502 Virgin miles for £1.50!

On Thursday night I dropped an extra article onto the site in response to a newly launched Virgin Flying Club promotion.  This is a more developed version of the same idea, and if you read HFP via email you never saw the original deal in the first place!

If you have a Virgin Flying Club account, you probably got an email on Thursday promoting their new Virgin Trains deal.  Basically:

If you book a Virgin West Coast or Virgin East Coast ticket via the official websites before 31st July

…. and select Flying Club miles instead of Nectar points as your reward …..

…. and book a Virgin Trains service (tickets for other operators don’t earn points) …

…. you will receive 500 Virgin Flying Club miles with your first transaction during this period

. which will be credited by 31st August

The reason I dropped in the extra article is that Virgin West Coast had a sale which ended on Thursday night and which had tickets for just £4.  This would have got you 508 miles for just £4.

Virgin Trains

Thanks to the ingenuity of HFP readers, it seems that I didn’t need to rush in with the extra article.  It turns out that there are a few Virgin routes where you can get a ticket for a couple of £!

The 10.51 from Edinburgh to Haymarket, with a railcard, is £1.50 (£1.15 for a child).  This is a Virgin Trains East Coast service.  Do not book any other Haymarket service operated by Scotrail or Cross Country as this will not earn points.

(EDIT: looking at the comments there is confusion over whether Haymarket is East Coast or West Coast. For clarity, it is perhaps better to use the train below.)

Alternatively, for a West Coast service, Sandwell & Dudley to Wolverhampton is £2.40.  Again, not all trains on this route are Virgin Trains so be careful to avoid London Midland.

You must also book on the right Virgin website to earn points.  East Coast tickets only earn points when book on the East Coast site here.   West Coast tickets must be booked on the West Coast site here.  Book on the wrong site and you won’t earn anything.

You may find others.  Do NOT book anything for under £1 as this may not earn you the bonus.  The transaction is too small to generate base points (2 per £1) and if no base points are sent to Flying Club they won’t know they need to add your bonus.

Of course, if you actually need to book a West Coast or East Coast train ticket before the end of July, there is no need to mess about with this as you will earn the bonus naturally!

(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.)

Bits: temporary Gatwick Express timetable, Hyatt category changes, Park Inn sale
The best Avios collection tip I've had from a reader this week ....!
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  1. Cheshire Pete says:

    And for those of us in Manchester. Go to Stockport for £2.50 or 10p more with a Virgin day return @ £2.60. With a railcard £1.65 or still £1.65 for the day return! I guess if your just after the points though just buy the Edinburgh ticket as a burn.

  2. James67 says:

    The tickets on EDB-HYM or vice versa are anytime singles on any operator so to be on the safe side I reserved a seat on a VTEC service. It state I would earn 2 FC miles so hopefully the 500 are fine too. I also have no problem actually using the ticket.

    • Who on earth actually travels EDB-HYM by train (if not connecting to another service)?

      Nobody ever checks tickets for the 4 min journey, but those buying the £1.50 ticket should remember they can’t use it unless they have the correct railcard

      • James67 says:

        Very few I imagine but I need to be down at Haymarket and subsequently the Balmoral anyway so I thought I might as well pick up the ticket and use it. I’ve not been in Haymarket since the refurb either so will get a lookat that too.

  3. HayMow says:

    If you don’t have a Virgin Flying Club account, is it worth opening one and earning points in promos like this, even if you’re unlikely to fly with them for the foreseeable future? ie. are there other ways to benefit from the points such as by transfers or conversions, and if so, from what minimum points level? thx

    • You can convert in 10,000 batches to IHG 1:1 or Hilton with 50% bonus.
      You can convert Tesco ClubCard points to Virgin at 2.5 with occasional bonuses.
      If you take auto convert to Virgin off your Tesco account before the quarter end 23rd July? and put it back soon after you will probably get 1,000 points; this has worked the last four quarters.
      I am sure that there are other wrinkles for serious Virgin collectors.

    • Genghis says:

      I’m not a serious Virgin collector but started putting a bit of effort into collecting a few months ago. Got the virgin credit card and the ISA, the wine and the occasional small promo such as this.

      I have recently taken out the IHG credit card. I plan to transfer Tesco points to virgin and then onto IHG (and this added to IHG card spend and using exiting virgin miles) will be enough to get me IHG spire elite (need 75k IHG points and then get a bonus of 25k points).

    • better to collect avios if anything. much wider network for flights.

      • Unless, like me, you have already booked the flights using Avios and now need hotel points.

    • 500 Virgin miles are sort of useless if you don’t generally collect them, because the most useful things to do tend to be in multiples of 1000.

  4. Nick M says:

    I assume you will still earn the points if you don’t manage to pick the tickets up from the station?

  5. Does 500 points post for each purchase? I don’t see the email from Virgin nor see details of 500 points on any websites

  6. And assume purchase on the app is ok too?

  7. I have just realised I may have booked the wrong tickets. I have used east coast before….
    I bought the hay market one on west coast website. Would this count?

    • Genghis says:

      Me too – maybe. I booked the 10.51 Edinburgh – Haymarket on the west coast site. It’s advertised as ‘Virgin trains’ as the TOC which to me means west coast. Does anyone have any further evidence of the actual TOC for this service?

      • Genghis says:

        Raffles – after a bit more research, the 10.51 service from Edinburgh is a West Coast service (used National Rail to find out). It starts in Edinburgh and runs to Euston.

        • Shu! That’s a relief…. I booked 3 separate tickets on 3 accounts. I collected the tickets in Leeds. I have a feeling this train will have loads of empty paid seats between wavely and hay market

          • It runs every 2 hours so you can book 6:52, 8:51, 12:51, 14:51 and 16:52 too. (Later departures would arrive in Euston past midnight)

        • Colin JE says:

          I booked the EDI-HYM service on East Coast. Cost £2.30 (no railcard). Although the website says this service goes to Euston, there is a change involved. If I’m right, it switches on to West Coast at Crewe. I think all trains from Edinburgh Waverley are East Coast services. Happy to be corrected if anyone knows better, so I can book again on West Coast Virgin!

          • Colin JE says:

            Nope, seems I was talking rubbish. The Virgin West Coast site shows this as a West Coast service. Looks like I’ll have to spend ANOTHER £2.30 booking on West Coast coast site. Bugger.

            • It’s slightly tricky as both “Coasts” serve Haymarket.

              West Coast services run Euston-Glasgow via Crewe every 30 mins, but around 6 trains per day turn northeast at Carstairs Junction towards Haymarket and Edinburgh.

              However, the trains from Preston and further north (i.e. the Glasgow and Edinburgh trains) go by a longer route via Birmingham towards London. So it’s faster to change at Crewe for other (West Coast) services from Liverpool that avoid Birmingham and go via Rugby, which is what you found.

              East Coast services typically run Kings Cross-Edinburgh via Newcastle, but 1-2 trains per day continue to Glasgow and 2 or so continue to Aberdeen and Inverness.

            • Good to know.

      • Richard says:

        I was on this very train on Monday, and can confirm it is definitely West Coast – so needs to be booked on plain “Virgin Trains”, not “Virgin Trains East Coast”.

      • James67 says:

        Yes, it’s west coast…a long haul to EUS via evevery place including Birmingham. The 10.50 in oppoite direction is EC from Aberdeen to KGX..

  8. Concerto says:

    You’ve got to have a Virgin trains account to make this work, right? I don’t have one, nor a railcard, but I will create one for this. Not living in the UK these days though, so I’m not sure how much I’ll use it. Do these tickets actually have to be physically picked up? Or do they work as electronic tickets that you print?

  9. Mark B says:

    I thought I was being smart getting one for 95p , have i blown my chance now, if it’s first booking, such wondering if it could be first booking over £1, anybody know? (too tight to try!)

    • You might be OK. Perhaps you need to trigger 2 points (ie £1 purchase) to also trigger the 500 bonus points. Perhaps not.

      But I think the real issue might be: is your 95p fare a Virgin Trains fare or perhaps another provider such as Cross Country is driving the train?

      • Mark B says:

        Yes it was Virgin child’s fare Coventry to Birmingham international

        • I never got to see the rules, but if they don’t state a minimum purchase, if you need to just claim the bonus points back online – Virgin are pretty efficient in this situation.

  10. Dougie Forde says:

    I presume you don’t get two lots of 500 points if you book a West Coast and an East Coast train

  11. If you are going to start collecting virgin points, it would be worth downloading the virgin Red app. It often has bonus points and other offers.

    • Tilly71 says:

      Where do you add coins in using the app? Ive searched and searched but cannot find the enter box?

      • Nick Burch says:

        Click on the V Marks the Spot island in the main top app area, then on the competition screen, click in the top right on the coin with a plus sign on it. That’ll pop up the screen to enter a coin code

        • Tilly71 says:

          Thanks but i must have a different screen, i only get v marks the spot is a competition, ive already entered it and greyed out, no coin in the top right corner?

  12. edinburgh – haymarket done for £2.30 on east coast wesbite. Thanks for the tip :)

  13. If you have previously booked on the virgin site for a Scotrail train will you get the bonus if you make your first booking on a virgin train ? Or does the very first booking need to be a virgin booking to get the bonus? Anyone know?

    • James67 says:

      Most likely interoretation is that it is first VT or VTEC booking during the promotional period as opposed to your first ever booking at either web site. Might be worth a punt on both a VT service via their web site and a VTEC service on their website for both you and your husband. With the HYM-EDB route you would be looking at just over 2000 FC miles at best for just under £10 or £6 with a railcard.

  14. All the questions for me would be moot if they’d started the promotion last week. I had to travel from Rugby to Birmingham on Tuesday, and always book on the Virgin website.

  15. All done, thanks Raffles!

    Completely and utterly OT – on Wednesday we’re flying to Mexico City in First (can’t wait!), so we’re going nice and early to T5 to enjoy the Concorde Room. We’re away for nearly three weeks in some very hot places and I’m a very casual (and hot!) bloke, so I’m only taking shorts with me. I’ve read the FT thread about [smart] shorts in the Concorde Room so I know I can, but I’m curious what other HFP readers think. I’d prefer to wear flip flops too, but I’ll concede that…

    • They’re not going to be homophobic so please don’t read it as such. But if you turn up in hotpants with your partner similar, they might actually think twice on the grounds of annoying other users.

      • BrianDT says:

        Oh for the good old days of first class,when even today’s smart casual would probably be looked down on.

        • OTOH if I fancied wearing hotpants – and so did my partner – I/we would not accept being turned away from the lounge on the grounds of being under-dressed.

          I remember a friend of mine turning up in Australia with his new wife – no spouse visa because he didn’t know about that.

          They said she couldn’t come in.

          He said I’m an Australian, she’s my wife, let her in.

          They let her in & sorted t out later.

          • Billy Buzzjet says:

            WOW ! Another amazing OT story ! You should start your own blog.

            • You want to hear how I got indefinite returning residents visas (NZ) for all 5 of us despite not actually being entitled to them?

            • Not going to say in any case, let’s just accept I turned on the charm :)

            • Genghis says:

              The Harry charm seems to work in all manner of situations :)

            • 4 out of 5 of us were good looking European blond/es – which no doubt helped.

              Ugly here just facilitated.

  16. Look forward to the first trip report!!

  17. Boris Johnson says:

    Birmingham international to Coventry = £1.25 with a railcard

  18. Will this train booking work for £1.25 booked via the virgintrains.co.uk site, using a 16-25 Railcard which I have not got, but does not matter if I do use the ticket.

    Outward Fri 15 Jul 2016
    Birmingham International (BHI) to Coventry (COV)
    0:40 to 10:49
    0h 9m
    0 changes
    Ticket Type Standard
    Anytime £1.25
    Valid only on Virgin Train services

  19. Lawrence Millington says:

    Can anyone confirm if the points credit even if you don’t collect the tickets?

    • I’ve had points credit for uncollected Virgin Trains tickets before. Wasn’t during a bonus offer so can’t comment on bonus points but base points posted fine so I see no reason why the bonus ones wouldn’t.

      As tickets can be accessed electronically via their app, there is no need to collect them anyway.

  20. Rebecca McCullough says:

    I just booked the 10.51 on the east coast website which I understand was a waste of £2 now. Doesn’t think already count as a booking though so if I was to book it again on the west coast, would I still get the 500 points? I know its only a few quid but I don’t really want to throw money away if I’m not guaranteed the points!

  21. Anyone got the points for uncollected tickets? Mine haven’t posted. Is it a few weeks before they post?

  22. Ok, just read that they will be credited before 31/08.