How to convert Virgin Flying Club miles to Avios points

One of the most common questions I receive via email from new readers is whether they can convert their Virgin Flying Club miles to Avios points.  I thought I would save myself some typing in the future by running a post on this that I can direct people to later!

The first thing to say is that you can transfer Virgin Flying Club miles to Avios points, but the exchange rate is poor.  I will explain how later in the post.

Before that, though, you should think about WHY you want to move your Virgin miles to Avios.

Is it because you don’t have enough for a Virgin redemption?

Are you sure about that?  Remember, Virgin allows one-way redemptions (as does Avios).  You could book a one-way ticket to where you want to go on Virgin miles, and then come back with Avios points.  A one-way in economy to New York is only 17,500 miles (and 30% cheaper in the current sale).  This actually gives you more flexibility than just using Avios because you have more chances of finding available seats.

Virgin also offers ‘miles plus money‘ redemptions which reduces the amount of miles you need even further.

Is it because Virgin does not fly to where you want to go?

OK, fair point!  Ever since Delta bought 49% of Virgin a couple of years ago, the airline has been dropping its non-North American routes in favour of more destinations which drive connecting traffic from Delta.

However, have you considered flying somewhere else in the same region and buying (or using Avios on a oneworld airline) a cheap connecting flight?

Virgin doesn’t fly to Doha, for example.  Availability is decent to Dubai, however, and connecting flights to Doha from Dubai are very cheap.  There are plenty of similar options.

Are you aware that Virgin Flying Club economy redemptions generally require fewer miles and £100 less in taxes than Avios redemptions?

You might be better off trying to find a way of topping up your Virgin miles for a redemption than moving miles across to Avios.  This Head for Points post compares some typical Virgin redemption routes vs Avios in terms of miles and taxes.

Virgin is currently running its semi-regular redemption sale.  This means that you can fly to New York in Economy for just 24,500 miles at any point in the next year.  The cheapest Avios redemption, on an off-peak date, would be 40,000 Avios.

Do you know that you can top-up your Virgin miles via Tesco Clubcard voucher conversions, Heathrow Rewards points transfers or American Express Membership Rewards transfers?

Tesco Clubcard and Heathrow Rewards both offer you an easy way of topping up your Virgin account.

Remember that the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year and comes with 20,000 Amex Membership Rewards points for signing-up.  See my review of American Express Gold here.  Those convert to 20,000 Virgin miles.  That should be enough to turn your existing Virgin Flying Club miles collection into something useful.

Virgin also has its own credit cards, run by MBNA.  Few people know that – unlike the BA Amex cards – you are allowed to have both at the same time, and so earn two  sign-up bonuses.

If you really DO want to convert Virgin miles to Avios points ….

Moving Virgin Flying Club miles to Avios points is a two stage process.  You will need at least 10,000 Virgin miles to do it.

Stage 1:  Open an IHG Rewards Club account

Stage 2:  Transfer your Virgin miles to IHG Rewards Club points at the rate of 1 to 1

Stage 3:  Transfer your IHG Rewards Club points to Avios at the rate of 5 to 1

20,000 Virgin miles would get you 20,000 IHG points which gets you 4,000 Avios points.  The rate is effectively 5 : 1 which is pretty terrible.

There is a second route which is no better:

Stage 1:  Open a Hilton HHonors account

Stage 2:  Transfer your Virgin miles to Hilton HHonors points at the rate of 1 to 1.5

Stage 3:  Transfer your Hilton HHonors points to Avios at the rate of 10 to 1

The net conversion rate is awful, of course.  20,000 Virgin miles gets you 30,000 Hilton HHonors points which gets you 3,000 Avios points.  The rate is effectively 7 : 1 which is shocking.

You would be far better off using the IHG Rewards Club or Hilton HHonors points to book yourself a free hotel room rather than converting them to Avios points.

As a total fall back offer, you should have a look at this deal which offers you a £50 Virgin Voucher in return for 12,500 Virgin Flying Club miles You would get more value from converting to IHG or Hilton as long as you spend the points on free hotel rooms, but the Virgin Voucher may be a cleaner break, if that is what you want.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

What is the best Avios credit card? (Part 1: comparing sign-up bonuses)
How to get a discount on Stansted Express
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Comments

  1. O/T (but only a little bit!). You’ve seen the news about Virgin’s hike in miles required for upgrades? Effective 01 March – so virtually no notice.

    • Is it a substantial hike? This might ruin my plans to use my miles to upgrade for my next flight!

      • Yes. 10,000 hike of on E-PE, 10,000 PE-UC, 15,000 E-UC, one way. Makes a LHR-JFK upgrade from Economy to Upper 70,000 return, which is ridiculous considering a straight UC redemption is 80,000. I posted about it in the comments a few days ago.

      • Fredo Frog says:

        15,000 miles per leg for Econ to UC upgrades, so yes, substantial! For us that is an extra 60,000 miles needed for the trip we had planned. This is for all destinations.

        In summary:
        Increase of 5,000 miles, Economy to Premium, one way
        Increase of 10,000 miles, Premium to Upper, one way
        Increase of 15,000 miles, Economy to Upper, one way

        I expect that the miles requirements for miles-only reward seat purchases will follow in due course.

        • I suppose it was bound to happen. If you had a ticket booked in an eligible fare class upgrades were incredibly cheap.

  2. Do Virgin – Hilton transfers count towards Hilton status, in the same way that Virgin-IHG transfers do?

  3. Barry cutters says:

    As for value from virgin, I needed a last minute trip to la this weekend. I was unable to make a Dublin connection for an ex Europe departure.i therefore looked all options, no avois availability in any class, direct ba flights were£1k+ in Eco. Virgin was about £800. But virgin had Eco return available as reward seats, 29k miles and £240, so I booked it. Got on an a340 out with 100 free seats Saturday at 10am. Got a row of 4 to myself, took 2 sleeping pills and slept for 5h , woke up ,ate, took another 2 pills and slept another 5h. Did what I needed to do in la, and 30h after landing I find myself about to board a 787_9, for the return home, hopefully there’s a few seats spare on this one too.. But all in all I’m happy with the value I got from my virgin miles

    • Barry cutters says:

      I can see why ba are really reducing the prices ex Europe from all connections, I often fly to lax on ba and it’s always full . Virgin had 100 seats left . I couldn’t believe it

      • Barry cutters says:

        Update asked for a miles upgrade at the gate and got it.. 20konly from Eco to upper class. Seems to cheap to be true

        • I never even knew you could do a miles upgrade at the gate! Does this work even when it shows no availability online? Do BA also do this? Enjoy your flight!

          • Virgin do a miles upgrade at the gate, BA do not have asked on every flight we have had and they all say they do not have the facility to do this at the gate, (don’t know whether this is true or not ). They will however do an upgrade for cash not as expensive as booking a new ticket and depends where departing from. Calgary wanted 400 pounds to go from WT+ to club and LAS wanted 500 to club, depends on how much you want a flat bed on the way out or back.

          • BA truly do not have the facility to use your Avios at the airport. Airport staff are not trained in the Executive Club apart from which benefits each tier level is entitled to at the airport (Club check-in, lounge access, etc.) You can stop asking the airport staff now, they genuinely don’t have access to anything Exec Club related except your status level or your future bookings. Really clever ones will be able to look up your individual Avios balance. :)

          • Do you get full points of UC if you upgrade at the gate? Or is the cheaper rate indicative of the standard points?

          • Edited for clarity: BA airport staff* do not currently* have the facility to use your Avios at the airport. BA has the ability to train the staff to use Avios but they don’t (currently) want that complexity at the airport, nor are they likely to.

        • I upgraded at airport from PE to Upper for four people LGW to Barbados four days before Xmas for total of 50,000 points. Following 1st March devaluation, would be 90,000 points. That’s 80%. This devaluation is massive and a great shame as the best thing about Virgin miles has been the ability to get last minute airport upgrade which they appear to offer if there are available seats in Upper Class.

        • When upgrading at the gate, how will the taxes be affected on a reward flight?

  4. The ability to transfer to Hilton HHonors is useful and something I didn’t know about, thank you. Virgin Atlantic handled a cancelled flight pretty terribly, and I now need a visa to enter the USA so I’ve no intention of travelling with Virgin Atlantic again.

    There were some rumours of Virgin joining up with Flying Blue recently, but I’m not convinced.

  5. Thanks for this, it may not be a good use of FC miles to convert to Avios, but I like the fact this means you can convert clubcard points to Hilton/IHG

  6. I wonder is there any singup bonus available on flying first in economy (to India).

  7. Don t forget there is currently a 20% bonus on clubcard conversions to Virgin

  8. OT: Just checked my clubcard account and the 4000 points for my pet insurance have posted at the cost of 2 montly payments.

    • Still waiting for mine.. I took the deal out on day one but have only paid one payment thus far with the second due tomorrow..

      Is any body else that took it our at the start still waiting? I only say this and poor tiddles is not looking too good today and I would hate for him/her to peg it before my 4000cc points actually hit my account..

      • I’m sorry to hear that. Is poor Tiddles also a hermaphrodite (him / her)? If so, I hope you declared that :)

        • Sandgrounder says:

          I think the RSPCA will campaign to stop these Clubcard bonuses. It seems every batch of credits leads to mass pet death.

    • My points arrived 14 days after the first payment

      • Don’t forget to cancel the policy when you have your points!. So easy to let these things slip

      • Harry, would you mind dropping me an email, there is something I would like to ask you and not sure you would want it public. Nothing sinister and if it transpires Harry is happy to broadcast it I will. My email address is; jrwhitcher@hotmail.co.uk

      • Cheers Harry.. I found my points – in my fathers account !!
        Maybe its not just dear tiddles tha’s skating on thin ice currently…

  9. No mention above of whether Virgin apply a cost/charge for any transfers? Unless I am doing it wrong, there’s a suggestion that a transfer of 1k miles will cost me £22.50, which seems ridiculously excessive!

  10. John Aberdeen says:

    Not great to hear about the Virgin devaluation as I have been moving towards them away from BAEC following the avios devaluation. But my stategy, largely guided by Raffles advice, has been to keep as many Amex reward points & clubcard points pooled so they can be flexible to covert to either VA or BA points when I need them, then to earn the respective direct points based upon what deals are best at that time. My post devaluation strategy has also been to (a) more aggressive / disciplined in my collecting and (b) to spend the miles on great hols/flights every 18 months as opposed to every 12 months. Luckily for me I have also started a freelance job as a On Board Courier so I am getting paid to take flights and earn some point by the old school flying on an plane method, something I have never done before! Still getting great value, and still love reading the advice on this site. OT but again agree with others that sign up bonuses should be attributed to Raffles if no family ones relevant. Me and my family are now able to fly flat seat Raffles class on our hols after all, thanks Raffles !

    • Sebastian says:

      I know this is probably a precursor for a bigger devaluation but at the moment this is just a upgrade devaluation isn’t it?

  11. TGLoyalty says:

    Anyone know if you can transfer from Virgin to anyones IHG or at least same Surname and Address? Thinking it’s a good way to use up 10k points on an account that won’t collect much for the foreseeable

  12. Lynne Young says:

    Can anyone tell me can you convert avios point to virgin re any bonus as I thought that several timesa year you could

    • The Virgin bonuses seem to have dried up. They were running 1-2 per year but nothing for the last 12 months or so.