 5th.

New York:

  • Economy price £464, ‘Miles Plus Money’ price £434, value per mile: 1.5p
  • Premium Economy price £1113, ‘Miles Plus Money’ price £978, value per mile: 1.8p
  • Upper Class price £2573, ‘Miles Plus Money’ price £n/a, value per mile: £n/a

Dubai:

  • Economy price £415, ‘Miles Plus Money’ price £385, value per mile: 1.5p
  • Premium Economy price £985, ‘Miles Plus Money’ price £935, value per mile:  0.67p
  • Upper Class price £2315, ‘Miles Plus Money’ price £2115, value per mile:  1.3p

As you can see, these are not bad deals at all.  The value per mile in most cases is substantial better than you get with ‘Part Pay With Avios’.

There is one big drawback, though.  You will not earn any Flying Club miles back from your flight.  This is not necessarily a problem if you are booking a one-off Virgin flight and using ‘Miles Plus Money’ with miles transferred via Tesco Clubcard or American Express Membership Rewards.

It would also not be a concern if you were booking ‘miles plus money’ for someone else from your account, if that person was not a frequent flyer and has no use for the miles.

For a long-term Flying Club collector, though, you obviously need to factor in the miles foregone into any calculations. Reports say that, in reality, you may well receive miles – but you cannot be certain.

You can learn more about ‘Miles Plus Money’ on the Virgin website here.

(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.)

The amazing new lounge at Qatar's Hamad International
Aurigny launches London City to Guernsey - potential Avios redemption
About Head for Points

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

Comments

  1. WORTH re-reading HFP virgin posts to get some more points ideas. The free 500 + 500 promotion was great.

    The best one I can see (ie ‘unmissable’) for non Virgin Wines members is to sign up for a first case and get 3000 miles, plus if you have registered your Amex on the £25 + £25 promotion and this is your second purchase, you’ll get £25 back in the form of a statement credit.
    http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/gb/en/flying-club/flying-club-partners/virgin-group/virgin-wines.html

    • There are usually £40 and £50 off codes kicking around as well, try DISCOVERY etc, you can combine these with the £25 statement credit and the 3000 miles.

      £60 off http://www.vouchercodes.co.uk/virginwines.co.uk

      https://www.virginwines.co.uk/offer/default.jsp?ref=VW2709&bmUID=kviPtfV

      • czechoslovakia says:

        Squills, thank you so much for this idea, sir. Bought something in the sale at Debenhams for first purchase, but Currys/PCWorld wont accept my order as they wont deliver to an address other than the cardolder (which I need). Don’t fancy overpriced clothes, so some nice “free” wine will do nicely – plus the points.

      • Excellent advice Squills!

        I ended up getting this case http://tinyurl.com/pr3peln for just £33! :D

        • Nice one. Depending on what you bought, you may need to ask them to stop automatic delivery next time (Discovery Club) but this is not a biggie.

          • They were not keen on stopping my membership. Eventually i had to tell them I was now teetotal in order to cancel!

          • Thanks! Somehow I missed that… *sigh*

          • Thanks Squills, just bought a case of my wife’s favourite wine with one of the £50 off vouchers.
            A bit concerned though because nothing on the order confirmation refers to the Virgin Flying Club number I enetered during the order. Should I worry or is this normal?
            Cheers!

            • I think that’s normal, ISTR my 3000 points took a while to post but didn’t need chasing up. Check your Virgin FC number is indeed logged on your Wines membership a/c and you shouldn’t have a problem. They are pretty good at stopping multiple use of vouchers and I think Flying Club number is one way they do this. Now I come to think of it, I do actually remember getting £50 off with my first non-membership case (WINEBANK ?) then another £50 off some time later when I signed up for Discovery Club, so maybe do it in that order if anybody else is going to give it a go.

          • Thanks for the reply Squills. I thought the same – went into my order & account on Virgin Wines but couldn’t find my VFC number anywhere nor a space to enter it. I did put in on the order page but didn’t see confirmation of it. I’d appreciate it if you could tell me where it should show in my account or if it should have shown on the order confirmation. Thanks.

            • Found it! The details are in my account but only show when you go into Account Details / Edit Personal Information. Of course! Thank goodness.

  2. Not too sure I look at it quite like that. Saving around £30 on a £1000 ticket, based on one of the above examples, makes me think I could shop around for that sort of discount anyhow.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Ah.. but the miles plus money option doesn’t earn you any miles I believe. That means the real cost is much higher as you’re forgoing miles…

    • Jonathan, you are right. They have hidden that away in the small print and I didn’t see it. Bit of a poor show by Virgin not to mention this upfront. I have amended the text. Thank you.

      • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

        Any chance of a ‘value per mile net of miles foregone’ calculation for the lazy of us. New York in economy would earn about 7k I imagine, so the 2k that the discount ‘costs’ is the tip of the iceberg. It’ll only get worse for longer trips.

        • The calculation for the New York trip in Economy should be 7k miles you will not earn + 2k miles you will spend = 9k miles less in your account and you save £30. So it’s a poor 0.33p per mile.

  4. I have heard that some customers have received miles and points this way.

    If you really want to save money on Virgin start your flight in Amsterdam…

    • Billy can you show how ex eu fares on Virgin work please. On Bs it is relatively simple but I have yet to find another carrier that offers similar deals …ie ex EU via LHR. There are of course good deals to be had on other airlines ex EU either direct or via home hubs. EG AY ex BUD via HEL.

      • What do you mean “show how they work”? They work exactly like any other flight!

        • No need for the exclamation mark! A sensible question I would have thought. How do you start a VS flight from say AMS to fly to LAS

    • Or Dublin.

  5. I have to say the availability in UC and PE flights on the Orlando to Manchester route this year has been unbelievable. I have never seen such availability for three people in over 8 years of collecting. I take my first ever reward in UC tomorrow. I am beginning to wish I hadn’t changed my savings partner to BA. As I write very little open for next year in PE or business on BA to the States. Time will tell. The downside of VA is the lack of a household account.

  6. Taking my first Upper class flight with Virgin very soon, cant wait.
    But I looked and checked bookings with Virgin leaving from Amsterdam ad Dublin and the Taxes were the same?

  7. Best value I’ve ever had has been Flying Virgin to Orlando.

    1/2 price econ reward seat sale + Amex Black Prem Econ upgrades = £374 +22.5k miles.
    Got offered exceptional airport upgrade for both of us (not meant to be possible on a P ticket) on way out for extra £54 +12.5k miles each.

    So impressed with that terrific offer, service and friendliness, booked Econ M Class rtn for next trip to Orlando this Nov. Upgraded with miles to UC rtn total cost of £794+50k miles each, still good price plus it’ll earn miles for the EC part of the fare, approx 9k each.

    • I think that’s the best use of miles, buying economy on a flight that has upgrade availability and then use miles to upgrade. Bit of a pain though with the taxes to pay though.

  8. Thunderbirds says:

    I’ve just been to Tokyo on Virgin UC (x4) and am left with a sense of disappointment. O.K. the lounge at LHR T3 is O.K. but I’m not sure 9 different styles of seating, a pool table and a sweet bar quite adds up to the style I was looking for. Food was good for a “business lounge” and service was O.K. On the plane the biggest advantage is of course that all the UC seats access the isle without climbing over someone else. The seats themselves (A340-600) whilst O.K. were underwhelming. Screen size was small. Anyone looking for the bar (like 007) I think would be disappointed as it is used extensively for food preparation/layout. All in all worth looking at as an option to BA given the earning ability on Black Visa and variations in destinations. I have a couple of E to PE upgrades to use and will probably use them for Boston next year. In summary I still be saving with BA as my primary source of premium flights. It is however about time BA sorted out their rewards map.

  9. squills – I like your info on the Virgin wines! this would be my first time ordering the wines so what do I do to get the 3000 miles and £60 discount? Do you just cancel once you have received your first case?

  10. David Faichney says:

    Looks like not available on one way trips :(

  11. How on earth did Jon get 8p per mile then …. Come on Raffles, don’t keep us in the dark ;-)

    • I seem to have deleted his email – for some reason he was given a very generous deal. The discounts seem to move around.

      • Is that true or one of those weird flyertalk secret codes meaning that the deal is too good for general riff raff to get their hands on?

  12. Tangentially related to this topic – BAEC status match still working for VS Flying Club, was announced on my flight on Wed, I emailed them yesterday and they called this morning to confirm it had been processed!