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:
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
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 ‘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.
- 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
- 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.
(Thanks to Jon, who managed to get a remarkable 8p per mile on a recent purchase of an Orlando economy ticket!)