Virgin Atlantic has launched another Clubcard transfer bonus. Details appeared on the Tesco to Virgin Atlantic transfer page yesterday and some people were also emailed. The promotion is open to everyone whether or not they were contacted directly.
The promotion is very simple:
You will receive a 15% bonus on Clubcard transfers to Virgin Flying Club between 1st May and 10th June.
15% takes us back to the bonus rate we saw last November – they offered a higher 20% in February – and this is a far cry from the 50% bonuses we saw 2-3 years ago.
A 15% bonus, all other things being equal, should not be enough to persuade you to make a transfer to Virgin that you were not already considering.
There is also a second part to the promotion. You will receive 1,000 Flying Club miles if you opt-in to autoconvert your future Tesco Clubcard points to Virgin.
I do NOT recommend auto-converting your points, to either Virgin or Avios. You would miss out if a conversion bonus came along in the future, or indeed a better Tesco Clubcard offer for a non-travel deal. It is better to keep your Clubcard vouchers in a drawer until you need them, or until a good conversion bonus appears.
However, if you have a dormant Clubcard account, you should go for this. In your personal details you can elect to have future Clubcard points sent to Virgin. Even though your Clubcard account is empty, and will remain empty, you will still get the 1,000 miles.
Some people have managed to receive the bonus 1,000 miles for auto-convert on multiple occasions. There is some risk in this if you do not have a dormant account as you may not cancel it in time and your next set of vouchers may get sent over.
Why build up a Virgin balance?
There are good reasons to be picking up miles in Virgin Flying Club. You need far fewer Virgin miles than Avios points for most destinations – Virgin did not respond to the Avios devaluation last year – and taxes are about £75 per person lower on Economy redemptions.
You can top up your balance via the credit card sign up bonus, American Express Membership Rewards, opening an ISA etc. Getting the miles is not an issue. The credit card is currently offering up to 25,000 miles until the end of May and the ISA currently offers 12,000 miles.
Your two risks are:
that Virgin does announces a BA-style devaluation before you can book your redemption flight and
that Virgin makes further changes to its route network, with any non-US destination now likely to be at risk as Delta increases its control over the airline
If you can live with that, having a Virgin balance is not necessarily a bad move. At the very worst, you can transfer out to Hilton HHonors (at 2:3) or IHG Rewards Club (at 1:1). Transfers into IHG even count for status if you chasing Platinum Elite or Spire Elite.
Visiting the Upper Class lounge at Heathrow is still one of the top 10 things to aspire to in the ‘miles and points’ hobby. As it happens, I now have a visit in my diary for June.
PS. Remember that, until 11th May you can book a Virgin Atlantic economy redemption for 30% fewer miles. Full details are in this article. Virgin transfers from Tesco usually take no more than 48 hours so you could still take move some points over and book. However, there is no guarantee that the miles will arrive immediately (the small print says 28 days) and there is no guarantee that the bonus miles arrive at the same time as the base miles, although historically they have.
(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles? Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)